Scandal recap: What just happened here?

Wait now, what?

This episode of Scandal is called "Snake in the Garden" but to borrow a title from earlier this season… Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I am still trying to process everything that went down Thursday night because nothing, and I mean nothing, is playing out the way I thought it would.

Let's start with what we know. Hollis and his fifth ex-wife need Olivia and her fixers to find out where his daughter is. Apparently she's been kidnapped but will be returned unharmed in exchange for $20 million. 

Due to the girl's history of drug abuse, affection for criminals and all around shadiness…Hollis is not buying it.  At least not until a bloody human ear arrives in a neatly packaged box for him. That's all it took for Hollis to back down and let Olivia Pope do what Olivia Pope does—save the day.

After wiring the kidnapper the money, Hollis' daughter is rescued and sent to the hospital for treatment of the wound where her ear used to be. After a bit more scrutiny to the severed ear, Huck decides that whoever sliced it off struggled to finish the deed because the cut was not clean. Turns out, Hollis was right—his daughter was just as greedy as he suspected. She not only faked her own kidnapping, she also sawed off her own ear with the intention of running off with the money.

We got no face-to-face (or phone-to-phone) time with Olitz this week, but their energy was everywhere. No more apparent than in the Oval Office when Mellie gave Fitz the kick in the pants we have all been hoping someone would get the gumption to give.

At first, her attempts to secretly thwart Fitz's weekend plans with the kids we never see and baby Teddy seemed like typical Mellie meddling. It wasn't until Fitz started criticizing her parenting skills that Mellie had to break it down for him. She tells him that he has not been right since he found out about the election rigging and dropped Olivia.  And that the kids did not want to spend time with him because Fitz is a mean drunk who is turning into the man he hates most in the world—his father.  It was a brilliantly executed monologue that got him to put down the scotch, for now.

Of all the people on this show that had ample reason to have done this already, it took Cyrus to do a background check on Creepy Jake. After Mellie brought his existence to light, Cyrus enlists the help of his private investigator hit man.

While we are still in the dark about much of Creepy's backstory, we now know that he and Fitz were on some kind of super-secret mission together immediately after the first Persian Gulf War. Cyrus finds out the mission required that some pretty reprehensible work be done and he uses that info to appeal to Fitz's sense of duty. 

With a twisted logic that only Cyrus can make sound completely sane, he likens his role in election rigging to Fitz's role in whatever awful things he had to do on that mission with Jake; the work was dirty, but it had to be done for the good of the country. The speech must have struck a nerve because in the next moment Fitz decided to share that he believed the CIA Director was the mole and that he was being relieved of his duties.

Little did he know, CIA guy was being relieved of his life as well, courtesy of Creepy Jake. After the director is found dead in an apparent suicide, Jake meets with a mysterious dude in a park to go over particulars and make sure they have their stories straight on how he died. They also make it quite clear that CIA guy was not the mole. So…Jake knows the mole? No…Jake killed the mole? Wait…Jake is the mole?

Notes and Observations:

-Was anyone else excited to see Olivia Pope of old when she straight up, dressed down the CIA Director?  "Check my file." Priceless.

-Huck told Quinn about his family?!? What else are they doing when we aren't watching?

-Creepy Jake continues to live up to his name with his string of break-ins and unsolicited kisses.

Excited yet? Check out a preview of next week's show:

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