Given that this episode heavily featured one plot which I’d sooner forget – the kidn*****g of Olivia – and a second, B-613, which has probably had too much time devoted to it, I’m amazed at how good ‘The Testimony of Diego Muñoz’ was. This was partly because of the strength of the third plot, in which Team Fitz struggles to get Susan Ross confirmed as Vice President. But it was mostly due to Scandal returning to basics: proper, focussed, merciless storytelling.
David Rosen is having an Open House. I didn’t know this, but a quick spot of Googling suggests that this is indeed a thing in America for attorneys-general, although whether the US AG himself would submit to it I have my doubts. Anyway, one way or another it’s a useful plot device, because one of the crazies walking through his door is a woman who claims that her estranged husband, Diego Muñoz, used to be in a secret black-ops spy organisation, and she has the files to prove it. Rosen is all, whatevs, until she mentions B-613, and then he’s straight into conclave with Jake – not playing much of a role at the moment, which may not be a bad thing – and Huck. So who’s this Muñoz dude? Well, as we know, it’s Huck himself.
Which means Huck’s wife Kim has to be told to shut up before everyone gets B-613 on their asses, and there’s some bleak comedy to be had from her endearing civilian belief that a B-613 whistleblower can be protected, or that Huck can get immunity, as if any of that matters. So Rosen hits on a brilliant strategy to stop them all from getting killed: get Huck on the record saying that it’s a lot of nonsense, and it’ll go away. And to start with Huck does that, but then he’s asked about The Hole, and he can’t help himself; there’s a surreal but dazzling monologue about daily life in The Hole, and suddenly Rosen is in the awkward position of having evidence. He decides to investigate further, which you would think will have consequences.
For Olivia, the process of returning to normal after The Kidn*****g is a slow one; still haunted by memories of what happened, as indeed we all are, she’s doing her best to put it all behind her. But Where’s-The-Black-Lady?-Rose comes looking for her friend Lois, and of course Olivia knows what happened to Lois – she was there – but instinctively wants to protect Rose from that knowledge. What she can do, though, is find Lois’s body, and Huck and Quinn do just that, which gives Rose a measure of closure, and a sweet scene or two in which she explains the nature of her relationship with Lois.
At the White House, meantime, everything’s going horribly wrong: Susan Ross has a meltdown on live TV when accepting Fitz’s nomination of her as prospective VP, giggling and snorting when her mind goes blank, and suddenly she’s a joke. So Leo is hired to resurrect her reputation, but while putting her through a tough workout he manages to bully her into quitting. (Sidebar: I don’t like Leo, and I can’t see why Abby would.) Olivia is determined to stay out of it, but she’s never been able to resist the whiff of political battle, and after she and Fitz stare intensely into each others’ eyes for a few seconds she’s on the case.
Which inevitably means that Susan Ross is confirmed, and can take her place in the lineage of Great Golden Age Of TV Veeps, stretching back to “Bingo Bob” Russell in The West Wing. I have no idea what’s going to happen, and I haven’t looked for spoilers, but it does seem to me that a VP Ross with a few months of experience under her belt could well be a formidable rival for Mellie when it comes to seeking the Presidency. I think I’d like that storyline, and anything which keeps Artemis Pebdani on the Scandal payroll is fine with me.