Mama and Papa Pope are back in the Scandal fall finale, but it turns out there's an even bigger threat much closer to the Oval Office. Here’s a look at some of the episode’s most shocking moments:
RETURN OF THE POPES
Maya "Mama Pope" Lewis is back, but still in chains, at the episode's start and, despite her pleas to her daughter to "handle it," Olivia tells Jake Ballard to "charge her and lock her up." After Ballard takes out a hitman who is carrying a playing card with his face on it, the team deduces that Papa Pope is also back in the picture, attempting to tie up loose B613 ends.
"Girl, you need to move on," Olivia’s mother warns when she comes looking for answers to Rowan’s motivations. "All you two do is talk about each other. You’re just like him."
CYRUS STEPS DOWN (FOR A SECOND)
After incriminating photos of Cyrus and male prostitute Michael are leaked to the press, President Grant and Olivia devise a plan to "handle it." Olivia proposes a quickie marriage and hush money for Michael, arguing that, "America will forgive anything for love," but Cyrus refuses out of respect for his dead husband James.
The President and his chief of staff share a tearful moment in the Oval Office over Cy's resignation, but his vacation time is short-lived. A dressing down by Olivia Pope snaps Cyrus out of his funk and gets him on board with the initial plan and back in the White House where he belongs.
OLIVIA PULLS THE TRIGGER
After an incorrect tip sends Jake on a wild goose chase for Rowan Pope, Olivia walks in on her father armed and waiting in her apartment. They trade barbs until Olivia snatches Papa Pope's gun off the table while he is in mid-monologue. His mocking words cause her to finally snap and pull the trigger, to no avail. The gun isn’t loaded, but Rowan reacts as if mortally wounded.
"You just shot me!" Papa Pope roars. "Never in a million years did I think that you would be willing to pull the trigger."
He slinks off, but not before leaving her with his record collection, which will play an important role at the episode's shocking conclusion.
WACO AND THE VP
Quinn evades her own B613-related assassination by getting into a bloody post-coital fistfight with Charlie, who has been sent to kill her. After stealing some documents from Winslow’s law firm, she and Huck realize that the vice president was actually behind the alleged terrorist attack by West Angola in an attempt to force the president's hand into war with the country.
Jake joins Olivia at her apartment where she dismisses his Papa Pope worries and puts on a record, hoping to dance her troubles away.
"I want Vermont with Fitz. I also want the sun with you," she tells him. "I’m not choosing. I choose me. I’m choosing Olivia and right now Olivia is dancing."
However, their bliss is short-lived. When Jake goes to the bedroom to grab some pillows and blankets so they can continue their "dance" on top of the piano, he returns to an empty apartment. Wine spilled on the couch indicates a struggle, but Olivia is nowhere to be found.
The vice president threatens Fitz in the Oval Office with the revelation that he now possesses the one thing most precious to the president.
"How are you liking that war now, sir?" Andrew taunts, leaving no doubt as to his sinister intentions. But the question remains, #WhereIsOliviaPope?
Scandal returns January 29. In the meantime, try to believe Kerry Washington when she claims she doesn't enjoy kissing her hunky co-stars in the video below.