Scandal Season 7 Midseason Premiere Recap: "Robin"

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
I'm of two minds on the midseason premiere of Scandal, titled "Robin." On the one hand, it was a beautiful way to handle a major character's death. On the other hand, I don't for one second think that anything that happened is going to hold up for even two more episodes, so that makes it all a little disingenuous. But let's start at the beginning.
We left off with Rowan (Joe Morton) seemingly killing Quinn (Katie Lowes) while Olivia (Kerry Washington) listened in from another room. Now he torches a body in a parking lot and when the authorities find it, blood and hair in the trunk match Quinn Perkins. So it's time for everyone to mourn a beloved Gladiator.
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Except if you think Scandal actually killed off Quinn (and her baby), you clearly have not been watching Scandal closely enough all these years. What seems much more likely, especially considering the closing moments of the show (which we'll get to), is that Quinn and Rowan were working together to push Olivia over the edge in an effort to bring the old Olivia back. And they may have succeeded.
As everyone plans Quinn's funeral — she is cremated in order to be poured into bullets and fired into the ground, which is so weird and so utterly Scandal — Olivia struggles to write a eulogy because, guess what, it's tough to write a eulogy for someone who was your friend that you basically murdered.
This just might be what saves Olivia. In a couple of beautiful scenes, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) starts to figure out that Olivia had Rashad (Faran Tahir) killed and Quinn found out about it, so Liv had to kill Quinn to protect herself and President Grant (Bellamy Young). He then wants to go after Olivia in revenge, which first plays out as he attends an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and later when he talks to Olivia in Quinn's office. Olivia discovers Quinn kept her white hat from the early seasons and she drunkenly tries it on and remarks that she remembers it being prettier.
Those two scenes alone are worth the price of admission this week. The direction and editing as Huck talks about "needing a drink," aka needing to kill someone, while Olivia gets drunk and struggles to write Quinn's eulogy, was incredible. Then later Olivia drunkenly looking at herself in a mirror and seeing what she used to be and how much "prettier" she was when she was a White Hat — chills. Kerry Washington acted the hell out of that scene.
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But Olivia still hasn't quite hit rock bottom until after the "funeral," when she goes to Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and falls back into his arms even after the super crappy thing he says to her when he drops by to give his condolences earlier in the episode. By "super crappy," I obviously mean much stronger profanity that I will not use here because we're all adults, but for crying out loud, Fitz. You are such a butthead.
So, all throughout this episode I'm sort of enjoying the way they're memorializing Quinn (and total props to the actors, they all really brought their A games this week), but it all feels so phony because I don't for one second think Quinn is dead. And lo and behold, when Charlie (George Newbern) goes to Rowan to ask for his job back as a heartless killer, he hears a baby cry and rushes upstairs to find what is obviously supposed to be a baby girl in a crib. He and Rowan fight and that's the end of the episode.
The previews for next week reveal that we're going to flash back to Quinn's time as Rowan's captive, and I will be shocked if we find out this wasn't some grand conspiracy between the two of them to try to save Olivia. And at some point, Quinn delivered the baby, who is now safely living at Rowan's house.
All in all, a solid episode, but like I said, it just doesn't pack a punch when you know a show isn't going to kill off a major player.
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Odds & Ends
— The only other plot happening this week is that Fenton (Dean Norris) breaks up with Cyrus (Jeff Perry), which is understandable, but also a real shame because they were great together.
— Olivia: "I have amazing friends!"
Fitz: "...I can see that."
— Re: that last quote — go screw yourself, Fitz. You are the worst and Olivia needs to stay as far away from you as possible. But you just know these two are going to end up together and honestly, it makes me want to heave.
— Cyrus: "Just admit it, Fenton! Admit you are no better than me."
Fenton: "The difference between us, Cyrus? Is if I ever thought someone was trying to buy me with a painting, I never would've allowed it."
— When everyone was shooting the Quinn bullets into the ground, the flashbacks to key scenes with each person was a nice touch. Truly, that was a great way to send off such a meaningful character. It would have had me crying if I thought for a second that she was actually dead.
— What do you suppose is on the USB drive Quinn hid in the pack-n-play that Abby (Darby Stanchfield) and David (Josh Malina) found? Proof that Olivia had Rashad killed?
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