By Arturo R. García
For being a place-holder episode, “The Fluffer” did manage to pull on at least one intriguing plot thread before hurtling us headlong into the season’s Big Finish.
For starters, we humbly direct you to our closing comments from two weeks ago:
If Olivia is serious about taking B-613 down, why doesn’t she just ask Fitz to begin trimming its funding? If he was able to install Jake as Command, he should be able to do that too, right?
We’re just saying: Called it!
Mind you, I don’t know if I should be proud or worried that my logic matched up with that of a Scandalverse inhabitant, but go fig, Olivia followed the money after all. Of course, it helps if you try really hard not to remember that B613’s big money-grabbing scheme makes it look about as nefarious as the guys from Office Space, but the chase was mostly satisfying.
Unfortunately, the climax was a little too big of a payoff, even if it was meant to enhance how badly the Gladiators have unwittingly set Fitz up for an assassination attempt. I can buy that Huck can delete transaction records and personnel files thanks to his Spygasmatron App thingie, but the lights and the landline? Last I checked, even a secretive government agency with its own boring day-job cover identity would have known enough to just buy the local cable provider’s bundle package.
Meanwhile, the episode also inadvertently revealed what really makes you believe the three Popes are family: They only seem to come alive when they’re tearing somebody down. Compare Olivia’s doldrums throughout the episode to her showdown with Andrew. And the face-off between Rowan and Maya in the restaurant packed some genuine tension. And to think, as a photo that surfaced online explained this week, they seemed much happier during their college days. The theory goes like this:
So… Mother and Father Pope (Olivia’s parents) met on the campus of Hillman College. She once ran for SGA president and he was a senator listed among Hillman’s notable alumni.
Clearly Hillman College is a recruitment source for B-613. Personally I’m not surprised given it’s proximity to Washington, DC and the reputation of some of it’s alums.
Colonel Bradford Taylor (Vietnam veteran) was clearly training folk undercover.
I could go further, but I’ll let you all digest that for a while
Mind blown, right? Hopefully the last two episodes can provide some similarly fan-cracky fun.
- The spycraft part of the episode looked completely reasonable when stacked up against the political elements: Besides all the stuff that the ravenous-by-convenience press corps hasn’t asked about — Andrew’s shiner, the sudden appearance of a lawmaker at the White House, the DISAPPEARANCE OF A WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT — the idea that this becomes a “two-candidate race” when we never even heard about any conventions to nominate the ones we do have is just ludicrous.
- I could live with a Bottle Episode that gives us Harrison and Huck drinking and sharing Bro Musings.
- Go fig, what with Columbus Short’s legal troubles, I found myself wondering at one point if we should consider Clare (Kelly McCreary) as a possible successor to Harrison. WELP. Never mind.
- Perhaps unintentionally, the episode did succeed in delineating one crucial difference between Olivia and Jake: Whereas O (like her father) is willing to delegate, Jake appears to be hell-bent on taking the mantle of Command on his shoulders, even if he may not have to.
- Speaking of, what are your thoughts on Olivia’s actions in securing the information from him?