If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: While outgoing President Fitz considers his legacy, the Gladiators question what’s next for OPA, and Jake finally discovers the motivation behind Peus’s and the Mystery Woman’s reign of terror. (IMDB)
Writers: Chris Van Dusen and Juan Carlos Fernandez
Director: Zetna Fuentes
Running Time: 43mins
Now that Olivia is set to join Mellie in the White House, OPA and the show for that matter need to find a new direction and this episode kind of helped pave the way towards this while answering a few unanswered questions.
Charlie and Quinn were on the verge of getting married but things kept getting in the way and that didn’t change here. With Olivia gone, someone had to take charge of OPA so Quinn took charge, going against Charlie who just wanted a vacation. In his last week as President, Fitz wanted to concern himself with his legacy and that including writing Presidential pardons. There were a lot of potential cases so Olivia had OPA run through them to find a slam dunk case that wouldn’t hurt Fitz politically.
Quinn chose one about a man who was convicted for killing a racist bigot. The team investigated the case and didn’t find any proof of his innocence but Quinn had a gut feeling that he was innocent based on circumstantial evidence. Olivia pressured her into finding more evidence before she could present it to Fitz since her gut wasn’t enough but Quinn called her out about not being the person she used to be in a great moment. They went back and forth in the episode but it was for good reason.
Because of this, Quinn decided to march into the Oval Office herself (for the first time) and plead her case to Fitz. He wondered why Olivia wasn’t doing it and Quinn made a great speech about how the Olivia she knew was gone while kind of implying that she was the new Olivia. Fitz went with it and pardoned the man and talked about it in his final TV interview as President.
Eli was done with everything that was going on so he wanted to leave but we all knew that it wasn’t going to happen. First, Rosen came to him asking for help to find closure with Ruland by helping to identify her. Eli initially had nothing to help him with but remembered that he had a box with her severed head inside. Second, he had a dinner with Olivia but, unbeknownst to her, it would be their last dinner together as he was leaving and not coming back because it would be safer for her.
There was a little bit of Mellie drama as well. When she and Olivia were going over Cabinet picks, she mentioned that she was considering Marcus as her communications director. Olivia warned her since they were in a previous relationship but Mellie claimed that it was over (but is it ever really over?). When Mellie approached him with the offer, he said no because he was already going to work for Fitz and that he didn’t want to be there if she wanted him there.
Abby has been on the outside with Fitz for a long time. She told Fitz, as a friend, all the bad things she’s done and he apparently was not over it even though he asked Olivia to forgive her and she did but he couldn’t. He sent her home and not too long after, Rosen showed up with the severed head which definitely surprised Abby. What was surprising was that she had a large fridge and freezer. That was why Rosen was there. He and Abby had some fun bonding time as he kept her company while she had a severed head in her fridge. Jake helped them identify Ruland and found out that her real name was Gertrude (or something?). He found her appartment and it contained evidence implying that she and Peus were working for someone higher up.
Lastly, the whole drama between Quinn and Olivia was all a test. Olivia wanted to see if she was worthy and she was so Olivia handed her the reigns of OPA. This would mean that they might have to work against each other but she could do it. Also. the person that Peus and Ruland were working for turned out to be no other then Olivia’s mother Maya. Suffice it to say, Eli got pulled back in for help.
Overall, this was a great episode that helped to pave a new direction for the show with Quinn seemingly in charge of OPA and Olivia firmly planting herself in the White House. It provided some fun moments between Rosen and Abby while also providing an awkward one between Rosen and Eli and setting up a great 2-part season finale with Maya back. It is also worth mentioning the great performances of Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, and Joshua Malina. Bring on the season finale.