Seven Fifty-Two. Is it a time? Seven Fifty-Two. Is it a place? Seven Fifty-Two. Is it a number of days? Seven Fifty-Two. Is it the moment of a horrible occurrence? Seven Fifty-Two. Is it a moment so mundane that it brings the only bit of calm in an otherwise horrible life? Because in this episode, we finally see Huck. We meet him in a way we never have. We see his backstory. He was a happy Marine with a girlfriend. He gets recruited by a shadow organization that requires he be completely alone. When his girlfriend gets pregnant, he decides to marry her and have a family, even though it was important that he have no one. While his happiness does not negatively impact his killing, and in truth if there is anything that tv shows like Criminal Minds and Dexter has taught me, this shadow group is turning Huck into a serial killer, when his company finds out about it, they kidnap him and keep him isolated until he denies his family. In fact, he doesn’t remember his family.
As Huck’s backstory plays out, his fellow “gladiators” try to talk him down from crazy. As he repeats seven fifty-two over and over again (or 7:52, or 752, or seven fifty two, or seven fifty-two), we slowly are going crazy with him. We want those numbers to mean something, we want those numbers to fix Huck. But as we continue to see his backstory, we realize that nothing will fix Huck. Huck is broken. “[P]ain is the only human process that is completely defined by the person experiencing it,” Huck said to someone he is torturing. Even as we know Huck’s backstory, based on Huck’s definition of “meeting” someone, we still have not met him. His pain goes so deep, it is only capable of coming out in one rush of words. Seven fifty-two. Three numbers. Seven fifty-two. And we die each time he says seven fifty-two.
The first to talk to him is Quinn Perkins. She relays how she saw her life playing out. Marriage, house, family, kids. But it was all taken away by one man, which we discovered earlier in the season was Hollis Doyle. It mirrors how Huck lost his family based on the shadow group he was forced to join. His desire to be with Kim, who became his wife and the mother of his child, overruled his sense of preservation. Even as he liked his new line of work, he was always aware that if they ever found out about her or his son, he would never have them again. He knew how they worked.
The second to talk to him is Abby Whelan. She equates the numbers flowing in a forever stream from his mouth, seven fifty-two, as the number of times he’s done something for Olivia without ever asking why. She is still upset about losing David on Olivia’s say so. She knew David loved her, but Olivia rescued her, and though she may be loved, she owes Olivia everything. And so does Huck. Huck is no longer homeless, has lead a life of productivity since meeting Olivia. He does not feel ashamed of the work he has done for her. She has become his greater good.
The third person to talk to her is Harrison Wright. Harrison is the speech giver. When others start to doubt, to waver in their faith at the altar of Olivia Pope, he rallies the troops. He is the first to call Olivia’s crew “gladiators in suits.” He is the first to jump to Olivia’s defense. He is the one to protect Olivia when Huck is out. He talks to Huck about how his words are all posturing. As much as he wants to think he’s a gladiator in a suit, he knows Huck is the true gladiator. He is in the fray, he makes the kill if necessary. He has done and seen things not fit for mortal eyes – if the mortals are fast talkers in suits. Harrison uses his words to bow to that fact. Harrison acknowledges that no matter how crazy Huck is with his constant repetition of seven fifty-two, he gets to be because of everything he’s been through.
Finally, Olivia, fresh from the hospital and an episode long will they or won’t they with The President, goes to Huck. She tells him that he is the only person she’s known with eyes sadder than hers. She doesn’t give homeless people money, but in his case, she knew something that she hasn’t revealed until now. In “helping” the homeless Huck, she is saved. Not because of her good deed. No, because she was all alone. She takes care of people. She loves those who are hers, but there was no one who has walked on the dark side like she has. No one but Huck. So she didn’t save him at the metro, he saved her.
Huck, at the end of the episode, remembers he has a family. Whatever snapped in him after being left in the dark pit by Command and the shadow group took everything away from him. But even then, he sat at the metro station, his back to a post, his feet firmly planted, his position of comfort, the position he probably spent the entirety in that pit, waiting. He was waiting for that moment. Seven Fifty-Two. 7:52. When he would see his son. His generous, beautiful son. Someone he finally met after not remembering their existence and probably the impetus to allow him to accept Olivia’s help. After being hit on the back by whomever and being trapped in the crate, he has gained something that he thought he’d lost. The memory of his family.
As for Fitz, Olivia, and Mellie – because every episode eventually ends up being about them, no matter how compelling the B story – Fitz has finally told Olivia that he loves her. She tells him that she loves him. Yet how can they be together with everything that’s between them? And when Mellie finds out that Fitz spent the night at Olivia’s side in the hospital, she decides to leave. She warns Fitz that he has a choice. Be with Olivia and, although he would be happy, she would reveal every sordid details of their affair. Or stick with family and make a second bid for president.
Calling the Huck story the B storyline is not fair. It is the bulk of the episode. Hints about future episodes where Olivia once again regains the storyline upper hand was dropped, which is good. This episode was compelling and satisfying, both emotionally and objectively. The flow was very good, the surprises were believable, the way the writers continue to switch who is the good guy and who is the bad guy really worked in this episode. This one makes the viewer excited for the coming episodes and the eventual resolution – or cliffhangers, as the case may be. Yet we still hope we get to see seven fifty-two, or the time he meets his son, brought to a good resolution.