by Joseph Lamour
Scandal is back! Again… again… again. This show sure has a lot of breaks. A thinly veiled attempt to leave us wanting more. It definitely works though, doesn’t it? And there are only three more episodes left the season. Tragic. I may have to start going outside again.
If you recall our recap a few weeks ago, we last saw Olivia being swaddled by Fitz in her hospital room as her new beau Captain Jake Ballard waited outside. This week’s episode doesn’t really move the story forward, but it provided a much desired backstory for hacker-sassin Huck. This type of episode usually frustrates me as the only thing that happened, really, was that someone got up off the floor. But, like I said, a good backstory is a good backstory. And Huck provides a meaty one.
Spoilers for Scandal 2.19 “Seven Fifty-Two” appear under the cut.
The scene opens on Huck in a really off version of Union Station, and you would think at this point there would be a reasonable replica of a DC metro station somewhere in Hollywood. Huck is in his usual garb: tattered clothing, wild hair, pasted beard–which was so much better this episode than it used to be, hoo boy. Olivia and her Goyard bag (girl must be getting paid at this point) catch Huck’s attention, and he pulls his usual information savant schtick on her. This is the first time Gladiator One meets Gladiator Two.
Flash forward*: We’re back with Olivia and Fitz. The clueless doctor cracks a joke. Apparently he’s so star-struck, he doesn’t realize The President of the United States left The White House in the middle of the night to visit a beautiful woman in a hospital, and that no public figure in their right mind would do that for just anyone. As soon as the doctor leaves the room, Olitz speaks.
“I hate you.” Olivia says. “I know,” replies Fitz, countering her statement with an “I love you.” Olivia is not having it. Thank the stars. She says to his face what we all hoped she would say: what she feels he did to her rather than what she is feeling at that very moment (which is usually a fervent combination of love and lust/frustration for the audience).
Back in Olivia and Associates, the recently uncrated Huck is rocking back and forth uncontrollably while repeating “752.” Over and over and over…Now, as if we were in an episode of Lost, we flashback further…
A kindergarten teacher reads a story to her class. Huck, in uniform, playfully sneaks up behind the teacher and surprises her. Seemingly, he’s back from a tour. They kiss. I said “Eww.” with the children, mostly because I’m jealous. Later on, in bed together, Huck and this still unnamed lady appear to be acting like normal, functioning adults in a normal, healthy relationship. This is odd because it involves Huck, our resident sociopath. How did he go from this to what we see in the present day? He mentions a job to this still unnamed woman (which the dialogue purposefully avoids) and he’s back in the US for an interview. In the next scene, the job is offered to him with basically no interview. It becomes apparent he was chosen for the job way in advance. If he had said no to the job, he would have gotten shot in the head by familiar face Charlie. Huck is now a part of B-613.
Flash forward: Harrison is trying to get into the hospital to see Olivia. The secret service won’t let him pass, which makes him realize who is in the room with her. The epiphany flash on his face at this moment is magic; someone needs to create a GIF of it posthaste. The realization doesn’t get to simmer for too long as Harrison spots Baseball Cap (a.k.a. Charlie) as he enters the hospital wing and tries to get to Olivia again.
Flashback: Huck’s torturing his first victim–rather, detainee–as a member of B-613…and quite clumsily at that. Scandal seems to share a view with Fox’s The Following by saying that once a person kills once, they will love it immensely and become a sadistic serial killer. Fun!
Flash forward: Quinn tries to get Huck to get up. She lays out a beautiful image of a life she could have had. She wants Huck to get up because everyone needs him. Quinn then counts to three, and at “three” orders him to be over whatever is going on. One…two…three.
Timing somebody else’s feelings for them usually works, right?
Flashback: The still unnamed girlfriend reveals that she’s pregnant! To me, this is tragic foreshadowing. When Huck proposes, I put on a black veil for unnamed girl and unnamed baby. There’s no way this could end well, right? Later, Huck celebrates his new baby and engagement by torturing another person, because what says mazel tov like cutting the toes off a US citizen?
As his wife goes on with her pregnancy, he continues to provide what he does best–pain to others, and love to his wife. He collects trophies and watches, based on his first victim. How each victim is wearing a watch when he kidnaps them is a weird coincidence, but before we can think about it too hard, the baby comes! At this point I’m shouting “Oh, sweet grandmother spatula what happens to these two innocent people to move Huck’s plot forward?” We all know what happened to his fake family when he crossed Becky…what happens when he crosses B-613?
Flashing forward for a moment–it’s Abby turn to try and snap Huck out of it. She waxes poetic about–what else–David Rosen. I would go more into it but it’s the same thing she always says: the key card made her love life going splat but giving her life to Olivia as a thank you for saving her is the price she pays. (Why don’t any of these people date someone that has nothing to do with this world? I suggest OK Cupid. Just put “No one in politics or law” at the top of your profile and you’ll be good.) Being serious for a moment, I’m very interested to see Abby’s backstory as well. I want to know what Olivia did to get her out of the situation she was in.
Flashing back again…Huck is caught wife-handed, so to speak. This scares him enough to try to leave town with her. He goes to the bank to get some money, but I’m not exactly sure why someone with his clearance wouldn’t have an escape pod in the house. Doesn’t he watch Covert Affairs? Also, why would Huck leave his family alone for even a moment? Even. A. Moment.
This doesn’t matter as he is taken from his front yard… and honestly, the way this whole Huck capture scenario unfolded was pretty much the least plausible way it could have been done.
Huck is thrown into a small, underground cell. His traumatization makes sense now: he has claustrophobia. Several months of solitary confinement in a tiny cell will do that to you. He is asked over and over if he has a wife and child, and each time he says (yells, shouts) yes.
Flash forward: Harrison’s turn. He insinuates his ability to talk his way out of anything was what got him in trouble so much that he needed saving. Another clue as to what Olivia helped him with in his past. These monologues are making me want origin stories for everyone now. Huck doesn’t stop repeating “752.”
Back in the hospital, Fitz and Olivia share camera framing only reserved for kissing, so you know what’s coming. He asks, “Do you still love me?” Olivia and I shout “Does it matter?!” Then they start making out again, which Olivia stops. This push-and-pull only serves to make me angry every time it happens, because I still sort of hate Fitz. None of these romantic platitudes are making me forget the way he is when he’s awful to the women in his life, which is about 60-80% of the time. Apparently, neither can Olivia, as she banishes him from her life. Atta girl. It totally won’t last, but I’ll cherish these moments.
Later, Fitz walks in on The First Lady with suitcases. She announces that she is moving across the street to Blair House. Before she leaves for Blair House, she gives Fitz an ultimatum: either he stops talking to Olivia and commits himself to his family or she tells everyone on Earth that The President is cheating on The First Lady. And the first time in our history that happened, it went over so well…so it seems Mellie has put an effective plan into motion. With all this love drama how does Fitz get any work done?
Flashing back: Huck is asked again if he has a wife and child, but this time he says “No.” The confinement of Huck works. Effectively brainwashed, he resumes duty. Huck seems to have lost his stride, however. He can’t even stab a guy in the hand with a screwdriver. However, Charlie, in a rare show of mercy, tells Huck to run away–and he does.
Flashing forward, Olivia’s turn at trying to get Huck off the ground cements the fact that this episode is being submitted for Emmy consideration. (Nods for everyone!) Olivia pleads with Huck. Kerry Washington and Guillermo Diaz are the cat’s pajamas in this episode. Such talented acting.
I also have to say that “You are all I have” and “You saved me” being said to friends and not lovers on television is pretty refreshing. Maybe I feel that way because it was a part of this show, which seems to value romantic love over some things I feel should be non-negotiable. Huck tells Olivia that he thinks he had a wife and kid. But then he says he sure he did, and he gets up.
Quinn, Abby and Harrison look on. “Now we’ll never know what ‘752’ means.”
Flashing back for the last moment of the episode, we find out that 7:52 is the time his wife and son get off of the metro** every day at Union Station. The wife and son aren’t dead! Yet another refreshing twist ends this episode of Scandal.
*I decided to recap using the structure of a Scandal episode this week because goodness, they flash back and forward and to the side so much I have whiplash. It’s as much a part of the show now as Olivia’s fabulous coats are.
** Like the DC metro is ever on time. Suspending disbelief!