My guess about the outcome of last week’s Olivia auction was, in all likelihood, wide of the mark; it might well have been Iran who won, but as Olivia manages to scupper the handoff we don’t get to find out. In consequence, we get this week’s Olivia auction, which if nothing else suggests that the writers are so proud of the idea it’s worth doing twice. I’m not so sure.
Anyway, once again the world’s rogue states and mega-criminals pile in, with Huck pretending to be Olivia’s mom. And – what do you know? – this time the auction is a tie, between “the Russians” and Huck. I can’t even begin to… I mean, the whole effing POINT of an auction is that the winner is the one who bids the most. But the Russians win the penalty shootout, or whatever, and off Olivia goes again, to be handed over to another enemy government.
Back in Washington, though, there’s increasing disquiet about the way in which the President’s entire foreign policy agenda is being driven by his obsessive love for Olivia. (And picking up on last week’s point about how, presumably, the existence of the auction meant disclosure of Olivia and Fitz’s relationship to every foreign government and criminal organisation on the planet, it looks as if everyone in the White House must know about it as well.) Fitz is all, extract her; everyone else is all, kill her. Cyrus does an end-run around the Leader of the Free World and tells the CIA to make sure she’s never handed over to the Russians; not in a living and breathing state, in any event.
While we’re waiting for that, Mellie has to deal with the Andrew threat: if she ever looks like having a successful political career, he’s going to drop the details of their affair. She turns to Elizabeth North, who in turn goes – with considerable and understandable trepidation – to Huck. The problem is that Huck has just sworn off violence, after some counselling from Jake. But there are other things he can do short of evisceration, it turns out, and the Andrew problem is, for now, brought under control.
Back with Olivia: Abby blabs to Jake about the plan to kill Liv, and when he goes to Maya to plead with her to help save her daughter she suggests “Prescott Lake”, which I thought was going to be a person, but is indeed a lake, where Rowan is fishing in the same state of controlled fury in which he does everything. A somewhat underpar monologue can’t assist, though, which means that everyone’s out of options for saving Olivia. Just as she’s being handed over to “the Russians”, though, with the CIA about to rain missiles down on her, “the Russians” turn into a deus ex machina in the form of an old friend of the show, who happens to be based in St Petersburg, traceable by Abby, and owed a favour by a Russian gang. (Although someone I’m quite happy to see return, even if for now it looks like a one-off.) So with one bound, she was free. Hm. Let’s not do this again, eh?
And back in Washington, Olivia’s displaying the first signs of PTSD, and furious with Fitz for going to war to save her. It’s a mirror of a little fantasy Cyrus has earlier in the episode, in which he excoriates Fitz for allowing himself to be manipulated because of Olivia. And it’s significant: along with Mellie, perhaps, Olivia and Cyrus are the main manufacturers of Fitz-the-President, and they’re starting to realise that their creation isn’t particularly impressive.
Rather like this episode, I’m sorry to say, which presumably rounds off the kidnapping arc. I can see that having your main character disappear is a good way to go into a midseason hiatus, but ‘No More Blood’ demonstrated beyond doubt that the idea just didn’t have the legs to run for four episodes. Never mind.