Quinn is still missing, and Olivia, Jake, and what’s left of B-613 and QPA are in something of a lather. I’m a little baffled, though, by Olivia’s declaration that she’s going to turn the whole of the governmental apparatus of America into one giant Quinn-finding machine, or whatever it was, when the obvious first course of action would be to find out what Rowan has been up to. And, sure enough, we don’t need to wait too long for Rowan to “reveal” to Olivia that he’s responsible: “I have Quinn Perkins. She is mine.” In return for her release he wants his freedom. And his dinosaur, which bears a lot of metaphorical weight this week.
Olivia rejects Rowan’s offer. In part this is because if she concedes ground this time, she expects that Rowan will try the same trick repeatedly. Also, though, there’s a healthy element of self-interest: Quinn knows that Olivia organised the assassination of President Rashad and the First Niece of Bashran, which means that Olivia has something to gain, in theory, were Quinn not to survive. “All your problems go away”, Olivia’s mother explains in a somewhat random appearance, “if this bitch dies”. Unfortunately, much of the rest of the episode revolves around Olivia and Rowan having lengthy monologue battles in which they are, essentially, saying “You’re bluffing!” “No, YOU’RE bluffing!” to each other.
And the rest of the episode doesn’t have much to offer. Fenton has taken the episode off to recuperate after being brutalised by Charlie. (Cyrus smoothly lets Jake know that he’s aware of exactly what B-613 was up to there when it tried to frame Fenton.) Mellie gets her nuclear treaty signed, or she doesn’t – I lost interest in there somewhere – and kind of agrees to work with Fitz and Marcus on their criminal justice reform programme. And an Olivia aide looks as if she’s about to blab state secrets to Curtis Pryce, but as poor Curtis ends up face down on a hotel room floor it may be that he has outlived his usefulness to the show.
We end, though, in Rowan’s living room, for one final round of “You’re bluffing!” as he and Olivia run the clock down. He then leaves the room with a gun, and we hear two shots and a woman screaming before he returns. “Do you”, he demands of Olivia, “want to see the body?” Well, yes, I think we do, actually, Rowan, if you’d be so kind: Katie Lowes has given birth in real life and may well want a little time away from the show, but this is TV so I don’t believe for a second that a couple of offscreen gunshots mean that she’s dead. Scandal now goes on hiatus before its final, final run; let’s hope the concluding episodes are better than this.