With Season 1, Episode 6: "The Trail," Scandal just went from Shonda's newest fun and twisty project to one of the most shocking dramas on TV. There are a lot of things we could see coming in this flashback-heavy episode — we actually guessed the sex tape was Fitz and Olivia, not Fitz and Amanda — but one thing we did not predict was dear old lovable Billy being super evil. What the what?

In lieu of a normal recap format, we will be analyzing each character's role in the episode based on one important yardstick: Whether or not they were badass.

Badass

Billy: Hey, "badass" doesn't have to mean "good person." Billy proved he's more than just a handsome face this week. Indeed, it appears that he's something of a manipulative mastermind: From having Fitz's room bugged to sitting on the sex tape until he found a woman to attach it to, not to mention stabbing someone in the neck with scissors, it seems that he'll do whatever it takes to get his candidate into office, even if it's two years later than intended. You know, assuming that is really his motivation... 

Mellie: Speaking of cold and calculating, Mellie stole the episode when she tearfully confessed to a miscarriage she never had to win her husband female voters. That's a move both scary and brilliant. Fitz may regret it, but he's lucky he married this woman, because if she ever decided to run for office herself she'd be pretty hard to beat.

Fitz: The President (or Presidential hopeful, as he was in most of the episode) really won us over this week. He tried to resist his feelings for Olivia — heck, at first he tried to fire her because he realized from moment one that he was falling for her — which we respect. And we must say, the man is a master of the art of seduction. Our favorite move was his "I am a man in love with an incredible woman" line during a debate. He managed to tell the truth, win over the audience, and tell Olivia he loved her, all while the cameras were pointed at him. We don't really blame Olivia for giving in to his charms.

Olivia: Olivia gets negative badass points for having the rug pulled out from under her with that sex tape, but her past self more than made up for it. We love that the first thing she did as a campaign advisor was tell Fitz, in front of his entire staff, that “it looks like you don't screw your wife.” This woman calls it like she sees it. Always has, always will. Now that we know exactly what a mess Fitz's campaign was prior to Olivia's help, we respect her more than ever.  

David: David is one of the few characters on this show who really wears the white hat through and through. The Amanda Tanner case was closed, but he refused to let it go because he knew Olivia was right, it wasn't a suicide, and he won't let a murder go uninvestigated under his watch. Thank goodness for government employees with clear moral compasses. Also, he said "babby daddy," which just makes us love him more.

Gideon: Gideon has some mad investigative skills, and it looks like he got to the bottom of the Amanda story faster than anyone. Olivia should just hire him. You know, if he lives. Which seems unlikely. 

Huck: Maybe we're biased because Huck is quickly becoming one of our favorite characters on the show, but he was the only person from Olivia's current team that really impressed us 
during the flashbacks. He managed to find a key piece of info — that the man Mellie was accused of having an affair with had a secret life as a toe-sucking adult video star — just by analyzing financial records. Though what was that hair? We get that he was on the streets and all, but the makeup department went a bit heavy-handed with the imagery.

Not badass

Cyrus: Cyrus was hilarious, as per usual — he called Ftiz sausage. A+ metaphor — but the only really useful thing he did this episode was bring in Olivia. We're sure there were lots of behind-the-scenes campaign things he was busy with, but if we don't see it, it doesn't count.

David's assistant: David's assistant was funny, but we didn't enjoy her whining. Yeah, yeah, you have to work late. You're fighting for great justice! Doesn't that matter? Also, while she had some good ideas (she did figure out Amanda was sleeping with someone in the White House), she was a bit overconfident with her theories.

Quinn: Quinn insulted Gideon's reporting skills, and then completely failed to realize that he was still digging into the Amanda story despite sleeping in his apartment. Good job. Very useful.

Sally Langston: All the future Veep did this week is complain about not doing well enough and then have her butt handed to her in a debate when Fitz's sentimental love note to Olivia totally outshone Sally's policy point. As far as we were shown, Billy did all the heavy lifting for her campaign.

Abby and Harrison: While they did help Olivia clear Mellie's name from the accusations of an affair, their one scene of snappy dialogue apiece just didn't cut it. Though it's better than Stephen, who didn't even warrant an appearance.

Random Notes:

  • The sequence with Mellie and Fitz faking their happy marriage was excellent. We never thought we'd see Olivia and Cyrus cheering for Mellie to wipe ice cream off of Fitz's face, but it made perfect sense in context.
  • No, seriously. What was with Huck's hair?
  • We feel bad for hating on Quinn every week, but she really needs to step it up.
  • Olivia tried to set Abby up with Stephen back in the day. Of course she did.

 


Check out all of Wetpaint Entertainment’s Scandal coverage.

Catch the Scandal season finale on Thursday, May 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaMartin47.

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