This week’s Scandal didn’t pull any punches, did it? [Trigger warning for torture.]
Huck is wired. He’s talking rapidly, fantasizing about how he will be torturing Quinn. I can’t even. He’s about to pull out her teeth when Liv calls: her mom is alive. Huck switches into hyper-competent mode and tells Liv to go to the safe house. He tells Quinn he’ll be back, but maybe first he’ll pull out one little tooth. Cut to credits, while Quinn screams in agony.
I’m really troubled by this scene/plotline. Huck tells Quinn he loves her (albeit platonically, but still), and there is a seriously sexualized thing going on with her. Quinn is nearly naked. Even her duct-tape bikini reveals a fair amount of cleavage. Huck licks her face. He is using a dental gag. (I’m going to have to go find out exactly what that thing is called. OK, I’m back. It’s called a dental gag. You’re welcome.) Why are you making me think about this, Shonda Rhimes? Why?
Chickens Come Home to Roost
Oh my God. James is torturing Cy about his meeting with Daniel Douglas. He’s writing his article in bed while Cy lies next to him, hollow-eyed. I don’t feel sorry for him at all. (OK, I do.) Later he shows up to speak with DD. Daniel Douglas does not want James to out him. He spouts a lot of claptrap we’ve heard before: “a moment of weakness,” “terrible affliction,” blah blah blah. He’s so desperate that James is taken aback. Cy finally confronts James at their house. He’s outraged at James, and James is outraged right back, continuing to taunt Cy about his night with DD (I was going to call him DDL, but that made me think of Daniel Day Lewis, and I got distracted). James shows Cy his article, which (shades of The Shining) consists of James writing in all caps, “I WANT A DIVORCE.” James, I am really liking you.
Welcome to Godlessville, Population: Sally.
Sally Langston and her sleazy campaign are having a come-to-Jesus conversation, except, to be technical, it’s a go-from-Jesus. Sally is going to have to become pro-choice if she wants to win, Sleazo tells her. Sleazo converts Sally to the church of expediency. Sally tells DD that she’s moving forward, which causes her husband to go into silent freakout mode. Then she tells Fitz, who isn’t pleased, natch. Fitz in turn reproaches Cy, and taunts him. Cy holds it together until Fitz leaves, then loses it in front of Mellie, who at first is appalled and wants Cy to compose himself. Ultimately, though, she takes pity on him, and gives him a pep talk, kind of an “It Gets Better” for cheated-on spouses. Then she tells him to keep his eyes on the prize. Cy goes to Sally, shows her the picture. She says it won’t work, because Cy won’t ruin James by running the photo. Has she MET Cyrus Beene? She also points out that the party won’t stand behind Cy — they’ve already gone out enough on a limb with a GOP president having a gay chief of staff. Now that rings true for Cy. He calls James and says he’ll never use the photos, Sally will never see them. Damn, Cy, you just can’t help it, can you?
Quinn Gets Away
Charlie saves Quinn. She is a mess and sobbing. At first he’s irritated with her response. He tells her there’s no crying in baseball, err, I mean, the first rule of Torture Club is you don’t cry about Torture Club. They then share a tender moment when Quinn says plaintively that Huck was all she had and he hurt her. Charlie says she has him. They have sex. Later we see them go to meet Eli at Wonderland. She demands the tape in exchange for what she can give them. Meanwhile, she’s fingering a hypodermic needle. It turns out she made a double deal with Huck.
I’m going to take a moment to explore what Charlie’s appeal is to me. I think I’ve figured out, and it’s something my mother used to tell me: “There is something to be said for people who are pleasant.” Charlie’s not a cynic — he’s an optimist, he gives pep talks, he points out the bright side. He’s not a big pouter like some people we know (cough cough Huck).
It’s Take Your Mom to Work (and Spirit Her Out of the Country) Day
Flashback to Liv saying goodbye to her mom. Damn, Khandi Alexander is sexy. She just is. I’m really not in the mood for flashbacks, but this series serves a purpose.
Team Gladiator meets Maya Pope. Feisty Abby demands answers, chiding Jake and Huck for their secret-keeping spy habits. Maya tells them she was going to expose Eli when he captured her and kept her prisoner for 22 years. (For those of you keeping track, that makes Liv about 34 to 35 now. I’ve always wondered what age she was supposed to be.) She’s going to Hong Kong. With that settled, Huck wants to get back to Quinn, but Liv begs him to stay with her, giving Quinn what is probably a miserable reprieve. Huck and Jake worry about Liv, who seems smaller, lesser somehow. They need to do something, and they need resources. Jake goes to Fitz. Fitz says, “Not now.” They exchange catty barbs. Oh, you men.
Liv and Maya have a heart to heart. Maya tells her that she doesn’t think Liv is happy. She says something really mean, that Liv is more like her dad. I’m not liking Maya. Oof. Things then get more problematic. Eli gets her on the FBI’s Most Wanted list under a different name, Marie something, an alleged terrorist with a huge list of crimes to her credit. But Eli isn’t made of stone: he uses a fantastic mug shot that makes Maya look like a ’70s fashion model — cheekbones, pout, wild hair.
Smug smirky Fitz. He has to be the hero. I hate him. He tells Liv he’ll get her mom out. Liv resists his help, then lets Fitz take control of the situation. (Sound familiar?)
And BOOM Again
Liv is getting her mom on a military plane (thanks, Fitz, you big jerk). She has a flashback and realizes her mom is not a good guy. She really is Marie, Glamour Terrorist. Her dad is not the monster, she is. (Actually, Liv, couldn’t they both be monsters?)
Oh yeah, and Sally Langston killed her husband. You see what happens when you support abortion, Sally? DO YOU SEE?
AND THIS ISN”T EVEN THE WINTER FINALE. THIS IS THE FIRST PART OF THE WINTER FINALE. I don’t know if I’m going to make it.
- Mellie looked great in that red dress/jacket combo. Matchy-matchy jewel tones mean she is back in control. The wardrobe person for Scandal is just the best. They even have James wearing shades of plum, because that’s the color of his Betrayal Sweater (sorry, those are sold out at J. Crew).
- Did we witness a new rapport betwixt Cy and Mellie?
- Loving empowered Abby, hug advocate.
- Ooh, Harrison is calling in a favor with a sexy grifter/con woman/whatever he was doing. Wow, two signs that Harrison has had a romantic life, two weeks in a row. What is going on? Oh, she’s there to mention Adnan Saleef. He’s ba-ack, although we just learned he was gone.
- Great acting by so many people this epi, but Cy, James and Sally really hit home runs in my eyes.
- “Do you get what you have done? You have RUINED us.” — James to Cyrus
- “It hurts until it doesn’t.” — Mellie to Cy
- “So you don’t eat steak anymore.” — Charlie to Quinn
I am always disappointed with the images ABC makes available for publication. There are too many shots of people standing around tables, for one thing. I suspect that the winter finale will be the same, so I might try something different.