So here's the thing: "Scandal" won't be returning until Feb. 27. The news came out that they were cutting the season short a few episodes -- most likely due to Kerry Washington's pregnancy (CONGRATS!). But that doesn't change the fact that fans are not happy about having to wait over two months to find out what the consequences of last night's episode will be.
We start off with Sally, who is still reeling from murdering Daniel Douglas. In frenzied flashbacks, we see how it happened. Sally confronted D.D. about cheating on her with James and accused him of attempting to ruin everything she has worked hard for.
At first, he is apologetic and tries to assure her that James promised not to tell anyone about that night, but as she continue to press him, he gets frustrated that she keeps referring to her future, and not their future. She's even more furious that he fell for Cyrus's trap and "released a snake in our garden." What would Sally be without Biblical allegory?
She starts railing at D.D. about his "disgusting perversion," and he is not having it. He tells her that she knew he was attracted to men when she married him. But Sally, striving for a political career but with no marriage prospects -- of course, a woman politician with Sally's background would need a healthy-looking marriage to reach even a modicum of success -- so she set her sights on D.D. He acquiesced, because he didn't want to be disowned by his family.
But I think she really snapped when he claimed credit for getting her career this far. She tells him that he is her burden and her original sin, "pretty and stupid and you can't make a living to save your life."
But then he tips the scales way too far, saying he has the only thing she needs to be president, which is male genitalia. He threatens to leave her, tell the world he's gay and then start giving interviews to the press. Sally snaps and stabs him repeatedly with a letter opener. Welp.
Cyrus gets there and begins to realize that D.D.'s fate, along with the failure of his own marriage, is all his fault
Olivia wants the P&A team to figure out exactly what Terrorist Mama Pope (not be confused with Dead Mama Pope) actually did. That way, Olivia can decide if she should truly have her arrested as soon as she lands in Hong Kong
She also wants to know where Quinn is, which is at B613. How do we know this? Because Huck jammed a tracking device into the space where one of her teeth used to be. Dude.
At B613, she makes a deal with Eli in the hopes of getting close enough to poison him. Bad luck. He gets the information from another source, making her intel old news. Charlie says it's a good thing. At least Command didn't make him kill her.
Quinn goes to the bathroom in search of an escape. Of course, there's none. So she tosses the syringe she was going to use on Eli in the toilet, along with the tracking device she removed using part of the paper towel dispenser.
Liv's furious that Huck hurt Quinn, but he insists that he needed to get the truth from her and that she betrayed P&A.
Meanwhile, Eli Pope is busy getting snatched up by Fitz's goons and being taken to that secret torture chamber where they held Huck during season 1, when they thought he was the one who shot Fitz.
This is all done under the guise of keeping Eli occupied while Maya gets away, but for real, I think Fitz just wanted to be able to taunt Eli/Rowan/Command Pope without fear of sudden death. Fitz sits down and begins to interrogate Eli about Operation Remington, but Eli tells him "That's a matter of national security and above your pay grade, Mr. President." SON!
Quinn tries to escape Wonderland while Charlie isn't looking, but he catches up with her because they have a client: Cyrus, who's hired them to clean up Sally's murder mess. Cyrus is busy trying to convince a guilty Sally to confess to God, not the law, and go back to being a good little soldier in Fitz's camp.
Abby and Harrison head to David's office, with an eye toward re-sabotaging his career/getting the office files on Maya (whom we're referring to as Marie Wallace from now on). There's a hilarious moment where David refers to his and Abby's sex life and an uncomfortable Harrison deadpans "I'm right here, though." I guffawed.
David agrees to email Abby the files, and I really hope no one catches him in this, ever.
Olivia badgers Huck and Jake about finding Eli and Quinn, and is meaner to Huck than we've ever seen her be.
Jake, Olivia's Jiminy Cricket, gets tired of it and demands that she cut Huck some slack. He reminds her that Eli being right about her mother does not make him a good guy. Eli stole Jake's and Huck's lives from them. He literally tried to erase the memory of Huck's family from his mind through torture. She's forcing Huck to save the man who tortured and manipulated them. So yeah, maybe go easy on Huck.
They've stitched D.D. up, dressed him and placed him into bed, so they can pretend he died of a heart attack. A doctor is coming to examine him, but Cyrus warns Sally that he can't look too close.
Sally, in shock, is really threatening to screw up this entire plan, which is frustrating. But when the doctor tries to remove D.D.'s clothing, she freaks and refuses to let them touch him. It looks a lot like actual grief, and the doctor falls for it.
Mellie pops into Cyrus's office to cold-bloodedly gloat about the death of D.D. forcing Sally to grieve instead of run against Fitz, but Cyrus sits her down to tell her what really happened. Sally kept repeating "The Devil came in," but Cyrus tells her, "We came in. We are the devil, ergo, I am the Devil" and "the Devil is at the top of his game."
This is officially the worst thing that they have ever done, in his opinion, but Mellie tells Cyrus to pull it together.
Back to the torture room with Fitz and Eli. Fitz decides to gloat about having sex with Olivia, purely to make Eli furious. But when he starts to describe what Olivia "tastes" like, Fitz sets off the single most awesome read that I have ever seen on network television (and that includes every time Dr. Miranda Bailey has let somebody have it on "Grey's").
Eli begins to laugh and calls Fitz a "boy" who has been coddled his entire privileged life. "For you, it's always summertime and the livin' is easy. Your daddy's rich and your mama's good-lookin'," spits Eli.
Fitz is a boy. Eli is a man who has worked for every single thing in his life. And Fitz, who has been handed everything on a silver platter throughout his life, whines because of his daddy issues. He has the world, and never appreciates any of it, because he never had to work for it.
The racial implications of a black man with as much earned power as Eli Pope calling the rich, white President of the United States a boy are just...wow. People were making jokes on Twitter about this scene officially making the "post-racial America" myth true, but honestly, this scene's power lay in our country's history with race, and the fact that it hasn't gone anywhere.
Fitz can love a black woman and still not realize how much he has benefitted from racial (and male) privilege. It harkened back to Eli's "work twice as hard to get half as much" speech from earlier on in this season, and his frustration as he laid it out for Fitz so thoroughly was almost palpable. Basically, Joe Morton, everybody!
Eli is most furious that Fitz treats his daughter, the one he groomed to be so successful, like an "exit," a fantasy that he can call upon when he gets frustrated with his own life. He tells Fitz, "I am, quite literally, above your pay grade" (my new, favorite insult, ever). Eli says he will always be "'Senator Grant's boy Fitz.' She will always be 'The Formidable Olivia Pope.'" And that is where I passed out and could not recover.
Fitz says Eli knows nothing about him, but Eli says he knows all. "You disappoint me as a suitor for my daughter's hand" is the second best line of this episode. If I was in a position to give away Emmys, they would be shipped to Joe Morton's house right now.
Back at P&A, Abby presents Liv with Marie Wallace's file. She was a gun-for-hire who stole and sold government secrets to America's enemies, mainly Olivia's father. Abby insists that there had to be something else at stake for Eli to lock her in a secret prison for over 20 years. Good point, Abby. Marie never killed anyone herself, so…what are we missing?
The news of D.D.'s death has broken and James fears that Cyrus had him murdered. Cyrus is indignant, since James cheated on him and is now accusing him of murder. Hilarious.
After D.D.'s funeral, Leo is trying to talk strategy with Sally, but she has tapped out. Mellie swoops in to threaten Sally in the most backhanded, Southern-belle manner. She tells her that she's home now. Part of the family.
There's a boring scene of Quinn trapped at Charlie's, fretting over the loss of her semi-normal, torture-free life, and I can't begin to care. So I hope you all won't mind if I skip ahead to something more interesting? Thanks.
James is at David's office, trying to get him to team up to investigate D.D.'s death, because he rightly suspects that it was murder. But David has been burned like this before. He pulls out a former student's quiz (from that depressing time that he was teaching U.S. History, or whatever) and asks James to read the kid's answer to the first question. It's a picture of a penis. In fact, all of the questions were answered with pictures of penises. (If David were a teacher in real life, a photo of that test would have wound up on a Buzzfeed list.)
David reminds James that the last time he trusted him with his career – when they were investigating Defiance – he wound up teaching public school and his life was "all penises." Yeah, David's good on that, James.
Olivia, Abby and Harrison surmise that Eli may have thought Marie was selling more than files. Jake and Huck realize that Eli is in the Pentagon, trapped by Fitz. Liv calls him on her burner phone and demands to talk to her father.
She's figured it out. There was a bomb on that plane, but Eli realized that only after he'd already pulled Marie off and the plane was on its way to Europe. So he had Fitz blow up the plane to keep it from killing thousands.
Olivia realizes that Marie lied about the bomb on the plane, tricking Eli into killing hundreds of people for nothing. Eli's silence is enough of an answer for us all. Is Marie the new Big Bad? Oooohhh. Olivia screams at Fitz to have her arrested when she lands in Hong Kong.
Fitz is forced to release Eli, but he warns him that B613 is not an individual. Someone will replace him if he's gone.
Quinn sneaks out on Charlie and strolls into P&A like nothing happened. She tries to force Huck to apologize, but he's not sorry. He would kill her right now, if it wasn't for Liv.
Cyrus is losing it again. He reminds James that he has no job, income or power and that he won't be able to get sole custody of the baby, but he still loves James. He doesn't want James to leave because he finally noticed the "666" on his forehead.
Fitz calls Liv with bad news: the plane never made it to Hong Kong. Marie murdered the pilots and escaped. She's gone. Defeated, she gives Jake the bad news, and he kisses her. But then…he tells her goodbye and that he loved her. Past tense. Is Jake gonna die?
Sally gives Leo the bad news. She's not running and she's a murderer. Actually, she snaps and screams, "He is in Hell. Daniel Douglas is in Hell because he is a Sodomite." Which…I know a bunch of super-religious folks and they don't just go around calling gay men "Sodomites." That's some old school homophobia. It's cliché. Anyway, Leo surmises that Sally killed D.D. His response: "You kill somebody, you call me!"
Elsewhere in the District, a woman from the NSA walks into David's office with a tape of Sally's call to Cyrus. Welp. He's gonna go after that case.
Olivia calls Eli to ask why he lied about Marie for 22 years. He offers up a new round of Sunday dinners, because he can never give her the answers she wants.
Eli's in for bad news, as well. He struts into his office and finds Jake in a suit (Jake in a suit!) sitting behind his desk, giving orders. He's now Command, and offers to let Eli take their aptitude test to get a job at Wonderland.
You guys. This is going to be the best TV war ever. Mellie vs. Fitz? All fizzle and no boom. But this? Eli is going to ruin all of them. And it will be glorious.
James agrees to stay with Cyrus if he makes him White House press secretary. Finally, use the fact that your husband is Satan to your advantage, James.
Liv is sipping wine and reflecting on all of her mistakes when she gets a call from her mother, who apparently stopped to get her hair done after murdering all of those people and landing the plane.
She promises Liv she'll see her soon, then tosses her burner phone ... in a trash can outside of the White House. Are we going to do this? Yes. Definitely. Let's do this.