If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Rowan is caught by surprise when someone from his past resurfaces, and Olivia has to make a life-changing decision about the campaign. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal exactly what happened the night of Francisco Vargas’ assassination. (Scandal Wiki)
Writer: Chris Van Dusen
Director: Tony Goldwyn
Running Time: 43mins
Continuing with the election day saga, this episode focused on Rowan leading up to election day. The fact that the promos for this episode hinted at revealing who shot Vargas and that this episode focuses mostly on Rowan was no coincidence but we’ll get back to that later.
The episode started off with him sitting in a class being taught by one of his old colleagues, a woman named Sandra (Tonya Pinkins). The two then reconnected and reminisced with one another. They talked about their appreciation of dinosaurs and dinosaur bones. He definitely came out of his shell here and opened himself up in a way that we haven’t quite seen before.
While he and Sandra were working together in a lab, he noticed a series of small cameras, leading him to believe he was being watched. Then we see the mysterious woman from the last episode. We learn that her name is Sara and she is, or was, posing as a scientist who was working with Rowan. Being the suspicious person he was, he had someone look into her but they couldn’t find anything. He also went to check Olivia’s house for bugs but he didn’t find any.
Continuing with his paranoia, he confronted Sandra in a closet and she told him that she knew nothing about the people behind what was happening. She just knew they wanted to use her to get to him or they would kill her. He then confronted the mysterious people. They told him that they respected him. In exchange for Sandra, they wanted him to rig the election so Mellie won.
Sandra confronted Rowan about what happened earlier. She was frightened, confused and she wanted to know what was going on. He told her that he would protect her. He then started plotting in his car with another one of his underlings. They talked about Fields and Rowan told him to start tampering with voting machines in beneficial counties. Not too long after, Olivia went to Rowan’s house to tell him that she undone the voting machine tampering because she wanted to do it the right way. He was angry and told her that Mellie was going to lose which made her very upset since he didn’t show any faith in her.
Trying to protect Sandra, he asks her to go to some tropical island with him. She refuses to go because she couldn’t just pack and up and go. This made him angry. He started to tell her what he’s done and that it had something to do with him hurting her by leaving many years ago. If he wanted to protect her, he had to do it there.
Now that they couldn’t use the tampered machines, Sara showed up at his house and told him that it was his job to make sure Mellie won. Sandra is gone and he told him that he would have to kill Vargas and frame Cyrus for it. Rowan then gave McClintock a gun and a fake ID and told him to go to Philadelphia, where Vargas was going to be, and wait for his instructions.
We see the result that Vargas won the election (for the millionth time). Jake got the call and left the room. The shooter was setting himself up and in the meantime, Rowan found his way underneath the stage through a tunnel and set himself up there. Rowan had a shot but kept hesitating so when he walked back to the spot, Rowan shot Vargas and McClintock shot randomly with his rifle as a distraction.
When Rowan returned to get Sandra, they gave her back to him. As they were about to leave, they threatened to hurt Sandra since she was his weakness. They told him that he was under their control but refusing to be owned, Rowan pulled out a gun and shot Sandra. He reaffirmed to them that he has no weaknesses and that no one could own him. They hit back by threatening to hurt Olivia with the person they had on the inside if Mellie didn’t make it in the White House. Once they left, he seemed to get emotional over Sandra.
Olivia went back to Rowan to confront him over what happened to Vargas. He denied it but he thought of doing it even though he did it. He struck back for thinking he could have done it because he wasn’t a predator. He also started to plant seeds in her head that Cyrus was responsible. She had another chance but she had to remember that it was survival of the fittest. He then open up a packed bundle which had Sandra’s boy inside and he got emotional again.
Overall, this was a great showcase episode for Joe Morton and his performance was amazing here. He’s a great actor and he’s been one of the best things about this show and he proved it again here. He showed range by giving us a more emotional side of the cold, mostly evil Rowan. The episode told us who killed Vargas but it all didn’t come as much of a surprise. There is still a shroud of mystery over the group pressuring Rowan to get Mellie in the White House and I can’t wait to learn about them.