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Scandal Takes The Phrase 'Cavity Search' To New Extremes

Abby will go to great lengths to fulfill her part in the shadowy conspiracy surrounding Frankie Vargas's assassination.

No one goes into an episode of Scandal expecting fairy tales and lollipops. It's a dark and often violent show, full of shocking twists and turns. (I refuse to call them "OMG Moments" no matter what ABC says.)

This season has been no disappointment in the stunning revelations department, since it began with the assassination of President-Elect Frankie Vargas. Each episode since then has gone back and filled in a little more of the events that led up to that tragedy from the perspective of a different character, each of whom had a part to play: Olivia, Cyrus, Jake, Rowan, and Huck. And in this week's episode, we learn the huge part that Abby played, and also exactly what Abby was willing to do -- first for power, and later to keep her loved ones alive.

Despite the misleading final scene from the previous episode, Abby wasn't the evil mastermind behind the whole thing. Instead, we learn, while she was planning on running Fitz's charitable foundation, she was approached by some "donors" who turned out to be -- wait for it -- the same Shadowy Organization that has been behind everything else this season: the dynamic duo of Mr. Peyos and Ms. Ruland.

Ruland and Peyos offer Abby everything she's secretly ever wanted -- serious money to fund her run for President so she can have her own power instead of being the woman behind the man. You know, I never really believed that Abby wanted to be the woman behind the man, much less the woman in front of the man. This whole motivation seemed false, although I guess it's to be expected on a show that rests on the idea that anyone is secretly prepared to do terrible things for a shot at power. Personally, I'd rather just take a nice nap. And since Fitz seems prepared to toss his political life and go make jam in Vermont (and maybe also take naps), Abby is sorely tempted.

But as soon as Abby accepts the money, the demands start coming. The night Vargas is killed, Ruland tells Abby to shut down the hospital or she will reveal that Abby's money came from a bank known for terrorist money-laundering. Abby complies, but then Meg (Huck's fake girlfriend/assassin from last week) shows up in nurse's scrubs and demands that Abby swipe the three bullets that killed Vargas and replace them with three fakes to set up Cyrus. Abby has finally had ENOUGH and tells Meg to stuff it; she'll face the terrorism charges. Meg whips out a phone and shows Abby that they have Leo. Remember Leo? Her boyfriend who's apparently still around?

Abby blackmails a military surgeon into starting the autopsy even though Fitz hasn't officially declared Vargas dead (is Fitz the Medical Examiner now too?), and then rats the surgeon out to the Secret Service so that they will stop him before Fitz finds out. It's all good, right? The Secret Service agents lead the surgeon away and Abby promises to stay behind with the body.

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And then comes That Moment when Abby shakily starts to pocket the real bullets that the surgeon dug out of Varga's half-autopsied body, which lies flayed on the table. She realizes that the surgeon had only removed the first two bullets, which means that the third one is still somewhere in Vargas's abdominal cavity. Abby knows her time is limited, and Leo's life is on the line, so she takes a deep breath, dons a surgical glove, and PLUNGES HER HAND INTO VARGAS'S BODY. After rummaging around for a moment, she finds the bullet and completes the swap just before the Secret Service returns.

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Girl, same.

When people ask you what lengths you would go to for a loved one, you think in terms of sacrificing your own life for theirs, probably. Or taking care of them when they're sick. Or giving up something you really wanted so that they can follow a dream. But if they included in the wedding vows, "For richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, and also I will shove my gloved hand into a corpse to dig out a bullet to save your life"? I might have thought twice about getting married.

It's cold comfort for Abby that she gets Leo back safe, since she soon discovers that she's helped to set up Cyrus to get the death penalty. So when Huck arrives to tell her that Jennifer Fields is still alive, thanks to Jake, Abby uses that information to try to get Cyrus freed. Of course, what she doesn't realize is that her gambit will lead to Huck bleeding out on the floor, but honestly? After sticking her hand in a dead body? I don't know if she even cares.

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