I was right. James Novak is dead, and it honestly couldn’t have ended any other way. He knew too much, and Cyrus had a heartbreak coming to him after all the bad he’s done.
Let’s back up. After shooting Vanessa Chandler, Shelby Moss from the NSA and James, Jake turns his gun on David. But David has a choice. He can cooperate with B613 and help them cover up the murders, or he can die, too.
David chooses life, which means helping Jake make James’ murder look like a “carjacking gone wrong.”
At the White House, Olivia is trying to do anything she can to keep Cyrus calm, and to make sure his distraught staff doesn’t further upset him.
We are then, cruelly, treated to the first of several flashbacks to the beginning of James and Cy’s relationship, which really twists the knife.
First up, the day James and Cyrus met on the campaign trail. James, a reporter from the Boston Dispatcher, approached Cyrus for get a quote on Fitz’s thoughts on immigration, since Cyrus hadn’t returned any of his calls.
Cyrus first pretends not to know who James is, then mocks the piece he wrote for his “tiny little paper” on Hollis Doyle’s influence on the Grant campaign. James snarks back that his piece was a “meticulously researched cover story.” Cyrus pretends to have not read it, but James insists that he did, blah blah blah, Cyrus insults James’s pleather jacket, James insults Cyrus’s really gross beard. The seeds of love are sown. (RUN JAMES! HE IS THE DEVIL!)
Present day: Mellie, Fitz and Andrew are reeling at the news. Olivia suggests they suspend the campaign for a few days, out of respect, and Fitz agrees. Mellie, on the other hand, fears it isn’t wise, and Andrew points out that they will have to worry about the gun lobby now.
Fitz is incredulous at the thought of “sucking up to the gun lobby” the day after his press secretary was shot, but Mellie points out that liberals will begin “braying” about gun control in light of James’s death. Fitz will be the only one not politicizing James’s death.
Which starts with Sally, who calls to give Fitz her fake condolences, promises to suspend her own campaign for the next few days, hangs up and begins to talk strategy with Leo. They plan to poach the support of the gun lobby endorsement from Fitz.
In the pressroom, the White House reporters are being super intense (I mean, obviously -- the WH press secretary was just murdered) and James’s replacement cannot deal. Meanwhile, Liv notices that Vanessa Chandler isn’t there. Uh oh.
Liv goes back to the office and asks Harrison to check on Shelby Moss, filling him and Abby in on her hunch that Vanessa, Shelby and James were all murdered. Of course, Abby freaks and rushes to check on David.
She’s even more upset when she finds out he’s investigating the case, because she fears it will put him on the radar. He insists that James’ murder was a “random act of violence.” Abby, who seems determined to get her boyfriend killed, keeps pushing. David all-out begs her to stop searching for the conspiracy and let him get through the day. It’s painful enough, having to investigate the death of a friend.
I want Abby to do something other than be the concerned girlfriend with awesome hair this season, because this “David you’re in danger. Don’t lie to me” bit is getting old.
Liv calls Jake, shares her theory that James was killed because he knew too much about D.D. and asks Jake to look into it. Which is ironic, because Jake is in the middle of burying Shelby and Vanessa’s bodies in the middle of the day. I find it a little hard to believe Command has to bury his own bodies. Seriously.
MAMA POPE IS BACK. Turns out, Adan Salif hired Marie, thinking she was a terrorist (because she, y’know, blew up a plane). But Marie insists that that was personal. Marie doesn’t use violence to aid any convictions. Quote: “I don’t make bombs. I make money.” Mixtape dropping April 2.
Adan’s pissed because recruiting an actual terrorist means bringing someone else into the fold, but Marie wants someone else to take the fall for whatever crime they're planning.
Harrison hasn’t any luck finding Vanessa or Shelby, and Olivia suspects Leo Bergen was involved. Right now, though, she has to focus on getting an apoplectic Cyrus to chill. He’s discovered Sally’s plan to steal the gun lobby’s support from under Fitz, and is frustrated because everyone wants him to mourn instead of work.
Flashback: Nighttime on the campaign bus. James flat-out asks Cyrus why Fitz hasn’t spoken out about marriage equality when he has a gay campaign manager. Cyrus all but blushes, insisting he’s not gay, but James points out that he shaved off that awful beard. And, for the record, he looks better without it.
Present Day: Huck hasn’t found anything on Bergen, so Olivia asks him to check out the safe and see if there’s a clue as to who broke into it. Of course, Huck installed a camera in the safe. Of course he’s just now thinking to look at the tape. Of course.