in our darkest moments, forgiveness, and love
“You left me all alone.”
Sometimes, that is the worst thing someone can do to another person: leave them along. Walk away. Turn his/her back. Disappear. We need people. And, at our core, we all want to be needed. Yet, we aren’t always rational creatures. We make poor decisions. We act out of hurt, out of fear.
Last night’s episode of Scandal (seven fifty-two) was a freakin’ tour-de-force of brilliance. Guillermo Diaz gave an amazingly nuanced, totally raw – entirely believable – performance as Huck. Huck’s backstory has been vague – with just enough details to keep us (the audience) engaged and interested. But last night’s episode was an old school origin story. Huck, who we knew was a killer, was an army guy. He was a man in love. He had a girl, who he later married. He had a kid.
And the guy who has been meeting with Jake? Well, that was Huck’s boss. Say it with me, now: WHAT THE HUCK? That was a nice twist. We learn that he’s a not nice guy at all. You see, in order to make a perfect killing machine – he has Huck locked in a hole, until he believes (or confesses to believing) that he doesn’t have a family. When he goes back to work – for the CIA – he hesitates. Charlie, good old basement cap himself, is supposed to kill him. But he’s a colleague of Huck’s. He shows mercy. Lies for him, tells him to disappear, and lets him go. Consider that for a second. He saved Huck’s life. So, it’s almost darkly amusing that Huck has no problem, on several occasions, torturing the hell out of Charlie when necessary.
Presumably, after Charlie lets Huck go, that’s when Olivia encounter Huck in the subway. Little does she know that the man with the sad eyes is simply waiting for a glimpse of the family he lost. We know that Huck stays away in order to protect them. This is all brought to the surface – the trauma he endured, only to shove down into his subconscious – being have been locked in a box (in the previous episode). He suffers a break, rocking back and forth, muttering seven fifty two, seven fifty two…over and over again. On Olivia’s advice, each of the Gladiators sits and talks to him. Each delivers one hell of a monologue, hoping to snap him out of his Rain Man-esque episode. They’re like a family. They may not know exactly what to do or say, but they do something. They step up.
Meanwhile, Liv and Fitz finally – FINALLY – have a conversation. It’s not an easy one. It’s one saturated in grief and hurt, confessions, admissions, passion, and pain. It’s honest, though, isn’t it? Both accuse and admit – and tell the truth. Liv is mad that Fitz had her watched, spitting, “That’s not love,” telling Fitz that he is not forgiven. She’s trying to wound him. Because he’s in pain. And Fitz takes it. He knows that he’s done wrong, but he doesn’t let her off the hook for her mistakes either (Defiance). They’ve both screwed up. They’re both done wrong. When shit goes bad, folks, it’s never just one person. It’s never just one thing.
Angry as all hell, Fitz spits, “You don’t fix me. You don’t handle me. THAT is not love. That’s control. I asked you to be a team. We should’ve been a team. It should’ve been you and me.” Pause for a second, ok? Fitz and Liv should’ve been a team. Not Fitz and Mellie. Not Fitz and Cyrus. Fitz and Liv. Liv and Fitz. Two people against the world. That’s what Fitz thought they were. And that’s what really bothered him about Defiance. Not that she did something illegal. It’s how it made him feel, and what it meant to him. He finally admits that it made him feel like she didn’t believe in him. She was trying to help him, but she didn’t think about what that help might ultimately DO to him.
Liv: You’re angry – then why are you here?
Fitz: I’m here because I love you.
Liv: And how does that change anything that has happened – what’s the point?
Fitz: Do you still love me? Do you…still love me?
Liv: Does it matter?
Fitz: It matters. Do you still love me? It’s a yes or no question.
Liv: I do. But I can’t do this anymore.
Liv is brokenhearted when she confesses that she still loves him. She can’t even LOOK at him, because she’s in such pain. She goes to leave (her response is always to flee), and what stops her? A one minute call – a thing that they both heed like a religion. “This past year, I have learned only one thing. That I cannot exist without you. That I cannot breathe without you. That the man I am, without you, is…I’m nothing. I’m nothing. And you are everything. And I need you to give me another chance. I demand another chance. We’re worth another chance.”
They kiss, and it’s an act with such raw emotion – with such pent up emotion: passion, love, pain, desire, despair – a cornucopia of feelings. Mid-makeout, she admits that he hurt her – and for her, that’s huge. She doesn’t let many people get close enough to hurt her. She loves. She fixes. She handles. But these are things that are always done with some measure of distance. Even though she tries, even though she ultimately runs out of the room (who hasn’t done THAT) – she knows how she feels. She knows how Fitz feels. You may leave the room, but you can never really leave someone you love like that – from the depths of your being. Liv needs time to collect herself, to reexamine the reimagined state of their relationship. Because, once again, everything changed. Fitz stayed by Olivia’s side until she was released from the hospital – because “that’s what you do when someone you love is in the hospital.” It’s true. (Great dialogue with Cyrus, whose face when he met Jake was priceless. Very suspicious Iago. I love it.)
And Mellie, bless her, knows it. “He hasn’t left her side,” she says to Hal, tears in her eyes. Notice the way she plays, almost absentminded, with her necklace as Hal talks to her. It’s a nervous tick. (One wonders if that necklace was a gift from Fitz, perhaps during happier times) She knows what that means that Fitz stayed at the hospital, especially because Fitz never made it to any of her dr’s appointments when she was pregnant with Teddy. And, once upon a time, she had Fitz by her side like that – she knows what it’s like when he rushes to be by the bedside. Once Fitz gets back to the White House, she tells him what’s going to happen. She’s moving across the street. She’s taking Teddy. And Fitz can either cave in and play his role, or she’s going to proclaim – to the world – that her husband is having an affair. Because nothing saves a marriage like a vicious ultimatum! Wait…
If you notice Fitz’s reaction, he doesn’t care that she’s leaving. He cares that she’s taking their son. She’s playing the only emotional card he might, possibly respond to: a guilt trip. But Fitz barely registers her outburst on his Richter scale of feelings. She doesn’t devastate him like Liv does. She doesn’t get to him like Liv. She doesn’t get under his skin like Liv. She walks out. And he doesn’t ask her to stay. He does nothing. He watches her go. That is pretty telling, no?
And then, we have Jake – who is overly emotionally attached to Liv, floating the idea that he might need to be reassigned past his (possibly very evil) boss. That went over like a lead balloon encased in concrete. Because, honey, once you’re in, you’re in. And they murder you when you fail to perform. Nothing says, “Thanks for serving you’re country!” like homicide.
In the end, Olivia gets back to OPA and talks to Huck. It turns out that seven fifty two was the time when he last saw his son. His son who didn’t know who he was, who just thought that he was a random homeless man in the subway station. Funny, sometimes, how a time can have such meaning. The time someone last called you. A date you first kissed someone. For Huck, his world exploded – because he had a son. And even that memory was taken away from him, ripped from his grasp. It is Olivia who saves him, who gets through to him. They save each other, as good friends do. No matter what, you step up. You get through. They have each other’s backs.
As a bookend the quote from the very beginning, Olivia tells Huck, “I had been all alone for a very long time. […] I need you.”
That, my dear hearts, makes all the difference in the world – romantic or not.