Last week introduced us to Vanessa the Reporter, Rowan as a powerless dude, VP candidate Andrew Nichols, and the ever-difficult saga of trying to hide Kerry Washington’s ever-growing baby bump (seriously, some of those camera angles and jackets, though). What’s in store this week? Sally falls further into needing an exorcism (which we don’t think Leo Bergen is qualified to run), Hollis Doyle makes another appearance, and Cyrus and Rowan are both out for blood. Who will come out on top?
1. Quinn: Quinn sort of waffles around for the first half of the episode, since Jake is adamant she not be part of B613, but she takes it from zero to sixty really quickly when she follows Liv and then pulls a gun on her former boss when Liv begs her to come back home to OPA. Quinn, we say this every week, but: look at your life, look at your choices. What are you doing? She does show Jake up when she brings him pictures of Rowan and Leo Bergen cavorting with secrets at the Lincoln Memorial. She hacked into the National Parks network and dropped the pics on Jake’s lap like a cat does a dead mouse. Credit where credit is due - well done, Quinn.
2. Andrew Nichols: Andrew and Mellie, sitting in a tree, K-I-S...well, not really. But he sure looks at her like he wants to smooch her, doesn’t he? Andrew, Mellie, Liv, and Fitz are in a meeting when Cyrus tells them that there’s a story about drug use in the California Governor’s Mansion when Fitz and Andrew (Fandrew? Fitzdrew?) were in it. Andrew says not to deny it because, well, it’s true. He says he ordered semi-illegal oxy for his back, but we later learn via flashback that the perp was actually Mellie. She overdosed on oxy (purposely), seemingly as a coping mechanism for her hatred of all the Grant men, and Nichols saved her life by making her puke. He’s the only one who knows her Papa Grant secret, and now Nichols is just hellbent on protecting Mellie, since he’s pretty certain Fitz will never look out for her. And he’s right. Luckily, Mellie can mostly look out for herself, but it’s nice to see someone genuinely care about her.
3. Jake Ballard: Jakey-poo is drunk on power when he receives a briefcase giving him all the info that ever existed about anything, ever. It’s basically a briefcase of Wiki-leaks. Plus the highest security clearance of anyone in the country. Kinda makes up for overhearing Fitz and Olivia’s screaming match about your role as boyfriend beard, huh Jake? He later tells Olivia off in the best way possible: “Wine is not beer and popcorn is definitely not food.” There was also something in there about being her beard, all the pretend sex they’re having, and how she doesn’t get to control his work at B613, but we were slightly distracted by the beauty of Jake Ballard removing his shirt. We know that the head of B613 has someone on the inside, but Jake didn’t know who it was until, oh the last two minutes of the episode. It’s Tom, Fitz’s trusty (and our favorite) Secret Service Member. Yay! He’ll be dropping off nightly deliveries of video footage from the Oval Office right into Jake’s hands. Hope he doesn’t see, er, anything he shouldn’t see between Olivia and Fitz (like when tonight he sees that Liv may actually have feelings for him).
4. Olivia: We open on a screaming match between Fitz and Liv, and he basically calls her a whore for being around Jake and then she lets. him. have. it. She is not a prized pig, she is not a whore, and she is not doing this (using Jake as a cover boyfriend) for him. She’s doing it for herself, so she can walk around town without a scarlet letter on her chest, so she can actually be a person instead of a story. Wow, Liv, you’re actually, I don’t know, standing up for yourself? Now you just have to ditch Fitz completely. But this is a wonderful start. Liv later has a fight with Mellie, and gets schooled by Huck, who claims that she holds his leash and she’s always known he was a monster. There’s a lot of stuff coming Liv’s way that’s likely going to blindside her, but we’ll deal with that when it happens!
5. Mellie: Not that we’re usually rooting for infidelity, but we really hope Mellie and Nichols get another hot smooch in there soon (without all of the departed First Ladies watching and judging), because damn, she deserves it after putting up with all this Fitz/Liv crap.
6. Cyrus: Cyrus knows there’s a leak somewhere in the White House, and he’s sure hell bent on finding it. Too bad it’s in his own home, eh? Cyrus has Charlie steal Vanessa the Reporter’s SIM information on her phone, mimic it, and text Publius (aka his hubby, James) for a meeting. Noting that “this meeting cannot happen,” Cy tells Charlie to “take care of it” with a nod. Man, is this guy creepy or what?
7. Harrison: Harry is still hooking up with Adnan Salif, the smokin’ hot lady he’s so scared of but also apparently finds irresistible. That is, until she whips out a briefcase full o’ cash. Then he’s quaking in his tighty whities. But he does her bidding and gets her into Fitz’s charity dinner, where she gets in with Cyrus, right quick. Turns out she’s working with Maya Effing Pope. Cue the: !!!!! Harrison is probably screwed.
8. Fitz: The number of times we wanted someone (usually Liv or Mellie) to throw something heavy at Fitz or stab him in the eye with a sharp pen during this episode was too many to tally. At this point, Fitz is a lame duck who lets everyone else run his life and do his job, and he’s so crippled with jealousy over Olivia and Jake that he can barely take part in his own campaign. Ugh. The only stand he really takes is to tell Cyrus he doesn’t want Hollis’ (remember him?) money anywhere near the campaign. Too bad Cyrus has already made a deal with that devil.
9. David Rosen: You can’t ignore your girlfriend when she tells you she loves you, David. You just can’t. Aside from that, David basically babysits James this week and agrees to meet Vanessa as Publius. For a hot second it looks like he gets kidnapped for his efforts, but it turns out Abby and Harrison saved his butt. Abby gets a very sweet “I love you” out of it, when David is convinced he’s about to die and calls her from the car trunk.
10. James: James freaks out when he sees Cyrus talking to Vanessa the Reporter because James is the worst person to ever take on the role of double-crosser and is convinced Cyrus will find out he’s Publius in no time. He can’t lie, can’t keep his cool, and has no poker face to speak of. Case in point: he calls David Rosen to twitch about this development while standing like, 10 feet away from Cy and Vanessa. It’s like amatuer hour when James is on the case. Later, he freaks out more on the phone to David Rosen in the house he shares with the man he’s scared of finding all of this out. He’s pretty certain Cy will kill him. He’s...not wrong.
Questions to ponder for next week: Will Huck keep bringing Liv coffee? Will Mellie and Andrew Nichols hook up in the oval office and will Fitz walk in on them? Will Fitz ever start acting like the POTUS again? We’ll see you here next week for what looks like a shocker (during the last 30 seconds, at least).