The Olivia Pope and crew think the threat to democracy is over and resume their not so normal lives as is. Tonight’s episode of Scandal opens with Marcus speaking to the press, and emphasizing that point. Without giving too many details, he assures them that the United States will be okay.
Anyway, Olivia and Fitz are back to being Olitz again and they are counting down Fitz’s last 9 days in office.
Papa Pope is retiring and by retiring, he’s planning to go off the grid for good. You know, Zanzibar. However, Rosen pays him a visit to see if he can help him find out what Samantha’s true identity was, even a strand of her hair might help. Surprisingly, Rowan says he may have something that might help.
Charlie, Quinn and Huck are nervous about their fates as Gladiators because now that Olivia has the White house, she might dissolved the firm. That’s when Olivia walks in with a new case for them—investigating potential inmates for presidential pardons. The new mission puts Quinn’s mind at ease for now.
Later on, Rosen brings a delivery that he got to Abby’s house to try and leave it there, but of course she’s not just going to let that fly without know what’s in the box. It’s Samantha’s head. That is what Rowen had that could help. At least now Rosen can run a DNA test. He brought it to Abby because he figured she’d want to know who these people were two especially since they both got taken for fools. Jake is the man they call to get the DNA test done.
The Gladiator pardon case deals with a black man named Shawn Campbell, who is in jail for the murder of a known bigot. Basically, the bigot bombed a church and got off by a jury of his peers. Said bigot turns up dead and his other bigoted friends accuse Shawn, who ends up getting locked up on a hate crime charge with a jury that isn’t of his peers and with no real evidence. The gladiators are all in until Olivia shuts the office down for the day. Now they’re shocked, but Charlie is gloated because, you know, “I told you so.”
Charlie, Huck and Quinn confront find the real murderer, another racist man who hung out with the church bomber, who was jealous of him. The man confesses that he set Shawn up and that it was easy because Shawn is black and that he probably would have ended up in jail anyway because…black, but this confession is not recorded.
Quinn presents the information they found to Olivia, who is cold and distant and even has the nerve ask what Quinn is even doing in her office. Olivia then tells Quinn that they have no real proof. Quinn goes off on her and questions why she’s acting brand new. Olivia kicks Quinn out of her office claiming that she’s not going to mess up her reputation or Fitz’s legacy if they don’t have proof.
Quinn, not willing to take no for an answer, goes straight to Fitz with the case. She’s honest about Olivia’s stance on the case. The fear is that pardoning Shawn will spark protests, but she thinks it’s the right thing to do and that the old Olivia would be pushing for this as opposed to the new Olivia, who just wants America on her side. It take some convincing, but Quinn manages to get Fitz on board. Later on Fitz even does a TV interview about the pardon and he talks about how he’s going to open a foundation to make sure that cases like this never happen again. Justice reform for the win!
Olivia confronts Quinn about the stunt she pulled with Fitz. Quinn is nervous and immediately begins explaining herself about how she’s sorry, not sorry, and guess what, this was all just a test. Quinn passed with flying colors, made Olivia a proud Mama Bear, and now she gets to be new Head Gladiator in Charge! A well deserved victory!
Let’s cut to Rowan about to get on his private jet for his grand exit that never happens. Olivia Pope drafts him to another meeting of the minds because they need his help again. Turns out that Mama Pope is the real mastermind behind the plot to assassinate Frankie Vargas. Rowan still doesn’t want any parts of this because he knows she is not one to mess with, but Olivia begs him to stay because whose going to protect her from her mother? They’re all going to need it because according to the preview of next week’s episode, Mama Pope has plans to assassinate Mellie.