'Scandal' Relationships Get More Unstable that Ever Before, All At Once

Scandal is not known for its tendency to maintain a status quo. In fact, it’s unclear if any of its characters even know what a status quo even is. Alliances form and dissolve on Scandal faster than you can say, “It’s handled.” One minute Mellie and Cyrus might be having a face off in the hallway, the next they might be plotting the demise of whoever their political enemy of the week might be.

But it turns out that once you throw Mama Pope in the mix, everything gets even more unstable, even for the poor White House crowd who are by and large not involved in this whole affair. As of right now, every relationship on the show seems to be on shaky ground, and who knows what the future may bring. Here are some of the biggest twists.

Cyrus and James

Well, after James slept with the vice president’s husband because Cyrus sort of set him up, you knew there would be problems. But James asking for a divorce and Cyrus threatening to make the photos of the encounter public was more escalation than I was prepared for. By the end of the episode, the pin might be back in the grenade — or at the very least James might be prepared to unpack his suitcase — but James might still leave. It’s unclear. And it’s about to get more complicated because of, well:

Sally Langston and Everyone

The vice president in this episode was all over the place in her allegiances. She promised her campaign adviser that she would disavow her pro-life stance once the opportune moment came. She resigned as vice president in order to run. She had a face-off with Cyrus over his incriminating photos. And, oh yeah, then she killed her husband. I mean, on the one hand, you always knew she had this sort of thing in her. But on the other HOLY SHIT!

Olivia and Fitz

Okay, their relationship never had any stability to lose, but after this episode, I might be shipping Olitz again. And it’s not just because he told Jake that she doesn’t need a savior. And it’s not just because he grew a spine with just about everybody for the first time since Season 1. And it’s not just because he risked being charged with treason to help her mom when she didn’t even actually ask. I mean it is all those things, but it’s also the fact that the two of them have the best phone calls.

Huck and Quinn

Huck tortured Quinn. It was awful and heartbreaking and twisted and wrong, and has completely shattered whatever dynamic they had before. And that dynamic was a great one. But once someone performs dental surgery on you without anesthetic, there is no going back.

Olivia and Mama Pope

Considering the status quo with this relationship used to be “Maya Pope is dead” and has now been changed to “Maya Pope is alive,” this is difficult terrain to navigate. And Olivia manages reasonably well, considering there is no actual decent response to “I made up a fantasy life for you while I was in prison where you’re married to a dentist named Ray. I like that version better than your real life.” But by the time she loads her onto Fitz’s military plane to Hong Kong, Olivia seems to have recovered from shell shock. At least long enough to resurrect a detail from her childhood that makes it clear Maya Pope might not actually have been falsely imprisoned. And so watching the plane take off, Olivia realizes in horror that she has mixed up which parent is the real monster after all. Which is a problem since…

Quinn and ­– Wait. Whose Side Is Quinn On?

So, after being tortured, Quinn is rescued by Charlie and sleeps with him after he tells her that having teeth pulled by someone you thought cared about you is not worth crying about. (She probably has some sort of PTSD at this point and is therefore excused, mostly, for this call.) And she volunteers to turn on Pope and Associates. But it might have all just been a way to get close enough to Eli Pope to kill him after Jake’s assassination attempt backfired. But something tells me the head of B6-13 doesn’t go down so easy.

We will have to wait until next week to find out. It’s going to be one hell of a winter finale.

Image: ABC