It didn't seem possible there for a while, but Scandal Season 4 Episode 13 just redeemed this entire Olivia Gets Kidnapped storyline and set us up for what could be an exceptional closing run on this season.
And it was all thanks to one huge Scandal Season 1 throwback.
When Olivia used her ability to speak Farsi and her kidnappers' ignorance to her advantage, I gave a little smirk and a fist bump to our girl. But then the auction resumed and my eyes rolled a little in that "here we go again" sort of way we all have.
It was pleasantly surprising to find that the actual auction didn't last much longer, probably just for whatever hours remained in the original 24-hour run, which allowed Huck to jump in and begin bidding as Marie Wallace. Marie Wallace and the Russians, who had not been in the game previously, tied.
As that scene was going down, I had a running dialogue in my head about which winner Olivia would choose and I thought she would tell the kidnappers to send her to Russia because she would anticipate they would send her to Marie in that case. What we got was the opposite. Olivia overestimated her kidnappers' affinity for her opinion and gave herself away with a tell.
That's all well and good because it gave us the ultimate of ultimate surprises!
Stephen Finch saved Olivia Pope! (I immediately fired off a text to my girl Leigh Raines that said, and I quote, "OOOOMMMMMGGGGGGGGGGG.")
How did Stephen manage to pull this off? Because ABBY is a badass who meant business when she told David she'd go over a cliff for Olivia, that SHE would save Olivia.
Somehow Stephen Finch ended up working in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Abby just happened to know. We'll forget how ridiculously circumstantial that is because we couldn't have known it and let's all just relish in the moment Cyrus saw Stephen on the screen and called off the strike, which gave Olivia time to grab Stephen's gun, shoot Gus in the leg, and then kick him while he was down. Repeatedly. He deserved that and more, like maybe she should've stuck the heel of that boot straight into his bullet wound and wiggled it around a little bit.
What's so great about Stephen appearing in this episode is that it gave us two very different things.
On the one hand, it reminded us that Stephen Finch was very much a part of OPA once upon a time, and now Quinn mentioning him last week is a glaring beacon that this moment was coming instead of a tiny bread crumb. Having him reappear opens the door for his return, which would be a welcomed one.
But it also gives us closure, which is something we never got with the character. Henry Ian Cusick was essentially let go between Scandal Season 1 and Scandal Season 2, with nothing more than a line or two explaining his absence. We never got to say goodbye. Tonight he got to thank Olivia for saving him and return the favor. His character was put to bed. (But I'm still holding out hope he'll return...)
Finally, Olivia is saved and we can move on from this kidnapping story and get to the aftermath because there is some fallout coming from this event and we've already started to see some of it.
Cyrus was ready to do what had to be done for national security, and if that meant saying goodbye to a dear friend, then so be it. The nation's security is bigger and more important than one person. Here's hoping that when Olivia finds out about Cy's willingness to make the tough call she buys him a drink or five. He was only doing what she would've done if she'd been in his position and Fitz will no doubt blame him for everything because Fitz always needs someone else to blame.
Olivia broke things off with Fitz (for now) because he couldn't do what everyone knew he should've done and that's refuse to go to war in West Angola just to save Olivia. She can't stomach the idea that he sent innocent men and women to their deaths for her. He couldn't let her go. He wasn't the man or the President she put into the Oval at the cost of her integrity.
Yes, he's tried to leave his wife and his office for her on numerous occasions, but it's like she said. If he walks away, then what has it all been for?
What does that mean for Jake and Olivia? Who knows. There will definitely be some repercussions in both avenues of Olivia's romantic life and that's fine. Let's have them.
Neither man was able to save Olivia – not even her father who is now dead to me forever and ever for his "I don't have a daughter" refusal to help – and the important thing is that she was able, for the most part, to save herself. While she's declaring herself on her own right now, eventually she'll come to realize that she's not really alone.
She has her gladiators. And at least one of them is very, very glad Olivia is still in one piece.
[to Olivia] I was pretty sure somebody hacked you into pieces and burned your body. I'm really glad that's not true.Huck
Awww. So sweet.
Way sweeter than he was last week when he was severing heads from bodies. Both Jake and Quinn's speeches to Huck about keeping himself in check were interesting in their own ways. Jake took the comrade approach and said "I know what it's like...do it anyway" whereas Quinn took the angle of needing him to be strong for her.
Does giving Andrew a stroke count as locking his inner demons away since there was technically no more blood? Eh, we'll let it slide. It's not like Andrew didn't have it coming.
What did you think of "No More Blood"? Would you love it if Stephen returned and joined up with OPA again? How do you feel about that final Liv-Fitz scene?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.