ABC

Olivia makes her way out of the cell, while the team back at home desperately search for her and Fitz makes an impossible decision.

The title of the latest installment of Scandal was “Where's the Black Lady?” but it could’ve just as easily have been called “Babysitter Or Boss.”

That's because Thursday night's episode was all about power plays. No one, of course, exhibited more bossiness and power than Olivia Pope herself who kept coming up with brilliant ways to let Huck and the team know where she was. If you’re the only gladiator in the place sometimes you have to save yourself.

Thankfully, Liv didn’t have to do all of the heavy lifting and she received unknown and unsolicited assistance from Mellie, an old black woman (played by the incomparable 83-year-old Marla Gibbs) and even Tom.

Let’s start with Mellie. Can someone please nominate Bellamy Young for an Emmy? She had us frozen with anticipation as she convincingly played a first lady so ride or die that she slept with the enemy to save her husband's invaluable side chick. I mean, for serious? Now, that's good acting and writing.

It should also be noted that Mellie put Vice President Nichols to sleep with her, uhm, lady business Nicki Minaj NyQuil style.

Then there's Gibbs aka Florence from The Jeffersons. Thanks to her persistence in searching for "the black lady," Quinn was able to figure out that the disappearance of Olivia's neighbor has something to do with Olivia's disappearance, too. Wow! We knew that ring would come into play at some point. Another smooth move by boss lady Olivia Pope.

Lastly, there was Tom, who not only spoke in the same cadence as his puppet master Rowan – creepy – but he helped Fitz figure out where he could actually talk without being bugged or watched: Olivia's apartment.

Fitz, meanwhile, was killing it as he desperately tried to maintain control and figure out who he could trust, how he could communicate with Cyrus and even what to tell Mellie and when. The only thing missing from that scene where he was walking down the hall looking at all the possible traitors surrounding him was Rockwell's “Somebody’s Watching Me.”

Credit has to go to Debbie Allen who directed the episode and kept us on the edge of our seats at every turn. Kudos is also due for Huck, who beat the living evil out of Elizabeth's back in order to find his head gladiator-in-charge.

Ultimately, Olivia outsmarted her captors again when she convinced Ian that he needed to promote himself from babysitter to boss and put her up for auction to the highest bidder allowing Huck to trace his phone.

Now, there were those who took offense to the mere suggestion of a black woman going up for auction and the inescapable slavery connotations such words conjure.

But this is Scandal and nothing is off limits, not even the Peculiar Institution.

Does Olivia's auction turn you off and is anyone else hoping Papa Pope will somehow help save the day? Weigh in with your thoughts below:

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