Thursday's (April 6) Scandal episode, titled "Dead in the Water," was all about the Gladiators tracking down Huck (Guillermo Diaz), as the previews promised. And to no one's surprise, they found him alive and he's going to be okay, more or less.
He definitely has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but he’s still alive and that means eventually he’ll be back to being part of the Pope & Associates team again.
Let's start with Diaz, who spends the first half of the episode saving himself with the help of some stellar hallucinations of his closest friends. Whoever dreamed that one up in the writers' room deserves a writing Emmy, because it turned what could have been a very CSI-esque escape from a submerged car into a highly entertaining, edge-of-your-seat sequence.
Olivia (Kerry Washington), Quinn (Katie Lowes) and even Papa Pope (Joe Morton) scream instructions at Huck as he tries to figure out a way to evacuate the rapidly sinking car. It feels very "Huck," because he has always had some mental issues on the show, and it cannot be overstated how inventive that was as a framing device. The water threatening to gush into the Pope & Associates conference room is an especially nice touch.
Hand in hand with Diaz's performance is Lowes, whose character Quinn is obviously still harboring some serious feelings for her former lover. She goes super dark in her quest to find Huck, torturing Meg (Phoebe Neidhardt) to get answers and then finally slashing Meg's throat in a fit of rage. She also goes after Abby (Darby Stanchfield) pretty hard core when she learns Abby played a part in Huck's shooting. The only person who might be more thankful that Huck is alive is Olivia, but it's close. Quinn still loves Huck and the only question here is which man she'll end up with by season's end, because this whole ordeal is probably making her rethink her engagement to Charlie (George Newbern).
Speaking of Charlie, shout-out to him for his Olivia pep talk. It came from an unexpected place and yet it makes total sense — none of the actual Gladiators were in any place to confront Olivia, but Charlie is a bit removed from the group, so he was the perfect person to tell Olivia to suck it up just a little while longer so they can bring Huck's body home.
Finally, Washington also earns her paycheck this episode, alternating between furiously strong and full of despair. It was a little shocking when she slapped Abby three times, not that Abby doesn't deserve it, but at least Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) is there later to talk to Olivia about forgiveness. The Abby-Olivia friendship being so fractured has been a huge loss for this show, so perhaps the fact that Huck survived and Olivia can forgive Abby (and Abby can maybe forgive herself) means the two of them can start to repair their relationship.
They definitely need to start working together if they're going to figure out who "Sarah" (Zoe Perry) is and why her organization wants Mellie (Bellamy Young) in the White House so badly, so this should be the first step on the way to reuniting the Gladiators.
It's commendable that Scandal managed to wrest so much tension out of an episode that felt like a foregone conclusion. Nobody who has watched TV before really thought Huck was going to die, so I was kind of expecting this week to be pretty ho-hum. Glad I was wrong.
Next week looks like a real trip too. For the 100th episode, apparently the show is going to imagine Bizarro Scandal, a world in which Defiance never happened and presumably Fitz never became president. That should be a lot of fun.
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