scandal-season-2-the-jasmine-brandThings are getting good in the Scandalverse. This week’s overarching theme is forgiveness. Something that is much needed in Washington, D. C. and in the lives of our characters.

The case of the week involves America’s pastor, Marvin Drake. For 50 years he has made an impact on D.C. and the country. He has stepped out to take risks where others would not, including officiating at gay marriages. His wife Nancy calls Olivia in a panic because she knows that something is wrong. He has not come home and he is scheduled to be at an event at the White House the next morning.

ABC's "Scandal" - Season TwoPope and Associates is on it! They find him in a hotel, dead, laying on top of a woman handcuffed to a bed. You can’t make this stuff up! Well . . .I guess you can. Olivia goes into damage control. They all quickly learn that Pastor Drake was not hooking up with a random hooker, but with a woman named Anna who had a 15-year relationship with the Pastor.

Here are the highlights of what else happened in this episode:

  • Cyrus’ husband, James, starts in on wanting a baby.
  • Abby handles the funeral arrangements for Pastor Drake.
  • Harrison runs around time paying off people who knew that Pastor Drake had a mistress.
  • Hollis shows up in the White House again, bugging Cyrus about the President going to war in East Sudan. Cyrus tells him that its not that simple. Hollis to Cyrus: “You have a soul now? I thought you sold that to me years ago.”
  • A photo is released of a mass grave in Sudan. Cyrus, who has been pushing for the President to do something, tells Fitz that he’s not buying this. The President marches into an office in the CIA and learns that the photo is a fake. “You are not going to photoshop me into a war.” The President fires the CIA Director.
  • David is told by his boss that the department has decided that he needs a vacation. He is put on involuntary leave. David is convinced that Olivia had something to do with the Quinn Perkins’ trial. He puts clipping and pictures on the wall in his apartment.
  • Olivia mentions that she is balancing being present with Supreme Court Justice Verna Thorton.
  • Fitz continues to make late night phone calls to Olivia. Olivia reminds him that 23 staff have to stay at work late in the night just so he can call her.

Who is Quinn Perkins?

Right now, she is a guest on Olivia’s couch. Even if she doesn’t want to be. She slips out and tries to see her father. She is desperatly trying to figure out who she is and why she became Quinn Perkins. Olivia sends Huck to keep an eye on her. While Olivia is helping Verna prep for her television interview, Verna asks the woman doing her hair to go look for her cell phone. A polite way of asking her to leave the room.

Verna to Olivia: Where are we?

Olivia: She tried to leave . . . . She’s innocent, Verna.

Verna: That innocent girl could bring down the whole government. 

That innocent girl? They are talking about Quinn Perkins. The mystery of who Quinn is deepens. Katie Lowes, who plays Quinn, told Huffington Post in October of 2012, “The ‘Who is Quinn?’ and the Quinn Perkins trial is connected to such a huge conspiracy that’s so much bigger than who she is, and how large does it go? She has to be back at Olivia Pope & Associates — Olivia’s got to keep her under lock and key and keep her safe and in front of her eyes.”

Who is Huck?

As this episode opens, Huck is in an AA meeting, sitting in the back row. The leader asks Huck if he wants to share, but he gets a phone call from Olivia and leaves. At the end of the episode, Huck is back in the AA meeting, but this time sharing his story. Huck is not an alcholic but he is struggling with an addiction. As he gives his talk he mentions whiskey, but it is obvious that he is talking about torturing and killing people.

Will you forgive me?

As I mentioned earlier, the theme of this episode was forgiveness. The bulk of the episode Olivia spends going between Anna, the mistress, and Nancy, the wife. Anna was more than just a lover, she was the mother of Pastor Drake’s young son. Olivia emotionally connects with Anna. “You want 15 Christmases,” she says to the single mother. She gets that she doesn’t want six million dollars as she wants her relationship with the man she loved.

Mellie, the First Lady, emotionally connects with Nancy. “It’s like you didn’t know him,” Mellie starts to say to the hurting wife. “Be his wife.” When Nancy arrives at the funeral, Olivia tells her that Anna really just wants to be present at the service. At first, Nancy refuses, but she allows it.

During the voice over of Fitz’ moving eulogy of Pastor Drake, speaking about forgiveness and how that is what the pastor’s work was about, Nancy and the family are moving down the aisle. Nancy stops and invites Anna and her son to walk with them. Forgiveness.

the_other_woman_fitz_mellie_grantIn the limo afterwards, the emotional gap between Mellie and Fitz is symbolized by the distance between the couple. The camera shot with the center of the scene being the gap between the two reinforces the concept. Mellie leans over to Fitz and says, “I’d like you to forgive me.” I think the closest we will get to a confession from Mellie. Fitz leans and says, “I forgive you, okay. You’re forgiven.” And he goes back to the space he was in, reading a report.

In his book Forgiving and Reconciling, Dr. Everett Worthington challenges us that forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. Forgiveness is the emotional act of positive emotions in response to anger, fear, or perceived hurt. Reconciliation on the other hand is the active rebuilding of a relationship. Worthington will go on to say that forgiveness is something we do for our own emotional state, while reconciliation is more relational.

So, while Fitz tells Mellie that he forgives her, the distance between them on the seat tells us that he is not starting the reconciliation work.