You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family.
That is the horrific lesson that Olivia Pope learned five years ago and learns again in the present day. And boy, did she get the unluckiest draw when it comes to fathers: Rowan/Eli is pretty evil. No wonder Olivia strives to wear the white hat — it's a response to the fact that her dad wears the darkest, blackest hat around.
This week's episode picks up right where last week's left off: The White House (aka Cyrus) has leaked Jeanine Mason's name as Fitz's mistress. The media is going wild. Olivia is representing the innocent woman, but she's facing formidable foes who want Jeanine to be the face of the affair.
Will the white hat prevail this time? Check out our tweet-cap!
YES! #Scandal starts off with a flashback. LUV— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
The flashback takes place five years ago, since Huck is still living in that subway station. Olivia is friendly to him, but has to run — to dinner with her father! Apparently, she has to see him every Sunday for him to pay for her law school. Way to extort, dad.
Also, Liv thinks Eli Pope works for the dinosaur department at the Smithsonian. Ha!
Olivia also mentions she has a boyfriend, who turns out to be someone we know: Sen. Edison Davis. Yeah, that guy.
Yay, Edison is back - said nobody ever #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
Later, Liv is taking the subway home when she gets attacked by two muggers. But she's saved by Huck, who takes them down with the ease of a trained operative. Not exactly dirty homeless guy stuff, so Liv is shocked. Who is Huck, really?
Back in the present day, Olivia gets a call from Fitz. They do their shmoopy "Hi" thing, then get right to business. She has no intention of letting up on the White House; she's going after them for slandering Jeanine. But before they hang up, they can't resist indulging in some shmoop again, wistfully fantasizing about their alternate-universe life in Vermont, in which Fitz is a small-town mayor and Olivia stays home to make … jam?
Cyrus is outraged that Liv is going after them like this, but Fitz is just amused. This is Olivia freakin' Pope. Puh-lease.
Down the Rabbit Hole
Flashback again: Olivia asks Huck how he learned to fight, and after some prodding, he admits to being part of a CIA op called B-613. He rambles about a place called Wonderland and the head honcho, called "Command."
Later, Olivia has another dinner with Eli. By the way, Five Years Ago Olivia didn't like wine. Things have really changed!
"I don't like wine. I don't really have the taste for it." - Flashback Olivia. LOLOLOL #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
At dinner, Liv tells Eli what she learned from Huck and asks him to look into it. Oh, Liv, if only you knew.
Present day: Fitz meets with Cyrus and Mellie in the Oval Office. He wants to clear Jeanine's name, despite their objections.
Fitz: I'm the president and I call the shots. Cyrus and Mellie: Rolling their eyes #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
Of course, as soon as he leaves the room, Cy and Mel plot like the Plot Monsters they are. She tells him to sync up the times she was traveling with times that Jeanine worked late, then leak that to the press.
It works like gangbusters. Suddenly, there's "proof" that the Fitz mouse was playing while the Mel cat was away. At Pope & Associates, Liv is livid. She orders Abby to dig up instant message records proving that Jeanine wasn't working late at the White House alone.
[Related: A Day in the Life of a 'Scandal' Extra]
But when Liv returns to the office, she finds a very unwelcome visitor there: her dad. Rowan/Eli warns her that if she ever wants to see Jake Ballard again, she'll let Jeanine be branded as Fitz's mistress.
Visibly disturbed, Olivia seeks answers from Huck: Is Jake dead? What have they done to him?
Olivia learns Jake is probably in the hole. That's how big of a monster Daddy Dearest really is #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
Then, she starts visiting the morgue on a regular basis to see if any of the bodies is Jake's. Yeah, what every woman wants to do for an ex-boyfriend. Even more awkward? Asking your president ex-boyfriend to find out what happened to that other ex-boyfriend.
"Bring Him Back"
Flashback: Huck has disappeared from the subway. At one of their dinners, Eli tells Olivia that Huck has a long rap sheet and is probably in jail. So, she goes to talk to an acquaintance named David Rosen (sporting some terrible facial hair, BTW). David says Huck's record is clean — somebody lied to her.
That triggers Olivia's Pope Overdrive: She starts piecing things together. The Acme pen her dad gave her. The name of his building. That the building's cross street is Wonderland.
She storms off to dinner. "What. Do. You. Do. For. A. Living?" Olivia spits out. Then eyes wide, she asks, "Dad — do you teach people how to kill?"
"Do you work in Wonderland?" - Liv. Creepy! And as a bonus, a nice promotion for ABC's new show. #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
"I'm your father," Eli intones, then warns her she can't handle the truth. She walks out on him. Yeah!
In the present: Quinn is hacking into Liv's emails to learn more about her dad. Huck is horrified. "You should try to be less like me," he says.
Quinn, honey, you know something's wrong when HUCK is disturbed by your actions #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
At the White House, Fitz is trying to find out what happened to Jake, for Liv's sake. Cyrus notes that Fitz isn't B-613's favorite person right now.
Over at Pope & Associates, Olivia and team are prepping Jeanine for a big TV interview. They're giving her a makeover and coaching her on answers, but this is all too much for a lowly aide. She was supposed to be talking about bills, not shopping!
"I'm going to get you through this," Olivia promises.
Ah, but whenever Liv comes up with a plan, who's there to ruin it? Mellie, of course. She lures Jeanine into a private conversation. "Let's talk about your future," Mel purrs.
Back to five years ago: Liv shows up to dinner at Eli's house — with a guest! She brings Edison along, but mostly as a tool for revenge. Liv gleefully notes that Edison just got posted to the Senate intelligence committee. "Give Huck back to me," Liv whisper-yells. Or else!
A Rock and a Hard Place
In the present, Abby is still trying to get those IM transcripts exonerating Jeanine, but runs into a wall — a wall that Jeanine herself put up! Liv realizes that someone got to her and delays the interview.
Meanwhile, Fitz calls Liv with the news that Jake is alive, but there's nothing he can do to get him out of the hole. "There is a reason we're not happy — so you could be president," she barks. "You bring him back."
It becomes clear that Olivia has a difficult choice: preserve Jeanine's reputation, or save Jake. So, she calls her dad and offers him a deal:
Wow, Liv must really care about Jake - she puts Sunday dinners with her father back on the table? Dayum #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
As Liv whisper-yells at Jeanine for taking $2 million in exchange for lying about the affair, the TV producers say they're being pre-empted … by the president himself! Oh, no, what is he going to say in this press conference?
Seems that Fitz has made the Jeanine-or-Jake choice for Olivia — and he's chosen Jake. And now, Cyrus is going to get Captain Ballard out of the hole.
Flashback: Olivia is happy to see Huck back in the subway, when her father calls. He wants her to be happy, which apparently doesn't involve being in a relationship with Edison (well, we'd agree with that).
Seems Edison was in a terrible accident — which Eli totally engineered — and could've died. Aghast, Olivia declares she's done with her father.
After Fitz's press conference, Quinn goes to Huck. She never stopped digging into Olivia and Eli's relationship, and has the last email they exchanged five years ago. The email is about Huck. He realizes that, contrary to what she said to Charlie and other B-613 agents, Olivia made a deal to reprieve Huck. And that deal was with her father.
Angry and confused, Huck confronts Olivia. And an angry Huck is a very scary Huck. He grabs her and slams her against a car. Is her father "Command"? Yes, yes he is.
That Huck/Olivia confrontation was worse than any romantic breakup ever #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) October 11, 2013
At home, Olivia sits with her wine (because now she has a lot to drink away). She gets a call from Eli, who tells her to open the front door.
"Go to hell!" she screams, but he insists.
When Olivia opens the door, a bloody Jake is standing there. He's out of the hole!
Watch the full episode:
"Scandal" airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.