As usual, the last three minutes of this episode were jaw-dropping, tense and insane. But so were the first three minutes.

At this point, we all know that Papa Pope is a badass. But now that we have seen Mama Pope chew through her own damn wrists in order to get out of a prison cell — and stab a doctor in the neck with a hypodermic needle to get out of being shipped away — it's clear that she's on an entirely different level. Olivia has some interesting DNA.

So much happened last night, it's impossible to process it all, but here are some highlights:

  • Chewing through wrists. CHEWING THROUGH WRISTS.
  • Shirtless Harrison. About time he got some kind of action.
  • "This house is yours. Ours."
  • Olitz boning in front of the crackling fire. She's gone back to sleeping with the man she thinks killed her mother. Guess those countertops are really really nice?
  • Cyrus to Mellie: "He's acting like a president again." You can tell, in Mellie's face, that she knows it's because he's tapping Olivia. Mellie has an awful, gut-churning awareness that he's at his "best" when he's cheating on her.
  • Congresswoman Josie Marcus taking a bullet for her daughter. In fact, what a mother will do for her daughter was a theme last night. Sacrificial moms. Bloody sacrificial moms.
  • Mellie to Fitz: "Maybe we should try again." His running for re-election means her playing the dutiful wife who turns a blind eye to his affair. And she's volunteering.
  • Huck to Quinn: "We need to talk about who you're working for." Her face when she looks at that Toolbox O'Torture. (One commenter called it a "Killer Caboodles Set." Hilarious! Not the set. That's horrifying.)
  • Your Olivia Pope Moment of the Week: Oh I'm just minding my own business walking down the street and hmm, did someone say my name? WAIT IS THAT MY MOTHER WHO DIED WHEN I WAS TWELVE?

While all the Fitz/Liv stuff was twisty, turny and crazy, the James/Cyrus plotline was even more intense and heartbreaking. Cyrus is an expert manipulator, but he obviously didn't count on James realizing he'd been pimped out and revenge-hooking-up with Mr. Sally Langston. For Cyrus, it was a classic case of Careful What You Wish For.

It was an incredibly well-structured episode, and it's hard to believe it can be topped for the "winter finale," airing December 5. That episode is titled "YOLO." I'm scared.