When it was announced this week that Scandal had cast the role of Olivia Pope's mom, there were plenty of people who thought the news confirmed Gladiator conspiracy theories that Maya had never really died in that airplane crash -- you know, the one that Liv's sometime boyfriend Fitz allegedly caused. But when the latest episode kicks off, we see the young Olivia Pope and her mom in the earliest Scandal flashback yet, so maybe Khandi Alexander was hired strictly for background. (Though we really hope she's around for much more than that. Remember her on NewsRadio? Or CSI: Miami? Or There's Something About Mary? Or currently on Treme? Or any number of other awesome things?)
This is Scandal we're talking about, so don't rule anything out just yet. When we're introduced to Maya, she's on her way out the door for a business trip. And it looks like it's the trip, given her ominous goodbye. On a happier note, we see where Adult Liv gets her fashion sense from, as Maya sashays out the door in a chic white blazer and black pencil skirt.
When we return to the present, we learn that Jake and Huck have already let the cat out of the bag about Fitz's involvement in Maya's death -- remember, last we saw Olivia, she was getting ready to rejoin Fitz's campaign and reminiscing about the good old days. Now she's sitting dumbfounded, alone in her office. But her name isn't Olivia Mope, so she heads out to ask Fitz point-blank about her mom's death.
Meanwhile, over at the Bizarro White House (a.k.a. the vice president's residence), Sally Langston is reuniting with secret campaign manager Leo Bergen, who's assessing the likability of Langston's husband, Daniel Douglas. ("If I'm Joe Voter, is he the charming frat boy or the emasculated potential date raper?") He also lays out a devious plan that will help turn the religious right against Fitz once and for all.
NEXT: Cyrus' big fat Greek analogy