We often find ourselves on a trail, tracking down much-needed information to complete a task, to solve a problem, or hosting an event. As a parent, a youth minister, or a teacher, you are following of trail of Facebook and twitter postings, side comments, and behavior to discern what is going on with a teacher. As a detective, you follow a trail of evidence to discern who the suspect is and why. However we are doing it, we are, in a way, connecting the dots in order to formalize a picture of what is going to happened or what has happened.
Olivia and the gladiators find themselves in this place in the sixth episode. Which in many ways is an amazing feat in story telling. The episode seamlessly flows from present day to two years ago, connecting the dots. This back and forth continues until the picture comes into focus. The trail this storytelling style fulfills is not just answering the Amanda Tanner questions, but it is a trail of understanding these characters more and more.
Two characters are convinced that there is more to this Amanda Tanner thing than suicide. Gideon, the reporter who has eyes for Quinn and David the district attorney. Both are spending time looking into this Amanda Tanner thing, trying hard to discover what really happened.
Billy Chambers, Cyrus, and Olivia
As the dots are getting connected for the two men, the viewer is taken on a trip down memory lane. The flash backs take us back two years ago with Fitz’ presidential campaign is suffering. Cyrus brings in the best to fix it: Olivia Pope. This is the first meeting between Olivia and Fitz. Olivia tells them that the reason the campaign is struggling so is because the American people do not believe that Fitz and Mellie’s marriage is strong. Olivia preps them in showing more affection towards one another.
The Governor loses New Hampshire primary to Sally Langston, the same Sally who will become his Vice-President. He loses the primary because a story is leaked that Mellie had an affair with a man who was advising Mellie on literacy. Olivia pulls together her people – for the first time possibly – to fix this problem.
Abby is at home baking, looking like a Stepford Wife, freshly divorced. Huck is a street person, complete with long hair and long bread. Harrison wears an ankle bracket, freshly out of jail. Together the team figures out that the advisor has been paid to do a number of adult films. He quickly decides to make a statement setting the record straight. What is fascinating about this is that it gives us a glimpse to the beginning of the gladiators.
Olivia: “I’ve got a guy.”
Fitz: “You’ve got a guy? Another guy? Hells angel? Mobster? A kind-hearted felon who owes you a favor?”
Olivia: “Technically he’s on probation.”
During these flash back scenes, the sexual tension between Olivia and Fitz is so obvious. Despite the fact that Fitz wanted her gone from the start. It seems that Olivia grew on him. It is also obvious that the relationship between Fitz and Mellie is slipping. But Olivia’s advice works. Fitz and Mellie start being more affectionate in public. Mellie takes it a step farther though. While having pie in Georgie, she unexpectantly announces that she has had a miscarriage. As she hugs Fitz, she whispers, “I think that’ll take care of it.”
She lied! She made it up! The trail to Mellie’s true side has ended. She was running for First Lady. She seems to be more of a political animal than Fitz. This starts to put together just how much Mellie knows about Olivia and Fitz. Statements like “I trust you will sleep better tonight,” that Mellie makes to Fitz are beginning to make more sense. She is concerned for her husband because of the political gain, less because they are married.
The most eye-opening trail that is who got Amanda Tanner pregnant. We learn that Amanda was a volunteer working for Sally Langston’s campaign. When Fitz and Olivia gave in to the sexual tension for the first time, there was a recording device in the Governor’s hotel room recording it. That flash drive, the same one that would end up in Cyrus’ hands, was passed through the hands of Amanda and Billy Chambers, Sally’s chief of staff.
Yep, the very tape that was suppose to be Fitz and Amanda was actually Fitz and Olivia. This show just keeps throwing out twists and turns, keeping the audience guessing and engaged.
Throughout this entire episode, Gideon, the reporter, is following the Amanda Tanner trail too. And it all leads him to Billy Chambers. Billy, he learns, was Amanda’s boyfriend in the White House and the most likely baby-daddy. Gideon calls Billy out on it. At first Billy thinks that Gideon has very little to make a case. But then Billy starts to get uncomfortable with what Gideon is presenting, grabs a pair of scissors and stabs Gideon in the neck.
Yeah, that just happened. The right-winged, evangelical chief of staff to the Vice President just killed someone.
It seems that Billy forgot the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis. Cain kills his brother Abel. The Lord comes to Cain and says, “The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10, CEB). Even though Cain thought his murderous act would be a secret, God followed the trail of Abel’s blood that called out to him. The Psalm writer talks about secrets come to light in God’s presence. The trail of our actions will be revealed. We cannot hide from them.
The episode ends with this horrific act by Billy. But we do have this universal truth: it takes us a lot longer to connect the dots than it does God. And for that, we should be thankful.