'Scandal' Recap: White Hat vs. White House
'Scandal' Recap: White Hat vs. White House
Kelly Schremph
Kelly Schremph
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Oh Scandal, it's so good to have you back. Last week's premiere didn't waste any time diving back into the political mind games that have proved to be the bread and butter of this show from day one. Well, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" was able to live up to that very same standard.

Not only do fans finally get some details about Olivia's distant relationship with dear old dad (aka Rowan, aka Eli Pope), but we also see our favorite fixer back to her old self as she works to clear the name of the aide who took the blame for being President Grant's mistress. (Poor girl was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.) But putting on that White Hat again means Olivia must declare war on the White House itself. It's a battle of wills, so who will win out and who makes a shocking reappearance? Let's dig in!

Back in a Flash

We flashback to five years ago to see a still stylish Olivia getting off the subway and having what seems to be a regular banter with a now-homeless Huck. She's off to meet her father for dinner as part of a mutual deal they set up: she has dinner with him once every week and he pays for her law school bills. But before you go thinking that this deal is lop-sided (which yeah, it kinda is), we learn just how Rowan got out of Olivia's good graces in the first place. After the death of her mother, Rowan sent Olivia away since he was too busy grieving to be a father to her. Not cool, dude. But he's trying to make amends for his past mistakes and he begs Olivia to at least give him a chance and not just use this as a chance to pay off bills. And being the awesome chick that she is, she does, even telling him that she's currently seeing someone. (No, it's not Fitz -- she's actually talking about Edison!) Also, we discover that Rowan is claiming to work at the Smithsonian for a cover.

Later that same night, Olivia starts to get mugged by a few guys in the subway. That is until Homeless Huck pulls out some of those badass moves of his and takes them down, telling Liv to run. She confronts Huck about what happened the following day, asking where he learned to fight like that. She says he can trust her and the guy really seems to take it to heart. He admits to being a trained assassin who's part something called B613 and how he enjoys killing people, but he tries really hard not to. Naturally, Liv is inclined not to believe him because the whole thing just sounds pretty insane, however, she brings the whole thing up to Rowan at their next dinner where we also discover that (get this) Olivia isn't a big fan of wine (ha!). He agrees to check out Huck's story with his friend at the FBI, but reports back that he was arrested and deemed as mentally unstable. He tells her to leave it alone.

But we all know that's just not in Liv's nature. She goes to follow up on Huck's arrest where she meets David Rosen for the very first time (who's rocking some serious facial hair, by the way). P.S. I don't hate it. He informs Liv that Huck's prints came back clean and he's not in the system...which means that he was never arrested...which means that her father lied to her.

Now full of suspicion, Liv begins to investigate and realizes (thanks to a pen and the many ramblings Huck said during his confession to her) that her father is part of B613 (aka Wonderland -- maybe because they make people stay in holes?). She confronts him about it, to which he pretty much confirms everything without really saying anything at all. (Yay politics!) He tells her not to push him and to forget everything that she thinks she knows. But Olivia Pope will not be intimidated. She brings her now-fiancé Senator Eli to their next dinner and basically implies that if Rowan doesn't return Huck to her then she will use her man's connections to make his life a living hell. It works and Huck is back to timing when the trains arrive in the Union Station subway. However, it came with a price.

Rowan calls Olivia to inform him that he doesn't think she should be seeing Edison anymore and that he was just in a terrible accident. He'll live, but he's in a lot of pain so when she hands back the engagement ring she should make sure to be gentle about it. EVIL! It's then that Olivia cuts off all connection to her father and says that they're through, to which he responds, "We're family, which means we're never through."

Go for the Jugular

Back in the present day, all of the press's attention is focused on Jeannine Locke, who is now the one accused of having an affair with the President. Fitz and Liv have a little pow-wow where she warns him that she's not going to hold back and will attack the White House with everything she has. Fitz agrees and isn't happy that an innocent girl has been dragged into this mess, so he urges her to "go for the jugular."

Meanwhile, Cyrus is getting harassed by Rowan, who is very upset that the White House still hasn't released a statement confirming that the Jeannine rumors are true. But Liv's already busy making a statement of her own to the press, accusing the White House of slander and basically just being the best public speaker ever. Seriously, I'd believe anything this woman told me.

Cyrus implores Fitz to go along with the lie, but he'll have none of it. Luckily, Mellie has already been busy concocting another evil scheme of her own. She tells Cyrus that she's sending an aide over to him soon with the security logs. She wants him to line up the times she was out of town with the times that Jeannine was working late at the White House, making it look like the perfect opportunity for some sexy rendezvous. She may be pure evil, but damn she's good. However, Liv is better.

After news of the logs breaks out, Olivia tells Jeannine to come up with a strong alibi for all of those nights. And she does! One of her coworkers was always right there with her and there are even instant messages between them to prove it. The problem is that the chats can only be accessed by the White House server. Abby's all over it though, and blackmails the guy, Ethan, into agreeing to find those IMs that they need.

The Case of the Ultimatums

But we soon learn that there's more than just Jeannine's reputation on the line with this whole thing. Rowan shows up at Pope and Associates where he gives his daughter an ultimatum: if she ever wants to see Jake again, then she will let America believe that Jeannine is the President's mistress. If she doesn't then Jake will be gone forever. And after learning from Huck everything that poor Jake is most likely going through (all-in-all, it's not very good), she can't bear to see Jake left to that fate. She even offers to put Sunday dinners back on the table with Rowan, but he doesn't make any guarantees. So Liv calls on the one person who she thinks should be able to track Jake down and find out if he's at least still alive: the President of the United States.

Now given the fact that Liv and Jake slept together, Fitz isn't all too thrilled with this favor, but he agrees to try and find out. He confronts Cyrus about B613, but old Cy assures his Commander in Chief that it's out of even his jurisdiction. So Fitz comes up with an ultimatum of his own: if they don't return Jake then he will announce to the entire press room that the accusations against Jeannine are false and that he had an affair with Olivia Pope.

Meanwhile, Liv discovers that during one of her late night trips to the morgue looking for Jake, Jeannine made a backdoor deal with the First Lady. In exchange for her admission to the affair, she will receive a sum of $2 million completely tax-free. She agrees and has Ethan destroy their instant message chats. Liv warns Jeannine not to go through with it, but before she can even go on the air, it's announced that the President himself is about to speak live from the briefing room, where he announces that he did in fact have an affair with Jeannine and he hopes America can find a way to forgive him.

One Friend Lost, Another One Found

Quinn (or should I say Baby Huck) was keeping herself pretty busy this episode and hacked into Olivia's computer after her dad showed up at the office. She noticed that Liv used to have dinner with him every Sunday like clockwork and then it just suddenly stopped for no reason. Huck warns her to be less like him and more like Liv. But her gut instinct got the better of her and she knew there was more to this story. She informs Huck that she found an email between the two of them, making a deal to return the homeless man back to Union Station. Didn't Huck used to live at Union Station when he was homeless? Yup! Huck had no idea Liv had made any sort of deal for him, but he now understand why they never tried to go after him again. He confronts Liv about it in the parking lot, even going so far as to attack her (No Huck! Don't!) before quickly stopping himself (thank you). She admits to the deal along with her dad's involvement in B613. Huck walks away without a word.

Back at her place, Liv receives one more call from her dad, telling her to open her door. And who does she find? Why, none other than a pretty grungy-looking Jake Ballard who is in desperate need of some food and a nice long shower. Rowan reminds her that they're now on for dinner next Sunday before hanging up. Fitz came through for her after all. Too bad she'd already agreed to the whole Sunday dinner deal. But hey, free food is free food, right?

So what did you think of tonight's episode of Scandal? Did seeing Rowan's past make him any more likable? Were you surprised when Huck grabbed Olivia? Are you happy that Jake's returned? Take our poll below and feel free to sound off on your thoughts and predictions in the comments below!

Scandal airs Thursday nights at 10pm on ABC.

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(Image courtesy of ABC.)