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Scandal "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" Review: Fiery Flashbacks

Scandal S02E08: "Happy Birthday, Mr. President"


The Constitution is groped.

A Supreme Court wannabe slams a door to make a point.

The POTUS removes a thong on Lincoln’s desk.

It must be time for Scandal.

Holy cow this episode was steamy, guys. It went from a beleaguered fake news guy (an actor trying desperately to make us believe he was getting breaking news on an ear piece at the most bare-bones newdesk set outside of SNL's "Weekend Update") to Mellie slapping doctors in an emergency room (nice move, Mels. Ugh.) to Olivia getting clasped by Fitz in an Oval Office flashback.

Like, oh my goodness, is this why they cast Fitz? Based on the fact that his huge, manly hands absolutely swallow Liv with one bear hug? Good gracious. Sexy + Steamy + Sensual. There’s not a doubt in my mind that the president is not allowed to leave his inaugural events without a team of aides and a security detail literally at his elbows, and it was incredibly dumb of him to think there weren’t surveillance cameras in the Oval freaking Office, but we can enjoy the moment. This is Scandal, after all, not Super True: How the President Lives (A Documentary).

Basically this episode was pretty bare-bones, it laid out a lot of things we already knew while trying to create suspense over Fitz’s life hanging in the balance! (He won’t die, yawn.) And once again it showed us that Olivia Pope is who you want handling your life when the sh*t hits the fan. Still in her gala gown, she waded through an ER full of hysterical people and immediately went into crisis-handling mode, with the presence of mind to wrangle White House staff, throw someone some keys, and shout them a laundry list. “I’m going to need a pearl suit, a beige suit, a cream suit, an ivory suit, and six lace thongs. And stilettos. All the stilettos.”

If I were sending someone into my closet during a crisis my demands would have been more like “I’m going to need sweat pants, a sweat skirt, my cozy socks, two banana clips, the hoody without the blue popsicle stains down the front, and my Uggs. No, they’re not actually Ugg brand.”

Despite the many confirmations on information we got last night (everyone connived to get Fitz elected and the Cytech? Cytron? whatever office was blown up without OP’s knowledge to cover her tracks and James really was promised a baby and the Supreme Court Justice is kind of a jerk, and Huck shot the president—more on that later), the meat of the episode was the highlight reel of Fitz and Olivia’s relationship. Olivia’s frequent flashbacks, brought on by small things like smelling Fitz’s sweatshirts in the First Closet, gave us some serious facetime between our two romantic leads for the first time in weeks.

Olivia and Fitz rolled round nuzzling each other in a cabin while “working” on the State of the Union address, Olivia told Fitz she loved him after he let her touch the Constitution; in so many ways their relationship weirdly is wound around Important Political Ideas. (How much did you love Mellie coming to the cabin? Olivia looked horrified, Fitz was awkward, and then Mellie just had this smile on, like, “So why does this cabin smell like my husband’s dick?”)

Anyway, despite Olivia’s obvious distaste for adultery, it seems that combining her passion for reformative legislation with physical chemistry is what really sets off her fire. When Fitz offered via screaming in a rose garden to leave this all behind and run off with her, it was almost like, well, would Liv even want that? Maybe deep down Liv loves the president kind of because he is the president?

Call me crazy, but Olivia’s passion for righting wrongs seems very intertwined with her passion for Fitz and hence the reason she left her job when she found out how corrupted the little cabal was that had put him in place. If they did run off together and leave D.C., how long before she’d be missing her suits, smartphone, gladiators, and ability to steer a press conference like Santa handling his reindeer?

Of course there was their beautiful scene full of very romantic speeches which for some reason they SHOUTED at the top of their lungs while standing 10 feet away from each other. Uh, guys, he has security detail, this looks like the uh White House Rose Garden and you’re having an illicit affair. Screaming “I EXIST FOR YOU!!! I WANT TO ESCAPE ALL THIS AND RUN AWAY WITH YOU!” is a good way to end up on the front page of every national tabloid. Also it’s not sexy, Fitz. What was that acting choice to just holler at Liv? I don’t care how knee-melting the words are, no man will ever yell in my face like that and get any reply other than my back being turned to him.

So the Huck reveal is B.S. Obviously Huck’s brain got hacked or he had to shoot the guy who was actually shooting the president or I don’t even care. I did laugh at Hagrid Huck turning up in the episode and Liv telling him without a trace of humor to shower before he touched anything in her apartment.

So yeah, weird episode. What did you think?


QUESTIONS:

1. Why did Huck shoot the president?

2. What items of clothing would you send a White House intern out for?

3. Would Olivia love Fitz as much if he was, like, a history teacher?

4. How do you feel about touching the Constitution?

Comments (51)
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Um well first of all, YOU SUCK. your review was misleading a best and annoying at its worst. That episode was EPIC and judging from the number of comments you have on ur terrible review, MILLIONS DID ALSO. Maybe your not up there yet to understand the show so much of it went over your head. Be fair when judging especially a show that is so Obviously good, because you sounded kinda biased to me. Scandal is a great TV show and this episode was just....Everything....
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Wow. If you are so passionate about the quality of this broadcasting that you will address another person (as it turns out, yes, Lily Sparks is a real human) in such a fashion, then you should probably try some new meds.
What really SUCKS is that the internet allows people to behave so embarrassingly.
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I loved the episode I just don't like the President shouting at Olivia! It would have been a slightly sexier speech in the rose garden if he hadn't shouted. If you read my reviews consistently you'll see I have a lot of love for Scandal...but that being said it is a soap opera at times and anything melodramatic opens the door to parody and humor.
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Love your sense of humor and I'm with you on picking apart the whole "who shot Fitz" or "what the Huck" situation...but as for Liv & Fitz, I so needed those flashbacks! I didn't start watching the show until the end of last season because I didn't know about it. So for me, things are coming to a full circle and I better understand what's going on this season. Also, after a hard days work and other bull-shit...I need my glass of Chardonnay and steamy can't live without you impossible kind of love affairs. To me, the fact that she's highly intelligent but still falls hard for a man, makes her real. If she didn't have flaws then I would think I was watching a Marvel Comic character...not realistic to me. Now that the show has given us a taste of the other character's backgrounds, I think they're doing a good job of moving the story line around a bit from character to character.

Anyway, I'm just going to sit back and be entertained....
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The one thing that keeps hitting my mind as we watch the whole Scandal about rigging the election for Fitz is that had she not put the plan into action then she could have been with the man she loves. Since she put his advancement before her happiness then their is no doubt in my mind she loves the title not the man, as much as I don't want that to be true... All the evidence points to that being the case
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Also, Huck is a professional. If I really had to make a guess I'd say he wounded Fitz in order to keep him protected from the real threat that Doyle was planning.

There is also this niggling thought in the back of my mind that the Aisan Woman who ended up dieing was the actual target and the other shots were taken in order to create a distraction from the real person they wanted dead.
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If the writers have guts and follow trough what they have been signposting from the beginning Huck shot the president because he is mentally unstable. He feared for America as the president was part of a conspiracy to rig elections and destroy the constitution (with his greasy fingers)
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The president doesn't know anything about that scandal. They are all conspiring to keep him in the dark about that matter.
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obviously, Horace Doyle threatened olivia's life if Huck didn't go and shoot the president.
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First off, loved the flashbacks down memory lane. 1. Now, Huck was brain washed!!! Don't see why he would just wake up and go, "I'm gonna shoot the Pres. today". He was put up to it. 2. Pajamas and comfy slippers. 3. Don't even think they would have ever met if he was a history teacher. That political brain of Fitz is what does it for Olivia. 4. I think it did more for Olivia then it would ever do for me.
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Scandal is the best show on television in my book. Seeing how Shondra writes, the real reason would be another surprise. I don't know what to think about Huck and the assassination. I would not be surprised if the President was involved in order to be with Olivia. My thoughts are also going on Mellie being involved. Why plan the gala and tell Fitz he doesn't get what he wants; then at the last minute say she doesn't want to go. I believe at the last minute she realized she cares for him and got scared; but it was too late. To tell you the truth, I really do not know who was behind the whole thing. I do know, if it was Huck, he did not do it by himself.

As for what items, I would ask for: suits (because I am a professional), sweats, underwear, pajamas, slippers, toothbrush....etc.

I would touch the constitution although when it was created, it was not thought about everyone.

Love is Love....I believe Olivia would love Fitz. When you fall in love with someone, sometimes you don't care what they are doing for a living, as long as they are making a living.

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1. Hollis must have threatened to hurt Olivia if Huck didn't shoot the POTUS and the press secretary. She was definitely a main target. If he was trying to shoot the real assassin they would have found the body.
2. Jeans, tennis shoes, socks, undies and a hoody. (Preferably grey not red)
3. Chemistry is chemistry. She would have been front row in his history class.
4. I hope their hands were clean.
5. Verna is already a Supreme Court Justice present day. I don't think she was involved.
6. Why didn't Mellie want to get out of the limo. She was quite insistent that they not go to the party at the last minute. Was she in on it or was it just a premonition?
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all I have to say after all those flashbacks, for a secret affair, their little white house romance was pretty obvious to anyone who's not blind or deaf!
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Yes I can't believe how open they were, shouting in the halls and beneath the cameras of the oval office.
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Huck was trying to kill the real sniper. That's my theoryand I'm sticking to it.
I laughed out loud at Lily's list bc mine would have been similar minus the cozy socks. Real world we r talking the same as Liv 's list but more shoes. She only asked for three pairs.
Olivia is def down for the power. But the POTUS is gorgeous and smart. That helps.
As much as I'd like to think I would ignore the constitution bc it discounted so many citizens (that we the people meant we the white people ), I know I would have put a pinky on it for sure.
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-Obviously as a die hard Huck fan and everything I refuse to believe that Huck actually shot the President. But because I'm awesome, I'll name reasons and possible theories, instead of just saying that Huck didn't kill shoot Fitz because I love Huck. I mean geez you make a living killing a few hundred people for your country and as soon as an assassination/assassination attempt takes place all eyes are on you. Judgmental much? I have a hard time believing that a professional spy assassin...correction a ghost, a professional ghost spook, would wear a FIRE RED hoodie while going to shoot the leader of the Free World. I mean call me naive but I ain't convinced. Especially when his wardrobe has either been homeless Jesus robes or Flannel shirts in every dark color one can think of. I also can't NOT think about how Charlie was staying in town for some work, and by work he obviously meant shooting people since he kills people for a living. Oh Charlie, Huck has had to manhandle you countless of times before...maybe this was just another mess he had to clean up. Ah, and then there's that little thing of if he wanted to kill the President it wouldn't have taken 5 shots to NOT kill him. Even if he wanted to create chaos and mass panic all that went on in that scene was just not convincing. But hey, I'm not a trained killer spy so what do I know? Also Huck kinda was too disturbed by Wink taking out that Doc, and he's substituting his Whiskey addiction for a Sex one. Oh and he loves Oliviia and will do anything she ask and would never do anything to hurt or jeopardize her so shooting an event that she's attending just doesn't fit.
Let us also consider the possibility that Hollis is ruthless and probably got Charlie's number from Cyrus the monster (possibly w/o him knowing) and sent him after that Asian GG lady who found all the hinky Ohio voting stuff. To take her out before revealing too much, and covering that as an attempted Presidential assassination kept their secret at bay.
-Jeans. Hoodies. Sweaters. Pajamas. Basically anything comfortable. Except I would kinda go get my stuff myself because I'm private like that. But hey, I wonder how many keys are floating around to Olivia Pope's Apt for Misfits? Amanda Tanner stayed there. Quinnsey stayed there. Abby stayed there. Huck stayed there. You know who didn't stay there and hadn't even seen that sucker until that one time more recently? The guy she was having an affair with. Boom.
- Maybe not. Although Tony G is so charming or something that he could sell anything. Seriously. Like I try not to be all mushy and girly and what not, but for some reason I eat the Olitz stuff up! I'm sold on their chemistry so much so that I don't mind the soapy, mushy stuff that should make me cringe. I was watching steamy sex scenes, and longing looks, and listening to all of this dialogue that should, SHOULD be cheesy and ridiculous but somehow SOMEHOW they convinced me that it was all sweet and hot and romantic or something, and I swear at some point there was this noise and I knew it was the collective sound of undies across the nation hitting the floor. When did I become such a girly girl and how do I make it stop? So I also LOVED how Olivia brought up Sally Hemmings Jefferson in a way that just slapped Fitz all up in the face and I LOVED how Fitz shut that shizz down quick. I love these two.
-Eh. I'd ask Mellie but she never touched it. Burn! Mellie was awesome in this episode though. She's so deliciously conniving. I was waiting for her and the VP to square off, because that woman is so focused on that seat that she's forgetting to come across as concerned for the President's well being.
I did love that they reinstated Olivia wearing the white hat slightly tinged in gray. She didn't willingly have much to do with the scandal, and she certainly didn't have anything to do with Hollis blowing folks up to cover it all up. Um dude, you're only a patriot if you agree to the terms....otherwise you're just an unsuspecting victim who had plans on going home on your lunchbreak to feed your cat and then suddenly Mittens is sitting in the window waiting for someone who isn't coming back. They didn't sign up to be heros. And I'm sure Quinnsey didn't sign up to be an assumed murder or spending time sharing a cell with big Bertha up until they walked her to the chair.
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Crazy theory: Olivia is behind the shooting. She knows the walls are coming down on this whole election-fraud scandal, and she has devised a plan that will somehow remove focus from it (or make it irrelevant or something like that). She told Huck not to kill the president - only render him incapable of being in office and thereby forcing a new presidency. She is definitely not happy about it, but she knows it will save all their asses, so she is doing it.
I know there are a lot of blanks in this little theory, but it was the first that came to mind when we saw Huck at the end.
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Oh and the press secretary (or whatever she was) DID die - she might not know what had been going on during the election, but she knew SOMETHING and she was a loose end..
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Just guessing, but maybe Huck is crushing on Olivia and wants to make sure Olivia doesn't fall back into P.Fitz' ams. And yea, she's into P.Fitz because he's POTUS. Yes, I'd touch the Constitution if given the opportunity - very carefully and after washing my hands though.

VPOTUS is gonna be a huge pain in the bum, bullying everyone that counted into recognizing her as POTUS. I thought Cyrus was gonna cry.
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I loved this episode. The chemistry was muy caliente. I was actually blushing watching those scenes in the oval office. Fitz and Liv are the reason I watch Scandal, if I want intriguing storyline I'll watch POI (which I do). Anyways, Q and A.
1. I think Puck was brainwashed into shooting the president by someone . . .
2. dark blue jeans, blazer, nice tank tops, easy to walk in high heels
3. I think so. I think she loves him because he is ambitious and idealistic. He could have those characteristics as a history teacher.
4. Honestly, I don't think I would be as excited as they were . . . now the Rosetta Stone that's a whole different story.
5. I'm really glad that the was a good reason behind kidnapping Quinn. Now, please tell me that Olivia didn't willingly help rig the election. Kinda disagree about the yelling in the Rose Garden. I love emo-no-eyebrows-president because he's not afraid to be passionate (the yelling, seducing you by trees) and emotional (the itching closer hand holding, the one minute) at the same time.
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I did blush a tad myself, the scenes seemed so real and so intimate. Good stuff.
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You completely forgot the lawyer (the one who was framed for the bombing - I forgot her name) researching how someone had drugged her and flew her off in the supreme justice's private plane. Her spy work was quite incredible, how she managed to get information on M99 and planes from Puck (yep, this is SARCASM); anyway, at this point I hope Puck tried shooting the president to take revenge for what had been done to her. Though I think that the woman who was killed could have been the real target and the president was collateral so no one would ask about why someone wanted her dead. Too many possibilities, I'm looking forward to the next episode! :)
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Quinn worked that out last episode I believe.The whole conspiracy theory seems pretty spelled out at this point, and its not the fake politics I watch this show for, its the emotional roller coaster so I always focus on the FLOTUS being an a-hole and Olivia being amazing and emo president being so emo...because those are really the only things that live in my mind when the show is over (and I start writing)
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It's HUCK doll, not PUCK, you're confusing the shooter with a douchey former real world star turned stalker inmate #453231.
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Whoops. And there I actually "corrected" Huck to Puck because I thought I remembered reading somewhere that that's his name. Thanks for correcting me!
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I love this episode, I especially loved the flashbacks.I didn't think it was crazy at all. I loved the whole thing with the Veep making her play for the White House. Cyrus was awesome as always. As for Fritz yelling at Olivia in the Rose Garden, he angry because she compared their relationship to Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. I would yelled, too. Like Fritz said that was a low blow. Sally Hemmings was Jefferson's slave, she couldn't say no. Olivia can and did leave when she felt like.
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Ugh, he survived. So annoyed that even tho they are over we had to suffer more Liv & Fitz crap via flashbacks.
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As Shonda said on Oprah, Fitz & Olivia are the central relationship of the show so you just might have to stop watching it if it's going to bug you this much. The show is good all the time and I don't see how she's not taking care of business. The shit is basically hitting the fan right now and all the players are dealing with the aftermath of what they did so how can Liv fix anything else when her very reputation and possibly her life, are on the line??? I'm glad Shonda writes how she feels the show should go because I can see how listening to fans would get on one's nerves. Not happy this way...not happy that way. :/
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Maybe he'll die yet, there's still hope, isn't there? If we have much more crap like in this episode, with Olivia acting like a lovesick sophomore instead of doing her thing and taking care of business, which is when the show is good, I'll have to quit watching.
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Obviously, you have never been in love with a soulmate so close to your heart that you breathe in sync. Then you wouldn't understand the depth of their emotions. Maybe you'd best not watch any more.
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I still have to hold out hope, but I am afraid they'd have done it right away if they were going to kill him off. If this show were still about Olivia kicking ass, we'd have seen a lot of her manipulating cabinet members and otherwise blocking the vice president, instead of just that weak effort with the public statement to put her in a room with her ex-boyfriends girl.
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What about that terrible line from Cyrus to the Veep about rallying the Cabinet members moments before she would be locked in a bunker with them. Talk about hamfisted dialogue.
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This is Shonda Rhimes. They are so far from over...
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For the sake of my sanity I hope their storyline is not over
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Me too!! I tuned in based on their relationship! No matter how flawed, tortured, wrong, etc. it is...it's written and performed so well! This show is just amazing to me and I hope it continues to grow in viewership and Olitz romance scandal. :)
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She has been known to kill people off on her other shows.
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Yeah, but in her other shows she has dozens of characters so it doesn't matter if she kills a few. In Scandal there are too few people to do that. And I think she loves Fitz & Olivia way too much to get rid of one of them.
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She can't kill Fitz nor can she give him amnesia so he doesn't remember Liv nor can their romantic storyline be over. Too many people would stop watching. I know I would.
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The thing is, this episode had almost no other characters. It was all love story. Most episodes don't have enough time for all the characters as it is, but this one was worse than most in that respect. Cameo from Huck. Back to no lines or screen time for Harrison (and everyone else). So, contrary to what @estella87 said above, there are obviously too many characters on this show and focusing on this dead love story (they had to go back in time to do their fan service) detracts from the development of all the characters and the actual story telling.
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I agree with you also. I would stop watching it if the Fitz/Liv storyline is really over. It is just a television show for entertainment. It is ok to have a love story intertwined in the mix of it.
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I still think their romantic storyline was over 3 episodes ago.
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There are too many possible suspects in this show, so many characters have reason to see the president gone. Still, i hope the writers unravel the plot in a way that holds true to previous episodes and developments...
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This episode was crazy! I loved every second of it. Olivia and Fitz are so hot. Why was Huck there? He couldn't have done it. He wouldn't shoot someone four times, and they would still be alive. This is Huck. He's a professional. It was Doyle or Mellie. Or Both. That VP is a bitch and so is that Supreme Court Justice. She couldn't wait 2 years?
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This was the best episode so far o the series, I cried from start to finish (and I DON"T cry). I know Fitz won't die but there's a chance he might and if he does...
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The President arranged the assassination attempt himself. The whole episode was about Olivia and Fitz being the most important thing to each other. He wanted Olivia more than being the president. So he found a way to get out early without public disgrace. Huck is that good. He was very deliberate and can shoot the man four times in such a way as to bring him to near death without actually killing him. The reason he shot and eventually killed the aid is unclear. The president would not condone any killing in his fake hit. Huck may have improvised to cover up the accuracy of his earlier shots; supplied some collateral damage to keep investigations off the scent. Huck and the president are the good guys, they are on our side, so there will be a "white hat" or benevolent reason behind this. (Her death could be fake, she could be in on the assassination plan)
Huck generally knows more than he lets on. It wouldn't surprise me if he knew about the affair. Huck would agree to stage such a thing if he thought it was to the benefit of Olivia. Huck, the assassin, will never be publicly known. It would signal the end of his character on the show and we are anticipating a lot more storyline from him. His colleagues, however, will probably work it out for themselves.
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You know your reason is something I can actually go with. I was actually thinking the same thing but was scared to put it out there. I had other reasons like the assassination is to cover up the rigging voting scandal by First Lady and Hollis. The President finding out about Huck and incorporated his help. Huck is too good to miss. He indicated that in the next episode. He said, "I am a trained killer." Overall I am agreeing with you.
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1. Doyle (is that the blonde oil guy's name?) got Huck to shoot the president by threatening Olivia and maybe others at the firm. Doyle got it so that he was elected and now there is all this pressure coming down on them he decided to take the man out of office before it could blow back in his face. If the president dies it's quite the cover up.
2. Something nice for the cameras for sure because that's how the game is played. I'd want my PJs though for sure.
3. Yes.
4. NO! People shouldn't go around fingering old paper.
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I hate flashback episodes and this was no exception, the present day stuff (as little as there was) kept me around otherwise I would of switched off. The attempted assassination of POTUS could of had a MUCH better follow up episode than this.
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Yes, a weird episode but still good overall. Actually, my theory is Huck shot to president to cover up his other shooting. Remember, we have learned, if Huck wants you dead, you're dead (Or is that Michael Weston?) Can't remember her name but the other lady who got shot died. I think that was the real target. Huck's too good to make an arbitrary shot, even if someone is in the way. Anyway, as for the other stuff: 2) Jeans and polo shirts, 3) maybe, 4) I'd do it if given a chance.

Thing that gets me about Scandal is we now learn there really is a scandal, it's the election. Before that I always thought it refered to Olivia's side projects, or the affair, or some of the other stuff that happened in the first season.

And how about that VP? Got screwed on her nominee. Pay back is a .... She has a lot to gain with him incapacitated.
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I actually do not think that the VP arrange it, but I do believe she is jumping at the chance to take over. I don't think she is that smart to arrange something like that and be figured out later. I believe she is glad he is incapacitated, so she can do what she wants to do.

As for what I would send someone to my house for would be suits, but also jeans, t-shirts, pajamas, underwear, toothbrush....stuff like that.

Love the show.....it is the number 1 show in my book.
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