Scandal Season 6 Episode 13 Review: The Box

Shonda Rhimes comments on the oppression of Black Americans to paint one final, horrific coat of revulsion for the Peus duo.

This Scandal review contains spoilers.

Scandal Season 6 Episode 13

Throughout the season, we have become adjusted to Rowan’s slow defeat. That perhaps Peus and Samantha had a hold on him that truly made him scared. It all came to a head last night when we saw that Peus tortured Rowan to dwindle his control by sending him a “box” every few days with a brick in it.

A brick the weight of a human head.

It was a threat that if he didn’t cooperate, instead of a brick in the box…it would be Olivia’s head.

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He was no longer the man with all the answers; the man with the control. Peus made sure to strip him of such power. Last night, Rowan took back the reigns that Peus put on him and took the duo down.

Soon after his cohort, Samantha, was taken into custody, Peus decided to throw a huge tantrum and place nine drones across the country, threatening to detonate them until he got her and Mellie back under his control. Olivia considered his bluff for only a moment before he detonated a bomb in Dallas, followed by another one in Philadelphia. Peus is never one to underestimate, but neither Olivia nor the President were willing to give up yet.

But, their options were becoming slim to none as the clock ticked away. So, Fitz decided to have one final heart to heart with Rowan, knowing he was the only way they could defeat Peus.

Rowan…the hero?

It may have been the first time I truly understood Rowan. That the root of his pain, his agony, his control, his anger, his chaos, his rage is not just “the way he is,” but that it is rooted in the rage that is fostered in many Black Americans because of their oppression in the past as well as in the present. He talks about how people were amazed at how a black man could be so intelligent, so successful. He was proud to be “on top” because no one expected it. He was seen almost as an anomaly. No one could take him down because he had power. He had all the power.

He then continued to confess that that was in the past…and now this once powerful man, only wants to protect his daughter.

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Papa Pope is human.

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I really have welcomed these moments with Rowan this season. Rhimes let’s us not only see a character for who they are, but also how they got to become who they are. She understands thoroughly through multiple layers that we as human beings, possess, and integrates that into the characters she creates. She even let’s us discover those layers slowly and inconspicuously, just how we would in reality.

Peus’ final comment to Rowan about how he was finally “emancipated” was almost too obviously the sign that this guy was about to go down. To use such a hideous term towards Rowan, referencing him as if he were a slave being freed by President Lincoln, almost knowing how it would cut him at his core made me see Peus’ ugliness even more blatantly.

Olivia for the women

Rhimes not only made comment on the oppression of African Americans, but also made comment on another prevalent issue today: women’s rights and equality.Rhimes made Olivia make use of the phrase “nasty woman,” which was said in reference to Hilary Clinton during an October debate by Donald Trump. This comment sparked outrage among women everywhere and was turned around by women to make the phrase a “proud statement,” rather than a disgusting, hateful one.

Olivia referenced this when Mellie considered giving up and turning herself in to Peus. But, Olivia wouldn’t allow it. She wouldn’t allow for another woman to be turned into a “figurehead—” a “princess.” Liv did not want the first female president of the United States to be handled like a puppet; like someone to be controlled; that a “woman in power is a ‘nasty woman.’” Mellie is an opportunity to see the world in a new light, to move forward and progress and change for the better.

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In the last ten minutes of the episode, it appeared that Rowan may have betrayed Fitz and Olivia. But, his actions were all a part of the plan. Faking a trust between him and Samantha, he convinces her to give him immunity and help his escape the country in return for his help in getting Samantha released. However, this was all a set up leading Jake straight to Peus, who he then killed as well as neutralized the bombs. Rowan too, of course, bloodied his hands stabbing and killing Samantha with the final tooth needed for his dinosaur fossil.

Indeed, it was a moment to be savored.

I almost wish their demise didn’t end so quickly. Not like I wanted a huge torture fest with Huck, Charlie, and Quinn…but something a bit more drawn out would have felt slightly more satisfying.

Scandal is coming close to it’s season 6 finale, and with the end of the Peus duo in this episode, it is hard to say what is next for Olivia and the gladiators.

Until next time!


3 out of 5