Scandal Recap: Once a Gladiator, Always a Gladiator

Back in the day: Now we know where Stephen (Henry Ian Cusick) went after season 1 of Scandal.
ABC screenshot
Back in the day: Now we know where Stephen (Henry Ian Cusick) went after season 1 of Scandal.
ABC screenshot

We tuned in to this week’s Scandal anxious to find out who was finally going to save Olivia.

The episode picks up with Olivia being handed over to the Iranians who bid on her. As it turns out, Olivia, who we already knew was magical given her steady supply of trench coats and fresh blowouts even while being held hostage, also speaks Farsi! As a result, she was able to botch the exchange by falsely translating what each side was saying.

With a second chance to save Olivia, Fitz wants the CIA to extract her and bring her home safely, but the CIA director thinks the best plan is to kill her so she can’t be used as a bargaining chip. Everyone agrees … except for Fitz, of course.


This causes Cyrus’ brain to explode, but he assures Fitz that the plan is to return Olivia safely.

Abby has been locked out of discussions about Olivia’s fate by both the gladiators and the White House, so she turns to David Rosen, who suggests that the White House might be considering “neutralizing the asset,” i.e., killing Olivia.

He’s right. Despite what Cyrus told Fitz, he and the CIA director are proceeding with the plan to kill off Olivia.

Meanwhile, Huck, Jake and Quinn re-enter the auction under the alias Marie Wallace, aka Mama Pope. Ultimately, their $2 billion bid ties with another bid from Russians in St. Petersburg, and Gus decides to sell Olivia to the Russians because Olivia appeared a little too eager to be sold to this Marie Wallace character. 


This is all bad. Abby pops by the gladiators’ office and warns them that the CIA is planning to kill Olivia, so it’s time for everyone to pull out their Hail Mary passes.

Jake goes to Papa Pope, who is fishing in Canada, and asks for his help. Papa Pope monologues—something about fish are his friends, but people are wack. Whatever his point is, he’s not going to help Olivia. As he says, “I don’t have a daughter.” Ice cold.


Olivia steals the kidnappers’ car keys and tries to run past Gus and out the door. Of course, he stops her. Bless her heart. That was dumb.

Abby asks David to connect her with his people at Interpol, and she bogards her way in to meet with the leadership.


At the same time, Cyrus and the CIA are standing ready to snipe Olivia as soon as she’s handed over to the Russians, but Cyrus tells everyone to stand down when he sees that Stephen Finch (played by Henry Ian Cusick), one of the gladiators we haven’t seen since season 1, has shown up to save the day! It was a glorious moment. I cried. As Abby said, “Once a gladiator, always a gladiator.”

See, Abby knew Stephen was working in St. Petersburg, so she had Interpol track him down, and the Russians owed Stephen a favor … eh. The point is, David facilitated and Stephen executed, but it was Abby’s relentless efforts and winning plan that finally saved Olivia.


Olivia thanked Stephen and offered him a job at Olivia Pope & Associates, but Stephen refused. He simply said, “You saved me. I never thought I’d have a chance to return the favor.” More tears. (Thug ones, though.)

While all this is happening, Mellie delivers amnesty papers to Andrew, but Andrew won’t shut his face, so Mellie throws shade, saying that Andrew orchestrated this whole kidnapping plot because he’s tired of being known as “what’s-his-name,” the guy who never wins. What’s-His-Name claps back: I may never be president, but neither will you because I can always tell a reporter how you like it rough. #dontpanic


Mellie does panic, though. She calls on Elizabeth North to fix this mess, so Elizabeth calls on Huck. Unfortunately, Quinn just made Huck promise not to kill anyone else. Aww, man. Start not killing people tomorrow, Huck! Alas, Huck didn’t kill Andrew. He just injected him with a serum that caused him to have a stroke that rendered him speechless. This is so much better than killing him!

Then for the kicker: Huck, Jake and Quinn safely return Olivia to her unsafe apartment, and shortly after they leave, Fitz arrives, overjoyed at the sight of Olivia. However, instead of a warm embrace, Olivia delivers quite the tongue-lashing: I’ve been riding, dying, sacrificing, side-piecing (I just coined that) and fixing elections so that you can be the president you were meant to be, and then you went to war, sending innocent soldiers to their deaths, for me!


Well, when you put it like that, it doesn’t sound very “presidential … ”

Fitz: “But I had to save you!”

He waged a war for you, Olivia. That is kind of romantic though …

Olivia: “You didn’t save me! I’m on my own!"

Then she threw her special “I love Fitz” ring at him.

Ouch. The Secret Service brother waiting outside the door couldn’t even make eye contact with Fitz when he hobbled out of Olivia’s apartment.


If Fitz had exit music, this would be it: 

Akilah Green is a recovering Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist-politico turned TV and film writer and producer living in Los Angeles. She currently works for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea. She has also worked as a staff writer for Kevin Hart’s production company, HartBeat Productions, and as a consultant for Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. In addition, she co-wrote and is producing Scratch, an indie horror-comedy feature film, and is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow Green’s adventures in La La Land on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

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