ABC's Scandal, which was originally about a Washington, D.C., fixer and her affair with the president, has strayed substantially from its original format in the last few months. The November Season 4 midseason finale, "Where the Sun Don't Shine," ended with Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) being kidnapped from her apartment. And when the show returned in January with the Season 4 midseason premiere, "Run," Olivia's kidnapping was depicted from her lover Jake's (Scott Foley) perspective — he had stepped into another room during the split second it happened — and Olivia's perspective (which included her being snuck out in a body bag, drugged, and waking up hours, or days, later in a very dilapidated prison cell in what seemed to be a country in Africa).
In "Run," Olivia was being held in a cell with a man named Ian (Jason Butler Harner), deprived of the basics, like bathing and bathroom privacy. Eventually, she listened to her cellmate being carted off, tortured, and shot. But Olivia managed to knock out one guard, kill another, and escape, only to find herself in a staging studio and Ian alive. It turned out he wasn't another captive, but rather the man behind the whole operation — well, really the vice president (Jon Tenney) was behind the whole thing, paying Ian to kidnap Olivia so he could use her as leverage to force the president to declare war against West Angola.
Then, in the Feb. 5 episode "Where's the Black Lady?" Olivia convinced Ian that, rather than holding her hostage and eventually killing her, he should sell her on the black market to the highest bidder, because whoever had Olivia had Fitz's (Tony Goldwyn) ear, she reasoned. So the two teamed up to sell Olivia, ideally to the president. But in the most recent episode, "Gladiators Don't Run," which aired on Feb. 12, Ian was killed by his subordinate Gus (Chad Donella), who then took control of the auction. And not only did he stop the auction hours before it was supposed to end, he took a cash payout from Iran — though it seems from the trailer for next week's episode the buyer could be someone else entirely... like Papa Pope (Joe Morton)? The episode ended with Olivia being pulled out of a car in an abandoned area with a black bag over her head.