Lindsey Bahr
February 08, 2013 AT 05:00 AM EST

Trust, betrayal, moral compromise, and the importance of legacy. Those were just a few of the subjects tackled on this week’s incredibly dense episode of Scandal. In “Nobody Likes Babies,” President Fitzgerald is confronted with the truth and forced to decide what he’ll do with the information. His turn is truly, truly shocking.

‘Til now, Fitz has been the only clean party. Everyone else — perhaps with the exception Scandal’s moral compass David Rosen — has had some significant involvement in or knowledge of this ever-growing web of deceits. They’ve all protected Fitz from the dirty truths, though. As we’ve heard a number of times this season, they’ve participated in these deals — in the election rigging, in the blatant manipulation of Fitz — to serve the greater good. Whatever evils they’ve had to agree to are worth it if it allows Fitz to be in office. And they’re not just political foot soldiers serving whatever politician they happen to be aligned with in this election cycle. They all believe in Fitz wholeheartedly. To them, he had the potential to be the greatest President there ever was.

Their motives weren’t entirely altruistic, though. Everyone wanted power too. Verna got it with her Supreme Court appointment. Hollis got his pipeline deal. Cyrus got to be Chief of Staff. Mellie got to be First Lady. And Olivia got to be Press Secretary, at least for a little. But as time went on, and everyone got a little overzealous with his or her power and newfound ability to manipulate the system, the edges on the airtight pact of secrecy started to fray. The assassination attempt on Fitz was the breaking point. Everyone has been in a bit of a harried panic since then, resulting in reckless, uninformed and drastic decisions including attempted murder, torture, and perjury.

Last week’s episode ended with a number of startling revelations and cliffhangers. Most urgently, Mellie induced labor four weeks early in a last ditch attempt to save her marriage, and Cyrus gave Charlie the go-ahead to kill Hollis, not knowing of course that Olivia had just discovered Hollis was not in fact the man who paid Becky to kill the President.

Hollis comes out of the elevator unscathed. In a particularly tense moment, we realize it’s not just Hollis and Charlie — Huck is there too. Hilariously, and disturbingly, Hollis doesn’t even know who Huck is. Both Huck and Charlie pull their guns on one another, but Huck settles the score. Hollis will be safe as long as he doesn’t take David Rosen’s deal, which seems fair enough. Whatever his transgressions may include — and rigging a national election is no small for a billion dollar deal is no small offense — Hollis is, first and foremost, self-interested. We’ve been so quick to blame everything on him, we didn’t step back to wonder what Hollis would have actually gained from assassinating Fitz. His immediate alignment with Sally Langston wasn’t even all that incriminating after all — power is power to Hollis and he’ll cozy up to whoever has it.

NEXT: Introducing Theodore “Teddy” Wallace Grant…

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