Yes, you read that right: Hollis Doyle did not try to kill Fitzgerald Grant.
We’ve all been duped, and we’ve been duped by someone good, but for all intents and purposes, Hollis Doyle should have been the one who tried to kill Fitzgerald Grant.
For me at least, it was never a question of who did it. Well, it was (remember #WhatTheHuck?), but it was an issue that was quickly resolved, and I never even thought to second-guess the discovery that Hollis Doyle was the one who tried to assassinate the president, because although it maybe seemed too easy, at the same time, it wasn’t that easy. Olivia had figured it out. But she was stuck in between a rock and a hard place. So how would she bring Hollis to justice without also implicating herself and the others involved in the election rigging plot? For me, it wasn’t a question of who, it was a question of why.
So, yeah, I was duped. Except that’s OK, because that’s part of what makes watching Scandal so enjoyable. Keep duping, Scandal writers.
Olivia falls apart in this episode. Falls. Apart. She actually spent almost the entire episode in her bed. She didn’t change, she didn’t even bother to wash the make-up off her face… She just laid in her bed and stayed there. Between finding out that Fitz asked Mellie for a divorce, Edison asking Olivia to marry him, Cyrus declaring that he will handle the Hollis Doyle problem, and the immeasurable guilt she feels over becoming the “bad guy” for taking part in the election rigging, Olivia just doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t know how to fix this problem. So she lays in bed.
Cyrus is “The Fixer” of this episode. He essentially takes on Olivia’s role, even stealing her catchphrase and spouting it in her face by telling her that “it’s handled.” He agrees to take on the Hollis Doyle/David Rosen problem for her, while also simultaneously trying to convince Fitz (at Mellie’s behest) not to divorce his wife, as it would be political suicide. Except, here’s the problem with Cyrus being The Fixer: Cyrus doesn’t wear the White Hat. Whereas Olivia is inarguably a good guy, Cyrus is not. I find it hard to really think of him as a “bad guy,” seeing as he’s one of Olivia’s closest friends and has the best monologues of any of the characters (except for perhaps Mellie) on the show, but the fact of the matter is that Cyrus is not a good guy. After all, he did kill Amanda Tanner. And he’s using adoption as a ploy to get his husband to stop snooping – which is dark. So dark.
The other problem? Fitz won’t take no for an answer. When Cyrus tries to talk him out of divorcing Mellie, Fitz explains that he wasn’t just being irrational by saying this: he got shot. He almost died. Things are different now, and he doesn’t have time to waste, and he wants out of his marriage to Mellie. Cyrus runs the numbers to see how the nation would react to such an event: an acting president divorcing his pregnant wife, a wife who has an approval rating just as high (or higher) than that of the president himself. The outcome? It’s effectively political suicide, and would send his approval rating sinking further than the Titanic itself. None of this deters Fitz, however, who says he doesn’t care. He’s divorcing Mellie, and Cyrus needs to wrap his head around that. This is a problem that Cyrus can’t fix, so he goes back to Mellie, telling her that now is the time to play any remaining cards she may have up her sleeves.
Unfortunately, Mellie does have one final card to play. Her due date is quickly approaching, and while at one of her final check-ups, she reminisces about how close her relationship with Fitz was during the births of their first two children, whom we have yet to meet (I shudder to think about the emotional scarring these children will face…). So when Cyrus asks Mellie to play her cards, she knows exactly what to do. After a scorching speech about the hate she harbors for Olivia Pope for stealing Fitz’s heart from her, despite the fact that she “created him,” she heads directly to the hospital, where behind closed doors, Mellie convinces the doctor to induce her labor. And suddenly, America’s Baby is on the way, meaning that just hours after Fitz calls Olivia asking her to wait for him and not marry Edison, he’s suddenly racing to the bedside of his wife for the birth of their third child. There was something highly disconcerting about the momentous shift in Fitz’s emotions that occurred when Mellie went into labor, and yet I was actually really happy about it, because Fitz would have looked terrible had he not been there to help Mellie through childbirth. And when Fitz kicked it into high gear? It was kinda awesome, ignoring the fact that I felt like Mellie was just putting on a show.
Olivia Pope becomes Olivia Pope & Associates’ newest client. After turning Edison away, he calls on the Associates to figure out what’s going on with her, realizing that they are her family and could be the only ones to actually help her. After debating whether or not to actually do it, the Associates come to the decision that they will lay it all out there on the table, and share all of their secrets with each other, no judgment, to pool their knowledge to figure out what’s going with Olivia. After sharing several of their secrets with one another – but not everything, as Abby still doesn’t know everything detailing her split from David, something I was very curious to see come out – they eventually deduce that election rigging is what happened, though they think Hollis Doyle was rigging votes for his pipeline, until Huck disagrees with that part of the statement. And then that’s it. They figure it out. I actually got chills watching Harrison, Abby, Huck, and Quinn fully realize what they were dealing with by discovering the election rigging plot.
Huck visits Olivia in her apartment, climbing into bed with her, in one of the best moments of the entire episode, as he reveals Cyrus’s plan for “handling” the Hollis Doyle problem when he shares that Cyrus runs in Huck’s circle and has a “guy.” Olivia, horrified, rushes out of bed and finally, officially, turns Hollis Doyle in to David. But this solution is too messy and is going to bring the entire house of cards right down, so Cyrus does absolutely everything in his power to get Hollis Doyle out of custody.
Meanwhile, Olivia returns to Pope & Associates offices, promising that she’ll answer any and every question that anybody has, after apologizing to them for the mistakes she’s made. Quinn is thirsty for answers, but is talked down after Harrison, Huck, and Abby show hesitation. It’s natural for Quinn to question the blind loyalty they all have in Olivia – after all, she hasn’t been there as long as they have and she doesn’t quite realize just how much Olivia saved her life, but when Harrison states that he doesn’t want to know anything so that he can’t be subpoenaed in a court of law to divulge information about Olivia and incriminate her, Quinn steps off the ledge. It’s obvious that she still wants answers – and somehow, someway, I do think she’ll actually get them eventually – but she stops the questioning and prodding, instead helping to find the smoking gun linking Hollis Doyle to the assassination attempt on Fitz.
Quinn, before she was Quinn, was the girlfriend of the man who developed the election rigging software, and that turns out to be very useful, as they are able to get into his bank account and see that a large sum of money was deposited into his account just one day after the election where Fitz won the presidency. The trick now is to find the same bank account depositing money into Becky’s account, and they’ve got Hollis Doyle. So Huck goes to see Becky, and is able to trick her into handing over her bank account number by giving her his real name, something we still don’t actually learn for ourselves (which causes an odd emotion in me, because I want to know – but do I really want to know? Like, does it really actually matter what Huck’s real name is?), and, sure enough, a large deposit is discovered in Becky’s bank account just one day after the assassination attempt, where Becky framed Huck as revenge for screwing with Becky’s framing of Lindsey Dwyer at the Cytron explosion two years prior. The problem? The bank account the deposit came from is not Hollis Doyle’s.
Hollis Doyle did not try to kill Fitzgerald Grant. He may not be a good guy, and he may be guilty of many other crimes, but he is not guilty of that.
Olivia calls David right away, realizing that she has effectively screwed David over for a second time, where he details that Hollis was released an hour ago, and sure enough… Hollis Doyle exits through an elevator, and at the last second, Charlie – the same man who killed Amanda Tanner for Cyrus – hops on the elevator, and the doors close.
And suddenly, the entire game has changed. Who did try to kill the president? I have no theories. Mellie seems like an obvious choice after how suspicious she was acting the night of the shooting – but why? Why would she have done it? And, of course, there’s still the issue of Edison’s proposal to Olivia, and the fact that America’s Baby is being born even though Fitz is trying to divorce Mellie. Everything is coming to a head, and it’s about to explode as this arc reaches its endpoint in the next episode.
The game has been changed. You’ve been warned.