‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 18 Recap: “Honor Thy Father”

The closer a drama gets to its season finale, the more crazy is expected — and tolerated — for the sake of plot movement. Folks, Scandal was five episodes out from the finale this week — and they pulled this? I’m frankly scared to see what’s coming.

The A-plot, B-plot, C-plot, and D-plot — which you didn’t know connected to the A-plot until Rowan shows up — had twists this week. The roads to their resolutions were winding and had a few dead-ends, but getting to the end was satisfying. Well, at least for the first three plotlines. When Liv’s dad shows up and reveals that he’s connected to/hired the exceptionally smoking gentleman Alex Olivia has been sleeping with, the D-plot bursts. Olivia’s fun diversion from her demons is now connected to them. Moreover, her life may be in danger — but then again, hasn’t Olivia’s life always been fragile, and it’s just recently that we’re seeing the full extent of that truth?

Really, we’ve gotten to a point where everyone’s life is in danger on Scandal. With Huck, Quinn, Jake, and Charlie around, it’s hard not to feel unsettled. David Rosen has found himself at the crossroads of good and evil now in his quest to take down B613. His big plan: convincing assassins to admit to their crimes in court (in return for full immunity) instead of just killing him. Still, he gets a number of ex-B613 agents on board and puts them in a safe house guarded by Quinn, Huck, and Charlie. And then someone — seemingly Jake — kills them all! His own people, my god!

While it seems obvious to accuse Jake given his presence on the scene, I want to take a minute to question the ease with which David Rosen writes off Jake Ballard. I know he’s one of Scandal‘s more morally complicated characters, but doesn’t his track record point towards White Hat? Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m supposed to think B613 is pure evil or necessary protection. Scandal lives in the grey space between the black and white of evil and good, but its particular shade of grey is reflective, iridescent even. Turn it even slightly, and it’ll appear to be a different color.

Personally, I think Jake is trying to do the right thing, whatever the right thing is, at a time when right and wrong look oddly similar. Maybe it’s Scott Foley’s face, and the fact that I associate it with goodness based on his Scrubs stint.

Turns out David’s assistant, also ex-B613, was killing all those agents — and had her aims on David next. Jake was the only one who seemed to know this — so why wouldn’t he just have told David? Wouldn’t that have saved a couple lives and a whole lot of time? They could have just shown footage of Jake relaxing at home, catching up on his DVR, instead of all this. And then no one would watch Scandal.

Other lives are at stake elsewhere, with Olivia taking on an impossible case: a Congressman who knows his father on death row is innocent for shooting his daughter’s rapist teacher, but doesn’t elaborate how he knows this. (I see Shondaland members have been binging Rectify like everyone should be). I don’t understand why Olivia would even take on such a case (well duh, because it’s Olivia), but she has a feeling about it. Her decision to take on the case felt more clairvoyant than usual this week, and it turned me off. This woman is ruled by facts! When the writers do have Liv use facts to sniff out Congressman Reed, it’s soooo nerdy and precise: there’s no way a gun stored in a basement without air conditioning for 15 years would not rust, given the town’s proximity to the ocean. The dead wife couldn’t have done it. Turns out the Congressman himself is guilty. I didn’t see it coming, but maybe that’s because I was so turned off by how illogical his case was, I focused on other plotlines.

Scandal was thinking season five when they had Mellie Grant’s so-called white trash half-sister, Harmony, show up this week. She infiltrates the White House with chit-chat of how soap gets made. The story there is that Harmony could ruin Mellie’s chances. Fitz is actually helpful for once and manipulates the situation in Mellie’s favor, but I’m not sure he was actually lying when he says his wife’s heart was broken when her father left the family. Sometimes Fitz can be surprising that way — like he’s more emotionally intelligent than anyone would ever think.