Review/Recap: Scandal "A Snake in the Garden" [Spoilers]

Alicia Carroll ’16/ Emertainment Monthly Staff

SCANDAL - "Snake in the Garden". Starring Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Kerry Washington and Melinda McGraw. Photo Credit: ABC/Danny Feld.
SCANDAL – “Snake in the Garden”. Starring Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Kerry Washington and Melinda McGraw. Photo Credit: ABC/Danny Feld.
ABC’s Scandal recently returned after a month long hiatus, and the drama and politics has definitely been kicked up a notch. Prior to this episode Olivia (Kerry Washington), has put more distance between her and her ex-lover, President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), after representing a client on the opposite end of an affair scandal of the newest Supreme Court nominee.  Olivia has begun dating Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) who was in the military with Fitz and now works for the Pentagon. Fitz has hired Jake to spy on Olivia, mainly so he has a weekly report of how she is doing. Jake kept the fact that he is dating a secret though.
In this week’s episode we focus on two problems Olivia is faced with: saving Hollis Doyle’s (Gregg Henry’s) daughter that was kidnapped, and verifying that the director of the CIA was the mole that got the agents kidnapped in a previous episode.
At the start of the episode we see Huck (Guillermo Diaz) and Quinn (Katie Lowes) or “Huckleberry Quinn” aka the second greatest ‘ship in this show, trailing Osborne (Kurt Fuller) to try and prove he is leaking government information. Huck is still teaching Quinn the art of stalking, which is creepy, but somehow adorable. They realize that Osborne is heading to Olivia’s apartment and he knows she is having him followed. They warn Olivia and she stashes all Intel she has on Osborne and the leak. When Osborne walks in the door, Jake’s surveillance feed is knocked out, and he has no way to find out what is going on. Jake later breaks into Olivia’s apartment to take copies of the information Olivia hid.
Meanwhile, the gladiators are fighting with all they’ve got to save “the devil’s child” despite everything he has done to make their lives miserable. Hollis Doyle’s drug addict, felon daughter, Maybelle, has apparently been kidnapped. They receive a video of her saying her kidnapper wants 20 million dollars wired to an account or she will die. Hollis is reluctant because his daughter isn’t exactly a saint and he believes she is trying to get money out of him.  They go to work trying to pinpoint her location using the surroundings in the ransom video. The next day Hollis receives a human ear in the mail. The team assumes it is her ear, but Hollis wants a DNA test to prove it is her. After they didn’t give the kidnapper the money, another video comes with his daughter without an ear. Now that they know the kidnapper means business, they decide to strategically get her back without letting him kill her.
While on the search for Maybelle, Quinn is trying to find Huck a new “family.” If you remember from the beginning of season two, they do some excellent character development with Huck and reveal that he has an ideal family that he watches every day. It’s a reference of normalcy and comfort for him. Quinn cares enough to try and find him a new family after they were murdered by Huck’s ex girlfriend.  So far, he hasn’t liked any of her candidates.
They wire half of the money to the kidnapper’s account and demand that they let Maybelle return safely before they wire the rest. Their plan works and Maybelle goes to the hospital. Hollis has a tin-man moment where the audience see’s he actually has a heart and is capable of caring about someone. Huck examines the ear and uses his experience with torture to realize that Maybelle cut her own ear off. He thinks she kidnapped herself. Hollis goes to the hospital to visit her only to find an empty bed. Maybelle tries to escape but Huck gets to her before she can. The reprimand her and offer her a fresh start. She is revealed to be a spoiled, jaded, brat that cares so little for her parents she extorts money from them. They offer her a choice. She can choose the money or her family. She chooses money…what a shame. She can use that 20 million dollars to get herself a prosthetic ear.
At the White House, Cy gets his PI/assassin to find out the connection Fitz has to Jake. He discovers they were in a top secret and relatively illegal mission of national security when they were in the military together. Cy goes to Fitz and tells him that they now have something in common. They both have committed federal atrocities that potentially put the republic at risk. But they did it for the survival of the republic, because it was the best thing for the country. Fitz gets upset and says that Defiance is nothing like Operation Remington, but somehow he softens and opens up to Cy about searching Osborne’s house for evidence of leaking information, which is not something Cy would be in the loop about before.
On the relationship front, some unions are crumbling and some are forming. Fitz was going to have his never before seen kids come to the White House from boarding school to spend the weekend together. Mellie cancels the trip, so of course Fitz gets angry. He accuses her of never being the motherly type and being so cold that she would keep him from his children. Mellie than gives him a speech about his kids do not want to be around him anymore because he has been drinking constantly and, as a result, become mean. She points out that he is becoming his own worst nightmare-his father.  So that conversation didn’t exactly go well, but Fitz took it to heart and put down his scotch, signaling that he is going to lay off the booze.
Jake is supposed to have a date with Olivia. Just before, Olivia gets a call from Cy and ends up talking about Fitz. She realizes that she is consumed by thoughts of her ex (Fitz) and would never be able to commit her full attention to anyone else. Jake shows up at her apartment anyway and calls her out. He tells her that she is scared and that she is stopping herself from things that could make her happy. He kisses her, and asks if she is still thinking of the other guy. She replies no. Jake, being the little tease he is, says goodbye and promptly leaves.
Lastly, the Huckleberry Quinn ship grows bigger and bigger with every episode. After the ordeal with Maybelle and Hollis occurs, Quinn calls her dad, from whom she is estranged due to the whole “being framed for an explosion and murdering six people” thing. Huck overhears the conversation and initially doesn’t do anything about it. At the end of the episode Huck shows Quinn the new family he chose. It is not “perfect” like Quinn thought he wanted. It is just a father and a daughter-Quinn’s ideal family. Quinn then looks at Huck fondly and Huck doesn’t notice because he is oblivious to a lot of things. Isn’t that just the cutest!?
But, I saved the best for last. The next day after The President officially accuses Osborne of being the leak, they police find him dead in his car, in what appears to be a suicide. Later we see Jake sitting on a bench at night. Another man sits next to him and they discuss the killing of Osborne. Jake says it is taken care of and it looks like a suicide. The man then says that everyone thinks that Osborne was responsible for the leak. It was all planned, which unfortunately means Jake is a bad guy. Unlike most people, I expected him to be sketch…something in his eyes just screams “treason!” don’t you think?
Overall this episode was packed with important plot points that will probably be the basis of whatever heart-wrenchingly terrible plot twist comes at the end of the season. I had a few major opinions throughout. Part of why I love (really really love) this show is the character development. They spent the entire first season building Olivia to be this powerhouse that suppresses her feelings so she is not perceived as weak, yet her emotions and her gut guide her every move. Her only emotional weakness was Fitz. Any ounce of vulnerability she has comes with him-classic tragic hero. But this season, she has been betrayed and abandoned so often she doesn’t trust herself anymore. She is still succeeding at her job but she is reluctantly venturing into unsure territory with Jake.
Their relationship was cute at first, because he is charming and dashing and everything; but everyone knows she belongs with Fitz, they made that quite clear in season one, so now fans are just waiting for them to at least start talking to each other again. Jake is only there to complicate Olivia’s life even more by framing someone for the leak and taking down Olivia at the same time. Fitz needs to come back.
I also love the developments in Huck’s character. He is such a strange and layered character, and I always love seeing changes in him. The only person I would like to see more developments from is Harrison. We vaguely know his backstory, but he is the only one whose reason for being at t Olivia Pope and Associates is still unclear. I hope that next season they delve into that relationship.
This episode was supposed to soften or humanize Hollis’s character, which I suppose it did, but seeing as almost everything bad that has happened to a majority of these characters is his fault, I really don’t care. No matter how hard they try, I will never feel any sympathy or pity towards him.
My main issue is with this Maybelle chick. WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU CREATE AN ELABORATE PLAN TO KIDNAP YOURSELF AND CUT OFF YOUR OWN EAR TO GET MONEY FROM YOUR OWN FATHER!?! She must be sick and deranged and it is a shame the audience doesn’t get the full range of that. She does this sick thing to herself all out of desperation for money? I understand maybe tricking your parents but cutting off your own ear is too far.  No amount of money is worth that. You have no ear. That is a bigger problem than not being able to afford the capital hill apartment she inevitably wants.
This episode was well crafted, although the pace was not as fast as it usually is. I am excited to see where they go with these developments. Especially because the framing of Osborne is going to blow up soon and it will just make things between Fitz and Olivia even worse before it gets better and I just cannot handle that. The next episode looks like a tense one, so tune in next Thursday on ABC at 10/9c.
MVP: Tie between Huck and Jake (Guillermo Diaz and Scott Foley)

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