“Scandal” capped season six with “Tick Tock: Transfer of Power”, the season finale and it was a Pope family reunion of the finest sort. Although we thought Maya Pope was behind the Peus & Associates plan to assassinate Frankie Vargas, it turns out that she was merely a hired gun. Yes, the plot that took over the season came to its conclusion when we learned the mastermind’s identity It took a while to get there, however.
The Tick-Tock in the episode title was part of Maya’s schtick as she counted down the minutes until she could get Eli into the lockdown room where she was taken prior to Inauguration Day. The Papa-Mama Pope scenes were a test to see who you believed. As a now-deceased manager of the NY Yankees once said about a star player and the team owner, “One’s a born liar, the other’s convicted”.
Olivia was still looking to her dad to figure out how to break Maya, and keep her from ruining the Inauguration Day. Through background info developed by Papa Pope, Liv learned that Mellie was the target. There would be another attempt to assassinate another U.S. President-Elect.
Eli initially believed Maya’s protest of innocence was another in a string of lies. Somehow, she got to him, just when he thought he had the upper hand. There was that sweet story about the “best vacation” they ever had, when little Livvie got stung by a jelly fish. Oy! Let’s face it, he never had that kind of leverage, despite imprisoning his wife for decades.
Maya insisted to Eli and to Olivia, that she would do nothing to hurt her dear daughter, but she was not about to rat out who hired her. From that moment through episode’s end, it became a test of wills between Olivia and her father. On her side were Jake and OPA, who would do whatever they could to help.
On the other side were Fitz and Papa Pope. Yes, they formed a bond after realizing that Olivia was on a power trip that apparently endangered the Republic. Fitz signed an executive order to set up that slush fund for a new B613. Eli convinced him that the outgoing POTUS was perfect to lead it since he knew the players, the world and the U.S. military/intelligence forces. It would be a kinder, gentler B613.
Liv found out and went ballistic on Fitz. Despite her bossiness, when Liv stripped and got under the sheets for Fitz’s last night in the White House there was no hesitation to let it all go. He changed his mind about B613 the next day and the couple said a sad goodbye. He was off to Vermont to run the foundation.
There was no thought of this being a long distance relationship because Fitz knew that Liv was ready to wield power, using Mellie as her pawn. Liv was stung but feigned annoyance. Thinking better of it, she ran out to the helipad outside the White House, in full view of the media and made out with her lover of eight years. Then she snapped her ego back into its place and ruthlessly set out to make everything run smoothly at the inauguration.
Olivia believed that setting her mom free, with a tracking chip implanted, of course, would lead them to her contact. The others reminded Olivia Pope that her mother chewed her own wrist to get out restraints while in custody some years back. Ultimately, Maya did escape detection and manned the high-powered rifle aimed at the Inauguration Day podium, then got on the phone with her daughter. Multi-tasking while in assassination mode is just another talent of Mama Pope’s. Just move a bit to the right, her mother told Liv, as she sat behind Mellie taking the oath.
Funny thing happened on the way to Mellie’s assassination – it didn’t occur. Eli ambushed Maya, shot her, without killing her and stopped the operation. Later Liv realize Maya’s target was Mrs. Vargas, who had been standing to Liv’s left at the swearing-in. She plotted her rise to power based on believing her husband was too nice a guy to get all his proposals through Congress. “A president is never more powerful than the day he’s inaugurated and the day he dies” she confessed to Olivia with Jake standing by.
Here’s the thing though, Mrs. Vargas would have needed to know the players. Was it believable that she funded Peus the man who hoodwinked Eli? That of boxes with bricks maneuver went on for a while, according to Papa Pope. When the heck did Widow Vargas begin all this and where did she get the money? Hey, believability isn’t a strong suit of “Scandal”, yet we love it.
How did it all end for her? By this time, Olivia put her dad in his place. He was neutered and told he could stick around as long as he didn’t mess with her. She expected his counsel and help at Sunday dinners as she ruled the world, The transformation was almost complete. The next step sealed it.
Mrs. Vargas had to die and was given the choice of taking pills to make her death appear like a heart attack, or chopped up by Jake, with photos shown to her kids. Cold, ice-cold blood in those veins of Olivia Pope, all while she went the straight hair look for the inaugural balls. The final cherry on top of the cake was getting Mellie to sign the same executive order as Fitz ripped up prior to leaving town. Mellie took Liv’s word that it was nothing of consequence, never dreaming that B613 would rise again.
Widow Vargas chose the pills, Mellie got sworn in without dying and Olivia met up with Cyrus Bean at their spot on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for slugging wine and gossiping. Cyrus had been recruited by Mellie to be her date at the balls, so when he met up with Liv, the festivities were over and it was time to govern.
When Liv told Cyrus about Mrs. Vargas, he began to spout the exact words Liv heard the widow say to justify her decision to make her husband’s death the beginning of her power grab. Yes, it was Cyrus all along. That didn’t trouble Liv, who offered him the Veep spot, without even asking Mellie. Cyrus wasn’t bothered by knowing, without being told, that the widow had been disposed of.
Cyrus and Liv were pals of long standing. He helped her get into the campaign when Fitz first ran. He was a mentor of sorts and of course she was Olivia Pope, ready to kick ass at OPA. They had traveled roads few have, growing more treacherous with each passing year. Her white hat got blackened, while Cyrus never wore one. They were friends, sometime frenemies. Now they would have the Oval, just not the title of POTUS.
Since “Scandal” will return with its seventh and final season soon, what can possibly top what just occurred? Will we see Fitz again? OPA is in good hands, Abby got the official invitation to return and Quinn is with child. Thoughts?
“Scandal” will return for its seventh and final season on ABC TV. Image credit: ABC, used with permission