Ruland is having a sort of team meeting with President-elect Mellie, and the first order of business is to tell her that Jake isn’t going to be her Vice-President; Peus is. Which, once again, makes me think that I’ve maybe skipped an episode. Say what you like about Mike Pence – personally I think he’s an idiot and a bigot providing cover for out-and-out fascists, your mileage may vary, even if it shouldn’t – but he has a long track record as an elected politician; his personal history, beliefs, and politics are all on the public record; and in the event that I want to know anything about him I can find it easily enough. But who is Peus? Is there a world in which a complete unknown can be dropped into the American Vice-Presidency, presumably with a view to moving him into the Oval before long?
Anyway, this proves to be the straw which breaks the camel’s back. As I said last week, there really isn’t any reason why Scandal’s deep bench of violent ends-justify-means psychopaths should have too much to fear from the Peus/Ruland double-act, and – for the first time in what seems like ever – most of the show’s key players are gathered together in one room, in order to put their anti-Peus plan into place. And – bonus – it involves a drone, which is all good as far as I’m concerned: Huck flies it over the White House, leading to a security scare and a lockdown, and Ruland is hustled into a basement room in the White House with no phone coverage, meaning that everyone else can get to work.
This includes Rowan, whose contribution to this episode is problematic. To start with, a little Command goes a long way, and there’s a lot of him this week. Moreover, he’s remarkably ungrateful that Fitz has saved his life, and his inevitable monologues are peevish and sulky, rather than powerful and menacing. And since Fitz is plainly trying to assert his territorial rights to Olivia again, we’re given the less-than-savoury spectacle of two powerful men squabbling over an African-American woman. But there’s a tantalising flash of the old Rowan later on, when he’s alert to a sneak attack from Cyrus, still bitter about Rowan’s part in the death of Vargas.
And, having considered their options and decided to go to war, Fitz and his team order that Ruland be arrested. This seems remarkably straightforward – could it not have been done a few weeks ago? Were we always just waiting for someone to stand up to the Mean Girl? Olivia braces herself for the Peus counterattack. In the meantime, a new VPOTUS-elect has to be identified. Cyrus declines the poisoned chalice, but the Widow Vargas steps up. I hope she’s been thoroughly vetted by OPA. I’d hate to think that she’s involved in the conspiracy as well. Not great, but I was entertained.