Scandal Round Table: "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"

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Shock! Intrigue! Disbelief! Those were but a few of the reactions to the reveal of Huck as the (possible) shooter on Scandal's "Happy Birthday, Mr. President." Before we're all blown away by "Blown Away," the mid-season finale, tomorrow night, there are a few conspiracy theories - and more - to discuss.

Join the TV Fanatic Round Table - Emily from ABC Scandal Fans and staff writers Leigh Raines, Carla Day, Jim Garner, and Miranda Wicker - as they break down the latest installment of this riveting drama. Be sure to sound off in the comments with your theories!


What was your favorite scene from "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"?
Emily: The entire episode was amazing! The writing and directing was just…I have no words! Shonda Rhimes out did herself with this script and the episode’s director, Oliver Bokelberg – I mean going back and forth between past and present was seamless! I really loved how the pace of this episode was so different than the others. We didn’t see as much of the Scandal pace in the dialogue, but it was definitely there in the chaos of what was happening in the present. I honestly cannot choose a favorite scene! Tony Goldwyn was phenomenal in the rose garden and Kerry’s breakdown in the closet was one of the most organic and honest performances ever! From Bellamy’s erratic panic in the hospital and her youth-like excitement in some of the first few flashback scenes, to Jeff Perry’s office breakdown and his face-off with Kate Burton in the Oval! Definitely the best episode to date for me!

Leigh: The whole episode? No seriously there were so many. First place: The rose garden scene when Fitz admitted he was in love with Olivia was incredible. I think I cried when he was telling her "I belong to you." Honorable mentions: Liv and Cy reaching out to each other when she was trying to get into the ER, Cyrus and Sally showdown, Mellie's way of letting Liv know she knew, Liv's breakdown in the closet...should I keep going?

Carla: Flashback episodes sometimes work, but often don't. This one was well done and supplemented the story in a necessary way. And, I loved all the present day stuff too. There was not a weak scene in the episode. For my favorite, I'll go with Fitz and Olivia's scene in the Oval Office followed by the Secret Service agent mentioning the cameras. I was wondering about that the whole time. Though, I will add that the Agent's facial tick when Mellie mentioned the missing pin was a nice callback. It was that little expression that gave the affair away. And, he was the same agent that gave away it was still going on earlier this season.

Jim: I enjoyed Fitz bodyguard letting him know there were cameras in the oval office. He's been loyal to Fitz the entire time.

Miranda: I loved Olivia coming to Mellie at the hospital and Mellie's bristling at her presence but ultimately realizing they both want the same thing--Fitz to be well and still the acting POTUS. Despite her feelings about Olivia, as Bellamy Young said in our recent interview, Mellie loves her husband and the life they've built together. She pulled it together to do what she had to do for Fitz's Presidency.

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Were you surprised by the reveal of Huck as the shooter?
Emily: I was, but in a way I wasn’t and I can’t even explain it other than I’ve gotten used to expecting the unexpected on this show! I actually tweeted earlier this week “Does anybody think the shooter’s hands look like Huck’s?” and I have no idea what made me go there, because even in last week’s Round Table my bets were on Charlie – which they still are. What really threw me with this reveal of Huck being the alleged shooter is how intricate this story line has become! I actually went back to my original theories looking for the thread that might link Huck to this entire thing because I don’t think he is the shooter.

Leigh: Yes, like out of breath surprised! So many questions right now.

Carla: Absolutely. I never saw that coming and still can't believe it. Wow.

Jim: He wasn't the shooter. He was cleaning up after the shooter. Mark my words, the reason Fitz didn't have a bullet in the head was Huck interrupting the real shooter, but he needed to clean up after them for some reason, maybe because he wants the person himself.

Miranda: I feel like the reveal was telegraphed when Harrison asked where he was and Quinn said he was out on a date. There was no mention of Huck's relationship last week and it's not like him NOT to be at the office, especially when everyone else is. (Until we saw his apartment, I thought he lived there.) But I was willing it not to be true. And I still don't think he is. I think he shot a gun, but I don't think he fired at Fitz.

Do you think he acted alone, or did someone else put him up to it?
Emily: I honestly don’t believe Huck was the shooter. There were just too many red flags that did not add up in my opinion.  I tweeted with some of the Scandal aftershow hosts about Huck’s appearance in that last scene. We have always seen how methodical Huck is in his crazy/scary "I know how to make you disappear and like it" actions. But in that scene he looked panicked in his movements, in a hurry. He was being careless searching for the bullet casings and touching everything. I mean he wasn’t wearing gloves!! With all the stealthy training he got in the CIA – I just don’t buy it! He's NOT a sniper! The rest of my crazy theory can be read here: #WhoShotFitz #WhatTheHuck Theories

Leigh: He was definitely put up to this. There is no way he'd just do that. Huck has been mentally trained to be a killer. Brainwashed, if you will. He had to have been backed into a corner.

Carla:  Huck doesn't do much on his own. He's a hired gun ... literally. Someone hired or convinced him to do it. Still have no idea who that could be or why, but there is much more to the story.

Jim: I think VP hired the real shooter. She's had an agenda the entire time and now we've seen it played.

Miranda: I have so many thoughts and theories on this. If he DID act alone, I think it's within the realm of Huck's character to know that people are closing in on the vote-fixing and attempt to take out the President to disconnect Olivia from the scandal. I don't think he knows/knew about her relationship with Fitz. I also think he's too much of a patriot to become a traitor. But if he WAS put up to it, my money's on it coming from someone in Sally Langston's camp.

Olivia thinks that everything can be fixed. Will Olivia be able to fix this?
Emily: I feel like this will get fixed because however this twist in the story is tied into everything else – the voter fraud, the Cytron explosion, Quinn’s Identity, etc. there are several other players caught up in this mess that will work with Olivia to clean this up – whether or not its “fixing” Huck or nailing the person ACTUALLY responsible for the shooting. Either way – I’m looking forward to the rest of this crazy rollercoaster ride!

Leigh: Logically, no she can't. Even if Huck pleads insanity or something, I have no idea how this one thing could ever be fixed.
Carla: I'm not sure that it is fixable in the sense of making it go away. She's going to have to protect herself and her firm. The shooter is her employee. How does she explain that? She'll fix that. But, beyond that, I'm not sure. A woman was killed. There's no fixing that.

Jim: Yes, she has to reveal that Hollis and the VP were in it together for the voter fraud and the shooting and then all will be set right.

Miranda: I think this will be her biggest challenge yet, at least that we've seen, and while I don't know that she can fix this and save Huck, I'm definitely excited to watch her try.

Will James and Cyrus finally have a baby now that Fitz is no longer the President?
Emily:  I don’t see a baby in James and Cy’s future anytime soon.  I think James is going to be distracted with covering the shooting, the ramifications in the White House and the voter fraud in Defiance County.  As far as Cyrus goes, he may on his way to a nervous breakdown after what we saw in his last scene in this episode – destroying his office and crying on the floor! Plus, with Olivia’s return to the White House, I think they’ll be kept pretty busy trying to keep Langston from running amuck in the Oval Office.

Leigh: No, because to Cyrus and those close to Fitz, he is still the President. Sally is a scheming little leech. Fitz will be back, they will all focus on making sure that happens. 

Carla: No. Fitz is still the president and Cyrus will have to fight more now than ever to make sure it stays that way.

Jim: Don't count Fitz out just yet.

Miranda: Poor James. He's never going to get that baby. And who knows if he'll even have a job. Or his life!
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