'Scandal' Tweet-cap: 'Betrayal Always Has a Price'

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"Scandal" -- "Top of the Hour" TONY GOLDWYN, SCOTT FOLEY
"Top of the Hour" - Olivia finds herself in the middle of a media storm, but this time she's on the opposing side of the oval office when Fitz's pick for Supreme Court Justice is caught in a torrid affair with Liv's new client, high-powered CEO Sarah Stanner (Lisa Edelstein). Meanwhile, Olivia and Jake continue their flirtatious relationship, while Huck takes Quinn under his wing and Harrison and Abby try to figure out where they stand with their friendship. Back in the White House, Cyrus and Mellie continue to fight for Fitz's attention, but someone else may already have it, on ABC's "Scandal."

How do you fix betrayal?

t's a question posed to Olivia by her client, Sarah Stanner (Lisa Edelstein), and one that Olivia herself has yet to really solve.

"All you can do is to not let it ruin you," Olivia replies, with a haunted look in her eyes. Because her betrayal of Fitz has ruined her. Will she ever escape from their tormented, passionate relationship and heal? Will he? Will we?

The whole truth

Olivia meets with Jake and they engage in a little flirtation before she gives him the goods: intel on where the hostages taken in Kashfar are located. She can't go through the White House, so congrats Jake … you're the the runner-up!

But their sexy bantering is interrupted, though, with an urgent summons for Olivia. Seems that CEO Sarah Stanner has been implicated in an affair with President Grant's Supreme Court nominee (to replace the deceased Verna), Murray Randall. Gladiator time!

When they arrive at the house, Sarah mistakes Abby for Olivia. It's just a gone-before-you-registered-it moment, but props to the writers for not pretending the world is color-blind.

Once it's established that Olivia is the boss, she runs down exactly what they expect -- the media will dig painfully deep into their lives. And it's in Sarah's best interest if she tells them the truth.

Sarah fesses up: She did have an affair with the professor 15 years ago. Olivia arranges a press conference for her to tell the world, which infuriates Cyrus. He wants this nomination to go smoothly and Olivia just torpedoed his efforts. Plus, the furor only sinks him further down on the list of people Fitz trusts -- though not quite as far as Mellie.

Cyrus can't believe Olivia would do this to him or Fitz, but as she points out, her client is Sarah. To that, he shoots back what might be the best line of the season:

He warns Olivia that he's going to fight her and portray Sarah as a hussy. "Cyrus, do your best," Olivia says.

I spy

Cyrus's team engages in an all-out blitz, using Sarah's old Facebook photos and damning commentary from former law school "friends."

All that leads to Sarah's company threatening to fire her for violating her contract's "morality clause." Harrison argues with a company rep that this wouldn't be happening if Sarah were a man. They back down and she keeps her job.

Meanwhile, Mellie is snooping around because she thinks Fitz is still having an affair with Olivia. After learning of his regular late-night mystery meetings (with Jake), she goes to Cyrus, who is just on fire with the zingers in this episode:

Meanwhile, Jake meets with Olivia. The intel on the hostages seems solid, but can he really trust the source? She assures him he can. Suddenly, a photographer pops up to snap a pic of the two of them. Olivia brushes it off, but Jake looks mighty concerned.

More dirt starts coming up on Sarah and Randall. Turns out the two of them rekindled the affair a couple times, and one time was a year before her daughter was born! Her husband, Phil, wonders whether he's even the father.

Phil freaks, storms out of the house, and knocks down some cameramen until Harrison finally corrals him inside.

Elsewhere in the gladiator-verse, Huck is teaching Quinn how to stalk people. They're tracking CIA Director Osbourne to see if he makes (or picks up) a drop. When Quinn follows him to a dry cleaner though, she doesn't have a good plan and ends up shirtless.

But she is onto something: Why could a big shot like Osbourne pick up his own dry cleaning? She goes back, uses the number she overheard him say, and picks up a bunch of his suits. In one of the pockets, they find an envelope full of cash. Bingo! She stuffs the money back in and returns the suits to the wary dry cleaner.

Fixing you

Back to the case: The new revelations about Sarah's infidelity has put her job back in jeopardy. Olivia assigns Harrison and Abby to work on that while she babysits the couple.

Her phone rings -- it's Fitz (deep breath). He's pissed and drunk. Why didn't she think he was good enough to be president, he wonders. Tears form in Olivia's eyes; of course, she thought he was good enough.

"I trusted you, you know. You were all I had," Fitz spits out. "You ruined me. I'm ruined."

"I'm ruined," Olivia shoots back.

"I don't care," Fitz sighs. They hang up.

Olivia goes back into the house, after overhearing Phil demand a paternity test.

"You have some job. Fixer. How do you fix betrayal?" Sarah continues.

"You did what you thought was best at the time. Even if it was wrong, you thought it was best," Olivia says about Sarah/her own situation. "You can't change the choice you made. All you can do is to not let it ruin you."

She really needs to start listening to her own advice.

Meanwhile, Jake gives the hostage intel to the president, who subsequently orders another rescue attempt. As he and his staff watch the rescue unfold, Jake breaks into that photographer's house, beats/kills him, and takes the camera.

(The hostages are rescued, BTW.)

At gladiator HQ, Harrison still hasn't found a way out of the morality clause. Abby snarks about what he did to her and David's relationship, and he apologizes. But she says she's over it. "I now live in a world where I know you're a gladiator first and a person second," she shrugs. Ouch.

They come up with a plan to save Sarah's job: bluff! They take a box to the company's board meeting, which they claim is full of dirt they dug up on each one of them. Abby is about to open Pandora's (empty) box … but one of the board members stops her just in time.

Thanks to the hostage rescue, the media blitz is over. Sarah is grateful to Olivia and team for all they've done, but they're not quite done yet. Olivia has the results of the paternity test and slides it over to Phil. It doesn't matter what it says, though, she tells him. He thinks about it for a moment and then tears it in half.

At the White House, Mellie's snooping paid off and she obtains information that Cyrus might find interesting. Fitz isn't cheating on her, she gloats while handing him a picture of Jake. He's cheating on Cyrus!

Jake, meanwhile, comes over to Olivia's apartment. He's still bruised from the skirmish with the photog, which he explains away as a mugging. Poor thing! Olivia goes to get him some ice, he settles down on the couch, and smiles into his own planted camera. Supercreepy.

And that's not all. CIA Director Osbourne gets a call … from his dry cleaner, who texts him a photo.

Guess Quinn needed a few more lessons in stealth from Huck before trying to be all assassin-y.

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"Scandal" airs Thursdays at 10 PM on ABC.