By Natalie Abrams
November 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM EST

Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday’s episode of Scandal. Read at your own risk!

Papa Pope can’t be killed! Scandal’s slippery head of B613 escaped certain death once again in the winter finale.

After Rowan (Joe Morton) institutes a Ghost Protocol-like plan that would clean up any loose ends from B613, Rowan showed up at Olivia’s (Kerry Washington) house seemingly in a bid to find out whether his daughter would kill him given the opportunity.

Liv did, in fact, pick up the gun he had left on the table and even pulled the trigger, but the gun wasn’t loaded. “He’s hurt by that,” Morton tells EW. “What’s lovely about that scene is he leaves the gun on the table. When I read the scene, I thought, ‘Oh he did that on purpose. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t an error of judgment.’ He wanted to see what she was going to do. By the fact that she’s picked up the gun tells him a lot. ‘Oh. you’re willing to shoot me. I know that now.’ His trust for his daughter has taken another step back.”

For her part, Washington says that gives Olivia a sense of freedom now letting go of both of her parents. “If you’re willing to go into the cave of the things that scares you most, if you’re willing to face your deepest darkest demons, only when you do that can you be free,” Washington says. “That’s where we end, on the other side of that, of looking into the eyes of evil that birthed her and saying, ‘I reject you. You have no power over me anymore. I’m going to be an adult. I’m going parent myself and choose my own legacy and not carry on this generational insanity.’ We’ll see if she can do it.” It may be hard now that she’s been kidnapped.

Unfortunately, Rowan is still in the wind, leaving open the possibility of his return. “I think I’m going to be around for a while,” Morton says, insinuating that Olivia may learn what her life is life without the unknowing protection and guidance of her father. “I love the idea that they’re setting up Olivia [to be] on her own. I’m curious to see how that plays out and what that actually means in terms of our story and what she’ll see is missing.”

Scandal returns Thursday, Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.