‘Scandal’ Tweet-cap: The Most Powerful Person in the World

Kelly Woo
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Warning: This recap for the “Tick, Tock” and “Transfer of Power” episodes of Scandal contains spoilers.

Washington politics is all about survival of the fittest. And the fittest of them all is Olivia Pope.

Olivia has always been power adjacent — as a campaign guru, as Fitz’s mistress, as the city’s best fixer. But now, she wields power herself, not just as Mellie’s chief of staff, but as the new head of B613.

She can just snap her fingers and make all of her wishes come true. If she can’t get it done through the White House, she can just order her B613 operatives to lie, cheat, steal, blackmail, or even kill to do it.

As Cyrus says, she is now the most powerful person in the world. But as we’ve seen on this show, time and time again, power makes people go a little crazy. Maybe they started out wearing a white hat, but holding so much power blackens it.

And Olivia’s hat? Well, after killing VP Andrew, and now VP Luna, and reconstituting B613 (without Mellie’s knowledge)… it’s already looking a little gray.

Here’s a rundown of this week’s episodes, including our live tweets:

Olivia, Fitz, Jake, and David are working together to track down Maya Pope after the revelation that she was puppeting Peus and Samantha. They find her headquarters in an old warehouse, but she’s hightailed it out of there. But documents and photos she left behind show that she is planning to assassinate Mellie during the inauguration!

That leads Liv to suggest that Mellie make her inauguration a closed-door, private affair, but Mellie refuses.

The team looks over Maya’s stuff and finds a photo of a disgraced Secret Service agent. She’s clearly going to blackmail him for his badge and credentials. So, Jake storms the hotel room where Maya is seducing the agent and takes her into custody.

In a cell, Maya speaks through the one-way mirror at her former husband, Rowan. She tells him that she came to Washington to help Olivia and that he’s wasting time. She starts chanting “tick tock” over and over in a bid to get Rowan to meet with her.

Then, she recounts a family vacation to the Maryland shore, and that pushes Rowan to enter the cell. “You really think I would get involved in something that would hurt Olivia?” she asks, when he interrogates her about the Mystery Power People.

Then, Rowan asks her if she targeted Sandra on purpose, because of their former romance. Maya seems to be genuinely sorry that Sandra was caught in the crossfire. “I could not make you happy,” she says. “Happiness was not the mission. But I loved you.” Rowan departs, looking pretty emotionally wrecked.

Later, Olivia confronts Rowan and realizes that he believes Maya. Her mother might be the only person on earth who can really get under her father’s skin like this.

Liv hires Quinn and the gladiators to find the assassin her mother hired to kill Mellie. They decide to go down the money trail — and there’s one person who got paid by the Mystery Power People: Abby! She gives OPA her financial records and offers her help.

Fitz and Mellie share a drink on the White Balcony, and she asks his advice on what to do about the inauguration. He thinks she should cancel, because ultimately, she’ll be president even if it has to happen behind closed doors. And as he grimly notes, he knows too well what it’s like to be shot. It feels like getting punched and burned.

At OPA, the gladiators are not getting anywhere following the money trail from the Mystery Power People’s super PAC. Abby comes up with an idea — instead of trying to see where their money came from, they should find out who else (besides herself) got paid. And that’s when they realize that Maya didn’t hire an assassin; she is the assassin.

Armed with this knowledge, Liv visits her mother, pretending to be outraged at her treatment and demanding for her release. But Maya quickly sees through the farce. Liv drops the act, and when her mother laments how similar her daughter is to Rowan, Olivia pounces and starts choking her. And she is set on killing Maya unless she coughs up info, until Jake rushes in and pulls Liv away.

After Mellie once again declares she won’t cancel the inauguration festivities, Liv decides upon a new plan: let Maya go and track her to the person pulling the strings on this entire operation.
Fitz refuses, but Liv and Jake go behind his back and free her anyway. Rowan is livid, yelling that Liv has basically signed Mellie’s death certificate.

At OPA, the case is closed, and Abby bids Quinn an awkward farewell. After getting looks from both Huck and Charlie, Quinn chases after her. Abby rants about being a terrible friend and deserving to be alone until Quinn stops her with a confession: She’s pregnant! But can she really have a kid whose parents both like to maim and torture?

Rowan meets with Fitz. Yeah, they hate each other, but they are bound by one commonality: their love for Olivia. Rowan urges him to reinstate B613. None of this would’ve happened had it still existed. And Fitz should run it! He needs to keep a check on the power that Olivia will wield as Mellie’s chief of staff.

Fitz goes upstairs to the residence and finds Olivia waiting, naked, in his bed. He’s highly annoyed with her for freeing Maya, but she seduces him into forgetting about it. This is their last night together in the White House — they should make the most of it.

Now that she’s free, Maya immediately slips her tracking detail and disappears. It’s inauguration day and everybody is nervous what will happen to Mellie. Jake assures them that this is the best-protected event in history. But VP Luna suggests that they keep their children off the dais just in case.

As his last act as president, Fitz signs some papers that David has drafted apportioning a tiny percent of the Defense budget. He waves it away as emergency funding for something, but it’s really for B613. He’s doing what Rowan proposed.

Tony Goldwyn as Fitz Grant and Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant on ABC’s ‘Scandal’ (Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC)

As the inauguration gets underway, the gladiators are trying to find Maya and the person who hired her via cell phones. They find one signal… and discover it’s coming from the stage! That means Maya’s employer is a VIP!

As Mellie begins to take the oath of office, Maya subdues a sniper and takes his rifle. She aims it at Mellie, then calls her daughter. Olivia begs her not to kill Mellie. “Who said it’s Mellie?” Maya asks, and Liv hears a “pop!” But when she opens her eyes, Mellie is finishing the oath.

Maya didn’t pull the trigger; instead, Rowan shot her in the shoulder. And Mellie is alive and now the president.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Liv storms the White House to yell at Fitz for ordering the operation. Now, they can’t track down Maya’s employer.

So, it’s up to the gladiators to do their thing. They get a copy of the inauguration’s seating chart from Abby. While she’s there, Quinn asks her to take over OPA. She’s planning to run away, have this baby, and raise it in a normal environment. She used to have a vanilla life, so she can get used to it again. But Charlie can’t. Abby says she’ll consider the offer.

Liv confronts Fitz again, this time about restarting B613. She’s figured out that’s what the funds were for. He argues that they need B613 right now, and she says it’s a mistake to trust her father. He’ll just try to seize control again.

Then, Olivia sadly notes she was planning to ask Fitz to stay in DC for her, instead of going off to Vermont. But now, with this B613 nonsense, she feels betrayed.

Just before he leaves the White House on a helicopter, Fitz tells Olivia he’s changed his mind about B613. He’s giving the money back, because she was right. She saved him and he thanks her for that. As he walks toward the helicopter, Liv runs after him. They kiss passionately in front of a herd of news photographers. And then, Fitz leaves.

The gladiators go over the seating chart, but Olivia notes that it isn’t accurate, because Mellie and Luna’s kids didn’t attend at the last minute. And then, something clicks in her head. She watches footage of Frankie’s speech on Election Night, and remembers Rowan asking who benefits the most from Frankie’s death. Who would literally kill for this job?

It was Luna Vargas.

Liv confronts Luna with the truth as she prepares for an inauguration ball. Luna replies that she has no evidence. And more than that, they need Luna if they want to get anything done. Her approval ratings are off the charts. She doesn’t even need to kill Mellie anymore; she’s got all the power she wanted.

Liv rants first to Jake, then to her mother about Luna and how she can’t do anything about it. Maya reminds her that she’s half Maya and half Rowan. Nobody can fight Olivia Pope and win.

At OPA, Abby turns down Quinn’s offer. Instead, she wants Quinn to hire her and be her boss! And she’ll help Quinn figure out the baby thing. Charlie and Huck enter, and Quinn announces her news. Charlie is ecstatic, but Huck seems troubled.

Mellie takes a few moments to enjoy her new Oval Office. But she’s missing something. She needs a date — and goes to Cyrus’s house to force him to be hers.

Olivia meets with Luna again, this time with Jake’s help. She’s come up with a solution: Luna is going to kill herself. Luna thinks this is preposterous, but Olivia notes that she can either take a pill and die quietly of a heart attack or Jake can cut her down. Her poor kids will suffer so much more the latter way.

Luna panics. She explains that she loved Frankie but that the president is most powerful on the day he’s elected and the day he dies. He would’ve never gotten anything done. So, she paid someone to make sure he lost, only they ended up killing him! Liv calls BS on that — Luna knew exactly what would happen, because she took her kids off the stage.

The jig is up. Luna brings up Jackie Kennedy, how powerful the image was of her in her bloodied pink dress after JFK’s death. Imagine if Jackie had become president — she would’ve wielded unprecedented power. Frankie’s ideas could’ve flourished through her.

Luna knows she has no other choice but to do as Liv commands, so she takes the pills. Jake will watch her until she slips away.

Liv goes to the Oval Office and has Mellie sign some documents, including a minor Defense budget item. She’s restarting B613!

She visits her father and tells him the news. But Fitz won’t run it — she will. And if he gets in her way, she’ll kill him. He’s horrified, but Liv says she’s just being smart prey, like he always advised. Rowan shakes his head. Olivia isn’t prey; she’s the predator.

Olivia sits with a bottle of wine on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Cyrus shows up, ready to have that drink they promised each other at the start of the campaign. She tells him that Luna was behind the whole plot and he seems surprised.

Then, he ruminates on how presidents have the most power on election day and the day they die. And about Jackie Kennedy’s bloodied pink dress.

“This was you,” Olivia says, respect dawning on her face.

Cyrus planted this seed in Luna’s head. And he’s gotten what he wanted all along, since Liv took out Luna. He wants to be VP! And Olivia is going to nominate him.

He slyly notes that the minor Defense budget item was to fund B613. “Sounds like we both got what we wanted,” she says.

“How does it feel to be the powerful person in the world?” Cyrus asks.

Olivia smiles: “It feels right.”

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.