So, have you been holding your breath since the end of last week’s episode, anxiously awaiting the reveal of who Olivia’s buyer is? I hope not, because that would lead to asphyxiation, and frankly, your death wouldn’t be worth it. After all that buildup, we do indeed see a young Iranian woman. She’s chatting with her team on the phone in Farsi while eyeing Liv’s kidnappers—just the wedge Olivia needed. She tells her kidnappers that the Iranian is mobilizing a plan to double cross them. Then, busting out some suprise Farsi, she tells the Iranian buyer that she’s being setup by Gus and co. The deal’s off, and the auction for Olivia Pope is back on—if you weren’t squicked by the auctioning off of a black woman, combined with Huck’s lovely diatribe about her being not a person but a collection of body parts, well, there’s another opportunity this week.
Our narrative cleaves once again to follow two camps. Thanks to Jake’s newfound coziness with the White House, the faithful of Pope and Associates know the Iranian deal is off and they fire up Marie Wallace’s black market identity. Both Quinn and Jake also take this moment to reach out to Huck about his mental stability. Jake tries the old “you and I are the same” routine, noting that he has locked away the side of him that enjoys a little ultraviolence (particularly the sound of snapping bones—ew), and that Huck has to do that, too. Quinn goes for extracting a promise from Huck that he won’t kill anyone again, and that he needs to maintain his sanity for her sake. So, a lovely cocktail of repression and guilt and dependency. If gladiator-ing doesn’t work out, Quinn and Jake, do not become therapists.
Their entry into the auction is a success. Crazy Gus recognizes Marie Wallace’s name and deduces that she’s making a comeback. Liv recognizes her name and realizes someone’s trying to get her. When the auction ends in an exact tie between Wallace and a group of Russians, Gus asks Liv how to proceed. Crazy Gus who shot a man in the back of the head. Crazy Gus who hates her. So, naturally Liv tells him Marie Wallace. And he promptly sells her to the Russians. Frankly, no one is on their game this episode.
The White House is actually more of a camp divided. They’ve given up on the working with terrorists to outbid other terrorists (thank goodness). Fitz is gung ho about plans to extract Olivia at the first opportunity, regardless of his experts’ 30 percent success rate predictions. Navy Seals are the best! They can totally bring her home, no problem, because in Fitz’s world a Navy Seal apparently isn’t a human so much as an… armored robot? Just last episode we heard a stirring speech about how guilty he felt for sending men to their deaths with an eye to getting his girlfriend back. Sending more men to their probable deaths definitely seems like the best course of action. Despite hearing a lengthy dissertation on the numerous state secrets Olivia knows (and really, how did she get to know all this stuff? Does everyone in the situation room know she’s boning the president and just accept it?) and how dangerous it is for the state if she is captured, he refuses to consider ordering her death.
Is it time to talk about what a bad president Fitzgerald Grant is? Or rather, not a bad president—he’s no Andrew Johnson, though he did just start a war over a woman. Rather, let’s talk about what an empty suit Fitz seems to be. He’s been elected twice by the machinations of those around him. His policy initiatives (the few we’ve seen) make their way through Congress on the strength of his associates conniving behind the scenes. This is not to say, oh, that’s not how politics works, bribery and bitchery and back-door dealing seem to be the norm. It’s Fitz’s serene unawareness of all the muck everyone else is slogging through that is weird. He’s got his priorities (Liv), and the rest of the world can kind of go hang.
NEXT: What Cyrus has to say…