WashingTelevision: Scandal Recap, Season Two, Episode 19, “Seven Fifty-Two”

Olivia and El Prez flirt with reconciliation, and we delve into Huck’s tearjerking past.
Some serious flashback hair on both Olivia and Huck. Photograph by Ron Tom/ABC.
Some serious flashback hair on both Olivia and Huck. Photograph by Ron Tom/ABC.

Welcome back, Scandalians! It’s been a couple of weeks since we last checked in with
Il Papa and company, and we left things on a tense and scary note. But those looking
for huge plot movements forward were out of luck: Although there are only a few episodes
left in the season, Shonda devoted the hour to filling in Huck’s tragic backstory,
to which we say: More Huck! Always! To the recap.

We begin with a flashback to five years ago. Huck, in his ZZ Top beard and hair, sits
in a Metro station, not so much begging for change as just accepting it when people
hand it to him. Olivia (with bangs) waits for the train, and Huck rain-mans about
when the next one will arrive. When it does, right when he said it would, she hands
him a dollar. “Are you here tomorrow?” she asks. He says yes, and she promises to
buy him some coffee.

Flash to the present. Olivia, still in the hospital for her concussion, is being checked
out by the doctor while El Prez stands in the corner. The doctor says she should be
fine to leave soon, and El Prez thanks him for taking such good care of his “friend.”
When he leaves, El Prez sits on the bed and tries to kiss Olivia, who immediately
jerks away. “I hate you,” she tells him. “You left me all alone.” He says he was hurt
and wrong, but she’s not ready to forgive and forget. “I love you,” he pleads, but
she bites out, “I don’t believe you anymore.” El Prez walks out of the room, which
is heavily guarded by Secret Service, and sees Captain Ballard, who again lies to
him about how Olivia got her concussion. He tells Ballard to find out who attacked
her.

Meanwhile at HQ, Huck is still basically catatonic, huddled on the floor rocking back
and forth while Abby and Quinn watch. Harrison comes in to say he finally found Olivia,
and they assume Baseball Cap Guy (Charlie) attacked both Olivia and Huck and is on
to their investigation. Then Huck starts to choke out some sounds: “Seven-fifty-two,”
he says, over and over again, voice broken.

Flashback to 14 years ago. A pretty woman (aww, it’s Astrid from
Fringe!
) is reading a book to a group of
young children. Huck comes up behind her in a military uniform, and begins acting
out the story she’s reading as the kids giggle. Finally the woman (I don’t recall her name, so I’m going to call her Sasstrid) turns around to see what they’re laughing
about, then jumps into his arms. They kiss as the kids eww, and it’s adorable, and
the countdown begins until they’re both crushed into a million tiny pieces because
nobody is allowed to be happy on this show for more than 30 seconds. Sure enough,
in the next scene they’re in bed, and Huck explains his tour of duty was cut short
because he took some tests and now is supposed to meet with people in DC, possibly
for a job.

Said meeting takes place the next day, with a craggy-faced guy and Charlie. CFG offers
Huck an absurd amount of money, but Huck, who’s not sure what the job is but has surmised
it’s with the CIA, declines it. CFG tells him he takes the job or goes back to Kosovo.
He fills in that Huck was raised in foster care and has no family left, then asks
whether he has a wife or kids. Huck says he doesn’t, and CFG says, “Just the way we
like it. We’ll be your family. We’ll take care of you.” He welcomes Huck to B-613.

Huck begins his training with Charlie, who puts it bluntly: “We kill people. But we
don’t just kill—we torture people.” Huck at first seems troubled by his work, especially
having to hide it from Sasstrid, but later confesses to Charlie that he enjoys it.

Then Sasstrid tells him she’s pregnant. “Oh,” he says, knowing it’s a huge risk, and
she gets upset. “I can do this on my own,” she says. “If I have to do this on my own,
I want you to tell me now.” Instead, he proposes to her, and tells the next guy he
tortures, “I am in a gooood mood!” which would be cute if it wasn’t so monumentally
effed up. He and Sasstrid buy a house, and he continues to kill people and steal their
watches, which he hides in their piano. Until Sasstrid has the baby. It’s a boy! Huck
and I both get teary-eyed. Later, we hear him crying as he wraps a dead body in plastic.

Then he comes home one day to find Charlie in his house, holding his son as Sasstrid
looks on, happily ignorant. “A wife and kid? Are you kidding me?” Charlie says when
they go out in the backyard, which, aren’t they in the CIA? How would he possibly
be able to hide something like that from them? Anyway, Charlie says Huck has to get
rid of them or they’ll be gotten rid of. Instead, Huck decides to flee, telling his
confused wife to pack a bag while he goes to the bank and LEAVES HIS WIFE AND CHILD
ALONE IN THE HOUSE. Thankfully, what I thought was going to happen doesn’t—but unluckily
for Huck, he’s apprehended and thrown into a pit in the ground. CFG checks in on him
occasionally, always asking, “Do you have a wife and child?” to which Huck always
says yes. He starts growing his crazy beard and hair, and at one point he’s left unattended
for two whole months, to which even Charlie is like, “Whoa, dudes.” The next time
CFG comes back to ask if he has family, he says no. They try to put him back in the
field, but he falters while about to torture a guy. Charlie busts in, saying Huck
failed the test and now he’s supposed to kill him—but instead he tells him to run
and never contact anyone he used to know again. Charlie goes back to his boss’s boss,
who—twist!—is the guy Captain Ballard met with in the park, and tells him Huck is
dead.

In the present day, Huck continues his refrain of “seven-fifty-two.” Olivia calls
Harrison from the hospital to tell him to keep talking to Huck, even if he can’t talk
back. The gladiators all take their turn to try to talk him out of his state, their
monologues reflecting both their relationship with Huck and their own personal conflicts.
Quinn talks about how she used to be able to picture her married life with Jesse before
Doyle ruined it, and she could have collapsed but Huck wouldn’t let her. Abby guesses
that Huck has done 752 things for Olivia without asking why, and finally says out
loud that she stole the voting machine card from Jerk Jeremy for Olivia and knows
he’ll never love her the same way again. And Harrison, in a rare moment of vulnerability,
tells Huck how much he admires him. “You’ve lived the life of a warrior. . . . You
make me realize all I’ve ever been, all I ever am, is talk,” he says.

Meanwhile, El Prez is still at the hospital waiting for Olivia, and refuses to leave
even when Cyrus shows up to complain about how much legwork it’s taking to cover up
the fact that the President of the United States is waiting around for a “late-night
booty call.” Cyrus also comes face to face with Ballard, whom El Prez calls “a man
of many talents,” and immediately tells Charlie to find out what relationship Ballard
has with Olivia.

Olivia is still not impressed with El Prez’s dedication to staying by her side. “There
are cameras in my apartment,” she tells him, pointing out that having someone spied
on perhaps isn’t the traditional definition of love. Then they finally have the fight
they should have had forever ago. “Defiance changed everything for me,” says El Prez.
He tells Olivia he wanted to win the presidency on his own, because he had the will
of the people behind him—not because she fixed it for him. “You don’t fix me, you
don’t handle me. That’s not love; that’s control.” Then he asks if she still loves
him, and she admits she does. El Prez launches into a
Grey’s style romantic tirade, which includes the words “You are everything” and concludes
with him saying, “I demand another chance” and them making out. But then she breaks
away, whispers, “You hurt me,” and runs out of the hospital room.

Il Papa isn’t the only woman leaving him, apparently—when El Prez gets back to the
White House he finds FLOTUS surrounded by suitcases. She got the scoop on where her
husband had been from her Secret Service guy, and now she’s decided to move into Blair
House and keep quiet about their separation at least until he figures out whether
he can “behave.” Oh, and she’s taking America’s Baby with her, because “a baby needs
to be with its mother.” Real maternal, that FLOTUS. Elsewhere, Ballard meets with
his mysterious boss and finds out his plan is to use Il Papa as bait for . . . okay,
I confess, I’m lost on this particular plot point. Ballard tries to get reassigned,
citing a conflict of interest, to which his boss says, “Remember who we are. There’s
no such thing as out.”

Olivia finally arrives back at HQ and immediately shuts herself in the room with Huck.
She sits and puts her hand on his knee. “I have to admit I don’t give change to homeless
guys in the Metro,” she tells him. “You made me stop. You had the saddest eyes—they
were sadder than mine.” She says she’d been all alone for a long time, and even though
she had moments where people would convince her she wasn’t, “people lie.” She says
Huck is all she has, because while they love the rest of the Dream Team, “they don’t
live on the dark side of the moon.” She tells Huck she needs him. “You are everything,”
she says, echoing El Prez. Finally, Huck stops his relentless muttering and looks
at her. “I think I used to have a family,” he chokes out. “But I don’t remember if
they were real or if I imagined them.” Olivia asks what he thinks. “I think they were
real,” he says. “Then they were real,” she says. Harrison, watching through the window,
says now they’ll never know what seven-fifty-two means.

But since we are luckier than Harrison, we get a final flashback. Huck, sitting in
the train station, sees his wife exit a train with a boy who looks about eight (or
something—I don’t know kids). The kid says he wants to give Huck a dollar, so he runs
over and puts it in Huck’s paper coffee cup. He smiles angelically, then runs back
to his mother as Huck looks after him. The camera pans up to the schedule board, and
we see the time is 7:52.

Some thoughts:

As I mentioned in the intro, while I love me some Huck I’m not entirely sure why we
get a flashback episode so close to the end of the season. I assume the connection
between Huck’s past and Ballard’s present will play a large role in the season’s conclusion.

Of all the people hurt by Olivia’s demands, I feel the worst for Abby. She credits
Il Papa with saving her from her husband, but her relationship with Olivia could be
seen as its own type of abuse.

No Ira Glass Lite in this episode! Do we think he finally let Cyrus back in the house
for good?

Fake DC sign of the week: You don’t often see homeless people chilling inside the Union Station Metro. Also when has it ever been that well lit? 

What did you think of last night’s
Scandal? Let us know in the comments.

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