For a large part of this episode, it felt like the show was spinning its wheels, dragging out the drama as the gladiators searched desperately for a Hail Mary chance to save Olivia’s life. And then Shonda Rhimes pulled out one of the most genuinely surprising twists of the whole show’s run. Let’s recap the key points.
Olivia’s poker face may need work, but her Farsi is flawless
Liv was sold to Iran at the end of last week’s auction, but her college-kid kidnappers have no idea who they’re dealing with. At the planned exchange, Olivia deploys her fluent Farsi to throw a wrench in the works, which leads to the deal being called off and the auction getting reinstated. When Huck’s bid fails and she gets sold to Russia, Cyrus concocts a plan to take her out—until the show drops the mother of all twists.
That Steven name-check last week was decidedly not a coincidence
“Who’s Steven?” you might have been asking yourself last night, until the memories kicked in and we all remembered Olivia’s right-hand man from way back in season one. Props to the writers for great use of a guest star and the show’s history—and the relatively subtle reminder of Steven’s existence in last week’s episode.
Mellie is really going after this “being President” thing
The only thing bigger than her hair might be her dreams, and though she hasn’t even announced her ambitions to the world, FLOTUS is already aggressively going after the White House. Which, in her world, involves forcing Liz to “pay the piper” and destroy VP Andrew, which Liz does by getting Huck to inject him with something that causes him to have a stroke. “You brought this on yourself,” Mellie coos in Andrew’s ear when she visits him in the hospital, and we all cower in fear.
Everyone is unimpressed with Fitz this week
My favorite part of the episode was Cyrus’s epic freakout in the Oval, in which he calls Fitz a moron and a child and then quits his job. Sadly, it was all a fantasy, but he still sees fit to go behind Fitz’s back and set up a strike on Olivia to “burn the leash” that’s holding Fitz back. Even Olivia, when she finally gets back to her (now-triple-padlocked) apartment, wants none of POTUS, pointing out that him throwing away his entire presidency to save her means everything she—and Cyrus and Mellie and Jerry, etc.—sacrificed to keep him in the White House means nothing. “You didn’t save me—I’m on my own,” she says as we all applaud from the couch.
A few other thoughts:
- So…who gets the $2 billion?
- How Papa Pope is spending his time off: fishing in Canada. How I’m spending my Thursday night: wondering how in the hell Ballard made it from DC to Canada so fast.
- Speaking of timing, how long has Olivia been gone, exactly? Rowan says it’s only been a week since he left, but I have a feeling Liv’s blowouts last way longer than that.
- Quinn gets Huck to promise he won’t make people bleed anymore. Guess she doesn’t know about his stash of extra-special chemicals.
- Abby and Cyrus bonding: cute. And effective!