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Scandal 2×16 “Top of the Hour” Recap


Lisa Edelstein plays a CEO accused of having an affair 15 years ago with the President’s pick for Supreme Court Justice. Naturally, Olivia Pope & Associates are on the case.


Olivia (Kerry Washington) brings Jake (Scott Foley) the intel she got in the previous episode regarding the Kashfari – a fictional terrorist organization – hostage crisis.

After he’s dug through it and everything, he goes to confront her about it while she’s working on her ‘scandal of the week’. While she can’t tell him where she got it from, Olivia assures him that it’s legit. He just needs to trust her.

A photographer captures the two of them together. Olivia tells Jake it’s no big deal, but Jake looks worried. After all, she has no clue about his association with Fitz.

Jake gives Fitz the information about the Kashfari, and then – dressed in a ski mask and typical intruder clothing – proceeds to find that photographer and beat his ass. Psycho alert!

When he pays Olivia a visit near the end of the episode, he lies about the bruises on his face – saying he was mugged. Then he winks creepily at the surveillance cameras he put in Olivia’s apartment. Seriously, what is with the men in Olivia’s life?

Scandal of the Week

Olivia, Abby (Darby Stanchfield), and Harrison (Columbus Short) drive over to Sarah Stanner’s (Lisa Edelstein) house. Cyrus (Jeff Perry) tells Olivia he wants her to help out Murray Randall, the President’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice, but Olivia tells him she’ll do what’s in the best interest of her client – not Randall.

They wait for the ‘top of the hour’ before getting out of the car. That’s when the various news organizations parked outside Sarah’s house go live on television.

Sarah admits that everything the media has been saying is true, and that there are some damaging emails. She had an affair with Randall during her stint at Harvard Law, where he was her professor and while both of them were married.

Olivia tells Sarah that she needs to come clean to the press, but that she also plans to spin the story so that it makes Randall look like the philanderer and cheater – not Sarah. Sarah is hesitant to make such a public confession, but Sarah’s husband Phil is supportive and agrees with Olivia.

A furious Cyrus calls Olivia and lets her know that they’re going to hit back.

Cyrus and The White House paint a different picture of Sarah, not as a loving mother of two and successful businesswoman, but as an unhinged stalker. Randall tells Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) that Sarah is a good woman and the less damage they do to her character, the better. Fitz shows his ruthlessness by telling Randall that he has no say in how they treat Sarah.

Surprise Perd Hapley from "Parks and Recreation" appearance! Looks like someone got a promotion. Photo: ABC

Surprise Perd Hapley from “Parks and Recreation” appearance! Looks like someone got a promotion. Photo: ABC

The White House is pretty successful in painting Sarah in a bad light and Cyrus & co. are successful in pushing the nomination through. Unfortunately for Sarah, it looks like she’s going to be fired as CEO from the company she works for because they claim she’s guilty of an ethics violation.

Harrison goes to negotiate with the company to get Sarah’s job back. He makes it abundantly clear that if they continue this sexist campaign against Sarah, it will not be good for the company. His ‘negotiation’ tactics prove to be successful, and Sarah is able to keep her job – for now.

But then another bombshell drops. Turns out Randall and Sarah rekindled their affair two years later, so the company is back on the ‘fire Sarah’ train.

Phil is angry and hurt by this news, and he demands a paternity test. Later, an emotional Sarah confesses to Olivia that she has no idea if her eldest daughter Annie is Phil’s. They bond over an expensive bottle of wine, with Olivia giving Sarah some life advice.

Abby and Harrison talk about Harrison’s betrayal – the one that ruined Abby’s relationship with David Rosen. She claims she’s not upset with him, but Harrison isn’t so convinced.

Abby comes up with a plan for the ‘scandal of the week’ case, though, and they are able to work together to secure Sarah’s job by bluffing to the board members that they have dirt on each and every one of them. Unless they agree to keep Sarah on as CEO, they’ll reveal everything. The board members relent.

Phil rips up the results of the paternity test, after Olivia gives a little speech about how the results will make no difference one way or the other about how Phil feels about his family. He’s going to be a dad to Annie no matter what.

Finally, the various media outlets that were camped outside Sarah’s house have left. They’ve moved onto the next big story.

The White House

Fitz is just finishing up a meeting with Jake when Cyrus comes into the Oval Office to let him know about the Randall scandal. Fitz is furious. He thought that they had properly vetted the guy and this is the last thing Fitz needs on his plate, on top of the Kashfari hostage situation.

Next, Mellie comes in with their newborn son, whom Fitz is delighted to see. He goes into the office with the baby, but slams the door in Mellie’s face.

Mellie is worried when she finds out Fitz has been having multiple meetings with someone that even his assistant doesn’t know about. She assumes it must be Olivia, and goes to confront Cyrus about it. Of course, Cyrus doesn’t know anything about the mysterious phone logs and late night meetings, nor does he really care.

When Fitz finds out that Olivia is representing Sarah, he calls Olivia. Olivia takes Fitz’s call as Sarah and her husband fight in the background. They have their angsty moment. Whatever. Getting tired of these Fitz/Olivia moments, but at least it’s kept to a bare minimum in this episode.

Fitz uses the information given to him by Jake to free the hostages. The mission is successful.

Mellie tells Cyrus about Jake, having seen him come out of Fitz’s office. Fitz isn’t cheating on her with Olivia – he’s cheating on Cyrus with Jake.

Huck and Quinn

While the rest of the firm is working on Sarah’s case, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) mentors Quinn (Katie Lowes) in the art of spying and surveillance. Their subject is the CIA director who they know is supplying the Kashfaris with crucial White House intel.

Quinn follows him to a dry cleaning service, but ends up losing her jacket in the process. Huck reminds her never to do surveillance without the right props. She later has a light bulb moment, where she realizes that the drying cleaning service is merely a front for the CIA director to make his drop offs.

The guy from the dry cleaning service sends the CIA director surveillance camera pictures of Quinn. Uh-oh. Looks like Quinn may be in trouble…

Rating: B-

Memorable Quotes

Sarah: [to Abby] Hi, you must be Olivia Pope.
Olivia: I’m Olivia Pope.

Quinn: You’re good at this – stalking people.
Huck: [encouraging] You’ll get there.

Olivia: Murray Randall is not my client. The President is not my client.
Cyrus: You doing this because he’s anti-choice?
Olivia: I’m apolitical, you know that.
Cyrus: Is your vagina apolitical?
Olivia: Goodbye, Cy.

Olivia: This is…
Sarah: A $300 dollar bottle of wine. I was saving it for an occasion. My husband calling me a ‘whore’ feels like an occasion.

Abby: [to Harrison] I’m still me. We’re still us. I’m just… I now live in a world where I know that you’re a gladiator first and a person second. That’s okay, because I can do that, too. I can be a person second. I just… before I just didn’t know that’s what we were doing with each other… is all.

Scandal airs Thursdays on ABC at 10/9 central.