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Scandal recap: 'The Key'

A lot of hard truths (and harder lies) are revealed.

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Scandal Recap
Mitchell Haaseth/ABC


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

Killer Catherine and her dead daughter are back as our case of the week after last episode’s detour, and it’s a bit dull given all the skulduggery, murder, and blood involved in it. Rightly, Quinn is taking point on this one, surveilling, tailing, and slicing open corpses. She does eventually find the literal key they’re hunting for, but this is all secondary to everyone’s deep emotional problems this week. Buckle up, it’s a roller coaster of feelings this week (at least, for the characters—it left me a little cold).

First up in the feelings parade are Liv and Jake. Well, in this case, Liv and Jake’s voicemail. She’s worried that something ominous has happened to her boytoy. This means a lot of calls, and a lot of wondering, as she says, if “I’m turning into one of those people I hate, who wanders around going, ‘Oh, my boyfriend, why doesn’t he call me?’ Or if this feeling I have inside is actually right, and something bad happened to him.” After delivering a voicemail ultimatum that goes unanswered (which, honestly, five minutes? I don’t check my voicemail for days, let alone within minutes), she has Huck track him down. His last time on the grid? The White House, which is how Liv finally figures out that Jake is in custody.

But her feelings about him take a sharp left turn after her father convinces her that Jake is responsible for both the death of Harrison and Jerry Jr. Shockingly, Liv just accepts her father’s explanation at face value. The Pope family has a blind spot, and it’s their fellow family members. Rowan Pope can’t help but want the best for, and to help, his daughter—even when that means he has to get a little murdery. Olivia Pope can’t bring herself to disbelieve what her dad tells her. Despite all evidence that he’s always, constantly, for the entirety of her life, lying to her. Early in the episode, Rowan makes solid efforts to give an impersonation of a good father. He drops by to drink wine (not the cheap stuff!), talk about Jake, and give his conditional approval of him. And Liv drinks it up! For such a savvy person, she’s completely hoodwinked. And so, when she confronts Rowan at work, she absolutely buys his condemnation of Jake.

Which, to be fair, the content of Rowan’s speech to her is totally true. He has just conveniently used Jake’s name in every instance where he should use his own. Rowan did kill Harrison on his own. Rowan did kill Jerry Grant so that Olivia could have the election she so desperately wanted to win. “I just wanted you to be happy,” Rowan says, and it is a completely and utterly true statement. He also wants ultimate behind-the-scenes power, but Liv’s happiness is a close second.

NEXT: Fitzgerald Grant gets in touch… with Jake’s face.