I’ve been sitting here and thinking about it for a little while, and the only way I can think to introduce today’s Scandal recap is this: Last night, we learned why it’s a bad idea to conspire with terrorist kidnappers to sell yourself to whoever wants to extort action out of the President of the United States. I’d like to thank Shonda Rhimes for creating a show about which that sentence can be typed.
We got a warning about “violent content” at the top of this episode, so you knew some things were about to go down. An average episode of Scandal has at least one person tortured by a hardware store’s worth of screw drivers and drills, and they don’t even bother to warn us about that anymore.
The first thing we found out about the episode was that Abby has a giant Chanel bag. The second thing we learned is that Abby didn’t know Olivia was missing, which I supposed I hadn’t realize because she appeared in Olivia’s dream last week.
Elsewhere, Olivia’s hair still looked great and she and her new business partner had installed her in a condo in some unknown suburb somewhere. The dude Olivia clocked was also there and was none too pleased that she now ranked above him, which he demonstrated by unceremoniously shooting Head Kidnapper (I feel vindicated in my decision never to learn his name now) in the back like a coward. Later, Olivia threatened to bite off his dick, resulting in the the episode’s, and maybe the season’s, best facial expression.
Back at the ranch (and in a similarly unceremonious fashion), we found out that Huck is a billionaire, despite the fact that he was working at an off-brand Office Depot at the beginning of the season. Remember how B-613 siphoned money off of literally everything in the federal budget, and then how Huck shut it down? And how that was never really spoken about again, which we all probably assumed was a biproduct of this show having 82 different narrative arcs happening simultaneously at any given time? Well, Huck transferred all of that money into his account. And then he didn’t touch it! He didn’t even get himself a new flannel shirt.
Although Quinn, Huck and Jake knew that the White House would also be trying to buy Olivia’s freedom, they decided to go their own way, and suddenly they had the money to do it. The only problem was that Liv’s captors had hidden her auction site in a particularly well-guarded corner of the dark web (which is an actual, terrifying thing) and Huck couldn’t get them in without an invite.
Shonda asks us to suspend disbelief early and often, but for some reason, asking us to believe that those two junior kidnapper dweebs had created a system that Huck felt no hope of penetrating was one toe over the line for me. Call it Deux Ex Maya, perhaps; in order to get an invite, they’d need an All Star Terrorist and, luckily, Liv’s mom is one of those!
To win her cooperation, they promised her a flat-panel TV to watch in jail and were even able to negotiate her down to basic cable. A bargain at twice the price, really. The real fee became clear, though, when Maya deftly manipulated Huck into killing several people for her without even the smallest indication she was worried he wouldn’t do it or it wouldn’t work out. Olivia’s good at her job, but with parents like hers, it’s kind of amazing that she’s not even better.
Huck did the job, of course, and he did it in spectacularly blood-spattered, gruesome fashion. Jake made the mistake of walking in at the end, at which point he decided to make himself useful and help with decapitations. (Gotta turn over the heads as proof, after all. Everyone knows that.) Suddenly, the warning at the beginning of the episode made sense–disembodied heads are indeed new territory for Pope & Associates, at least as far as I can remember.
While our heroes were trying to get into Evil eBay, Olivia was trying to motivate the two programmers who were running her auction to shut the whole thing down and go get jobs at Google. Instead, one of them took her little pep talk and decided that the best solution would be for him to wrest control of the situation, which was not exactly what she had intended and not actually what he ended up doing, at least as far as we know. Liv should have considered that two dudes who had gotten themselves into the international terrorism racked might not be your run-of-the-mill web developers, even if they wear the same ill-fitting jeans as every other dude in Silicon Valley.
As it turned out, though, those were the least of Olivia’s problems. Iran approached her captors outside of the bounds of the auction and offered up a fat stack of cash to buy her outright, which the three computer bros quickly accepted. One of them looked rather pointedly uncomfortable about it, though, so expect him to have done something to help her that will be revealed next week. The previews for the next episode seemed to indicate that Olivia’s new owners might not be the Iranians we were promised, and that seems likely if for no other reason than shooting a couple episodes in Faux Iran seems like an unwieldy production decision.
Upon news of Olivia’s sale, Fitz flipped out in a thoroughly impotent way, which is pretty much in line with everything he has ever done on this show–loud and blustery, but almost entirely ineffectual. His tantrum got worse when one of his advisors pointed out that Olivia’s vast knowledge of sensitive national security information would normally mean that the correct protocol would be to eliminate her and her potential threat to the nation. Not what Fitz is trying to hear!
Back in the Oval, he launched into a diatribe about how they needed to get Olivia back in order to ensure that the soldiers who died after he ordered them to West Angola died for a reason, not just because he asked them to. The reality, though, is that’s absolutely why they died; because, to him, they were more expendable than Olivia was, more expendable than trying a different tactic that might have saved their lives but put her in a bit more danger.
Love is a powerful thing, but it’s not always noble, especially when it comes to Fitz.
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