Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) could really use some girl time.
It seems like all of Scandal‘s leading lady’s problems trace back to the men in her life, from her diabolical father to her ex-lovers. But who would have thought she was sleeping with the enemy during her fling with the rando she picked up at a bar?
That’s right, Gladiators: In the biggest #TGIT twist of the season, Liv’s new man stabbed Jake (Scott Foley) – and it looks like the captain may really be gone for good.
Most Scandalous Moments
• Daddy dearest is back. Rowan (Joe Morton) used his daughter’s slam piece Franklin Russell (Brian White) to get into her apartment, pouring himself a glass of red wine while demanding that she “fix” her friends’ plan to blow the whistle on B613 within 48 hours. Russell was tied up, unconscious behind Olivia’s couch when Papa Pope left, but she did her best to act schwasted. He wasn’t convinced and came back later, suspicious about why he had blacked out that night (or so we thought!), but Liv distracted him with some truly steamy sex, role-playing as her alter ego, Alex.
• In a plot we can only assume is an homage to R. Kelly’s “Trapped in a Closet,” Olivia reunited with local activist Marcus (Cornelius Smith Jr.) – now a mayoral candidate – from “The Lawn Chair,” the show’s very powerful episode about the shooting of an unarmed black teen. But this time, Marcus wasn’t crossing a police line: He was hiding in a closet while his mistress, the incumbent mayor’s wife, got slaughtered in her bed by a masked man.
• Huck (Guillermo Déaz), Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Olivia cleaned up the crime scene and dumped the body, setting it up like a missing person’s case instead of an armed robbery gone wrong. Through their usual sleuthing and hacking, they discovered Mayor Verano had hired his driver/mobster to fake a break-in, kill his wife and frame Marcus.
• Meanwhile, a Congresswoman’s early pregnancy meant Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) needed his new VP Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani) to be the deciding vote in his bill to stop police brutality, inspired by Brandon Parker’s death and his promise to the boy’s father. But instead of just voting because the party asked her to, Susan pored over all 1,200 pages of the bill for hours, eventually convincing an exasperated Fitz that the legislation was a “useless, unenforceable” series of political compromises. “I’m not wasting your time,” she insisted. “This bill is wasting America’s time.” So they went back to the drawing board together, distracting the press from the delay by letting Mellie (Bellamy Young) finally announce her bid for senator of Virginia. Next stop, the Oval Office, where she’ll probably be 100 times the president her husband is.
• Olivia presented Marcus with two options: He could admit he was there during the murder and testify that the mayor was behind it, or use his knowledge to blackmail his opponent into conceding. “Justice or your career,” Olivia put it bluntly. “I can only get you one.” He changed his mind mid-press conference, outing the mayor. “I am a sinner. But he is a murderer,” he told the crowd. “That is the truth. And this is a lie.”
• Marcus was the foil to Olivia’s character throughout the episode: Both dealing with their personal idea of racial identity, both having affairs with people in positions of political power yet seemingly choosing different paths. And when Marcus gave up his campaign for his conscience, he seemed to help Liv learn that she wasn’t a lost cause. She decided to stick by David (Joshua Malina), Huck and Jake (Scott Foley), refusing to shut down their B613 takedown just to save herself. So she confronted Papa Pope – but he was proud of her, happy that she was finally thinking for herself, becoming a “warrior,” and sacrificing Fitz as “kindling” to burn in her quest. “We may be on different sides, but at least you’ve become a worthy opponent,” he said. But when Olivia asked him not to allow any causalities in their war, he smirked.
• Flash to Jake in Pope & Associates’ empty offices, looking for Olivia. A man attacked him with a knife, and after Jake pulled off his mask, he was revealed to be Liv’s booty call. Russell, it turned out, was working for Rowan all along. He seemingly stabbed Jake to death, and actor Scott Foley’s live Tweets don’t make a recovery look very promising.
• “Do you want to dig into some Freud, baby? … No matter how white the knight, all men are, in fact, just like your father.” – Rowan
• “I know you, because the apple does not fall from the tree, Olivia, poisoned though it may be.” – Rowan
• “I think we go old school on this one. Classic fluff and fold?” – Quinn choosing how to dispose of a body with Huck
• “You’re a fetus in the world of Washington politics.” – Fitz to Susan
Questions for Next Week
• Um, just one: IS JAKE REALLY DEAD?! Say it ain’t so, Shonda.
This Week, We’re Team …
Jake. And not just because he may be dearly departed, or because we feel bad for thinking he’d gone totally psycho last episode. In a quick, quiet moment, Jake went to Olivia’s office just to show that he’s there. Not to creepily “check in” (a.k.a. spy on her over scotches with Fitz), but just to silently support her whenever she needs it. That’s what Olivia truly needs: stability over drama. Vermont over D.C. But in Shondaland, we’re not confident she’ll get that any time soon.