'Scandal' recap: Play or get played

Kelly Woo
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Scandal recap: Season 7, Episode 7 (Photo: ABC)

Warning: This recap for the “Something Borrowed” episode of Scandal contains spoilers.

The Wire’s Omar Little would fit right in on Scandal right now.

As the various players butted heads and traded threats in the winter finale, Omar’s wise and cynical words could almost be heard over the scenes.

“Play or get played.” “It’s all in the game.” “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

(By the way, if you’ve never seen The Wire… rectify that immediately.)

In Scandal, though, the king (Rowan) has been deposed, replaced by Queen Olivia Pope, made in his own image. These two have been rarin’ for a standoff since she put him in his place and took away his dinosaur bones — and guys, that’s a metaphor for power.

In this game, the king and the queen faced off, with a pawn (Quinn) between them. As Omar would say, time to settle this once and forever.

Who will rule the chessboard of the Republic? Who will survive? And who will get to keep those damn dinosaur bones?

Here’s a rundown of this week’s episode, including our live tweets:

Despite the combined powers of the gladiators and the United States government’s security apparatus, nobody has been able to find Quinn. She is still missing. And if she’s alive, about to give birth at any second.

But there’s a good chance she’s not alive, and Charlie is miserably sorting through corpse reports. Huck tries to cheer him up with a business idea that Quinn would love, if they can recover her.

Unfortunately, a new report comes in of a nine-month-pregnant brunette nearby, and Charlie faces the unbearable task of seeing if she’s Quinn. He tries to chin up, but ends up nearly breaking down on Olivia’s doorstep. She promises they will find Quinn alive, but her confidence is just a facade. As soon as he leaves, she gets the shakes.

Luckily, when Charlie arrives to identify the body, it isn’t Quinn.

Meanwhile, Mellie’s peace treaty is moving ahead, and her approval ratings are through the roof. While watching the news, Marcus tells Fitz they should rely on her political capital to pass their criminal justice reform initiative. But Fitz notes that Mellie can barely tolerate him and they are no longer part of the inner circle.

While updating Cyrus on the search for Quinn, Abby reveals just why the gladiators thought his new boyfriend was connected to her disappearance — intel from the NSA. That leads Cyrus to Jake, and the veep starts asking some pointed questions.

Olivia is really not holding up well during this Quinn situation. Her fuse is short and she’s extra mean to Jake about the results he and his team are (not) getting. Of course, she feels guilty, since Quinn has the “assassinating a foreign leader” dirt on her, and that could be a reason for her kidnapping.

“Maybe the people who took her aren’t the monsters. Maybe we’re the monsters,” Liv muses to Jake.

Just then, Liv’s secretary comes to say Rowan has asked to meet with her. When Olivia shows up to the restaurant, Rowan reveals his hand: He took Quinn. And then he delivers an ultimatum to give him back his freedom (and his dinosaur bones), or else he’ll kill her.

“I win, you lose,” he smirks.

Liv is livid, of course, and debates with Jake what to do about her dad. He takes the matter into his own hands and meets with Rowan to warn Papa not to mess with his “little girl.” Rowan, though, puffs his chest out. Whatever she’s going to do to him, he’s ready for it.

At the White House, Marcus shows up to talk to Mellie. He’s glad she seems to have taken his advice about signing the treaty, so uses the chance to persuade her to work with Fitz. She is not having it, though. When Marcus presses the issue by accusing Mellie of being petty and telling her “you’re better than that,” she storms off.

When she finds out that Jake met with Rowan, Liv is, again, livid. But Jake informs her that she needs to wake up and smell the red wine: Rowan is capable of killing Quinn. So, Olivia needs to decide what her next move is.

And her next move? Hello, Mommy dearest.

Nobody understands Rowan like she does. In this case, murderous likes attract. Maya is living in pretty luxurious captivity — girl’s even got cable! At first, Maya plays coys, but when Liv threatens to leave, Mama Pope finally dispenses advice.

First of all, she knows that Quinn must have something on Olivia, or else Olivia would’ve already made some trade for her. This game of chicken can only go for so long — so Maya counsels her to sacrifice Quinn.

“That’s how you beat your Daddy,” she says. “That’s how you stay Command.”

Back at the White House, Cyrus sees a news report that Curtis Pryce is missing. See, Liv’s secretary lured Curtis to a hotel room with the promise of dirt on the administration. But she was working with Jake all along. And with a fake-but-threatening smile, Jake tells Cyrus that “it’s a shame” what could happen to a “dogged pursuer of truth.”

Translation: Mind your own beeswax, Cyrus, or else you’ll be “missing” too.

Meanwhile, over at OPA, David comes to see Abby again. Earlier, he’d delivered some more reports of dead girls (or at least, their body parts), and when she tried to make a move on him, he ran off.

Now, she calls him on it, and he admits that her world is frightening. All the gladiators have been in danger; how long until Abby is just a toe in a file? She replies that they take risks, sure, but the risks pay off. Then she kisses him. And this time, David stays.

Rowan’s deadline is almost upon them, and Olivia is still fretting about what to do. She absolutely cannot let Quinn die. A frustrated Jake tells her to just give Rowan his bones. But Liv doesn’t want to do that either!

“Then kill him. Eliminate the problem. Your father is the problem,” Jake replies. “Are you Command or are you not?”

That’s a huge step, though, for Olivia. Later, during a meeting with Mellie, the president gushes about how this treaty would’ve never happened were it not for Olivia. “You are a champion,” Mellie says. And this is only the beginning! Together, they really can have it all.

That gives Olivia the confidence to march to her father’s house at the deadline. When he points a gun at her, she basically laughs. He would never kill her. And when he can’t pull the trigger, she notes Rowan has no cards left to play.

Olivia calls in a strike team. He has 20 minutes to live. Rowan still believes she won’t risk Quinn and the baby, but Liv declares she doesn’t have the soft, chewy center he thinks she does. “Why would you think I’d choose Quinn over the Republic?” Olivia says. Like father, like daughter, right?

With a minute left, Rowan disappears elsewhere in his house — and then Olivia hears a gunshot and someone (sounding a lot like Quinn) yell, “Please!”

And then there’s another gunshot. Olivia collapses, gasping with sobs.

Rowan returns and asks, “Want to see the body?”

Play or get played, right? It’s all in the game, right?

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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