“I’ve committed a sin.”
Last week’s episode ended with Sally calling Cyrus and uttering those words – “I’ve committed a sin.” This week’s episode takes us back prior to that call to show us what exactly happened. Sally is fighting with her husband, Daniel. Cyrus has pictures of Daniel having sex with his husband James. Sally tells Daniel, “You have released a snake into our garden,” talking about Cyrus, who she knows will not be able to let this go. Daniel tells her that she knew what she was getting into when she married him – aka, “Sally, you knew I was gay.” Then, Daniel tells her that he is done, and that she cannot win without him. Sally can’t handle it. So, she takes a letter opener to his back. And with blood scattered across her face, she calls Cyrus.
Cyrus goes to the VP resident. Sally keeps uttering, “The Devil came into me.” Cyrus stands there listening to Sally and thinking about the events of the last few days. One of the flashback moments includes James telling Cyrus, “The Devil is inside you.” He vomits in the toilet. Cyrus calls Charlie in ( (who will take Quinn with him) to clean up Sally’s mess. “Give me your sin,” Cyrus tells her, “Let me clean this up.”
They put Daniel in his own bed, to look like he died in his sleep. Cyrus has a doctor come over. Sally is still in a daze. Mellie comes into Cyrus’ office all smiles at the news that Daniel is dead. “God has smiled on us,” Mellie tells him with great joy. Cyrus is not all smiles as he tells her what happened. “I’m the devil,” he tells Mellie. The First Lady tells him to pull it together. Mellie is the one who tells Fitz that Daniel died from a heart attack.
When Cyrus gets home from all of this, James is just seeing the news of Daniel’s death on the television. James is pretty sure that Cyrus has something to do with it. Cyrus is still emotionally drained from their fight that he isn’t sure what James is upset about.
Mellie takes flowers to Sally. Leo is there telling Sally that they will push back the announcement and that now she can run on anything. After Mellie motions for Leo to leave the room, Mellie tells Sally that they are taking care of all of it. She also tells her that she is hopeful of the future they will have together, implying strongly that Sally should not continue to run for President.
James goes to David Rosen. He tells David that he slept with Daniel, and either Cyrus or Sally had him killed. David doesn’t want to listen to James, because last time he did, he lost his job. Later that evening, Cyrus and James stand in the bedroom looking at each other. Finally, Cyrus says, “What’s next? Do you not want to love me anymore?” Cyrus begs for a second chance, while also making it clear that if James leaves, his life will be very difficult.
Olivia wants to team to figure out what is the deal with her mother. Huck puts a tracking device in Quinn who is at B6-13, where she’s about to attempt to kill Rowan. Just as she’s about to do it, someone comes in and tells him that they found Maya. Rowan takes the “offer” off the table. Quinn goes to bathroom, takes tracking device out of her month, flushes it down the toilet.
The President has secret service stop Rowan and bring him to a secure location in the Pentagon. “Let’s have a little talk.” Why did you have me shoot down that plane if Maya was in custody. Rowan: It’s a matter of national security and above your pay grade, Mr. President. Fitz still wants answers from Rowan. Rowan calls Fitz a boy – not a man. Rowan gives Fitz a lesson on white privilege. And then, she schools him on being in a relationship with his daughter: “You love that she is the door marked exist. You love that she is a way out.”
“You’re funny. You’re a funny, funny man. Or should I say, boy. You’re a boy! You’ve been coddled, and cared for, pampered and hugged. For you it’s always summertime and the living is easy. Daddy’s rich, your momma’s good looking, you’re a Grant. You got money in your blood. You…are…a…boy. I’m a man.
I have worked for every single thing I have ever received. I have fought and scraped and bled for every inch of ground I walk on. I was the first in my family to go to college. My daughter went to boarding school with the children of kings! I made that happen. You cried yourself to sleep because daddy hurt your feelings. Because papa banged his secretary. Because it hurt to have so much money. You spoiled entitled, ungrateful little brat! You have everything handed to you on a silver platter and you squander it. You’re given the world and you can’t appreciate it because you haven’t had to work for anything!
So now you’ve decided that the one thing you want is my daughter. My child. Mine. What I made. What I created. You can talk about what a great lay she is to try to get a response from me all you want, but guess what? I am actually, quite literally above your pay grade. Which means that I know that you believe that you are in love with her, as wrong as you may be. You love that she is a door marked ‘exit.’ You love that she is your way out. Because if you are with Olivia Pope you don’t have to fulfill your father’s dream of being president. If you are with Olivia you no longer have to be your father’s son!
An apple never falls too far from the tree. You are always going to be Senator Grants disappointing boy Fitz. She is always going to be the formidable Olivia Pope. Don’t use the person that I made to make YOU into a man. You’re a boy…You disappoint me as a suitor for my daughter’s hand.”
Abby and Harrison asks David to see Marie Wallace’s file. Jake asks Olivia to cut Huck some slack. Abby brings Marie Wallace’s file to Olivia. Her mother was an agent who was stealing government secrets from Rowan, you know, the CIA. As the three of them talk through what they have found, Olivia ponders that maybe her mother didn’t just steal files.
Jake and Huck track Rowan down at the Pentagon. Olivia calls Fitz. “I know you have my father, but I need to talk to him.” Olivia comes to the Pentagon. Olivia talks out what is going with her father. Rowan sits and listens. Olivia reasons that her mother told her father when he pulled her off the plane that there was a bomb on the plane. Except there wasn’t one. They shot the plane down and killed hundreds of innocent people. She got him to kill. She fooled him. Liv turns to Fitz, “You have her arrested the second she gets off that plane. You get her.” They release Rowan.
Quinn is at Charlie’s. She wants to go home, but she can’t because Huck might come back there looking for her. “It was my normal.” Quinn is thinking about the week before life was normal. What game is Quinn playing? Charlie wakes up in the middle of the night, to find that Quinn is gone. She goes into the office, where she confronts Huck.
Huck: “You want me to say I’m sorry? I’m not. Liv saves us and you betrayed her. You are not a Gladiator anymore.”
Quinn leaves the office and returns to Charlie’s. She kisses him.
Fitz calls Liv to tell her that the plane never made it to Hong Kong. The crew/pilots were found dead. Maya is gone. Jake says he has contacts, Liv tells him not to worry about it. He kisses her.
Jake: “I came to say good-bye. . . .I loved you. . . . I love you.”
Sally tells Leo that she thinks it is best that she not run. Leo knows that Cyrus is pulling strings. Leo is tries to talk Sally into running, but saying that Daniel is in heaven telling everyone about Sally. Sally breaks down and yells, “He’s in hell!” Leo knows in that moment that Sally killed her husband. Leo would have preferred that she had called him first, not the White House.
The woman who has been waiting all day the day before to meet with David Rosen walks into his office. She work the code for the NSA’s program that makes it possible to listen in on cell phone conversations. She has a recording of Sally’s phone call with Cyrus.
Liv calls her father: “were you trying to protect me from who she was?” Rowan has a flashback memory of sitting on the couch crying as he watches the news about the plane Maya was supposing on crashing. This memory prompts him to remind Olivia that the next day is Sunday, and they have family dinner together. He also tells her that the answers you she is desperately looking for, she will not find from him.
Rowan walks into his office, Jake is in his office. Jake is the new Commander. Jake quotes Rowan when he says, “B6-13 is not an individual. Cut the head off the snake, and a new head will grow in its place.” Rowan walks out and Jake calls President, “It’s done.”
James and Cyrus are awkwardly lying in bed. Finally, James says, “Press Secretary.” James wants to be named White House press secretary, and he won’t leave Cyrus. Cyrus tells him they have a deal. Cyrus utters, “And the devil did indeed come in.”
Maya calls Liv: “Don’t worry, sweetheart, I’ll see you real soon.” Which is totally possible as Maya is calling from outside the White House.
In preparation for this post, I grabbed one of Christian ethics books and looked in the index for “devil.” I figured, what could it hurt. It was a major theme in this episode, uttered by Sally, Cyrus, and others. In fact, the final line from Cyrus – “And the devil did indeed come in” – feels like it should be in the King James Bible. My Christian ethics book, however, does not cite pages for “devil.” Instead, the index says, “see evil.”
If we replaced “devil” with “evil” in every Scandal quote from this episode, it would still work. Many of the world’s religions have some devil-like figure. But all of them seem to address evil as the absence of good. This is what Thomas Aquinas had to say about it:
“Every being, as being, is good. . . . .No being is said to be evil, considered as being, but only so far as it lacks being.”
That’s pretty clear, right?
For Aquinas, evil was not something that came into the being – “the devil did, indeed, come in” – but rather, the lack of good. Aquinas was pretty clear that he did not believe that God created evil. To him, that wasn’t even possible. Instead, because we have been marred by sin and corruption, evil is the “privation of the good.” In other words, when good begins to be removed or leaves us, than evil takes shape.
So, if we think of “devil” as “evil,” and “evil” as the absence of “good,” when we consider characters like Cyrus, Sally, and Rowan, it should give us hope. Cyrus, of the three characters, seems to be the one who is challenged the most by his “devil” actions. He has chosen many bad decisions over the years. Sally, in a fit of rage and angry emotions, kills her husband. Rowan . . . .well, do we really know what Rowan has done? Even though we still aren’t clear, Olivia begins to see good in her father. He is not all evil, as Jake would have her believe. That’s enough to give us hope.
Hope that evil will not win. Hope that there is good in each of us. Hope that grace conquers sin.