'Scandal' recap: Olivia Pope sees the mother of all ghosts

kerry-washington-scandal-ghost-recap-abc.jpgWell, it was bound to happen: Olivia Pope's ghost of a mother has found her.

After last week's horrifying trip into Mellie Grant's past, the Thursday (Nov. 21) episode of "Scandal" snapped its focus back onto She Who Wears the White Hat, Kerry Washington. And, as in most weeks, Liv was put through the ringer.

Not only did she lose a client (So long, Lisa Kudrow! We barely knew you!), but she regained her forbidden love and a zombie of a mom. First, the love. While Liv was busy at work with OPA to track down that person missing from the flight Fitz ( Tony Goldwyn) down way back when, he continues to call her, now that he knows her dad is Rowan/Eli/the boogeyman ( Joe Morton). She tells him to leave her alone, she smashes her Fitz phone, but, like Jake ( Scott Foley) sadly says, she knows it won't stop him.

And, true to form, Fitz send a helicopter for Liv, with some photos of her and her dad as coercion, and flies her to a house in Vermont. They fight over all the secrets they've kept from each other, and then Fitz drops the bomb that they're standing in the house he had built for her to live in. So, naturally, they sleep together. Back in D.C., Mellie's ( Bellamy Young) obsessively playing back that interview from last week, crying about her shambles of a life. (Just kidding -- she's calling both Fitz and Liv's phones, piecing together just what's what.)

After their night of rather intense (for ABC) love-making, Liv goes to leave in the morning, but not before telling Fitz," Don't sell the house. Not yet." Olitiz live again! Somewhere, a tiny voice dares to ask, "Why was Scott Foley made a series regular again?"

But enough about the adultery, excuse me, true love -- Liv's mom's on the loose. After learning last week Maya Lewis ( Khandi Alexander) didn't perish in that plane crash, we pick back up with the woman still in her cell, with Rowan barking that he's shipping her out of the country because Liv's getting too nosy. Maya wants to see her daughter before she goes, Rowan denies her.

So, in one of the more disgusting things ever seen on ABC (and for the network that aired "Work It," that's saying something), Maya literally eats through both her wrists, like an insane dog. It's a shocking, sickening moment of television, to be honest. But it's a moment that gets Maya in the position she needs to be to facilitate her escape.

After Rowan visits her with a press clipping collection starring their daughter (too bad he didn't ask Fitz for some of the candids of dad and daughter together), Maya's about to be shipped off (or killed -- the read on that scene is shaky) when she apparently overpowers the doc, stabs him in the neck, takes his clothes and bolts. All this after having desecrated both her wrists with her own teeth just a day before.

Cut to the inevitable moment of Liv arriving home, a voice calling out to her from the darkness. A familiar voice. A voice ... from beyond. Liv turns in horror as her bedraggled ghost of a mother lumbers towards her, the look of fear on her face so real it hurts.

Stepping back from the episode and looking at the fuller picture of Olivia's life, boy, is it bleak. With the insane pace "Scandal" keeps, plowing through miles of plot week after week, it's easy to overlook the reality of this character's life, but, seriously, to say she's had it rough is the understatement of the century. The show rarely takes the opportunity to reflect on the damage that's been done to Olivia by just about everyone around her because that's antithetical to the runaway train nature of the series, but this latest assault, the horrific resurrection of a mom long thought dead, might be the breaking point for the seemingly unflappable fixer. Here's hoping the show takes some time to address that -- and soon.

Spare Parts:

- Anyone else get the feeling that Maya is the real villain of the Pope family? The interplay between her and Rowan in her cell is obviously scripted to lead us in the direction, but why remains a mystery. Will the revelation of her villainy be used to redeem Liv's dad? Or will it turn out to be that Liv simply has the worst parents in the entire world?

-That said, it was endearing to learn that Liv's love of popcorn came from Maya. For those keeping score: Wine? Dad. Popcorn? Mom.

- Boy, that whole Lisa Kudrow arc really went nowhere, huh? Josie Marcus bows out of the race tonight after her sister/daughter Candy staged a break-in and planted evidence at Reston's offices. It's a shame Kudrow never really got anything to do besides be noble and boring.

- Watching Quinn ( Katie Lowes) try to keep Huck ( Guillermo Diaz) from uncovering it was she who murdered the security guard last week was torturous. Though, not as torturous as what he's likely got planned for her, by the looks of that toolbox on her coffee table at episode's end. Yikes.

- Of course using James ( Dan Bucatinsky) as unwitting bait to seduce Daniel Douglas ( Jack Coleman), would backfire in Cy's ( Jeff Perry) face. The minute he uttered, "My husband's not your husband, Mellie," a tryst between James and DD was all but set in stone.

- Adnan Salif Update: Another week with no mention of this vicious man who's re-entering the U.S. to kill Harrison ( Columbus Short), but, hey, Harrison got some this week, at least! Too bad it was with Candy and will likely never happen again. 
Photo/Video credit: ABC