I cannot start this recap without first saying how excited I am to be here, taking over for the awesomeness that is Danielle Henderson! I am Luvvie, Scandal overanalyzer, lover of white suits before Olivia showed up, and eater of popcorn only on special occasions (because what takes 5 minutes to consume should not take 45 minutes to dislodge from between your teeth). I will be your Gladiator in recaps henceforth. Let’s begin.
Fitz wants to know what happened to Olivia and wants every acronym alerted (the CIA, FBI, DEA, OPP, TGIF …). Some shifty Secret Service men show up instead and tell him he better not call anyone because the walls (and White House staff) talk, and the last thing he’d want is his beloved Liv hurt. The message is: The VP is not playing and the president's gotta STFU, or else.
When he’s alone with Mellie, helping her adjust her pearls, she tells him she’s been doing the horizontal boogie with VP Andrew Nichols. Worst. Night. Ever. He calls the VP and says that if it's war he wants, he needs to prove that Liv is alive and well.
Ian gets Olivia to record a message saying she’s alive, but midway through, she asks for a glass of water and takes it to the head. The message is an ultimatum that the president has to declare war on West Angola in 48 hours. Again, or else. Secret Service Threatening Dude shows the video to Fitz, who is left looking like someone stole his favorite college T-shirt. You know, the one that we’ve all had for 15 years and it’s been with us through the best and worst of times? That one.
As Liz North tucks her daughter in, Huck shows up and says that if she doesn’t tell him who took Liv, her daughter might get hurt. Aw, hell. She swears that she has no idea, but will definitely find out! The next day, she goes to see the VP and flips out because she wanted war in West Angola, but she certainly didn’t ask him to do all this. Andrew is McKayla Maroney–levels of unimpressed. She did say she wanted war, so she can’t punk out now. Plus, he’s gunning for the president’s seat.
Fitz goes to see Tom Larsen, who has applied for a pardon, but of course that’s not what he’s there to address. His ex-main dude tells him “Sorry, not sorry” about that whole killing-his-son business. Apparently, “He was a sacrifice. I am a sacrifice. A brush that needs to be cleared for the path of history.” Tom must think he's living in the Old Testament. Fitz wonders whom he can trust in his detail, and where he can speak without being spied on. The answers: NO ONE, and Liv’s house. So he goes there, leaves his men outside, and meets Jake in her bedroom. He hands him the jump drive of her ultimatum video and says they have two days to save her.
The Gladiators (Huck and Quinn) watch the video repeatedly until they notice that in the glass cup she holds to her mouth, they see a reflection of the man who kidnapped her. HUZZAH! Liv: forever Gladiating, even when locked up!
Ian wants to bet Olivia that the president will declare war, because basically men are full of feels and wars are often based on their bruised egos and sometimes sex. When my ego’s hurt, I just let your phone call go to voicemail. I gotta think bigger.
Back at Olivia Pope and Associates, an older black woman walks in and asks, “Where’s the black lady? The one in charge.” Her name is Rose and Olivia is the only person she wants to talk to, so she leaves.
After a meeting on West Angola in the war room, Cyrus goes back to his office pissed, wondering why the hell the president is listening to the VP, the dude he hates most. He feels like something’s up. The Gladiators have hit a dead end after running the facial recognition software 22 times and getting no hits on the guy in Liv’s glass's reflection.
At home, Liz opens the door to her daughter’s bedroom and finds Huck sitting there. He needs to know where Liv is and he’s brought his box of tools to help. EEEK! I would've just started naming random cities at that point.
Fitz can’t trust anybody in the White House, so he goes out to the balcony. Mellie joins him and he pulls her real close and whispers that Liv will die because Andrew wants to go to war but he cannot bend to that will. His wife asks him if he loves his mistress; and if he does, he has to go to war. She’s a better person than me. If that were my husband’s mistress, I’d be all, “Well, what will we wear for her funeral?” The next day, Cyrus and Abby look on, shocked, as the president declares war on West Angola.
Afterward, he tells Andrew to let Liv go and realizes that he is going to keep her captive with an ever-growing list of demands. I WANNA FIGHT ANDREW’S SMUG FACE.
Rose comes back to ask for “the black lady” again because her friend Lois is missing and Liv had a key to her apartment. AHA! Quinn and the boys go to Lois’s crib and Huck finds the ring Liv left. They crack the internet connection to find out who last logged in, which leads them to identifying the dude in the glass: Ian, a.k.a. Claude Jolie, a.k.a. Martin St. John. Still, they can’t track down his location.
In lockup, Ian tells Olivia that they’ll be together for a while because she’s there until the president’s second term is over. Ain’t nobody got time for that, man.
Liz goes to Mellie and says she has nothing to do with Liv’s kidnapping and shows her the scars Huck left: He went to work on her back. Andrew is still a dust rag who will not be returning Liv anytime soon, but FLOTUS goes to see him and they end up making out. Because BOOM CHICKA WOW WOW.
The president gives a pissed-off Cyrus a report on West Angola and tells him to read it. When Beene opens it later on, there’s a little note that says, “They have Olivia.”
Ian brings Liv a newspaper, saying the U.S. has suffered many casualties in the war and she pulls his punk card. She tells him to sell her on the black market because, as the object of the president’s desire, she would be priceless. “Do you wanna be a babysitter or do you wanna be a boss?” Is "babysitting boss" an option? Does it come with benefits? How many paid vacation days?
Mellie lays something so proper on VP Andrew that after they make the sex-romp, he's passed out so good that she's able to steal all three of his phones. She hands them to Liz, who takes them to OPA so Huck won’t try to make a grilled-cheese sandwich out of her back again. The phones allow them to track Ian down to Harrisburg. HARRISBURG. This entire time, they were an Uber ride away?! DAFUQ? Jake gets David to call the DEA about a drug raid, but when they show up at the warehouse, the only thing left behind is Liv’s cardigan.
In the war room, as Fitz finds out that 33 Americans have died in West Angola, someone walks in and hands him the phone. It’s Olivia. He only hears her “Hi” when Ian takes the phone: He is selling his prized jewel to the highest bidder. Huck is getting a billion pings, because the shady streets are talking. He knows this is Liv’s doing.
Olivia seems to somehow have managed to talk Ian into selling her and getting her a premium press, because her hair is looking very luscious and luxurious for being a kidnapping victim. There’s nothing worse than being kidnapped and having tangled hair. I feel you, Liv.
Where is Ian taking Olivia? What hair products did she use when she got that first wash? What moves did Mellie put on Andrew to make him fall asleep so good? These are answers I need.