‘Scandal’ Season 2, Episode 17 Recap – ‘Snake in the Garden’

Hollis is back, Olivia kisses a boy and the mole is ousted. And for the record, it seems like there’s plenty more than one snake slithering around this particular garden!
Now the watcher is being watched: After Mellie told Cyrus that the President wasn’t cheating on her with Olivia, he’s actually cheating on Cyrus with his new confidant/naval intelligence officer Captain Jake Ballard, Cy decides to have him looked into by his go-to goon Charlie.

Charlie hands Cyrus an envelope full of information on Jake, which Cy later uses to his advantage. He informs Fitz that he knows what kind of unspeakable actions Fitz took part in to make it out of Iran alive back when he was in the military, and equates it to Cyrus’s own role in the Defiance, Ohio election rigging plot. Whatever had to be done had to be done, and they should be able to move past it together. 
Fitz realizes Cyrus is right and lets him back in the fold. (Finally!)

An inconvenient intruder: David Rosen returns home one evening to find his apartment completely ransacked. As he’s looking around, he hears footsteps and quickly hides behind his couch. The intruder quickly and quietly lets himself out without knowing David had returned home.

David goes to the only place he feels safe; ironically, that’s Olivia’s office. Of course, most of the team isn’t too happy about it, namely Harrison who expresses his extreme disgust at David brushing his teeth in the kitchen instead of in the men’s room.

David tries to earn his keep, though. He helps out with their newest client, who is none other than...

The devil: Who would have ever thought that Hollis Doyle himself would end up being a client of Olivia Pope & Associates? Someone is holding his troubled, estranged daughter Maybelle for ransom; unless he hands over $20 million in cold hard cash, she’s as good as dead.
Only Hollis isn’t buying it. Maybelle is a drug addict and master manipulator (read: former acting student). Hollis is more than happy to cooperate to help get Maybelle back safe and sound; he just refuses to pay for it. Plus, she has a twisted ex-boyfriend named Justin—this scheme has his name written all over it.

Proof is in the ear: Later at Olivia’s office, Doyle’s assistant brings over his lunch and a few unopened packages. One of them contains Maybelle’s severed ear. Hollis asks for proof and he gets it—the kidnapper sends along a rather gruesome image of Maybelle minus an ear. Now Daddy Big Bucks wants to pay up.

Harrison wires the kidnapper $10 million—they’re receiving half up front and half when they’re sure Maybelle will be returned safe and sound. The kidnapper asks to meet in twenty minutes and Olivia agrees. She, Huck and Quinn go to an old abandoned gas station to retrieve Maybelle who is alive and well, save for one missing ear. The other $10 million is immediately wired and she’s taken to a hospital to recover.

But the team still isn’t buying it: Back at the office, Harrison announces that Justin has been in a Thai prison for the past 60 days on drug charges; he couldn’t have had anything to do with the kidnapping. Also, Huck is examining the severed ear. He realizes it was cut jaggedly by self-sawing it off. If someone else had done it, the cut would have been sharp and clean.
Hollis turns up at hospital to visit Maybelle, but she’s already checked out. We see her hop into a cab to head to the airport and Huck’s the driver. He takes her to Olivia Pope and Associates for a showdown with her parents. They’ve reversed the payments and called the police, but Hollis offers his only daughter a lifeline—she can have $20 million dollars or she can return to her family for a fresh start. Not surprisingly, she chooses the money. Ouch!

Osborne confronts Olivia: A week has gone by and Quinn and Huck are still trailing the CIA Director when they realize they’ve been made. They’re actually following him to Olivia’s apartment! They text Olivia and give her a head’s up just in the nick of time; she’s able to hide a flash drive that houses everything she’s working on before answering the door and letting an angry Osborne in. He demands to know why he’s being followed; she threatens him and asks him to leave.
Of course Jake is watching the exchange, until transmission is broken and the screen goes fuzzy.
Later we see Jake calling Olivia to make small talk, i.e. make sure she isn’t home so that he can break in, reconnect the cameras and make a copy of the flash drive, of course.

About that flash drive: After Jake handed the President the highly classified intel that ultimately saved the lives of the American hostages in Kashfar, Fitz asks Jake to get even more information on the mole from his unnamed source, a.k.a. Olivia, only Mr. President doesn’t know that.
Jake sees it as an opportunity to use the documents he found on Olivia’s flash drive to his advantage. He tells Fitz that Osborne is undoubtedly their mole, especially since Jake witnessed Osborne threatening her. Jake urges the President to handle the situation immediately. The President complies, since Jake has become his trusted eyes and ears on the ground.

Mellie plays the ‘good mom’ card: The First Lady asks the President’s secretary to fill up his previously cleared schedule on the weekend their children were supposed to visit from boarding school. He demands to know why, and she tells him that the children prefer to not see him since he’s become a bit of a boozing tyrant. In fact, he’s become his own father whom he hated growing up, so Fitz should know exactly how they feel. Fitz looks truly devastated; he was really looking forward to spending time with them—he had no idea that they’ve grown to despise him.

Olivia and Jake kick it up a notch: We see Olivia getting all dolled up for date night with Jake when Cyrus calls; she ends up asking how Fitz is and realizes that she’s still not over him. Jake arrives to pick her up and she tries to break it off, but he cuts her off with a big speech about letting go and allowing him to be her relationship do-over; somehow they end up embracing in a passionate kiss. (He’s handsome and clever—such a tricky combination!)
Osborne is pissed: The CIA Director finds out his office and home are being packed up, so he turns up at Cyrus’s office to protest his innocence, who informs him that he supports the President’s decision to let him go. 
Later we learn that Osborne blew his brains out in his car in Rock Creek Park. Or did he? We see Jake drinking coffee in the park, when an unidentified gentleman sits next to him for a chat. They end up boasting about how Osborne’s death was ruled a suicide and that everyone believed he was the mole. Turns out, Osborne wasn't the mole, just a pawn in an even bigger plot. 
And now, our questions—inquiring minds want to know:
- Now that David Rosen is in the building, will Olivia hire him? He sure could use the job, and he’d be the perfect replacement for Stephen who left the team at the end of last season!
- Oh, and who broke into David’s home?!
- Will Fitz put down the Scotch know that he knows it’s affecting his personal life?
- Ummmmm, who’s the mole? And Jake’s not a good guy?