Liv is the boss and she’s always right… Mellie and Jake learn this the hard way. Full recap of Scandal, “Watch Me” (first aired Thursday, October 5 at 9pm ET|PT on ABC).
Gladiators, it might the beginning of the end, but you better believe we’re going to enjoy the whole twisty, turn-y, scandalous ride!
Scandal‘s Season 7 premiere, “Watch Me,” opens up the day after Mellie’s inauguration (where Season 6 leaves off), with a dead Luna Vargas being wheeled out of her home, apparently having died of a heartattack. (We know that Liv and Jake are behind her death, retribution for Luna having hired Peus and Ruland who terrorized us throughout Season 6.) In a series of news flashes, we learn that Cyrus has been sworn in as vice president and the administration is tackling their first major policy push: free college education for all. Mellie means this to honor Frankie’s memory, while sticking by her promise to unify Republicans and Democrats. This plan is getting major pushback from Congress, even going on a conservative cable news show, Pryce of Power, hosted by Curtis Pryce.
However, we shouldn’t be worried, because Olivia Pope always has it handled! She struts through the West WIng (“fight the power!”), ready to make sure that Congress backs the education plan, by any means necessary. In this case, it means blackmailing Senator Michaels with an envelope full of information that would be enough to make his wife divorce him. Welps. This is Liv’s world and Senator Michaels is definitlet voting YES for free college.
Afterwards, Liv meets with Mellie and Cyrus in the Oval Office to continue strategizing. They decide that Liv will make an appearance on Pryce of Power, while Cy will work on gaining support from his “fellow” Democrats. Cyrus seems to hesitate, perhaps thinking his skills should be better used elsewhere, but he quickly agrees to go.
That evening, Liv meets her father for dinner and Papa Pope is pretty bored. He goes from home to work, and is constantly monitored by Liv, the new Command, apparently for his own safety. Liv talks about work and shares how she believes the free college bill will pass. Of course Rowan knows all about the various methods she’s been using to persuade senators. When Liv explains that she and Mellie are acting as a team, Rowan rejects that. Command holds all the cards, after all. According to Liv, she’s changing things at B613, but Papa Pope is still skeptical.
“You cannot have it all, Olivia.”
Sometime later, Liv is a guest on Pryce of Power and has a heated discussion about the pros/cons of the education plan. Curtis is concerned about cost, diminishing quality, and pulling oneself up by their bootstraps (like he did, UGH), and just when Liv is about to tell him all about himself, Curtis cuts the show off with 30 seconds left.
At OPA… or should we say QPA, Quinn and co. are trying to convince David to pass them a client. David is resistant because though Olivia Pope & Associates was a DC institution, Quinn Perkins & Associates are unknown, so much so, they might as well be babysitters. The conversation is interrupted when a client comes through the door. The woman is looking for her dad, Joshua Stewart, an academic who is overseas in Bashran for a symposium. He’s stopped all communications, which leads her to believe her dad has been kidnapped. Upon further research (thanks Huck!), QPA finds that, on the surface, Stewart is a comparative theology professor. In actuality, he’s a CIA agent.
Quinn takes the news to Liv who, in her Command capacity, would be pretty interested in the fact that Stewart has been kidnapped. Liv slams the door in Quinn’s face (even though pregnant Quinn really needs to pee!)… but that’s because she’s busy with other “business”… named Jake. Yep, Jake and Liv are back on. The sexy times are hawt, but (1) Jake is married and (2) FITZ!!!
Where is Fitz? We get a glimpse of him during a news report. He’s in Vermont, presumably hiking and making jam *swoony sigh*
The next day Jake finds out that Joshua Stewart is CIA and one of the most valuable assets the U.S. has in play in the Middle East. The fact that he’s missing is a big deal: if Stewart has been kidnapped, he’s being tortured and will most likely be forced to talk. Despite Stewart being a patriot, Jake is adamant that Command send in a contingent to kill him. Liv viserally reacts against this, but says she’ll think about it. That night, Huck goes to see Liv to beg her to allow Stewart’s body to be brought back home so the daughter can bury him. It doesn’t even phase him that Command would have a captured spy killed. So we’re pretty shocked when, the next morning, Jake arrives at the Oval and is told by Mellie and Liv that the plan is to rescue Joshua Stewart. Jake is scandalized. Liv’s job as Command is to protect the Republic at all costs and it’s clear she’s unable to make the tough decisions. Liv reiterates again the Jake is to follow her orders to being Stewart home alive.
Meanwhile, Cyrus meets with a Democratic Senator Greenwald to get her onboard with the bill. This should be simple since free college education is originally an idea from the Democratic platform. It seems this is the problem. Greenwald doesn’t want a Republican administation to get credit for something Dems have been advocating for years. Wouldn’t Cyrus rather wait three years, run as the Democratic candidate for President (“the liberal dream”), and then pass universal college education then? And not even 100 days in, the seed is planted for Cyrus to double-cross Liv to make Mellie a one-term president.
Cy returns to the White House to update Liv and is then told he’ll have to meet with the Rangerettes (Girl Scouts?) who will be visiting. He’s less than enthused, which Liv can see. But Cyrus agrees to go… and then has another meeting set up with Senator Greenwalld.
The reason Mellie can’t meet the Rangerettes is because she’s chatting with the Bashrani Ambassador to the U.S. (Marashi) to press him to have Joshua Stewart released. Marashi denies this and actually says that Mellie has been presented with bad intelligence. Liv has Jake listening in on the conversation, which is getting nowhere. Once again Jake tells Liv that when he was captured, he last 81 hours… they don’t have much time before Stewart potentially breaks down and tells the Bashran their secrets.
After the meeting ends, Mellie makes it in time to talk to the Rangerettes. She takes the chance to thank Cyrus for being by her side and being a team. Mellie then has the most sweet moment with the young girls who all plan to run for president. Cyrus watches with awe (and maybe some shame too). Later when Cy meets with Greewald, he convinces her to vote for the bill for the sake of high school students across the country who deserve access to the same opportunities as the rich (like Greenwald’s granddaughter at Princeton). This is the time and Greenwald doesn’t want to be known as the person who put politics ahead of what’s good for America.
Unfortunately, things take a turn when Mellie tells Liv that, after talking with Jake, she’s changed her mind and wants to kill Stewart. Jake will take the lead on the logistics. While Mellie and Jake are in the situation room watching a SEAL team descend on the location where Stewart is being held, Liv has other plans. She visits with Ambassador Marashi and threatens him. If he won’t have Stewart released, she will have Huck kill Marashi’s son, right as he’s playing at a playground. Would Liv really have made Huck kill a kid? I think she’s bluffing… regardless, Marashi caves. Liv receives word that Joshua Stewart has been turned over to the U.S. embassy and happily shares that news with Mellie. You can’t take Command, son!!!
In the end, Stewart returns home to his daughter, Mellie has all the votes for her education bill to pass, and it turns out that Liv was testing Cyrus this whole time. She’s the one who has been telling Greenwald to plant seeds of Cyrus running for POTUS in four years. But he doesn’t take the bait, so Liv can trust Cy now, right?
Speaking of trust, Liv definitely reads Mellie for deciding to trust a man over her. Liv is the boss and she’s always right. Liv is the only person who really has Mellie’s back. If Mellie wants to become a monument and not an asterisk on history, she better get with the program. And Mellie agrees: “I want to be a monument.”
Finally, Liv also totally dumps Jake. It’s glorious and business and pleasure won’t be mixed with them any longer. But don’t worry, Liv still gets hers in the form of a pseudo-date with Curtis Pryce and a trip to a fancy hotel. THEN YOU COME.
In next week’s episode “Pressing the Flesh” (written by Matt Byrne, directed by Tony Goldwyn):
President Mellie Grant hosts a state dinner for President Rashad of Bashran in a first step toward peace in the Middle East, and in case Mellie’s charm alone doesn’t work, Olivia secretly puts Jake to work so that they are armed with a back-up plan. Meanwhile, the team at Quinn Perkins & Associates attends the party in hopes to gain more high-profile clientele. (via ABC)
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9p/8c on ABC.