Shonda Rhimes’ drama took a bit of a breather from the action of the last episode. The show slows down to develop the characters in this hot mess they have found themselves in. And Rhimes does so in a style that has been used in all of her shows, including Scandal. The balancing act of flashbacks and present time story lines. The storyline of the flashback compliments the present storyline. It is not always done well, but in Scandal, it is.

KERRY WASHINGTONAt the center of this mess is Olivia’s relationship with her father. The flashbacks communicate just how difficult the relationship is between Olivia and Rowan. They had a standing Sunday night dinner date in return for Rowan paying for his daughter’s law school. Olivia looks as if she can think of a million places she would rather be, but she sticks with it. After she meets Huck in the subway, he mentions him to her dad, hoping that Rowan can find out more information about Huck. What happens though, because we know that Rowan is the Commander of B6-13, while flashback Olivia does not, is that Huck disappears.

Olivia starts digging around trying to figure out what happened to Huck. She goes to David Rosen and learns that Huck was not arrested. She goes to the old paper plant and makes the connection that her dad had something to do with Huck’s disappearance. Upon gaining this new information, Olivia decides to bring Edison, the senator she is dating during the flashback, to Sunday night dinner. She knows how her father will react, and its exactly what she wants. All she has to say to Rowan is, “Give me Huck back,” and Huck returns to the subway.

Meanwhile, back in the present, the leaked video of Jeannine Locke is taking off. Rowan calls Cyrus and tells him that it is a gift and he should make the most of it. In the midst of this hype, Fitz calls Olivia: “Something happens and you’re the one I want to talk to.” This is when Olivia tells Fitz that she is – and has to –  put the white hat on and represent Jeannine. Instead of getting angry, Fitz daydreams about the life that he and Olivia could have together in Vermont where he is mayor and she makes jam. But, Olivia is not the jam making kind.

This is the tragedy of Olitz. They are truly in love with each other. But they are also two ambitious individuals, like opposing forces colliding in space. They both have their own issues with their fathers that they need to work out. In short, there is just too little space in their lives for the love that is required for such a relationship.

Mellie and Cyrus and not giving up on the Jeannine route. But things change quickly when Olivia shows up outside of the White House holding a press conference. Rowan shows up at Pope & Associates as Olivia’s dad. The staff is completely surprised, as Quinn says, “He’s so normal!” But Quinn’s curiosity starts to get the best of her. She hacks into and starts looking through Olivia’s emails to understand her boss’ father-daughter relationship.

Daddy Pope has come by to offer a deal with Olivia. If she stops defending Jeannine, she could save Jake Ballard’s life. Rowan refuses to confirm whether or not Jake is still alive. Olivia calls Fitz and demands that he find out if Jake is alive or not. Cyrus has to explain to Fitz that B6-13 does not answer to the President.

Not to be out done, Mellie calls Jeannie and sets up a time to meet with her. Mellie offers her money to confess that she slept with the President.

The Gladiators go into full Scandal-mode to defend Jeannie, including a television interview. But just as the interview is about to go live, the President has a live press conference. With Jake’s status unknown, Fitz gives Cyrus two choices. Either he will “confess” to sleeping with Jeanine in exchange for Jake Ballard to be released, or he will come clean about Olivia.

It is unclear if it is Fitz’ offers to Cyrus or Olivia’s willingness to resume Sunday night dinners with her father, that results in Jake showing up at Olivia’s door. Jake’s appearance is proof that B6-13 does not play around. Jake back in the perfect makes a whole lot more possible for the story line in this third season.

And we cannot forget about Quinn going all rouge and hacking into Olivia’s email. She finds out that Olivia hid signification information about her father – mainly his connection to B6-13. Huck, who tells Quinn more than once that she should want to be more like Olivia and less like him, has a mild breakdown when Quinn shares with him what she learned. He shows up in the parking garage, chokes Olivia, and demands to know if her father is Commander. How will this affect Olivia’s relationship with Huck? He has always been so grateful to what Olivia has done for him that he has remained the most loyal. But will this relieved secret change that?