Cyrus gets Vanessa (the reporter who’s been getting the texts) an exclusive interview with President in hopes of getting her to reveal her source. James is nervous, so David Rosen advises him to leak the tape of Cyrus and Sally talking on the night that DDL died. Vanessa then wants to meet with Publius, so David Rosen offers to go in James’s place and gets kidnapped. Luckily, it’s just Abby and Harrison doing the kidnapping; Abby sensed something was up and hacked into David’s e-mail to prevent him from getting killed. True love.
The press discovers that Nichols illegally bought oxycodone to help with some back pain while he was campaigning for governor. Nichols offers to drop out of the race to end the story. Turns out that twelve years ago, Nichols discovered Mellie nearly dead from an oxycodone overdose some time after Big Jerry raped her, and saved her life. And Mellie confessed the rape to him, as well as her doubts about her baby’s parentage. Nichols later confessed that he was into Mellie THAT WAY, and she was into him too, but she turned him down. Liv figures out that Mellie bought the pills and Nichols is covering for her. She thinks Mellie and Nichols are having an ongoing affair and orders her to stop; Mellie points out the hypocrisy, because while Mellie was tempted, she never slept with Nichols. Except in present day, when she makes out with him and then runs away.
Sally meets with Hollis Doyle, who promises lots of money for her campaign if he gets to pick the Energy Secretary. Sally’s a little distracted, because she keeps hallucinating DDL’s corpse on her office floor. Hollis is also still meeting with Cyrus, keeping his options open, but Fitz tells Cyrus that he doesn’t want to take one dollar from Hollis, even though his campaign is having trouble attracting donors.
Quinn tails Charlie while he’s working and ends up spying on Liv and Rowan having a contentious dinner. On her way out, Liv spots Quinn (because she’s terrible at being a spy) and tells her to cut the B613 shit and come back. Quinn explains that she can’t, because Huck licked her face and that’s tough to get over. Liv tries to speak reasonably, but Quinn pulls a gun on her and orders her out of the car. Liv accuses Jake of hiring Quinn after she told him not to but Jake denies it and tells Liv a few things about how he’s not her errand boy. I might have cheered.
Later, Jake calls Quinn into his office to tell her to stop pretending to be a spy. Quinn sends him pictures of Rowan and Leo Bergen meeting and wonders why B613 didn’t know about it.
Jake gets a briefcase with files on all of B613’s active operations, and is told he has a spy in the White House and that it’s Command’s job to stay two steps ahead of the President. At the end of the day, his spy in the White House stops by -- it’s Tom the Secret Service Agent. He gives Jake a flash drive with that day’s events on it, including footage of Liv and Fitz in the Oval, and Liv confessing that she doesn’t know if she has feelings for Jake.
Adnan tries to get Harrison to do something with a briefcase of money and references something from Harrison’s past called Clearwater. Harrison later donates the cash to the Grant campaign to get Adnan Salif into Fitz’s fundraising dinner, where she tells Cyrus that she has money to donate if he’s interested. And then she goes back to her hotel room to inform her partner that they’re in. Her partner… Olivia’s mother.
Jake, Tom the Secret Service Agent, and a number of other Secret Service agents stand in a hotel hallway, pretending not to listen while Olivia and Fitz have a screaming match inside the hotel room. Even more awkward, they're screaming because Fitz doesn't want Jake outside their room. Jake tries to make small talk with Tom. What a trooper.
Inside the hotel room, Fitz and Olivia are getting dressed. So, wait. Liv had Jake deliver her to a hotel room and then wait outside while she has sex with Fitz? The balls on that lady. Seriously. She claims she needs him there to throw off reporters, and Fitz says she wants him there. Does she, Fitz? Does she want him to stand outside while you bone her? You're the one boning her while he stands outside awkwardly with the Secret Service, so what is your problem? Anyway, Fitz compares Jake to "a fox in [his] henhouse" and Olivia spits: "I am not a HEN. And my HOUSE is not yours." I think by house, she meant vagina.
The framing of this scene is ridiculous since they are trying to hide Kerry Washington's pregnancy. I think wardrobe is not going her any favors by trying to still put her in fitted suits with peplums, as that's just advertising that her waist is growing. Anyway, Liv yells about Fitz making an enemy of her father, and Fitz yells that he used to trust Jake, so he put him in charge of B613, but now he's compromised. Dude, Jake was in love with Liv WAY before you put him in charge of B613. And frankly, you're the one who forced Jake into Liv's life in the first place. So, as my kids' preschool teacher says, zip it and lock it and put it in your pocket.
Fitz insists that Jake is going to fight for and try to win Liv, and Liv tells him that not only is she not a hen, she's also not a prize that can be won. They keep yelling back and forth until Fitz snarls, "Will you just shut up and let me talk?" Ohhh-kay. I don't know about y'all, but I would never be with a person who talked to me like that, even in anger, even in a fight. Because that right there shows a basic lack of respect and/or inability to manage anger and/or lack of impulse control. I would run out the door and never look back. Liv is taken aback.
Fitz tries again and says more calmly that Liv brought Jake on, and he knows she did it for Fitz, or because Mellie made him think she was doing it for him. Liv screams at him: "I didn't do this for you! I didn't do this for YOU. I did this for me, so I could work on the campaign, so I could walk down the street and not be whispered about. So I could stop being known as the woman who screwed the President, so the scarlet A on my chest could be invisible, so I'm not a JOKE. I am a person. I am not a hen. I am not a prize. And I have a business to run, people to support, a life to lead, a DESIRE to wake up and face myself in the mirror every day. Oh, and once? I fixed a Presidential election, and I'd like a chance to right that wrong. Your wife may be many things but on ONE thing we are united. I cannot win a Presidential election if I am your public WHORE." Wow. That was quite a speech. While I've learned not to get too invested in any scene where Liv and Fitz seem to be breaking up, I did like a few things that Liv said there. One is that she recognized that she's making bad choices (can't look at herself in the mirror). One is that she recognizes that she has a responsibility to the people who work for her, unlike Fitz who doesn't seem to give a shit. And mostly, I like that now we know her motivation to continue working on the campaign. It's not so much that she wants Fitz to be President again; it's that she feels like if she can get him elected legitimately, it will make up for getting him elected illegally. I don't know that I agree with her moral gymnastics, but it does make more sense than, at this point, claiming that she thinks Fitz is a great man who should be elected.