‘Scandal’ Season 2, Episode 16 Recap - 'Top of the Hour'

Everyone’s favorite political drama is back from a four-week hiatus, and this one was a doozy. Try to keep up!

Olivia’s got a new client: Now that Verna’s six feet under, there’s an open seat on the Supreme Court bench. The White House would love for Murray Randall to take the coveted spot, only there’s one minor little snafu—he had an extramarital affair with Sarah Stanner, a former law student at Harvard, over fifteen years ago. Stanner’s currently a married mother-of-two and a seemingly wholesome suburban-dwelling CEO, so of course the press is all over this one—camped out on her front lawn, in fact.

Cyrus isn’t happy: Mr. Beene is finally back in the President’s good graces, so he really needs to minimize the fallout from the Randall-Stanner scandal ASAP in order to retain Fitz’s ear. Problem is, Olivia has already advised her client to come clean in a very public press conference, which Cyrus and his team counters with a rather successful smear campaign that damn near costs Stanner her job in an effort to save Randall’s.

Harrison is a great gladiator: Olivia’s number two puts on his suave, slick-tongued lawyer hat for a brief meeting with Samantha, a legal executive at RyoCorp who wants to enforce the morality clause in her contract so Stanner will have to resign effective immediately.

Harrison informs her that he’ll launch a nasty discrimination suit against them that’ll force the company to change their name and completely rebrand. Decisions, decisions.

And even more scandal: More incriminating emails surface detailing the Stanner-Randall affair, proving their relationship actually spanned over two years and included monthly romantic getaways to warm, exotic locales. Randall doesn't get the cushy Supreme Court seat and Stanner’s job is jeopardized once again. (How dreadful.)

Harrison and Abby have a heart-to-heart: The dynamic duo work together to try their best to save Stanner’s CEO position, only Harrison notices that Abby’s acting a bit different around him. Abby tells Harrison that she never realized that their friendship came second to their working relationship, referencing the fact that Harrison lied to her, leading Abby to break up with David Rosen. He apologizes profusely and they get back to work.

Later they storm the RyoCorp meeting where the board is planning to make a decision about Stanner’s fate with the company. Abby is holding a box that’s supposedly full of salacious bits about the personal lives of the members of the board. Abby and Harrison give the board until the count of three to call off the meeting or they’ll expose everyone’s dirty laundry to one another. Of course they get their way; Stanner’s job is saved by an empty box and good old-fashioned bluffing!

But who’s the daddy?: Stanner’s husband Phil is livid after realizing his wife continued to lie even after she got caught, and he’s left wondering if he’s even the father of their daughter Annie, whose conception took place right around the time of the affair. Thankfully, a paternity test takes care of that.

Results in hand, Phil decides he’s better off not knowing if Annie is his or not, after Olivia reminds him that what’s in the envelope won’t change the past or the future. He’ll never be able to completely walk away from Annie or his family, and they’ll just have to get through this. He rips the envelope in half and clutches his wife’s hand. Looks like they’re on the road to relationship recovery.

Olivia and Fitz, take 2,345,613: Now that the truth is out about Randall, the White House is left scrambling to find another suitable nominee for the Supreme Court Justice seat. When Fitz finds out from Cyrus that Olivia was representing Stanner (and essentially tanked Randall), he hits the roof. Cue one extra melodramatic phone call between the two, where they both claim to have been ruined by the other. Oh, and don’t forget to cue the tears.

Mellie’s still an outsider: Cyrus may be back in the Presidential fold, but the First Lady is not. She brings their infant son to the Oval Office for a feeding with Fitz, but he takes the baby and the bottle and slams the door right in her face. (Ouch!)

Mellie asks Fitz’s personal secretary for a peek at his calendar and sees that he has a thrice-weekly 9:30p.m. meeting penciled in with an unknown attendant. No one knows whom it’s with. She assumes it’s Olivia, but later learns that it’s with Captain Jake Ballard. She takes a small bit of joy in informing Cyrus that Fitz isn’t cheating on her; he’s actually cheating on him, since Ballard has become quite the trusted confidant to the President in the last few months—a position Cyrus long enjoyed.

Speaking of Jake: He and Olivia are still flirting with one another. She slips him an envelope filled with top-secret Intel about the American hostages in Kashfar and tells him she can’t reveal her source; he has to trust her. While they’re chatting, a paparazzo snaps a couple of photos of Olivia and Jake chatting; she tells him not to worry about it, as it comes with the job.

Ballard does trust Olivia, so he takes her intelligence to the President who asks him to keep the information between the two of them while Fitz orders a rescue mission himself. Remember, there’s a mole on his team.

Oh, and Ballard does worry about being seen with Olivia, so breaks into the photographer’s home to beat him up and steal his memory card.

And Huckleberry-Quinn find Albatross: Huck is training Quinn to be his super spy mini-me. They’re trailing Osborne (a.k.a. Albatross, a.k.a. the mole), whose day job just so happens to be Director of the CIA. Problem is, Osborne is shadowed by armed security 24-hours a day, which means that they need to pay more attention to what he does in public, not private. Huck and Quinn are forced to lie in wait until the perfect moment to pounce.

That perfect moment is at the dry cleaners. Quinn gets in line behind Osborne and memorizes the phone number he uses to identify his laundry. She returns later to pickup his clothes and finds an envelope containing $20,000+ stuffed in an inside pocket. Now they know how he trades Intel with his contacts.

To avoid blowing her cover, she returns the clothes and acts like she picked them up by mistake. The dry cleaner knows something is up and sends photos of her to Osborne. Two words: Cover. Blown!

And now, the questions—inquiring minds want to know…

- Now that Albatross has a visual on Quinn, what is he going to do to her? We already know he isn’t above murdering inconvenient women…

- Who’ll get the Supreme Court Justice seat?

- Olivia really seems to like Captain Jake Ballard; wonder what’ll happen once Fitz finds out the two are canoodling?

- What’s going on with David Rosen? Are he and Abby still an item?