Olivia Pope was taken hostage in the Capitol building Thursday night on ABC’s “Scandal” by a woman hellbent on proving that the FBI murdered her son.
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Airing the day after the government shutdown ended, and a congressional stenographer suddenly began ranting in the House of Representatives that Freemasons were secretly running the country, the “Scandal” storyline actually seemed plausible.
It was the morning after the end of the previous episode and, after watching Jake (Scott Foley) sleep, Olivia (Kerry Washington) went off to work to meet a new client named Mary (guest-star Cynthia Stevenson).
The woman quickly aroused Olivia’s suspicions after she handed Olivia a check for $27,000 and then left abruptly for a “meeting on the Hill” without telling Olivia why she was hiring her.
The Gladiators’ research then revealed that Mary’s son, Chris, was killed during an FBI raid on his apartment.
Olivia’s instincts told her something was off, and went to the Capitol building where she found the woman confronting a congressman and telling him she’s been trying to get his attention for months.
And now she had found a way — by strapping dynamite to her chest.
Mary told Olivia she wanted to know why her son was killed. Mary should have just let Olivia try to find out this information before resorting to a plan that would, at best, result in her spending the rest of her life in prison.
The congressman claimed the FBI shot Chris because he was guilty. The Gladiators learned that Chris converted to Islam. Mary insisted her son was not a terrorist. She demanded access to her son’s FBI files, otherwise she would blow up the room, with nine people inside.
The FBI negotiator said she would get the file only if she turned herself in. Olivia suggested she release some of the hostages as a show of good faith. Mary released everyone except Olivia and the congressman.
Meanwhile, President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn) authorized the FBI to shoot Mary if necessary. Harrison (Columbus Short) called Olivia to tell her Fitz was managing the FBI response personally.
So Olivia walked to the office window, knowing that Fitz — with whom she has been having an affair — would learn she was inside and then would instruct the FBI to refrain from shooting the woman.
Instead, Fitz ordered the FBI to extract Olivia from the room. Presidential aide Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) forbade the president from calling Olivia because it would stir up suspicions about their relationship. Jake, who was still in Olivia’s home, used her phone to call the president. He suggested that Fitz give the FBI file to Olivia. Fitz told Jake he couldn’t save the day this time.
An agent named Laura showed Harrison an Al-Qaeda recruitment video in which Chris was seen. Harrison broke the news to Olivia, then noticed Laura taking off in a car with State Department plates.
Abby asked David to check out this Laura. He discovered she was not an FBI agent and that the lead FBI agent on the raid was fired a week after Chris’ death, while the rest of the team was promoted. David asked Cyrus for the file, theorizing that the FBI paid everyone off to keep their mouths shut about the lead agent’s mistake. Cyrus told him that was not the case.
Fitz called Olivia to tell her the tragic truth, which he insisted Mary could not know. Chris wasn’t a terrorist: He was a CIA agent who infiltrated Al-Qaeda, then pretended to recruit 57 other CIA agents into the organization. The FBI killed him because they didn’t know he was CIA.
If the truth became public, the other CIA agents would be killed. Olivia lied to Mary, telling her the president just confirmed that Chris was a terrorist. After the congressman left the office, Mary pushed Olivia out the door, then barricaded herself inside and blew herself up.
At the same time that Mary showed up at the Capitol in her homemade bomb vest, a man named Peter Foster broke away from the White House tour and snuck into a private part of the White House, where he then started shouting about something called “Operation Remington.”
The Secret Service tackled him. Cyrus instructed the Secret Service to let him go. He then called Rowan (Joe Morton) and told him they have a “Remington problem.”
Huck (Guillermo Diaz) followed Rowan all day, hoping to exact revenge on the man who ruined his life. He trailed Rowan to a trailer, where Rowan was holding this Peter Foster.
Rowan told Foster he violated an arrangement they had apparently struck when he went to the White House and caused a scene. Rowan said he would inform the president that Peter wants to see him, if that’s what it would take to keep Operation Remington under wraps. When Rowan opened the door to leave, Huck pointed a gun at his head.
Olivia returned to the office after her hostage ordeal and found Huck waiting for her. He told her he was not there to kill her because, he said, “He’s all killed out today.”
Olivia begged him to assure her her he did not kill her father. Huck said that, though he wanted to, he did not. In a flashback, Rowan was seen calmly telling Huck there was a “gift” for him inside the trailer. Then Rowan walked away, and Huck killed Peter. He then set up the scene to make it look like Peter had committed suicide. Huck lamented to Olivia that Rowan still controlled him.
Fitz and First Lady Mellie (Bellamy Young) turned into George and Martha from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”. They viciously and hilariously sniped at each other.
Mary and Peter’s adventures forced Fitz and Mellie to cancel the staged romantic weekend at Camp David that Cyrus planned for them. After the hostage crisis ended, Mellie got drunk. Fitz accused her of being disappointed that Olivia survived. She replied it would have been her nightmare if Olivia died nobly, telling him, “As long as she’s still alive, well, she’s your flaw, your Achilles heel, which makes her my weapon.”
As the episode concluded, Olivia finally went home and asked Jake if the Rowan released him was so he could spy on her. Jake said he had no idea why he was released. He said he survived “the hole” by picturing her face. Olivia told him, “This is not a fairytale. This is not the happily ever after. If you’re still alive it’s because he owns you.”