The suspension of reality has always been an essential element in enjoying the goings on in Scandalverse. That’s true again this week.
We find out what became of Huck, who was bleeding out on the floor when we last saw him a couple of episodes ago. It looked like he might be dead even then, but he survived his betrayal and faces the fight of his life. Literally. And it’s an improbable battle, indeed.
This week’s episode came with an extreme violence warning. Given how brutal this show can get on an average week while saying nothing in advance, I took this warning seriously.
Huck’s fate. A brief flashback opens the episode, as we see Huck and Meg at Jenny’s motel room. They go inside, and there’s gun shots heard just after the door closes. Just after that, Jake appears at the door. He has a little trouble with his keycard, but only for a few seconds, then goes in. It’s deserted; somehow, it seems Meg was able to clean up all of that messy blood and get two bodies out of there all by herself rather quickly. It’s impressive bordering on the absurd. Then we see Me loading Jenny and Huck into the trunk of a car. Jenny is dead, but Huck seems to be hanging on.
At OPA, Liv and the Gladiators are discussing the little they know about Boris and Natasha and the shadow organization behind them. Jake comes in asking if they know where Jenny is. Her motel room is empty, and the only people who knew she was there are currently in the room…except for Huck. Quinn gets out her phone and calls him, and it goes to voicemail, which makes her nervous. Charlie says he’ll check it out. They know that Huck was last seen with Meg, which leads Liv to speculate that Meg might be the mole. Before leaving with Charlie, Quinn basically says that if she is, Quinn will find her and kick her scrawny ass.
Quinn and Charlie find Jenny’s room as empty and neat as did Jake. They search for any clues as to what may have become of Huck but find nothing. Frustrated, Quinn insists on spraying for evidence of blood residue, though Charlie thinks it’s a waste of time. They liberally spray everywhere and turn out the lights; the room lights up like a carousel. The place was literally bathed in blood. The sight makes an already nervous Quinn really begin panicking.
Perfidious Red. Abby walks into her White House office to find Liv waiting for her. Liv tells her Huck is missing. He went somewhere with Meg and never returned. It’s obvious Abby is affected by this information, but she turns away and glibly says that Huck does this from time to time. He’s disappeared before, dropped off the radar, and then returned. He’s funny that way. No need to worry. But Liv says it’s different this time and shows Abby a photo of Boris and Natasha. That also affects her, but she just stutters that she doesn’t know who they are. Liv didn’t ask you that, did she, Red? Liv glosses over that and says she needs Abby to get the photo to the FBI. Director Angela Webster isn’t all that fond of Liv and is also Fitz’s current squeeze, so Liv says this is something she can’t do herself. Abby says she’ll get Webster the photo, and Liv hugs her before leaving.
Liv is obviously vulnerable and worried about her imperiled friend, but Abby has other things on her mind. When Liv is gone, she calls Natasha, who, as always, insults and dismisses her. She’s not answering any questions and says she finds Abby to be quite annoying and tiresome. She makes it clear she doesn’t want to speak to Abby again and hangs up.
Huck in la-la land. Meanwhile, Huck is still in the car trunk with Jennifer’s corpse and Meg at the wheel. She drives to an abandoned quarry in the middle of nowhere. It’s unlikely anyplace like this exists in the DC area, so unless Meg’s been driving for hours, this is one of many WTF moments in this episode. Huck is now lucid, even after losing all of that blood he left behind in the motel room, and has his belt ready to attack Meg with when she opens the trunk. But he doesn’t get the chance to use it. Meg stops the car, gets out, and starts pushing. Moving a car with two bodies in the trunk is quite an undertaking, especially for the waif-like Meg, but somehow she gets it done. The car starts rolling, and she pushes it toward the lake in the middle of the quarry before getting it to the edge of the cliff, where over it goes, into the water.
No, the fall doesn’t kill Huck. He doesn’t know exactly what happened until the trunk starts filling with water. He starts gasping as the water swirls over him, and he seems to have made the decision to just stop fighting and let events take their course, when he starts hallucinating. He’s back at OPA with Liv and the Gladiators around him. They tell him he only has a few minutes left. Liv tells him not to give up. They try to figure out ways for Huck to get out of the car. Liv is trying to be encouraging, but the others aren’t as supportive. Then Pa shows up and says Huck is doomed. All those years of training Pa gave him in B613, and this is how it all ends. So sad and pathetic. Liv keeps telling him not to give up.
Red comes clean. The craziness of the situation has really gotten to Abby. She goes to the Oval Office to speak with Fitz. She tells him that even though he’s usually acting like her boss, as he should, she feels that he’s also her friend, and she doesn’t have many of those right now. At the moment, she could really use a friend, so she asks if he could he take a few minutes and just listen while she talks to him. He closes the door and sits down.
Another prodigal character returns. Liv is alone at OPA when who walks in but the long-lost Marcus. He’s the local activist turned Gladiator, who during the campaign became the White House press secretary, Abby’s old job. He heard about Huck and wants to know what he can do to help. Liv is a bit cold, first wondering why on earth he’s there, then telling him he can leave, because there’s nothing for him to do. He says he’s staying until they get some news or until she can find a use for him. Liv softens and asks if he’ll just sit with her, which he does.
Huck in la-la land, part II. Back at the quarry, Huck is struggling to get out of the submerged car. He’s still hallucinating encouragement from friends, and he figures he has a chance of escaping with the help of water pressure and the amount of air left in the car and some other stuff I didn’t quite understand. At the proper moment he should be able to open the car door, but it’s stuck against some rocks, so he dislodges the headrest and uses it to smash the window. This would all be very impressive even if Huck were in perfect health, but he was shot three times. He left buckets of blood behind in Jenny’s motel room, yet is able to fight his way out of a car while under water and holding his breath for what seemed like several minutes? An unlikely feat for someone in the peak of health, so this is just a bit much.
Still, he manages to get out of the car and to the surface. He can breathe again but is in the middle of the lake. It’s a long swim to shore, so those super-human abilities he’s shown so far will have to continue. Clearly Huck is able to do anything, so I wouldn’t bet against him.
Blondes don’t necessarily have more fun. Quinn and Charlie go to Meg’s apartment, which is, of course, empty. They’re hoping to find some sort of clue, but like Jenny’s motel room, the place is deserted and pretty clue-free. Huck had installed an elaborate security system, which Meg ripped out before she left. Quinn is sure that Huck, being the careful torturer/assassin that he is, would leave some kind of backup behind. After some searching, she finds a laptop in a vent.
The laptop gives them a lead as to where Meg may have gone. She’s in a dumpy room somewhere, dying her hair blonde. She hears the floorboards creak and grabs her gun. She keeps hearing noises but finds nothing. When a rat finally scurries from out of the shadows, she sighs in relief and relaxes, but not for long. Her troubles are just beginning, as when she turns around, she’s face to face with the barrel of a gun, with Quinn on the other end. Quinn demands Meg tell her where Huck is.
Huck in la-la land, part III. As expected, Huck managed to somehow find the stamina to swim to shore. Was there ever any doubt? He’s lying exhausted by the water’s edge when the hallucinations start up again. This time, Huck is visited by his younger self, who berates him and gives him all kinds of crap about the grim situation he’s in. He reminds Huck that it’s 7:52 and night is coming, and when it does, he’ll be at the mercy of the elements and nature, including wolves. The choice of that time is significant, as longtime fans will remember the S2 episode, “Seven-Fifty-Two”, which told the story of Huck’s recruitment into B613. It also showed how he once had a wife and child, which he was forced to give up, due to his career in kidnapping torturing, and killing. Using that reference seems to be young Huck’s way of reminding him that the ex-wife and child are still out there, even though he’s estranged from them, and they’re one of the things he’ll be leaving for good, should he decide to stop fighting to survive.
Liv’s right hand gets quite a workout. Back at OPA, Jake has been doing some digging and has come up with some interesting information on Meg. Later, Abby drops by to speak with Liv. But she doesn’t get a chance to say much. As Abby walks in the door, Liv, holding a tablet in one hand, goes up to her and slaps her with her the other. Abby is stunned, until Liv shows her what’s on the tablet, which is a photo Jake tracked down, of Abby with Meg and Natasha. Abby says she’s sorry and gets slapped again. Liv asks her where Huck is; Abby says she doesn’t know and gets slapped yet again. Red’s face matches her nickname at this point. Before she gets punch drunk, Liv stops swinging and says Abby had better tell her everything.
Abby says Jennifer for Cyrus was the deal she made. She denies knowing Huck could get hurt. Then she tries moralizing, but Liv is in no mood to take such talk from her. She tells Abby that because of what she did, “my Huck could be dead.” She gets angrier as she goes on about the consequences of Abby’s actions, culminating in the question, “You think I won’t get a chair and work it out on you?” Whoa. ‘Get a chair’??? Liv just full-on threatened to go all Andrew Nichols on Abby’s ass! So is she saying that grabbing the nearest chair is always sitting there available in her problem-solving arsenal? She didn’t just ‘snap’ that day with the Veep, she did something she’d do again? Quite an admission, Liv. They probably won’t refer to this again, but really should. It infers something rather unsavory about Liv, and quite contradictory to all that ‘white hat’ talk she likes to fling around.
For her part, Abby just wants to be forgiven. Liv asks if she knows where Huck might be. She says she doesn’t, and Liv tells her that she’s worthless. Abby looks defeated and turns to the door, when Liv asks where she thinks she’s going? Liv has no intention of letting her just walk out, only to run to her new friends for protection. Abby’s staying right there at OPA. Liv adds that they had better find Huck alive, because if they don’t, Quinn will be very upset, and she’ll be even more upset when she finds out that Abby had a hand in it. Any way that Quinn decides to mete out retribution will be just fine with Liv, she tells Abby, and she might just join in herself. It will be a BYOC (bring your own chair) affair, no doubt. Abby reluctantly walks in.
The wrath of Quinn. It may have been somewhat shocking, but Liv’s repeated bitch-slapping of Abby wasn’t the violent content we’ve been warned to expect. That comes when Meg won’t talk and must deal with a very pissed-off Quinn. Meg’s refusal to spill earns her a good old-fashioned torturing, including the excising of a digit with some industrial-sized garden shears. It’s hard not to feel bad for her, even if she is a soulless trained killer who likely considers the seduction and subsequent murder of a sucker like Huck to be a perk of the job. What’s interesting is that Charlie takes no part in this. Despite the fondness he’s shown in the past for a good torturing, he merely stands in the background watching as Quinn has her way with Meg. Weird.
After a few minutes of this, Quinn tells Meg she’s going to take the tape off her mouth, and when she does, Meg is going to tell them where to find Huck. But Meg is a tough bird who has no intention of cooperating, even minus a finger or two. When the tape is off, Meg insults Quinn by saying it’s obvious why Huck preferred her to Quinn and spits in her face. That taunting is more than Quinn can take, and she slits Meg’s throat.
When Quinn and Charlie return to OPA, Liv asks if they found Meg. Charlie says yes, but that she “isn’t talking”. Quinn says nothing but looks down in shame, and it’s obvious to Liv what happened. She sarcastically says she hopes that at least Quinn enjoyed it, because Meg was their last hope of finding Huck, and walks out. The Gladiators are left alone. Jake says by this time, Huck is dead. Everyone seems to agree.
Charlie gets a speech! Liv retires to her office to gulp what is undoubtedly very expensive red wine from a huge glass. Always a sign that things aren’t going well at chez Pope. Of all people to interrupt her solitary reverie, Charlie walks in and tells her she has to do that ‘Olivia Pope thing’ she’s so famous for. She can’t just hide in her office; the Gladiators need her right now to be the fixer she is and fix things. Liv isn’t moved. She says it’s over, Huck is dead. Charlie says even if that’s true, Quinn won’t rest until there’s proof; she’ll need to see a body. So until they find Huck, dead or alive, Liv can’t give up. Then he tells her that because of her, he’s going to marry Quinn and maybe have a normal marriage and life, and even be a father, and it’s all because of Liv. She’s a miracle worker, and miracle workers don’t quit.
It may have been a little cheesy, but Charlie’s pep talk gets Liv out of hiding. She calls everyone to the conference room to tell them they’re not giving up. They’re going to find Huck, no matter what, and bring him home.
And, Charlie? I’m real happy for you, having a shot at a normal life and all, but do not, I repeat, DO NOT reproduce with Quinn. Bad idea, dude. You are two people really not meant to be parents. Did you know it’s frowned upon to eviscerate a child for not cleaning their room? It’s true. Even Huck realized that as much as he wanted them around, he should cut off contact with his family, because he has no business raising a child. Learn from his example.
The wrath of Quinn, part II. After going through all of their leads again, Quinn suddenly remembers that Jenny must be with Huck, and Jenny might have a phone with her. Jake says that he gave Jenny a phone. They start to trace the signal and Liv and Jake leave to go follow it.
The Gladiators have no choice but to sit and wait to see if the lead pans out. Quinn is restless and pacing around, saying she wants to get out and do something. Marcus tells her they have to stay put, and Liv asked them to keep an eye on Abby. Uh oh, Red, the jig is up. ‘Keep an eye on’? Quinn likely assumed that Abby, like Marcus, was there in a show of solidarity. It hadn’t occurred to her she was there against her will. Quinn looks at Abby, who’s wearing an incredibly guilty look and says “I’m sorry.” Quinn is furious, gives Abby a patented Olivia Pope “What.Did.You.Do?” and leaps across the conference table. As the Gladiators restrain her, an enraged Quinn threatens to kill Abby. Red looks sufficiently terrified, and she didn’t even see the finger-chopping incident. In her present state, Quinn is not to be trifled with.
Liv and Jake trace Jenny’s cell phone to the quarry and find Huck.
At the hospital. An unconscious Huck lies in a hospital bed. He’s still alive, but it’s touch and go for now. His doctor says he lost a lot of blood, and brain damage is possible. For now he’s stable, so she tells everyone to go home and get some rest. At that moment, Secret Service agents arrive, followed by Fitz. He wants a private word with Liv.
It seems like forever since these two have had a one-on-one like this. He wants to know how she’s holding up. She says Huck might die. She breaks down a little, and he holds her. He asks about Abby and tells Liv that Abby told him everything. Liv says she shouldn’t have done that, expecting him to keep that secret. He says she needs to forgive Abby, but she says Abby is responsible for her own decisions, and she doesn’t forgive her. He says, “You forgave me; I forgave you.” He then goes on to say that everyone is capable of forgiveness. He also reminds Liv that she knows as well as anyone what the Oval Office and access to all its power can do to a person. She shouldn’t judge Abby too harshly for what it did to her.
Meanwhile, Quinn is at Huck’s bedside. She’s angry at him for not looking out for himself. She says he has a blind spot. He can be too trusting, and it’s put his life in danger (of course, Huck’s guard always comes down way too easily if the subject is a pretty girl with a sob story, but she doesn’t mention that). She says she’ll never forgive him if he dies on her. If he lives, she pledges she’ll do her best to cover his blind spot and look out for him if he seems to be trusting someone too much.
As Quinn starts to walk away, there’s a noise from the bed. Huck has woken up. She takes his hand and crawls into bed next to him. From a distance, Charlie sees all of this. A recap on what Charlie has witnessed this episode, re his fiancee and her ex-BF: he saw her get increasingly agitated when it became clear Huck was the victim of foul play; he saw her try anything to find him; he saw her engage in torture to get answers, then kill her victim when said victim insulted Quinn and Huck’s relationship; he saw her attack Abby upon finding out Abby is partially responsible for Huck getting hurt; and now he sees her pour her heart out to Huck and cuddle up next to him. Charlie must be seriously rethinking that whole normal-marriage-and-life thing with Quinn right now. As well as the kid thing. So there is an upside.
Liv wanders outside, where Abby is sitting by herself on a bench. She’s crying, and Liv sits down and reluctantly takes her hand. A sign that Liv has taken Fitz’s words to heart and is on the road to forgiving Abby? Of course, Red still has Quinn to worry about…
So that’s where we are at the end. It doesn’t look like the narrative will advance much next week, as it’s the 100th episode, and will be a bit out of the ordinary. In a different kind of flashback, the show enters an alternate reality, with 06.10, “The Decision”:
With the ugly truth behind Frankie Vargas’s assassination revealed, a torn Olivia wonders how different her life—and the country— would be if she, Mellie and Cyrus had never rigged Fitz’s election.
Suppose Fitz had never been president. What would have become of Liv and her cabal? Is it all about Vermont and jam, or do things go in another direction? Would Liv have become a domestic goddess without the lure of the Oval? Bizarro Scandal.