Huck and Quinn aren't exactly hospitable hosts to torture victim Russell

By Michele Corriston
Updated May 07, 2015 11:30 PM
Nicole Wilder/ABC

The writers of Scandal haven’t been afraid to get political this season, and Thursday night was no exception.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) took on a military rape case, and the episode crackled with her passion for justice. Plus, resident torture experts Huck (Guillermo Déaz) and Quinn (Katie Lowes) tried to get Russell (Brian White) to reveal the meaning of Foxtail, a code word the Gladiators knew only from his call with Rowan (Joe Morton).

Read on to learn whether they succeeded – and for more on the final-act twist that set the show for a sure-to-be-insane finale.

Most Scandalous Moments

• While at a photo op with the Navy, Vice President Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani) noticed bruise marks on a young female officer’s wrist. So she essentially kidnapped the woman, bringing her to the White House, and demanding that Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) take action. But, because sexual assault in the armed forced is handled by the Defense Department, he insisted his hands were tied. With Olivia’s help, the officer, Amy Martin, had to present her case to a military tribunal. Out of all the outlandish plot lines on Scandal, this one was among the scariest – and all too real.

• Liv played nurse to Jake (Scott Foley), who was recovering from his near-death experience in between her sheets – sadly, it was totally platonic. Across the hall, Huck and Quinn tortured Russell into a bloody mess, but he still wouldn’t give Papa Pope up. Jake told Liv it was futile and finally pointed out that the way Olivia met Russell was almost exactly how he had entered her life – on a mission for Rowan. “A guy runs into you in a public place. It seems random, casual, he flirts a little … he says all the right things … it’s all just enough to pique your interest,” Jake explained. “We both came off the same assembly line. The only difference is, I’m in love with you.” Swoon!

• The Navy assigned Amy a bumbling but sweet JAG lawyer, Virgil Punkett (Dan Byrd of Cougar Town and, most importantly, A Cinderella Story fame), who idolized her rapist, the decorated Admiral John Holly. Holly intimidated Amy and made sure she was stuck on their ship, and the Pentagon blocked Olivia’s attempt to secure activity logs to verify his alibi.

• Mellie (Bellamy Young) was devastated to learn that to win the women’s vote in her Senate election, she needed to attend a rally in Springfield, the very place that Little Jerry died last season. And Fitz’s refusal to intervene in Amy’s rape case only upset her more. Eventually, they devised a brilliant plan like the power couple they were always meant to be (though to be fair, Liv’s late-night call definitely coaxed him to do the right thing).

• Jake asked Huck if he could have a go with Russell, and he … untied him? Handed him a beer? Sure, he had Russell at gunpoint, but they traded B613 war stories like the best of pals and made each other giggle with their spot-on impressions of Rowan’s deep, stilted voice. Oh, and they made fun of his taste in music (“Bitch please, why are we pretending it’s 1973?”) and refreshments (“The wine is just pretentious.”) “Okay, you can tie me back up now,” Russell said after their bro-bonding. “Bring in the crazy dude. I’m good to go.”

• Fitz gave Olivia the documents she needed to nail Holly, and she figured out that his alibi only checked out because another officer swiped his security ID. Security footage of Holly dragging Amy into his office leaked online, and the admiral confessed. In Springfield, Mellie overcame her grief and used Fitz’s tepid response to the crisis to bolster her own stance, telling the cheering crowd that as a senator, she’d form an independent judicial body for sexual assault claims. Go, Mellie!

• Olivia and Abby (Darby Stanchfield) realized Virgil was an impostor, that he’d drugged Huck to free Russell. Meanwhile, Mellie was whisked away to meet a donor with deep pockets … Papa Pope! As it turns out, Foxtail is her codename, meaning Rowan’s scheming involves doing something evil to the first lady.

Best Quotes

• “If you find out that Foxtail means, say, ‘Assassinate David Rosen,’ I’d appreciate a heads-up.” –David

• “I’m a woman. Why don’t I have women?” –Mellie

• “What about murdering the vice president? How long has that been illegal?” –Cyrus

• “Kill me once, shame on me. Kill me twice … ” –Jake to Russell

• “If they caught me, they would hang me by my thumbs in the town square.” –Fitz
“Washington doesn’t have a town square.” –Olivia
“Trust me, the democrats would build one for me.” –Fitz

• “Y’all are some crafty ladies.” –(Fake) Virgil Plunkett

Questions for Next Week

• Who’s getting killed off next week? We heard at least three characters are on on the chopping block.

• What does Papa Pope have in store for Mama Grant?

• Will Liv find love with Fitz or Jake again, or is she destined to ride the finale out solo?

This Week, We’re Team …

Susan. Fitz’s initial “not my problem, my job sucks” attitude toward rape was particularly upsetting given the fact that his late father forced himself on Mellie, and we were all about Jake until he bonded with new beer buddy Russell. But Susan and Olivia? They’re kind of a dream team of strong, independent women. Squad goals, ladies.

Scandal Recap from People Now

Scandal airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on ABC.