‘Scandal’ Tweet-cap: Head of the Snake

Kelly Woo
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Warning: This recap for the “Head Games” episode of Scandal contains spoilers.

You can choose your friends, you can even choose your enemies, but you can’t choose your family.

After the takedown of Peus and Samantha/Marjorie last week, it seemed like Olivia and crew could finally take a breath this week. And everyone’s thinking about the future — Fitz about his legacy, Rowan about his wine-tinged retirement, Mellie about her Cabinet, and Quinn about an Olivia-less OPA.

But who are we kidding? On this show, when one danger goes away, a bigger one takes its place. So, it’s no surprise that Peus and Samantha were actually answering to a “bigger bad.” And it’s not even a surprise when that “bigger bad” turns out to be a very familiar face for Olivia.

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

The opening montage wraps up the threads from last week’s episode. Marcus updates the press on the safe neutralization of the drones. Olivia and Fitz have hot sex upstairs in the White House. Mellie and Luna have their first photo op. And Quinn tries on her wedding dress for “maid of honor” Huck.

David, meanwhile, goes to see Rowan to get more info about Samantha/Marjorie/Grace, because, you know, he was sleeping with her for a while. Rowan is packing up for retirement on a deserted island, but when David pleads, Rowan actually decides to help him.

Back at the White House, Fitz has nine more days to go, and he’s reviewing pardon petitions. Olivia asks why Abby isn’t vetting them and urges Fitz to forgive her. “Let her back in or let her go,” she counsels.


Fitz is clearly not ready to do that, as we see when Abby tries to keep up a sunny façade as she updates him on his schedule. He tells her to work from home, which is ridiculous. She wonders why he can’t forgive her when Olivia has.

Over at OPA, Quinn and Charlie banter about their island-hopping honeymoon, until Charlie observes that Olivia will soon be leaving for the White House. Quinn refuses to believe it, but Charlie thinks the writing is on the wall.

Just then, Olivia arrives with the pardon petitions and asks them to find a slam-dunk case for Fitz that will reflect well on his legacy.

David shows up at Abby’s apartment, where she is apparently now working from, with a box. Uh-oh. After last week, we don’t trust boxes anymore. And with good reason — when she opens it, the box contains Samantha’s head! This is Rowan’s way of “helping” David — her head can give Jake DNA evidence to track down her past.


At the White House, Fitz meets with Marcus about his final interview as president. He wants to talk about his legacy, like the Brandon bill and the work he’s done to improve inner cities. But Marcus very politely shoots down those accomplishments as meaningless. Has he been to Philly or Rosemeade or “the Big D” lately? Nope! Fitz is out of touch with real people who have real problems.

The gladiators target the petition of Shawn Campbell, who was convicted of a hate crime — murdering a white supremacist named Bobby Barnes, who bombed a black church. Shawn was fingered by one of Bobby’s friends, another racist named Donny, whom the gladiators intend to track down.


Jake takes DNA from Samantha’s head as Abby, totally grossed out, watches. He wants her to store the head in her freezer for another day while the test is taken, and she refuses, declaring it’s wrong. He snidely replies that she’s in no position to dictate what’s right and what’s wrong. Man, nobody is on Abby’s side right now.

Liv and Mellie meet to discuss Cabinet and White House staff positions, and Mellie has an idea for the communications director: Marcus! Oh,girl … Liv just shakes her head. Mellie feebly tries to argue that she and Marcus are totally dunzo, which nobody believes.


Quinn and Huck take a trip to see racist Donny at his bar and confront him about his testimony against Shawn. Huck quickly figures out that Donny was the one who strung up Bobby in that tree, because Bobby took all the credit for the church bombing. But Donny turns things around on them as the bar patrons point guns at them.

Puh-lease. They are no match for the gladiators. Huck disarms one, while Charlie pops up out of nowhere with a rifle. They leave, but not without Huck bashing Donny’s head into the bar.

In D.C., Olivia has dinner with her father, who’s proud that she’s gotten to the Oval Office — and not as first lady. He knows it would be better if he weren’t around, though. Powerful people don’t have room in their lives for love. Liv argues that he should just take a vacation and return, but Rowan is adamant.

“This is goodbye,” he says with an air of finality, before kissing her hand.


At Abby’s apartment, David is crashing on her couch so she won’t be alone with the freezer head. But she invites him into her bedroom, where they lay on her bed, divided by a wall of pillows. They discuss being duped by Samantha/Marjorie — she took advantage of David’s loneliness and Abby’s thirst for acknowledgement.

“I never thought I was a good person. But I didn’t know that I could be an evil one,” she says sadly.

David kisses her head and tells her she isn’t evil. Then, she suggest they poke the freezer head with chopsticks!


Back at OPA, when Olivia returns, she finds Quinn waiting in her office. Quinn wants to take Shawn’s petition to the president, but Liv refuses because they don’t have hard proof. It’s just Quinn’s gut instinct and that it is not a “slam dunk.”

Quinn is livid. “When did you stop gladiating and wearing the white hat?” she asks. Olivia just shuts her down. This is her firm, her reputation, and her office. Get out!


But Quinn isn’t ready to accept that. After a pep talk from Charlie, she decides to go to Fitz herself. And though she’s met him before, she’s never been to the Oval Office. And girl’s got nerves! She manages to say what she came to say, though, and advocates for Shawn.

Fitz turns her down, at first, noting that Olivia isn’t onboard. But Quinn says that her Olivia didn’t care about politics or legacies — her Olivia cared about what was right. And her Olivia isn’t here anymore. Quinn refuses to leave the Oval until Fitz signs the pardon.


Down the hall, Mellie finds Marcus packing up his office. She asks him to stay on as communications director … and he refuses. Fitz has offered him the job of running his foundation!

But wouldn’t he rather be in the White House? Marcus gently explains to her that he didn’t get into politics for power — but to make a difference. “I’m not Olivia Pope,” he tells Mellie, who looks crushed. “Goodbye, Madam President-elect. I wish you all the best.”

Jake calls Abby and David with the results of the DNA test. Samantha/Marjorie’s name is actually Gertrude, and he has her address. When he snooped around her apartment, he found info that Peus and Gertrude were actually answering to someone else. Who’s the boss?!


Fitz gives his final interview, in which he states he’s proud of his accomplishments, but also acknowledges he could’ve done more. He’s going to kick off his final week in office by pardoning Shawn Campbell. And then afterward, he’s going to use his foundation to work on cases of people who are still waiting for justice. As for his legacy? Well, he’s just getting started on that.

At OPA, Olivia confronts Quinn about going behind her back to Fitz. But as Quinn tries to defend herself, Liv stalks away to her office … to open her safe. She’s giving Quinn the files on the firm’s accounts and clients. The whole pardon thing was a test to see if Quinn could handle running the firm!


Jake has scoured footage from the vicinity of Gertrude’s apartment and knows who the “bigger bad is” and shows it to Olivia.

She rushes to the airfield to stop her father from leaving for his retirement. They take him to the White House bunker to show him the file. “You’re the only choice; you know her better than anyone,” Liv says.

The “bigger bad” is Maya Pope!


Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC. Watch clips and full episodes of Scandal for free on Yahoo View.

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