TV Reviews

Scandal Season 7 Episode 11: Army of One Review

If you would like to read my review of last week’s episode, click here.

Synopsis: Mellie’s plans to name Jake as her new chief of staff only propels Olivia to do whatever it takes to make sure that does not happen. Back at Papa Pope’s house, Quinn becomes restless, wondering just how long Rowan intends to keep her and Robin hidden from the outside world. Meanwhile at QPA, Abby, Huck and Charlie decide that it’s time to move forward with new clients when their first case leads to surprising intel. (IMDB)

Writers: Austin Guzman

Director: Allison Liddi-Brown

Rating: TV-14

Running Time: 43 mins

“Army of One” starts off with Olivia confronting Mellie about her decision to make Jake her new Chief of Staff. She calls Mellie foolish for doing it, but Mellie is sick of all the lies. She takes a long deep breath and tells Olivia it’s time to go. She tries to plead with her, but the President has made up her mind. News outlets pour out rumour that Olivia Pope will be out as Chief of Staff.

As part of his promotion, David Rosen has to vet Jake to which Jake reveals him and his wife Vanessa have an open marriage. No lies, nothing to blackmail. Charlie arrives at QPA where Abby and the team have a new client, Robert Bacall, an employee of the State Department who was randomly transferred $12 million from the Russians, making him out to be the scapegoat for something. Jake brings Mellie to the B613 headquarters to prove his loyalty when suddenly the power goes out. Jake calls Olivia to regain control of the situation, but she has the upperhand.

Jake gets IT in to look at the problems. Turns out Olivia used a method known as phreaking meaning she means business. Olivia meets with Hector (Garrett Morris), one of her associates who is helping her reclaim Control from Jake. Cyrus comes to Mellie and asks what Jake has on her, but she says her decision was with a clear mind. He does not want Jake to be a part of their presidency, but Mellie says it’s not theirs, but hers. Don’t get in her way.

While Huck and Charlie search for a trail on the money, Abby comes in with the client’s hotel receipts and suspects he is in fact spying for Russia. He admits to an affair, which is immediately confirmed by a news report about him having a secret relationship with Vanessa Ballard. Olivia smirks as she watches the news when Jake calls and pleads she end attacking his family, but all she can do is recite the resignation letter she wrote for him. At the Oval, Mellie discusses the situation with Jake and David. The Attorney General questions the validity while Jake continues to blame Olivia. She shuts them down and tells them to just get it done. Olivia comes to Cyrus, but he wants nothing to do with her. He doesn’t drink with his enemies. He asks what she wants and she sees him as her secret weapon in this fight against Jake.

At QPA, the client attempts to apologize to both Jake and Vanessa, but awkwardly fails. They look for ways to pin the money to Olivia, but without definite proof she will spin it her way. As Mellie is at wit’s end with Jake and this situation, Cyrus comes in with the perfect solution to their problem. Vanessa goes on a talk show and explains she wasn’t having an affair with Robert Bacall, but was part of a sting to take him down. Olivia watches in anger and throws her remote at the wall in disgust.

Robert is freaking out about being named a Russian spy on national television and all QPA can offer are defense attorneys and flight plans. Cyrus arrives at Olivia’s apartment with his own little plan. He has a way to prove the CIA’s lying about the Ballard situation which would cause Mellie to become impeached. In doing so Cyrus would become president. She asks why he needs her help and he responds by saying she’s the best at doing that. He gives her an ultimatum and asks he if she wants all the power. Mellie prepares to take her first presidential mammogram when Olivia visits her. She explains she won’t be stepping down, instead asking for Mellie’s resignation and gives her Cyrus’ folder. She pleads that Mellie don’t tarnish her legacy and ruin the path for other women. Damn that’s a rough thing to hear.

Meanwhile, Quinn pleads to Rowan that now is the time to rally and strike when Olivia is most vulnerable, but he refuses and says she will be back. Rowan goes to see Robin and holds her when Quinn confronts him that he’s losing sight of the goal because he’s distracted by playing house with them. He explains it isn’t because of them, but because he can’t bring himself to hurt his own child. Rowan suggests they order in, but Quinn is getting stir crazy in the house. She explains that Olivia is on a war path and eventually it will lead her to Rowan and when he has to choose he will pick his own daughter over Quinn and her family. She offers to go dark and disappear with Charlie and leave her vendetta with Olivia behind.

Things come to a head when Huck and Abby feel like the unsuccessful job should be there last as without Quinn QPA is nothing. Charlie disagrees and excitedly runs out of the office. He comes to Rowan’s and calls up to Quinn, but finds a gun pointed at the back of his head. Rowan asks why he’s there and explains that Quinn left an hour ago with Charlie. QUINN DON’T YOU DARE.

Olivia arrives home, startled to hear a baby. She kneels down to look at the baby and is frightened by a familiar voice. Quinn pulls a gun and tells Olivia she’s in control now. No monologues, no pleas. She’s written Olivia a confession to bring to David so she can go to prison for a long time. But Olivia can’t die: she’s Command. She explains snipers are watching the apartment and will kill Quinn, but she doesn’t believe her. Suddenly a gunshot rings off. Quinn checks herself, no wounds, but Olivia wasn’t so lucky as she was struck in the shoulder. “Get out!” She pleads to Quinn as she and Robin flee from the apartment.

Mellie talks to Jake about the dirt Olivia has and she agrees to take the fall to protect Jake and everyone else. Just watch out for Cyrus. An injured Olivia comes to her father who sews her back up as they talk about their bluffs about Quinn. Olivia starts to break down and Rowan consoles her, giving him the family he so desperately yearns for.

The episode ends with Olivia’s press conference which starts off strong, but she decides to take a different route. Instead of ousting Mellie Grant and the CIA, she decides to resign from her post as Chief of Staff. As Jake packs up B613, the power comes back on showing Olivia giving in. While Abby and Huck watch the conference, Huck turns and looks as if he’s seen a ghost. And he has as Quinn, Robin and Charlie stand awaiting them. At the end of her speech, Olivia nods to Marcus in the audience and walks off.

Questions

  • Is Olivia really on the road to redemption?
  • Will QPA continue to run?
  • Will some characters forgive Rowan by the end of the series?
  • Will Jake use his new power for good or for his own selfish gain?
  • What will Cyrus do next in his attempt to become president?
  • What have Fitz and Marcus been up to?

Overall, this was an alright episode. The back-and-forth game between Olivia and Jake was entertaining, but the lack of exploration into the depth of B613 makes her other assets seem forced for this story. The monologues were fairly sub-par until Olivia’s resignation speech which brings the best parts of the episode including the emotional reunion of QPA. Here’s hoping that the subplots of Cyrus’ scheming and Rowan’s humanization help create densely packed stories that surround what we’ve been waiting a while for: the redemption of Olivia Pope. This show is at its best when Olivia is wearing her white hat.

Score: 6.5/10

What did you think of “Army of One”? Let me know in the comments below!

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