Hey, everyone! I'm Rae Sanni and I'm recapping this week's crazy episode of Scandal while Phoebe's away. She'll be back next week to drop gems like she always does. Let's get started!
Abby has been having Fitz's former reporter bae Lillian Forrester tailed, even after the end of their affair. Smart move on Abby's part, who learns that Lillian is making suspicious hospital visits. Abby assumes that Lillian is pregnant, but is interrupted with even worse news during her admonishment of the president.
Elsewhere, Mellie is celebrating her bump in the polls. Olivia tells Mellie that she thinks it would do well to pursue the Latino vote and an endorsement by Cardinal Suarez, despite the fact that Mellie is divorced and has views that don't align with the Catholic Church. Ignoring Mellie's vocal concerns, Liv takes a call from a very agitated Abby.
Quinn, who was staking out the hospital Lillian had visited, gives Olivia the clear to go inside and meet with a patient — and it's former Vice-President Andrew Nichols. Yeah, the dude who was Fitz's homeboy until he hooked up with his homeboy/boss's wife, slept with Elizabeth North, plotted a war with West Angola, staged a bombing, and kidnapped Olivia. That dude. Remember how Huck had Andrew injected him with a substance that caused a stroke and put him into a coma? Well, now he is awake, though in a wheelchair and verbally impaired, and he has some truths he wants to tell. Andrew is ready to tell the press (i.e., Lillian) that Fitz declared war solely to retrieve Olivia. Of course, Olivia is stunned; she had no idea that someone on her team had done this. Olivia threatens Andrew because she is good at that sort of stuff, then sets off to convene a meeting with Fitz, Cyrus, Mellie, Elizabeth, Abby, and David to discuss the Nichols problem.
So, they all get together in some random basement kitchen. Cyrus is amused while Mellie, Elizabeth, and Fitz toss blame at one another. It's soon revealed that Cyrus has full immunity, which he negotiated into his contract when he was briefly brought back into the White House. Linda alludes to murdering Andrew, but Fitz is decent enough to say no, and Olivia lectures her as though she had nothing to do with Susan Ross's baby-daddy's suicide. Abby takes control of the kitchen and decides that Mellie must use her feminine wiles to persuade Andrew. Before they leave, Abby also demands the group destroy any physical evidence that could corroborate Andrew's version of events.
Once he's alone with Olivia, Fitz thanks her "for coming when I called." Olivia responds, "You didn't call, Abby did!" It's soaked in SUBTEXT the way Olitz conversations always are, but also, come on. Pretending to prioritize her friendship with Abby over her love/fascination for Fitz? LOL, no.
We see a restless Olivia having a nightmare about her captivity, undoubtedly triggered by Andrew's return. The next day, as she walks into work, she figures out that Huck must have been the one who poisoned Andrew. This means Huck will have to get dirty when Olivia tries to resolve the Andrew problem. Marcus, still pretty much that annoying freshman no one wants around, pops into the OPA office and is popped right back out by Olivia, who would rather commit conspiracy with Huck and Quinn.
Later on, Elizabeth finds Huck and tries to get him to commit to giving Andrew another dose of whatever was in that needle. Huck refuses at first. But then he agrees, because duh.
At Vargas campaign headquarters, Frank, Cyrus, and Alex watch a potential ad that features the governor's heroics at the capitol shooting. Frank is uncomfortable with this depiction of himself, but Alex wants to focus on the incident. Cyrus shows up Alex by suggesting they put photos of the governor's heroism out into the social-media space via grassroots means, without Frank having to tout his heroism. Frank is okay with this plan, and Alex very clearly does not like being upstaged. While Alex watches the footage from the shooting, he catches Cyrus's secret bae agent Tom in the background, which piques his interest.
Mellie visits Andrew at the hospital and he isn't buying what she is selling. She reminds him that he broke her heart by choosing Fitz over their relationship. He apologizes, and she wipes his spittle without gagging. Mellie, laying it on pretty thick, suggests that his recovery is a gift from God, and holds his hand affectionately. Andrew, seeing through the manipulation, demands she touch him where she used to if she's real. She ain't, so he sends her on her way.
Olivia visits her father, who is sharing a meal with Jake. Olivia gives them information on Lillian Forrester and asks them to tail her. Rowan hints at murdering Lillian, but Olivia opts for the "keep Lillian alive" choice. Rowan reminds Olivia that they aren't as dissimilar as she likes to think.
At the hospital, Huck sedates Andrew. He's taken to a bunker under the White House with Abby, Huck, and Liv. Liv delivers her pitch to Andrew, and he counters with a demand of $10 million, adding that Olivia must represent him in his pursuit of a book deal.
Olivia arrives at OPA, where Marcus tries to talk to her after several failed attempts to reach her by phone. She's rude and dismissive as always, only this time, he's telling her that Cardinal Suarez has been waiting on her for 25 minutes.
Jake and Rowan learn Lillian is dropping Andrew's story in 48 hours, which allows Olivia to convene another basement kitchen meeting. Mellie refuses to help Fitz pay Andrew's blackmail money. When Andrew is presented with a $10 million deal that includes a nondisclosure agreement and a promise to recant Lillian's story, he demands the money first. Olivia agrees and instructs Huck to do his computer-hacking magic. That's when Andrew suddenly refuses, taking pleasure at the power he holds. Once again, his voice triggers Olivia's traumatic memories.
In the Oval Office, Abby suggests giving Andrew a cabinet position. Fitz laments the stupidity and lack of thought he still very much displays, then proposes that he tell the American people about his Trojan War to fetch Olivia and about paying Andrew the money. Abby, reasonably worried about her own future if Fitz makes this grand gesture, goes to Liv to talk it out. Liv makes it about herself, then undermines and outright dismisses Abby's accomplishments in defense of the president's dumb plan. She even condescendingly offers Abby a job at OPA. How sweet, friend.
ABBY. IS. PISSED. She meets with Andrew and agrees to a deal that is not very smart, but her emotional desire to sabotage is entirely justified.
While Mellie celebrates the news of Fitz's upcoming announcement, Jake, still listening in on Lillian, alerts Liv to a change in the story that ultimately slams Mellie. Upon hearing this, Liv bursts into Abby's office with a list of tasks, rambling on until she realizes that Abby struck a deal with Andrew. Abby finally unloads on Olivia, finishing with a big "I DON'T WORK FOR YOU, YOU WORK FOR ME!" and then revokes Olivia's access to the White House. Good for you, Abby. You're totally wrong, but you needed this. Good for you.
Back at OPA, Liv is experiencing more flashbacks when Marcus interrupts to say he sealed the cardinal's endorsement. Although Olivia dismisses his work yet again, Marcus sees that she is troubled and asks how she's doing. Olivia breaks for just the tiniest flash of a second, then goes back to treating Marcus like a pest.
Olivia calls Jake to get White House access, which destroys Abby's attempt at being taken seriously. Abby is elsewhere, telling Fitz that he doesn't need to confess anymore. She did her job to protect him, first and foremost. Silly Abby.
Olivia visits Andrew once more and threatens him about the updated article. Andrew, vile man that he is, interrupts Olivia and asks if she is this talkative in bed. He then proceeds to slut-shame her, cruelly denigrating her worth as a woman. The rant triggers Olivia's flashbacks until finally he says that he deserves "revenge," a word that sends Olivia into a rage heretofore unseen. She grabs a steel chair and beats him with it, over and over. Blood splatters onto Olivia's face. OH, OKAY. OLIVIA POPE DOES THIS NOW.
Fitz comes down to the bunker to take care of a blood-stained Olivia because OMG subtext. After their too-long hug, Abby enters the bunker and sees the murder scene. She now understands who works for whom. Abby is told to announce the vice-president's death and convince Lillian Forrester to kill her story. Looking deadly serious in her huge gray cape, Olivia then reminds her, "Never cross me again." She sounds a lot like Rowan. Abby looks horrified. I am, too.
We eventually see that Andrew Nichols's death is being reported as "complications from a fall." Which isn't entirely untrue. He did fall when Olivia hit him. And then the chair kept falling on him.
Quinn and Huck pick up Liv and drop her off at house, while we hear the president's eulogy over a montage of reactions. Mellie offers condolences while standing next to the cardinal, who has just endorsed her. Cyrus watches Fitz's speech from a hotel bed with his secret agent. Troublemaking Alex, who has figured out who the man in the background of the capitol-shooting footage is, goes to Cyrus's home to reveal his affair to his husband.
Finally, we see Olivia greeted at the door of her father's house by a smiling Rowan. "Welcome home," he says. Olivia flashes back to the moment before her escape. In the present day, she is entering her father's home. That's freedom. Olivia can't fight it anymore: She is her father's daughter.