Before we start, I have a very sincere question: Why doesn’t Olivia live in a doorman building? Those are certainly not a unique-to-New York phenomena, and Liv can clearly afford the kind of accommodations that would include a staff that looks the other way; lord knows there must be plenty of buildings in DC that specialize in that. Instead of getting a doorman on last night’s episode, though, Olivia got some new locks. (Oh, and she also didn’t get killed, but you probably suspected that.)

Okay, so, first things first: Olivia speaks fluent Farsi. Olivia’s dad is a murderous spy puppeteer and her mom is the most glamorous terrorist in the world, but even so, this felt like Deus Ex Foreign Language Skills. At any rate, Olivia used her spontaneous fluency to play her buyers against her captors, and they decided a bit too neatly to call the whole thing off.

At the White House, Mellie was doing her best to solve the whole problem using only her ingenuity and innate powers of southern condescension (I’m also from the South; it is a gift), which didn’t work for now because she and the vice president have been screwing each other as recently as, like, yesterday. If it were within Mellie’s realistic powers to kill him and get away with it, I fully believe she’d do it. She’s probably hop on it one last time, too, like a praying mantis. I love Mellie.

In further ineffectual strategy news, the president once again got told how dangerous it was for Olivia to be alive it all and again decided that all the other lives potentially lost were worth more than hers. Inside his head, Cyrus snapped, quit his job and did all the yelling at Fitz that we all do inside of our own heads every week. Then the president threw him a Snickers and he snapped back into reality and got to work.

In lieu of killing the vice president, Mellie put the fear of god into Portia de Rossi, who then went to Huck and asked him to kill the vice president. Unfortunately for her, Huck had just given up murder for Lent. Fortunately for her, basically no one makes it through Lent without cheating.

Cyrus, however, had made no such pretense. Absent the president, Cyrus met with whichever security advisor has been telling the president to “neutralize the asset” since last week and told her that, indeed, the asset might be in need of neutralization. This would, of course, be the logical thing to do, but Scandal doesn’t functional on that plane of existence. That’s not why we’re here. Liv has never spilled a drop of red wine on any of her dove grey Loro Piana, and that’s how you know that this show takes place in an alternate universe.

In case you weren’t sure of it, the show then cut to a scene of Olivia getting herself auctioned off once again, and when the final bids were placed, the auction ended in a tie, even though that’s not how auctions work. Apparently Evil eBay isn’t as advanced in its mechanics as Actual eBay, which means that those two hacker dudes working for the kidnappers probably couldn’t get jobs at Google after all. When it came down to Maya Wallace or some random Russians, Olivia totally gave away the fact that Maya was her mom by making a very obvious face.

Olivia knows fluent Farsi to misdirect kidnappers and can call on it in a crisis situation even though she rarely uses it, but she can’t control her face! Deus Ex Face. That was the second awkward plot leap of the episode, and it sent Jake awkwardly leaping to a lake in Canada, where Papa Pope was fishing and not trying to hear anything about getting back into the international arm-twisting and leg-breaking game. Dude was just trying to catch some fish and enjoy retirement in peace while decked out in new gear from Orvis.

Papa Pope will surely make his return to torture at some point this season, but it was not in an attempt to save Liv. In fact, she didn’t even need saving. While Cyrus was in the Situation Room, waffling back and forth over giving the kill order like most of us waffle back and forth over a pair of slightly-too-small shoes on 70% markdown, Abby had contacted INTERPOL and scrounged up a Season 1 gladiator named Stephen to partner with the Russians to get Olivia back.

If you didn’t immediately place Stephen, you’re not alone. In my defense, I watched the first season of Scandal on my iPad while on the final leg of a too-long holiday trip home to see my parents in 2013, so some of it’s a little fuzzy for me. Stephen’s cute, though, so here’s hoping he’s not gone long enough that I forget about him again.

When they yanked that bag off Olivia’s head, she grabbed Stephen’s gun, popped her kidnapper in the knee and then gave him a couple kicks to the kidney with her pointy boots, just for good measure. He’s going to limp for life, but he brought it on himself.

Speaking of “brought it on himself,” that’s exactly what Mellie whispered in the vice president’s ear while he slumped in his hospital bed after his “massive stroke.” Huck had promised he wouldn’t murder anyone, you see, but he didn’t promise not to profoundly disable a US head of state for life. As anyone who ever went to high school knows, promises of abstinence always have their loopholes.

The episode could not end without Fitz oozing his way in at the end to awkwardly ask Liv if she had been raped by her captors without actually having the nerve to say the word “rape.” He didn’t ask her if they tortured her, if they otherwise hurt her, if she was scared, what she saw. His concern was with whether or she was raped, because Fitz is primarily concerned with whether or not he can have sex with Olivia again without feeling ~weird~ about it, even if he’s stupid enough to believe that his concern is entirely for her. (He is! He is actually that dumb!)

In response, Liv had one of those moments of clarity about Fitz that she has two or three times every season. He’s arrogant, self-righteous, petty, ungrateful, myopic and terminally overprivileged. He is the True and Actual Worst, and Olivia will have no more of him! She’s got four brand new locks on her door to make sure he stays out.

Except we’ve all been here with Olivia before, so we all know that before the end of the season, we’ll get at least one more shouting match about Vermont and jam and who made which Choices. Water is wet, sky is blue, February is cold. Now that Olivia has been returned alive, maybe the most exciting thing this show could do is kill Fitz. At least then, we could stop talking about jam. Maybe the next dude will make Olivia want to knit or something.

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