Last week’s Scandal was certainly a thriller. Starting with Huck in the elevator with Hollis Doyle and Charlie, Cyrus’s hitman, the episode seemed only to get more intense with each passing commercial break, culminating in an excellent cross-cutting section with Verna and Fitz as the latter finally learns the truth about how he gained his prestigious status as the President of the United States. It was a night in which one lover would turn to the other and say, “I love you,” and the response was invariably, “is that enough?”
But what struck me even more about this episode is how far Shonda Rhimes is willing to go to mold everyone in the show into some variation of Olivia Pope. We’ve seen this in pieces with Harrison, who is so committed to the “gladiators in suits” ideology that he’s adopted a no-questions-asked methodology to go along with it, and with Huck, who shares a sort of war buddies vibe with Olivia such that he’s willing to keep any and all secrets for her. But in “Nobody Likes Babies,” the show reforges Abby, Quinn, and surprisingly, Fitz to be in her image as well. Abby sacrifices her briefly rekindled relationship with David Rosen in order to get the memory card proving the election fraud in Defiance, Ohio, which leaves her shattered in Harrison’s arms. Meanwhile, Quinn is prepared to pay Huck to kill Hollis Doyle, and Huck lays out the real options she has. She can either be Lindsey Dwyer, the civilian, and have Doyle killed for revenge, or she can be Quinn Perkins and leave Lindsey behind her, a dark secret never to be revealed. Quinn chooses the latter; in doing so, she picks up part of the burden Huck and Olivia carried around in the first season — the knowledge of what was done to Quinn, and the knowledge that she can never go back again.
Most surprising was Fitz’s transformation, though I guess in hindsight it makes more sense that Fitz would be willing to do anything for the woman he loves. Still, it was rather shocking to see him give Verna a less-than-graceful death while assuring her that he would retain her untarnished reputation as a Supreme Court Justice. By doing so, Fitz becomes complicit in the illegal acts which put him in office in the first place. Good? Bad? Only time will tell. He’s certainly very chilly to Olivia at Verna’s funeral.
Olivia Pope can no longer lay claim to her precious “white hat.” But she can still lay claim to the title of “fixer” because she has “fixed” everyone around her so thoroughly that they are willing to dive into the muck to save her, and themselves, from harm. Even Cyrus, who clearly loves James, was willing to put a gun to his head in order to keep the truth a secret. In the world of Scandal, maintaining order is paramount to all other concerns. Ironically, maintaining that order may soon lead to chaos. Is love enough?