By Arturo R. García
Score this round for the (relatively) good guys.
In the last episode before the winter finale, we saw the pieces begin to move. While Olivia and Fitz’s dalliance in the house revealed just how far Fitz’s obsession flame went — not to mention how badly he seems to want out of politics — the duo also came to an understanding, if not an outright alliance. Each would do what they had to do to unravel Eli and B613.
And now the wildest card of all has landed on Olivia’s doorstep.
The episode ended with Olivia’s mother, Maya, completing her bloody, harrowing escape from Eli’s clutches and going to “Livvie.” Presumably, we’ll figure out how Mrs. Pope made her way across D.C., but her determination isn’t to be doubted; kudos to guest director Ava DuVernay(!) for letting us get just a little uncomfortable with the lengths Maya went to in order to position herself for her great escape.
While Eli’s probably aware of where Maya went, it’s doubtful he’s twigged to the fact that his other plan for undermining his daughter is seemingly in danger, since Quinn has been compromised. And while the shot of Huck licking her face while she’s apparently about to be tortured is problematic, it was hard not to smile just a wee bit at the moment when she figured out she’d been made. Too bad, so sad, “Robin.”
Speaking of failed plans, Cyrus came to realize all too late what the apparent cost would be of essentially inviting his husband to cheat on him, despite Mellie’s warning. While it’s still likely that James and Daniel Langston are playing their own game in retaliation, the pain on Cyrus’ face was still real.
Of course, even a broken heart might be preferable to dealing with a story accusing the sitting president’s chief of staff of trying to undermine his vice president’s marriage. Which, should James write it, would be exactly the kind of thing Sally could seize upon to kick-start her insurgent campaign, a threat that Fitz still doesn’t see coming.
For the moment, Fitz is just relieved to see Rep. Marcus fall on her sword, putting her family ahead of her campaign and covering up for her daughter’s — it must be said — bonehead play at framing Gov. Reston for stealing vital information. But even if he’s confident of beating Reston in a rematch, Fitz can’t stop holding on to his past. Or rather, to the future he still wants to share with Olivia, out of the public eye.
While Jake is right to point out the manipulative nature of Olitz’s relationship, it’s also possible that the relationship is important to Fitz not just because it’s Olivia, but because it’s his way out of a career he never wanted and a marriage he doesn’t want anymore. Fitz’s tenure as Chief Executive is almost turning into a Truman presidency — Truman Burbank, that is. And if he and/or Olivia can scuttle the B613 threat … well, one election was fixed to get him into office. Would it be so out of place to have one manipulated to get him out?
- We’d be remiss in not pointing out the momentous occasion this episode delivered: Women of color as the showrunner, star and director. Would that the rest of Hollywood would catch up. Quickly.
- So, Harrison gets his own subplot, then his own (brief) romance? Definitely moves him up in the Death Pool.
- Another possible cause for concern for Eli: Charlie actually hesitated a little at the thought of “neutralizing” Quinn.
- How did Fitz’s grand gesture play with you, Racializens? Romantic, creepy, creepily romantic?
- What do you think Maya could have known or done to merit her being “disappeared” for all these years?