Scandal S7 Ep17: Standing in the Sun

One. More. Episode. Left.

Thursday’s “Standing in the Sun” turned the ending of this entire show in a new, unexpected direction that left me wondering– how in the world will they wrap this up next week in 44 minutes?

Here’s a not so brief recap:

This episode picks up after the end of the last one, with Olivia and Fitz. They are discussing his presidential portrait (as if that matters at a time like this??) and conversation eventually turns to Mellie and what will happen next with her after she gives her testimony. Apparently Fitz is concerned about his own legacy if Mellie goes down, and Olivia reassures him she’s looking out for him too. Seems strangely self-centered, but alright Fitz. But then Fitz asks the question we are all wondering: How do you think this story ends Liv? Apparently, with the truth.

Anyway, Sally (who I guess has a place on this show again) gives a proper recap to viewers so we are all up to speed on what’s going on, and Mellie is trying to decide if she should the tell the truth or plead the fifth during her testimony. But if you ask Olivia, “the truth is your armor”. But, of course, there’s trouble ahead. Marcus conveniently runs into a friend from the Hill who tells him there was an urgent meeting at Justice, and immediately we know Mellie is about to get ambushed. At her testimony with Lonnie, with Olivia by her side, Mellie is bamboozled with the throwback of Olivia assassinating President Rashad of Bashran. Is that not a good #ThrowbackThursday? Jake apparently gave this piece of choice material to Lonnie to make it seem as if Mellie ordered Olivia to kill him, Cyrus found out and caused a ruckus, and therefore Mellie tried to get Cyrus killed on Airforce Two. Well, Mellie does end up pleading the fifth and Olivia is promptly served her own subpoena.

But Lonnie then goes and has a conversation with Cyrus about the rabid elephant in the room–Jake. “Why is Jake here? He’s a ghost,” Lonnie says about Crazy Jake’s lack of a past. “There’s something else going on here.” Well of course there is Lonnie, and it’s that Jake has finally SNAPPED and will murder you if you say that to his face!

Sally visits QPA, where Huck is on his what looks like his third straight bowl of cereal, as they are hard at work trying to help Olivia out of this mess (what exactly are they doing? I don’t know). Quinn says what we are all thinking, Olivia should’ve just murdered Cyrus, but as Huck says, “she’s the Old Liv again”. But Quinn also brings up Charlie, whom no one else seems to care about getting out of prison or wherever the hell he is. But Sally has a proposition for them– if they give her the scoop on Olivia, Sally can help Quinn out with a lawyer for Charlie. It’s a faint attempt to throw a wrench in their newly formed alliance, but it’s clear it will not work. We do get a great line from Huck out of this scene though: “I like cereal, it’s full of nutrients”.

But of course, this episode is not complete without a creepy Jake scene! When Olivia comes home he is waiting for her, with a gift! It’s a vial of the sand from the island they lived on together (aww?) and Jake reminds Liv that standing in the sun with her was the happiest he has ever been. But now that’s over and “If you starve a dog long enough, it’ll tear you to pieces”. Wow, alright then. Pretty self-explanatory. But who knew that back when #Olake was a real possibility that Standing in the Sun would actually be used as a way to wrap this entire show up? Crazy.

Back at the new QPA, the Gladiators are desperate for some past mistakes to use against either Cyrus or Jake, but everything they come up seems to be able to drag them down too. Amanda Tanner, whom Cyrus murdered? Brings back Fitz’s infidelity which reflects bad on Mellie. Jake murdering Cyrus’ husband? Leads back to B613 and Olivia. Rigging Fitz’s election? Yep, that one takes everyone down. The list goes on and on. No matter what they do, everything will come crashing down anyway and the truth will come to light… it will be Standing in the Sun, if I may.

But after this, we get an amazing montage of scenes that begin with Olivia going to the African-American Museum in DC to reflect on her past. Key scenes from the show, from the classic “Twice as good to get half as much” quote, to “Everyone is worth saving” quote comes up. And it becomes clear what will happen. Olivia is going to try to save everyone, with the truth.

Olivia goes to testify, and when asked if Mellie told her to assassinate Rashad, she lets loose. She says she did it, by her own authority of being Command of B613, and then it’s clear that we are opening up THAT can of worms. She seemingly looses her marbles and blows Lonnie’s mind about the existence of a CIA type organization that operates under the nose of the government and essentially has control of the White House. Lonnie goes to investigate and sure enough finds Jake’s lair. But, when the time comes for Jake to be taken down by Lonnie, Jake has already moved everything and tells Lonnie he will bury Olivia’s testimony. Lonnie is left shook, as we all are. Shook is certainly a mood for this episode.

Everyone is borderline pissed at Olivia for revealing all of this, but as she tells Mellie, Fitz, and David: This is bigger than them, and is about patriotism and giving the power back to the people. The truth is the answer, and Olivia has finally figured out that they are the villans of this story. But really, it’s amazing how this show has made us root for these people who murder randoms and do terrible things. And honestly, if the truth was the answer, and they were to reveal all of it, everyone would be in jail. Except David. It’s good to be David Rosen right about now.

Olivia then goes to have essentially the exact same conversation with QPA, and it’s more of the same, except these are the ride or dies. The ones you know will actually go over a cliff for Liv. More on that later.

Then we go to Mellie, who is throwing a pity party for herself, and lamenting all the bad things that have happened to her over the last seasons to Marcus: Fitz getting shot and her son dying being the terrible highlights. But Marcus finally has a use in this episode. He tells it like it is, and says it’s Mellie’s own fault for surrounding herself with shitty people. “You, Fitz, Olivia, and Cyrus are all sharks,” he says. “And now you’re surprised one of your sharks bit you.”

Now we go to a truly interesting aspect of the episode. Finally we get a scene with Eli and dialogue when Jake comes to Eli’s office, and Eli goes AWF on him. Clearly Jake is there to get applause from Eli about what he’s doing with his “power”, but Eli is NOT here for it. Among Eli’s best quotes in his monologues here? “If you’ve gotta tell me how much power you have you ain’t got nothing!” and “Real power is silent, not a commodity. It’s who you are.” For a second I really thought Jake was going to kill Eli just because who knows what Jake will do now, but he chickens out even throughout Eli baiting him saying, “It’s so lonely here at the top. How I wish one of you would take my power and make me extinct.” Oh lord I love Eli, always telling it like it is.

Away from this scary nonsense, we get a cute #Olitz moment for shippers, and Fitz decides that through all of this, “At least we figured out how this story ends.” Honestly, everything Fitz has been saying this episode is just viewer reacts. Like me too Fitz, at least this weird, rushed, and oddly positive episode has given us an idea of how this story ends. Even though it looks like everyone is certainly going down.

Back at QPA, Abby is trying her hand at giving inspirational speeches, but it is definitely not her thing. She says that they should support Olivia because this B613 mess represents a “rot at the core of American democracy”. Well, Quinn and Huck don’t really buy this, so the only thing to get them on board to help is by saying it’s what Liv wants and… #OverACliff remember?

Side note, it’s worth mentioning that for this episode and the finale, the cast actually filmed in Washington D.C.! So the next scene’s shot of the gang outside with the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument in the background is an awesome one.

Anyway, all of QPA and Olivia meet there and Quinn, Huck, and Abby tell Liv that they’ve decided to testify about B613 to help her out, and bring it all down. “Do you know where I’m headed?” Olivia asks. “Over a cliff.”

Mellie and Olivia meet up, joke about side by side prison cells, and then it’s go time. With the help of Sally Langston, whom Quinn has enlisted to get the word out about B613, the world now knows about the secret organization we’ve been forced to hear about the last few years. Meanwhile, Cyrus is shook and the gang stands by to watch the chaos.

Here’s what you need to know:

Well, this is how it’s ending I guess. I had no idea the show was turning in the Seinfeld-esque direction of having these character’s punished for their sins, but when you think about it– it makes some kind of sense. It’s not enough for Olivia to just magically not be evil anymore. Everyone here has done terrible, terrible things that no one really addresses. I just don’t know how they are going to get out of this one not in jail. Also, I don’t know how telling the truth about everything will stop Cyrus and Jake from doing what they want. Yes, maybe they’ll get in trouble, but we’ve seen how easy Jake buried Liv’s testimony. Standing in the sun means letting the light wash over you and being redeemed, and that seems to be the end goal of this show. Yes, it’s cheesy, but the darkness over the last few seasons has made this goal seem almost impossible, so it would be worth it to actually see these characters in the Sun. While I feel like B613 has bogged the storyline down enough over the last few years, it seems fitting that bringing the whole thing down is how we go out.

I already said it once, but I’ll say it again. It’s talented writing and character development that makes viewers be able to root for complicated characters like Olivia Pope and Co. when so much of what they’ve done has not been admirable. Olivia has gone from fixer, to mistress, to white hat, to hostage, to depressed and alone, to standing in the sun, to the White House, to being power-hungry, and back again. It’s something I will miss about Olivia Pope, because although she is fictional, being that complicated is actually a more realistic quality than you would expect, and with the scandals and murders aside, something we all experience in life. Olivia Pope is not just one thing, and that is the most relatable thing of all. Personally I can’t wait to see the conclusion to this groundbreaking show, even though I have my doubts about it being able to be wrapped up nicely in only 44 minutes. Onwards and upwards, right? Here’s to standing in the sun!

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