Scandal Season 6, Episode 12 Recap: "Mercy"

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Scandal doesn't do bottle episodes very often. These self-contained episodes include very few sets, guest stars, or special effects.
"Mercy" served as a pivot from the chaos and scattered storylines that came in the wake of Vargas' (Ricardo Chavira) assassination to a more focused team effort for the final few episodes of the season.
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The very clever set-up here is that Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Co. get the White House put on lockdown by flying a drone into its airspace, courtesy of Huck (Guillermo Diaz) back at mission control. This allows for Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Mellie (Bellamy Young) to be whisked away from their chiefs of staff because that is apparently protocol — or at least that's what they're telling Mellie's new chief of staff Marjorie Ruland (Zoe Perry).
So Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and Marjorie are locked up in one bunker while the Gladiators assemble in the West Wing to try to figure out how they can avoid appointing Peus (David Warshofsky) as Mellie's vice president.
Various options are thrown around, like using the 25th amendment to allow Fitz to appoint the VP, or having Rowan (Joe Morton) step in to try to fix everything, something he strongly objects to, because at this point he's pretty much done with this entire affair and just wants to run away to Zanzibar.
Can I just say how utterly useless Papa Pope is in this episode? It feels like he's inserted primarily to make comments about Olivia and Fitz being back together. As much as he’s not wrong about them as a couple, I would have much rather seen more of Team Mellie working on solving the Peus problem than let Rowan do so much scenery chewing. Morton is great on this show and oftentimes elevates his material to a higher level... but this was not one of those times.
What it all boils down to is that Mellie decides it's time to stop cowering in the face of this secret organization and push back. Honestly, it's a little surprising she didn't come to that conclusion sooner. She's Mellie effing Grant — after recovering from the initial shock of watching Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi) being beaten to death in her office, it feels like Mellie would have been mad as hell and not taken any of this lying down.
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But to quote a man from one of the best political TV shows of all time: "Let's forget about the fact that you're comin' a little late to the party and embrace the idea you showed up at all." — Sam Seaborn.
So the Mellie we all know and love is back and she's ready to declare war on these psychopaths who think they can control her. Step 1: Nominate whomever she damn well pleases as her vice president, which just so happens to be Frankie Vargas' widow, Luna (Tessie Santiago).
First off, I love that Scandal is putting two women in charge of the United States for season 7 (and maybe beyond). Secondly, the choice of Luna as veep should make for some interesting dynamics on the show, since it will undoubtedly come out that Mellie and Co. know who killed Luna's husband and are actually protecting him.
But the best part is that Marjorie has to watch the VP announcement from her bunker, right before she's put in handcuffs by a Secret Service agent. Team Mellie is going to hold her at an undisclosed location while they deal with Peus, who is none too happy about this turn of events, if next week's previews are any indication.
Should be a roller coaster last few episodes of season 6.
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Odds & Ends
The side plot this week is that Charlie (George Newbern) is jealous of Quinn's (Katie Lowes) recent concern for Huck, mistaking it for her being in love with him. I really thought the show was going to entangle us in another silly love triangle, so it was actually refreshing to see Quinn set Charlie straight: She loves him, she's marrying him. She loves Huck too, but not in the same way. Kudos for not going down the love triangle road here, Scandal.
Also, Huck has his own mess of crap to deal with, so let's just let Huck have some Huck time for a while, hmm? Maybe he, David Rosen (Joshua Malina), and Fitz can all start a support group about falling for the wrong women, because that conversation between Fitz and Rosen was hilarious.
"You're just attracted to women who don't wear headbands. Powerful women. The ones who raise the bar and make you jump to get there."
Fitz makes an excellent point, but that doesn't negate the fact that Rosen's track record with women is dismal. It isn’t solely about falling for powerful women. He and Abby just need to get back together and be done with it.
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"You can't take Olivia Pope. Olivia Pope takes you." Yeah!
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