By Bethonie Butler
Olivia’s back. But not really. Guillermo Diaz, Kerry Washington, Katie Lowes. (ABC/Nicole Wilder)
Allergy season, am I right?
This week’s “Scandal” had some really beautiful scenes that tugged at the heartstrings. Olivia’s neighbor, Lois, was finally given a proper sendoff. And Huck was forced to confront his past and what B613 did to his family.
Susan Ross, quirky senator and Mellie’s pet project, was there to help lighten the mood. The White House wasted no time in priming Susan to replace Andrew as VP and we got to see Abby and Leo Bergen coach her through the process.
[‘Scandal’ recap Season 4, Episode 14: ‘The Lawn Chair’]
Speaking of Abby and Leo: they’re dating and it’s pretty serious. Like, sharing a bed and openly wearing orthodontia serious.
Liv isn’t doing so well. We’re basically supposed to ignore the fact that she went straight back to work last week. She’s carrying a gun around her apartment, drinking wine on the floor (no judgement, though) and refusing to leave her apartment.
That is, until she gets a visit from Rose. Remember Rose? Or as Quinn puts it, the “Where’s the black lady,” lady. Rose shows up as the building owners are putting an eviction notice on Lois’s door because she hasn’t paid her rent. Liv, watching through the peephole in her door, has vivid memories of what happened to poor Lois, but she can’t bring herself to tell Rose.
[Why Marla Gibbs of “Scandal” and “The Jeffersons” won’t tell you her age]
Instead, Olivia reminds the messenger that Lois has five more days to pay her debt before they can legally evict her. When Rose asks if she’s talking to the nice lady that looks after Lois, Olivia lets her in. Rose explains that she and Lois talk every day and that she knows something is wrong. She asks Olivia to help her find out what happened to her friend.
That sends Olivia, begrudgingly, into the office, where Huck and Quinn gingerly applaud her for leaving her apartment. She tells them about Lois being shot and how the kidnappers placed her in the same body bag to get her out of apartment building unnoticed. She asks them to track the ambulance so they can find Lois’s body.
Rose offers another lead — the serial number on Lois’s replacement. Olivia figures out that Rose and Lois were more than friends. They’d fallen in love as teenagers, but were separated when Lois’s parents found out. “It was hard enough being black, let alone black and gay,” Rose tells Olivia. It was only after Lois’s husband died that they were reunited, with Rose moving to be close to Lois. She had a key to her apartment, but would’t move in because they disagreed on where to keep the temperature on the thermostat.
When Liv tells Rose that she needs time to find out what happened to Lois, Rose tells her: “I’ve waited over 40 years for my Lois, Ms. Pope. Believe me I can wait a bit longer.”
While Olivia focuses her efforts on finding Lois, Abby channels her former boss — helping Susan navigate her way to the vice presidency. Susan has pretty clear directives from The White House — play up the single mom thing and all the ways she relates to the American people. She’s doing great — until she gets the giggles at a press conference.
Enter Leo, who helps spin Susan’s annoying laugh/snort as part of the relatability that makes her such a great VP pick. But Leo, being Leo, takes it too far and Susan calls it all off. Abby, armed with bacon-topped salad, goes to Olivia to ask for help. Liv agrees — on the condition that she not set foot into the White House. She convinces Susan that she is what the American people need in their VP.
Can I take a quick break here and say that I do not like Leo and Abby together. Because I like David Rosen and Abby together. Dabby sounds so much better than Labby, by the way. That’s not to say that David has time for a relationship. In addition to his duties as Attorney General, David’s been holding office hours for his constituents, which generally means having to listen to conspiracy theories.
David looks a little concerned when he hears of his next appointment — a woman who says her husband was in a secret organization called B613. We’ve seen this woman before — it’s Kim, Huck’s wife! She explains that her husband, Diego Muñoz, has files that prove that B613 exists.
David goes to Jake and Huck with this very bad news — Kim wants him to go after B613. What she doesn’t know, of course, is that doing so would implicate him and others — including Olivia — in seriously criminal activity. Not to mention, put them all in serious danger. David and Jake wonder who this Diego Muñoz character is and why he would give these files to his wife. Huck rather calmly introduces himself and says that he’ll take care of the situation.
Huck tries to convince Kim not to go any further, but she’s convinced that Huck should testify about B613. Huck is torn between protecting his family and protecting his other family (namely Olivia). Huck and Kim meet with David, who expects Huck to pretend that he remembers nothing about B613. Huck starts out that way, but between the hopeful look on his wife’s face and flashbacks of their life together, he can’t continue to lie. So he compromises with a vivid description of his time in the hole — down to the dimensions of the space and how he imagined writing a letter to his wife and son everyday.
Huck’s confession may not bode well for David, Olivia or his fellow B613 alums, but it looks like it might help him reconnect with his wife and son. And it inspires David to pursue the case. “I”m going to get the bad guys,” he tells Jake, who reminds him that they are the bad guys. “Not anymore,” David says.
In other corners of the government, Susan is actually quite charming in her confirmation hearing! There’s one snag: Congress is still pretty peeved at Fitz for declaring war on West Angola, days after he said he wouldn’t declare war on West Angola. Olivia ends up making a trip to the White House, where she convinces Fitz to put aside his pride and apologize. “You made a mockery of democracy,” she tells him. “You know why I did it” he says. Abby and Cyrus look very uncomfortable.
As she hurries out of the White House, Liv gets the call — Lois has been found, thanks to the serial number on her hip replacement. Olivia tells Rose that Lois died peacefully and without pain, on a park bench in Georgetown, with her face toward the sun. There are flashbacks of both Jake and Fitz as Rose cries over Lois’s casket. When Rose cries, we all cries. “It’s still too soon,” she says. “Things ain’t never gonna be the same without you.”
Olivia is moved by Rose’s grief — and her devotion to Lois. She returns home, where she promptly throws out the wine-stained couch cushion that reminds her of her kidnapping. She pops a really big bowl of popcorn (like the biggest bowl I’ve ever seen in my life) and pours herself a glass of wine.
I think Olivia Pope might actually be back.
Lingering questions: Is Mellie’s Susan Ross plan going to backfire? Or rephrased: When is Mellie’s Susan Ross plan going to backfire? How is David Rosen going to go after B613? And how is Rowan going to try and stop him?