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‘Scandal’ recap Season 4, Episode 8: ‘The Last Supper’

Warning: This recap contains spoilers.

Let me start by saying that I was not at all prepared for the number of traps I, loyal viewer of  “Scandal,” walked into tonight. I feel like I need a dry erase board the length of my living room wall to sort through the episode’s elaborate maze of set-ups.

The central set-up, of course, was the one being plotted by Olivia, Fitz and a recently absolved Jake. Goal: Take down Rowan, a tricky feat for anyone, let alone the awkward trio that is Rowan’s daughter and the men who love her.  Most of Jake and Fitz’s interaction revolved around one-upping each other, to pretty hilarious results. “That’s one of our catchphrases — standing in the sun,” Jake told Fitz giddily. “I’m not sure if you know that.”

Jake was pretty clear about how he wanted to handle Rowan, telling Liv, “I don’t want justice. I want to kill your father and I want you to let me do that.” It might have been the only thing Fitz and Jake agreed on, but Liv wasn’t having her father killed. Instead, the group agreed to use the B613 files that Jake had stealthily placed in David Rosen’s care to incriminate Rowan.

As if trying to stop her father’s evil deeds wasn’t enough of a project for Olivia, she decided to take on a new client — Elizabeth North, or as Cyrus calls her, Lizzie Bear. Liz was concerned that her phone had been hacked and hired Olivia to find out who was behind it. The assignment proved to be a conflict of interest since Cyrus was the one who hacked into Liz’s phone — in an effort to find out what information she’d gotten from his prostitute friend, Michael.

When Olivia confronted Cyrus about the hack, he told Olivia the truth about Michael. “I knew that he was a whore and I was willing to go along with that because it was fun and weird and not real.” I usually go see a movie when I’m looking for that kind of thing, but no worries, Cy, I won’t judge.

Olivia double crosses her client to get a full picture of what Liz has on Cyrus and it’s a lot — pictures and videos of him with Michael, in addition to the recent leaks about Fitz’s plan to close military bases and the false information about West Angola that Cyrus fed to Liz in last week’s episode. The West Angola plotline continued this week– a car bomb went off right as VP Andrew was leaving a speech about the situation there.

Andrew wasn’t seriously hurt, but the bomb raised a terror alert and made quite the impression on his ex-lover, Mellie, who ran to his side. The two picked up where they left off last season. But here’s where it gets complicated. Olivia finds out (from Michael of all people) that Elizabeth has a standing hotel suite. Huck wires the place and stakes it out later that night, with his son, Javi, in attendance. Note to Huck: there’s a reason it’s not called take your son or daughter to stakeout day. Stakeouts are dangerous. Not to mention, Huck’s wife has no idea that Javi has contacted his father.

Huck runs into Quinn, who is still on her long-running assignment of finding out why someone is taking (and going to great lengths to hide) photos of Olivia. They realize they’re on the same stakeout as they watch Liz talk to Kubiak, the employee seen fighting with Caitlin Winslow for control of the folder we now know contains photos of Liv. The doorbell rings and it’s none other than the VP, who apparently isn’t as devoted to Mellie as he’d have her believe. Andrew is having an affair with Liz! Andrew tells Kubiak to get lost and he happens upon Huck and Quinn in the stakeout van. Huck defends himself against Kubiak, killing him in decidedly Huck way and a horrified Javi sees it and runs away. Bad news.

By this point, Olivia was focused on getting her father into a space where he could be arrested — without putting Fitz or Jake in danger. After his heartfelt attempts to convince her that they are family no matter what and that he still expects to see her at their weekly dinners, Olivia realized that she had the power to get Papa Pope anywhere she needed him to be.

Somewhere like The Artisan at 7:30pm. Before they’d even really tucked into their wine, Rowan got deep — telling Olivia that, while he certainly made mistakes, he only wanted the best for her. It quickly becomes clear that Rowan is not being arrested at all. Apparently, you really can’t set up Command. Rowan tells Liv that he’s leaving and that the sharpshooters lined up around the restaurant are all dead. In the situation room, Fitz and Jake watch as they all topple to the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, in a room at The Pentagon, David Rosen discovers that all of the B613 files are completely blank. Did Papa Pope take a weekend course with David Blaine or something? Instead of being captured, Rowan walked casually out of the restaurant, but not before delivering this gem to his daughter: “You think the world is terrible with me in it. Wait until you see what it’s like without me.”

Your move, Olivia.

Lingering questions: How in the world did Rowan pull that off? Why was there no decoy in the restaurant just in case? What’s Liz’s connection to Kubiak? How long before Mellie realizes Andrew is not who she thinks he is? And what will happen with Huck and Javi?