This episode of Scandal has just ended. I've been sitting here for more than just one minute trying to wrap my head around everything I just saw. Just when you think you know somebody or something on this show, you don't.
The episode was told in a flashback to the President's campaign, interspersed with scenes from the present day as Gideon and David, in separate investigations, tracked the story of Amanda Tanner's supposed suicide. "The Trail" is as apt a title as any for an hour that provided so much information, a "trail" if you will, of everything that has happened to get us to this point, as well as where we're headed next Thursday.
This week picked up right where last week left off: with the President on Olivia's doorstep, bearing gifts of an audiotapes she didn't want to hear, an audiotape she didn't even know existed. One that will thrust her directly into the limelight if it ever gets out since she's the girl on the tape.
After a former lover's spat, some of which is recounted on the Scandal quotes page, the President reveals that his affair with Amanda Tanner was little more than a one night stand brought about by his extreme loneliness and boredom. His heart has always and will always belong to Olivia. We later learn that his tryst with Amanda was orchestrated by none other than Billy Chambers, the V.P.'s Chief of Staff. Who was also Amanda Tanner's boyfriend and the father of her baby.
Did your head explode with those two bombs? Because mine did.
Crazy reveals aside, what struck me about this episode, what's sticking with me even now, is the relationship between Olivia and Fitz. Seeing the beginning of their relationship peeled back Olivia's hard exterior and revealed the soft heart that's motivated to protect those she loves at all costs.
From their very first encounter, it was clear that she challenged him. It was also clear that she knew he was in a loveless, dead marriage and so did everyone else, including him.
But she didn't prey on or chase after him. And he didn't prey on or chase after her. In fact, they both tried to contain and compose themselves, and yet they just kept falling back together.
I believed every minute of it. Goldwyn and Washington were superb tonight.
When I heard him ask "What kind of a coward was I to marry her and not wait for you to show up?" my heart broke just a little. Here's a man who has just realized that his wife will stop at nothing - not even a story about a fake miscarriage - to get him elected and become the First Lady and he's sharing a seat with a woman who is good and honest and he can't be with her. I felt the intimacy between them as their hands touched in secret in that seat on the bus.
I was sad for them right down to the moment they spent "just one minute" together on her sofa in silence as the light from the sunrise began coming through her window. I'm still a little sad for them an hour after the credits have rolled.
So I don't wax poetic all night long about these star-crossed lovers, let's get to the other tidbits from the episode:
- Olivia knew the members of her team before she knew the President. Somehow, it makes me happy to know that they were in her life first.
- Abby loves to bake. A lot. Seeing her as Suzy Homemaker was a nice, light touch to such a sad episode.
- I didn't recognize Huck at first, which I suppose was the point.
- Harrison is just as smooth-talking as always.
- Things are heating up between Quinn and Gideon. Apparently his grilled cheese sandwiches are just that good. It was cute that she wanted to go get bagels and come back for breakfast, but I really wish she'd just asked for more grilled cheese sandwiches. Maybe then I wouldn't be afraid for Gideon's life since,
- Billy Chambers, in addition to being Amanda's "baby daddy," is also a murderer. After he realized he'd been bested by "just a reporter," Billy showed his true colors and lashed out at Gideon while Gideon's back was turned. With a pair of scissors.
Yep. One more bomb for the night. I really, really hope Quinn gets back with those bagels before Gideon bleeds out all over the floor.
What's your grade for tonight's episode?
Miranda Wicker was a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in 2017. Follow her on Twitter.