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Scandal Recap: Olivia Pope Is a Hostage

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Nicole Wilder/ABC

Murder and torture are mainstays on Scandal. But it’s still the kind of steamy drama you watch curled up on your couch with a glass of red wine in one hand and your phone teed up with sassy tweets about Scott Foley‘s abs in the other.

Not this week. From the How to Get Away with Murder-like time jumps (we see you, Shonda) to the Homeland-style setting, this wasn’t the Scandal we’ve grown to love. It was something new, something darker and far more sinister than Pope & Associates has ever tried to fix.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), the woman who wears the white hat and leads her gladiators into battle – arguably one of the most powerful people in Washington – lost control.

Team Fitz or Team Jake? It didn’t matter. Like dream sequence Abby (Darby Stanchfield) said, “There is no man to rescue you. … You are the only gladiator in the place.”

Most Scandalous Moments

• Jake (Foley) and Olivia shippers got to see their boozy dance session from just about every angle imaginable, and we’ll never tire of the usually prim and proper Olivia propositioning him for piano sex.

• We knew Olivia was kidnapped, but we had no idea she’d been taken to the apartment just across the hall – and neither did Jake, who chased a decoy car in his tighty whities. (Hey, we’re not complaining!)

• Neighbor Lois, we hardly knew ya, but we were still shocked to see Liv’s captors remove their masks just to shoot you at point-blank range.

• Olivia woke up in a cell in what appeared to be the Middle East and comforted her fellow captive, Ian. Alas, Ian bore the brunt of her attempt at “fixing” this problem when he was punished (and presumably killed) after she tried to escape through the bunker’s bathroom window. At least she gained a valuable life skill: Fashioning a shiv out of a bra’s underwire.

• As Liv dreamed about a better life to keep from going crazy (a technique Jake pioneered), her thoughts turned from Jake rescuing her to a picture-perfect romance with President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) in Vermont: He’s a mayor, she makes jam, it’s everything they’ve ever wanted. But when Abby crashed the subconscious party as the voice of reason, Olivia realized neither might may be what she truly needs.

• The biggest scandal of the episode (and likely the entire series) came when Olivia managed to escape by clubbing one kidnapper over the head with a bathroom sink pipe and shooting the other. She ran away in slow motion – the words of her father, friends and lovers rushing through her head – and unlocked the red door that should lead to freedom … only to wind up on a set that rivaled The Truman Show. The building she’d been held in was actually inside a giant warehouse. The glimpses of a Middle Eastern market she’d seen and the sounds of a bazaar? Just a projection screen. And Ian, with his hair slicked back and telltale “I’m the villain” suspenders firmly in place, revealed himself to be the evil mastermind. After their kidnapped buddy vent sessions, he had learned Fitz loves her – and was going to use it against her.

Best Quotes

• “I’m Olivia Pope … it’s funny, because it’s useless.” –Olivia to Ian

• “Really? Do you even know how to use a dutch oven?” –Imaginary Abby questioning Liv’s jam-making abilities

Questions for Next Week

• Who is Ian, and, if he didn’t know she was connected to Fitz from the outset, why did he take Olivia?

• How long has Olivia been M.I.A?

• Can the Gladiators fix this without their fearless leader?

This Thursday, We’re Team …

• Olivia. Liv appeared to be truly on her own for once. Besides, we didn’t have enough shirtless screen time to decide whether Fitz or Jake looked more delicious.