You guys. I don't even know where to start.
Throughout the episode, we flashback to when Fitz and Mellie liked one another, fifteen years ago, and Flashback Cyrus had a terrible wig. Cyrus was enlisted by Fitz's dad, Jerry, to help Fitz run for governor of California, but Fitz refused to run as a war hero. Fitz and Jerry fought over whether or not Fitz should have joined the Navy in the first place, and Jerry is pissed that Fitz took on black ops missions, which meant Fitz's dad had to create the cover-up. Meanwhile, Cyrus decided to leave if Fitz wasn't going to run, and on the way out, he gave Mellie a lesson in what her role would be if Fitz planned to take a run at the governorship and eventually the White House – basically, she needed to give up her own wishes and desires and handle Fitz.
Later, Jerry got drunk and told Mellie that Fitz shot down the airliner, and says it was because they had intel that there was a dirty bomb on board. And then Jerry totally raped Mellie. Holy shit. The next morning, Mellie told the scumbag that she won't mention what happened but that he needed to apologize to Fitz and tell him whatever he needed to hear to get Fitz to run for governor. And then Mellie found out she was pregnant and the kid might be Jerry's and not Fitz's? Wow.
Moving on to present day, Fitz calls Liv and begs her to stop digging into Remington and stay away from Jake. He tells her, "I love you," and Liv replies, "So what?" HOORAY! Instead, Liv enlists the Gladiators to look into her mother's death. They discover that the plane was short one passenger when it left Dulles; they also discover that Fitz's dad was the head of the committee to investigate the plane crash. Abby and Harrison find out that a guy was taken off the plane by Federal Marshals before it took off, and the guy's family think he died in the crash. They track down the guy who drove the stairs for the plane and Jake plans to talk to him to see if he knows anything.
Quinn is still hanging with Charlie. She spies on him, he busts her, they make out. They go on a stakeout date, and Quinn convinces Charlie to let her go in and give the security guard an injection to knock him out. Except Quinn's an idiot and the injection kills the guy. Ugh. I wish it killed Quinn. So tired of her. Anyway, turns out the guy she killed was the stair driver that Jake was going to talk to. And Charlie has the whole murder on tape, and now he tells Quinn that she belongs to B613.
Mellie is publicly giving a tour of the East Wing and talking about china patterns and art to try to rehabilitate her image, but on the side, she and Cyrus are cooking up a scheme to catch Daniel Douglas Langston with a hooker. Mellie tries to tell Sally that her husband got handsy with one of her female aides, but Sally dismisses it immediately. Turns out that Daniel Douglas is into dudes.
Mellie is humiliated when she engineers a photo op with Fitz and baby Teddy and Fitz blows it off. After Mellie has a tantrum in his office, Fitz shows up for a joint interview, and when the interviewer tries to tell Mellie that people think she's crazy, Fitz sticks up for her in a big way. Then he tells her off camera that he meant every word.
Fitz has had his PI tailing Liv, and also compiling a file on her past. Which is how he finds out that Rowan is Liv's father. Speaking of Rowan, he goes into some weird bunker/prison/military installation past about a billion locked doors so that he can talk to…Maya, who's totally alive, if looking a little rough after spending like twenty years in a jail cell.
We open with Mellie giving a walkthrough of the East Wing to a reporter, obviously part of her attempt to win back the hearts and minds of the American public after she outed Fitz as a cheater and insulted Josie Marcus on a hot mike. Her chief-of-staff barrels in and asks which china pattern they'll be using for an upcoming dinner, then Mellie leads the cameras into another room to talk about her role in restoring the White House art collection. Cyrus walks in and interrupts and did Mellie inform no one that she was doing this interview, or are these interruptions pre-planned to make her look busy and vital? I'm guessing not pre-planned as Mellie laughs way to long and hard at Cyrus's lame joke about not having time to do his hair and then asks if they can cut. The whole impression is kind of chaotic and like Mellie is trying way too hard.
Rewind to fifteen years ago in Santa Barbara, CA, where Fitz and Mellie actually liked each other! We know this because they wake up in bed together, naked, and start making out. Big Jerry yells at them from outside the room, telling them to quit fooling around and get downstairs. Do you know how long it took me to figure out why someone named Fitzgerald is called Jerry? WAAAAY too long. It's like I was only seeing the Fitz part of the name, and not the Gerald part. Anyway, Fitz and Mellie giggle and make out some more and Fitz says he's trying to get Mellie pregnant. Big Jerry keeps yelling and Fitz looks annoyed. But he and Mellie were so happy? How did it all go so wrong?
Fitz and Mellie finally traipse downstairs hand-in-hand and meet, for the first time, Cyrus. Big Jerry explains that Cyrus is there to make Fitz into a viable candidate for Governor of California. Funny, I thought Cyrus was there to ask them to help him find a cure for whatever turned him into a werewolf. His hair and beard are supposed to make him look younger, I guess? But they just make him look homeless. Cyrus circles Mellie and Fitz, taking their measure, while Big Jerry explains that, even though they said Fitz wasn't going to run for another three years, another candidate dropped out and the timing is right. Cyrus likes that Fitz is tall with a good head of hair, and his educational background is impressive. He pronounces, "The wife is perfect," which might be Mellie's first experience being "the wife" instead of an actual person but it won't be the last. Fitz still seems confused and a little put off, but Mellie, all smiles, reassures him that it's their first step to the White House.