‘Scandal’ review: Were you surprised by Huck’s past in ‘Seven Fifty-Two’?

Before we get started, is anyone working on a song using the dialogue between Fitz and Olivia as the lyrics? “I cannot exist without you, I cannot breathe without yoooou!” Cue piano glissade! “I’m nothing and you are everything, and I need you to give me another chance!” I’m serious, it could work. But I digress. This episode wasn’t about Fitz and Olivia, not really. This episode was about Huck and his sad, bad backstory that we had all expected to hear about eventually even as we kind of preferred being left in the dark. As messed up as Huck is, you knew it had to be bad with a capital B. 

Having Huck’s past finally explained in torturous detail (literally) was both heartbreaking and a little bit like an episode of “Dexter” or “Criminal Minds.” We knew from the moment we flashed back to Huck returning from a tour of Kosovo to his adorable girlfriend that the relationship was doomed. That sense of dread made Huck’s scenes with Kim less schlocky than they might have otherwise been, but also made it hard to concentrate. I was absolutely convinced the man in the baseball hat would be exterminating Huck’s little family as soon as they were discovered, which obviously had to happen. To get sad, messed-up Huck in the present, there needed to be a lot of messing him up. 

So it was a shock when, after Huck is stuck into an isolation dungeon until he’s willing to deny he has a wife and son, that not only does Huck survive the experience, but so does his family. While it’s sweet to find out exactly what 752 means to Huck (it’s the time his own son unwittingly dropped a buck in his panhandler’s cup), it was a bit goopy, even for “Scandal.” Really, that scene was one step away from something out of a Hallmark movie. 

Still, the fact that Huck owes his life to the man in the baseball cap is intriguing. I suspect this one moment of humanity came back to bite him in the ass, as Huck isn’t exactly hiding anymore, and I doubt he’ll show mercy to anyone ever again. If anything, his one human moment makes him a much more terrifying adversary now.

The inclusion of the man in the baseball cap in Huck’s flashbacks was just one of the revealing moments in the show. We learned Jake is working for a CIA honcho who was also, it seems, Huck’s boss long ago. That Jake asks to be pulled from Olivia’s case and gets the same trite company motto Huck once received — “there is  no out” — gives us a little more insight, and compassion, into Jake’s current dilemma. He’s apparently been a good spy, but like Huck, he’s letting love trip him up. Leave it to Olivia to inspire yet another guy to go mess up his life to try to be with her. Whatever perfume she’s wearing, it must be expensive. Or smell like Doritos. 

While it added structure to the show, the interludes of the other gladiators babysitting a freaked-out Huck were a mixed bag. Quinn’s moment of yearning for the white picket life she never got a chance to live was sincerely affecting (and, as we learn, a painful mirror to hold up to Huck). Harrison, still a cipher within the group, didn’t give us much enlightenment beyond what we already knew: he talks a lot. Abby’s speech about her love for David Rosen was also moving, but hardly new information. In short, it sucks to be a gladiator. 

Even though it was Huck’s episode, Olivia can never be far away, can she? She somehow managed to make a speedy recovery from her concussion despite Fitz coming in and bugging her in her hospital room all the time. It seems Fitz loves her again, and she loves him, but they’re still mad at one another, and really, these two just need to go into couples therapy or something. Obviously there’s heat and passion, but there’s just this little pesky obstacle called, oh, a wife, and as we have learned, whenever the affair is all systems go, Mellie has to poke her head up and threaten to upend the apple cart. I would think everyone’s getting a little tired of this psychodrama, and though Mellie is “leaving” Fitz, it’s with the goal of forcing him to dump Olivia. Again. I’m curious to see how they can freshen up this triangle in the next two episodes. Heck, maybe Mellie really does take her scorned woman story to the press. Now that would be fresh and interesting! And awful. But fresh!

Do you think Mellie will take her story to the press? Were you surprised by Huck’s story? Do you think Jake is in trouble?