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'Scandal' recap: 'Run'

Olivia Pope comes face to face with her kidnappers in the midseason premiere.

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TV Show
Drama, Thriller
run date:
Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn, Bellamy Young
Current Status:
In Season

Welcome back, Scandal fans! It’s been a long, long break since the last episode aired, when our heroine, in the midst of a joyful dance party of self-empowerment, was kidnapped from her own home, leaving nothing but a spilled goblet of wine and a boyfriend whose hopes for piano-sex were dashed.

We pick up back in the moments before Ms. Pope’s kidnapping, refreshing for anyone who had forgotten the dancing, the gaiety, the imminent sexy times with Jake Ballard. However, where in the last episode we followed a gleeful (and then shocked) Jake through the apartment, this time we stay with Olivia. We see the masked and hoodied man who spirits her away, mere milliseconds before Jake returns. We see her restrained, duct-taped, and kept captive as Jake rushes about.

Mr. Ballard chases what he believes to be the kidnapping getaway vehicle out into the street, but ends up with only a license plate. While on the phone with the remnants of Pope and Associates, he does a quick scan for surveillance equipment. The lack thereof convinces him this isn’t Rowan’s doing. Little does he know all the surveilling is being done outside the apartment. In fact, from the apartment across the hall. Our kidnappers have colonized the home of Liv’s sweet old lady neighbor as their base of operations.

They watch Jake’s flustered attempts to catch them, and wait quietly, tensely, until he’s left the building to really get a move on. And their move is abrupt and shocking—they promptly murder the old woman whose apartment they colonized and use her as a decoy to get Olivia out of the building, hidden in her body bag. You’d think this would be the thing that causes Olivia Pope to crack. She’s been through many high stress situations, the focus of a lot of attention, and the target of a lot of enemy volleys—but not many, to my memory, have been as viscerally, physically dangerous to her as her current predicament. 

Of course, cracking is the last thing on her mind. While in the apartment, Liv discreetly worked a ring off her finger and hid it under the neighbor’s rug. And then, upon release from her close quarters with a corpse, tells her smarmy kidnapper that, “I only negotiate with people who have the power to say yes or no,” before noting that their ringleader has gone. They proceed to knock her out with your classic giant hypodermic needle to the neck.

She wakes up in your standard barren cell. A muezzin call sounds from what we presume is outside. A series of Debbie-Downer statements sound from her whiny cellmate. Poor Ian McClellan is a kidnapped journalist who just wants to get home to his daughter and feels bad about the fate of his former cellmate, Bradley (taken out of the cell, screamed, shot).

I know that circumstances can make for strange friends, but Liv and Poor Ian get close very fast. He tells her about his dead wife, his daughter, his long-gestating novel. She lets him scan her back for tracking devices. Poor Ian reasonably asks, “Who do you hope put a tracking device in you other than your father?” Liv’s unspoken answer could be “Any of the men who claim to love me!” Which, really, should be a sign that your relationships are maybe not that healthy. I can’t bring myself to buy their apparent closeness, but apparently it’s enough for Liv to tell Ian that the president will hunt her down. Personally I think that Olivia’s particular faith in her importance is more than a little overblown. Sure, the president loves you, but he’s one man. How much can his love outweigh the needs and feelings of the country he leads? Rather, WHEN has his love outweighed anything in his political life?

NEXT: Breaking (not so) free…