Note: If you haven’t yet watched Thursday’s (Dec. 6) episode of “Scandal,” you’ll probably not want to read the following post. Spoilers — big ones — ahead.
“Scandal” followed up last week’s shocking ending — the shooting of President Grant (Tony Goldwyn) — with an episode Thursday that ended with almost as big a jaw-dropper.
By every appearance, the shooter is none other than Huck (Guillermo Diaz), Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) close friend and associate. He’s also, it should be noted, the guy who’s done a lot of the dirty work in covering up the Cytron voter fraud that gave Fitz the White House in the first place.
Still, even though we know Huck is a trained killer who often liked his old job very much, “Scandal” has taken great pains to show his efforts to leave that world behind. So why would he have shot the president? If a definitive answer is coming, it won’t be for at least another week (if not longer). In the meantime, though, here are four possible theories to why it happened.
The Hollis Doyle theory: Hollis (Gregg Henry) is the obvious bad guy this season, and in this episode it was revealed that he was behind the Cytron bombing and subsequent frame job on Quinn (Katie Lowes). Something he said last week, though, points to him having a big hand in the shooting plot:
“I’m about ready to bring this whole house of cards down,” he tells Cyrus (Jeff Perry) after Cyrus helps Edison (Norm Lewis) score the Senate majority leader post over Hollis’ preferred guy. “You wouldn’t,” Cyrus replies, to which Hollis retorts: “You have no idea what I would or would not do — no idea at all.” About three minutes of show later, the president is shot.
We’ve never seen any interaction between Huck and Hollis, but it stands to reason Hollis knows who Huck is. How he might have strong-armed Huck into committing the act remains to be seen.
The “Homeland” theory: In the Season 1 finale of “Homeland,” Brody’s (Damian Lewis) fellow soldier-turned-terrorist Tom Walker shoots a White House aide and others — but it’s all a diversion to get Brody and his suicide vest through a metal detector and into a secure bunker with the vice president (Jamey Sheridan). It’s more of a stretch here — if you’re looking for diversion, shooting the president in the head is maybe a bit much. Unless the goal is to get VP Sally Langston (Kate Burton) into power.
The “Manchurian Candidate” theory: The classic thriller novel by Richard Condon and subsequent films based on it deal with a brainwashed former soldier who’s “activated” to carry out an assassination plot. Of these, it’s probably the least likely based on current evidence; we know Huck has a very, very dark past, but to date the audience hasn’t been given any evidence to show he might be a sleeper agent.
The Quinn theory: A corollary to the Hollis theory. Quinn is pretty close to putting together the “how” of her new identity, if not yet the “why.” Her interrogation of Huck in the previous episode clearly got to him, and it’s not inconceivable to think he might have overreacted and tried to pull off a much bigger coverup.
The grassy knoll theory: Could there have been a second shooter? The way the sequence at the end of Thursday’s episode is edited, it’s very hard to tell if all the shots come from the same place. We count five total: Two quick ones to Fitz’s shoulder and side; one that kills White House staffer
Lane Kim Britta; one that strikes a Secret Service agent in the back; and the final one to Fitz’s head.
The action then cuts to Huck breaking down his rifle and picking up shell casings. He grabs one on the floor in the foreground and appears to reach for three more before rooting around in the chair cushion for (perhaps) a final casing, although it doesn’t look like he pockets anything after that. So if — a rather big if, we’ll grant — he only picked up four shells, who fired the fifth shot?
What are you theories on why Huck did what he did? And what do you think of “Scandal” as a whole this season?