Am I the only one watching Scandal who finds herself confused by the goings-on therein? What is it that I find confusing? Portia de Rossi’s American accent is significantly superior to what it was five years ago; also, she exists in the show, which is in itself strange, as her character doesn’t seem to have much use other than complaining about Republicanny things. It does seem that Jake is finding his way into her storyline, but that brings us to another point of confusion: Jake!

Jake as a character is just as confusing as Jake as a romantic interest for Liv. He does eerily blank so well, but has Scott Foley outstayed his usefulness?

Also confusing: Quinn still exists; Charlie’s still in love with her; Quinn is surprised that no one notices she wasn’t around for 24 hours.

Mostly what confuses me is that the trademark Scandal cases of the week seem to be trying to build to something thematically, but I’m not sure those beats are compounding the way they should. Our first episode of the season had Liv speechifying on the rate and verisimilitude of reported rapes, ultimately standing up for a wronged woman. Last week had Liv mediating a couple she finds repulsive, combative and damaged (sound familiar?).

This week, the case of the week brings Liv to the home of her law school friend Cathrine, whose 17-year-old daughter has run away. The script makes a point of noting that though Cathrine and Liv are friends from law school, Catherine never sat for the bar. The big house she lives in is due entirely to her husband, a powerful political attorney.

This isn’t just a small fact, it clearly informs our opinion of this woman long before we find that she has been sleeping with her daughter’s boyfriend. It is also mentioned that before Catherine married her husband, she was his mistress.

But what’s the subtext here? What’s the underlying message to the viewer? It seems like the Rhimes crew is trying to make a point with all these cases; in each of these cases we’re seeing bizzaro versions of Liv’s life. Liv is represented in each story, but each is an exaggerated iteration of what her life and romantic situation with Fitz could have become.

Next time we see Caitlin, Catherine’s daughter, she’s dead on a slab in the morgue, with a tearful Catherine standing over her. Did this mother kill her daughter over a fling with a 17-year-old boy? Not according to video that Liv finds of Caitlin struggling in an elevator with an unidentified man shortly before her death.

Another point of confusion: Olivia stops by her father’s house for an awkward and quiet bonding session. Strange, because Olivia didn’t seem to trust Rowan any more last episode than she did all of last season. What comes of this impromptu catch up? Olivia decides to invite Jake to a family dinner as if any good could possibly come of such a meeting. When Liv steps out of the room to accept a call, Jake and Rowan engage in some heated and predictably threatening wordplay, and for the life of me, I can’t muster any more investment in this argument over B6-13 than I can for Quinn’s storyline this episode.

As previously mentioned, Quinn gets angry when no one notices she was gone for 24 hours (especially after spending that 24 hours telling Charlie how not lonely she is because she has people). After some time passes, Huck assures Quinn that he will look for her the next time she goes missing.

Wait, what? Did I miss a beat in which Huck fully forgives her for sending him to his real family? (Where are they, anyway?)

And in the White House, Fitz learns Abby’s name, but our poor red-head can’t get any appreciation. Immediately after really acknowledging her as a human being, Fitz just asks her questions about Olivia.

Sigh. Will Scandal ever learn the meaning of resolution? One can only hope.

What did you think of “Inside the Bubble”? Are you as confused by Scandal as I am? Do you miss Fitz and Olivia together? If Abby could have any other name, what should it be?