She calls Huck and has him shut down the cell phone service at that address and honestly, how many of us wish we’d had Huck in our lives during college?
Quinn finds a fire escape and they half-carry Karen out of the party, through the window and onto a helicopter. Once on board, Liv tells Karen that the Secret Service will escort her inside once the plane lands, and Karen, realizing that Liv’s not coming in with her to cover it all up, freaks. It’s understandable that she’s anxious about facing her parents right now, but her whining “Isn’t that your job?!” to Liv only made me remember how insufferable I found her last season.
Liv quickly disabuses Karen’s of the notion that this is a job for her. She got the drunken teenager out of the party without being photographed. Now, it’s up to Karen to explain this all to her parents. Olivia reminds her that her security detail is there to protect her, but Karen calls them useless, given the fact that they were standing next to Jerry when he died. Wait until it comes out that one of the SS agents murdered Jerry.
Anyway, Karen insists that she just needed to get away and that it was all no big deal, but then she looks at her phone and hands it over. Turns out that, in addition to getting sloppy drunk, she’d made a sex tape with a couple of boys at the party. Liv calls Cyrus to tell him to wake Fitz. He’s hesitant, at first, but Liv tells him about the video, calling it the dirtiest sex tape she has ever seen. Oh, this episode is going to be good.
Karen, who they recast since last season, has to sit in the Oval and explain to her pajama-clad, President dad that she slipped out of her dorm room window, hitched a ride 500 miles away from her school, got wasted at a party and made a sex tape.
For a second, Fitz thinks she may have been raped and does the supportive dad thing fairly well, but Karen quickly sets him straight. She reminds him that she left school on her friend’s dad’s private jet (which they “jacked,” apparently) and went to a party where she got drunk, smoked weed and “shot up something awesome.”
She calls him “lame” for assuming that her having sex with two guys had to be non-consensual, almost bragging about what she “did to them.” Fitz is just about to lose his cool when Liv jumps in and suggests that Karen go downstairs to get screened, tested and lectured on unprotected sex by the White House doctor.
After Cyrus leaves to figure out how Karen slipped her detail, Fitz muses about sending Karen to a convent in Switzerland. Liv reminds him that that plan didn’t work when her father tried it and that she too was an angry, grieving teenage girl with daddy issues, so she relates to what Karen is feeling. She says they need to be more focused on finding the boy that sent Karen that sex tape, preferably before he puts it on the web.
Fitz begs Live to take the job, which she does, sending Huck and Quinn to the WH the next day. Abby sees them and instantly starts grilling them about why they’re there, but Cyrus instructs her to leave them alone. Abby’s feeling insecure about living in Olivia’s shadow, but Cyrus tells her that she’s going to have to deal with both Olivia’s constant and necessary presence and her own jealousy. He points out that it can’t actually be that much fun to be Olivia Pope, which is a really good point.
Karen and Fitz go to the East Wing see Mellie. Fitz tells Mellie that Karen’s just spending some free days with her parents and will be hanging out with him in the Oval today. Instead, Karen sits in on a P&A meeting about her case. Huck has been trying to track down the user who sent her the video.
The guy used a dummy account, which is now shut down, but they know it had to have been a guy at the party. Huck scanned all of their Twitter and Instagram accounts to track all of the similar tweets and photos with the hashtag “Swaggapalooza.” (Side note: Huck using ridiculous slang matter-of-factly is one of this show’s best running gags.) They have Karen look over photos of the boys to pick out any that she recognizes.
It takes awhile, but eventually she sees a photo of a blond guy and asks if he has a tattoo. Quinn does a quick web search and sees a tribal band on the kid’s arm. He’s corny, but at least he’s cute.
Meanwhile, Rowan is meeting with Tom, his once-favorite B613 agent who has been disappointing him as of late. Tom says that his problem is Command (Jake), who read his file and made it harder for him to do the things Rowan has asked of him, like murdering Jake, for instance. Rowan warns Tom that he is growing “indifferent” and will soon forget that Tom was ever one of his golden boys, or something.
As soon as Rowan leaves, Jake slips into his seat and tells Tom that they are both threats to Rowan, given that they know he was responsible for Little Jerry’s death. Tom doesn’t believe that Jake can protect him, but Jake just leaves, snarkily asking Tom not to kill him on such a gorgeous day.
At the WH, Liv steps into Fitz’s office to update him on the Karen situation. They’re looking for the boy that she was able to identify and Liv’s promises they will find him. Fitz beats himself up for thinking that sending Karen back to boarding school ASAP was the best move and the conversation quickly veers into a Liv and Fitz Talk.
He’s still upset that she ran away for two months, asking if she just ran off alone. She doesn’t correct him and he apologizes for her mother. Liv insists that Marie did awful things, ruining both the Grant and Pope families.
Now it’s time to check in with David Rosen and his guilt. He’s watching a TV interview himself, drinking and staring at the news article about that judge’s suicide when Jake walks in. He wants to be assured that David will release the B613 files should Rowan kill him, but David is feeling guilty about using the files. He refuses to use them and refuses to give them to Jake, since they can ruin the country. Jake throttles him and threatens to snap David’s neck unless he hands over the files. He tosses over the key.
Back at the White House, Liv accidentally bumps into Mellie, who chases her down, grabs her and demands to know why she is there. Olivia tells her to discuss that with Fitz, pointedly staring at Mellie’s hand until she lets go of her arm. She storms into the Oval to confront Fitz, accusing him of bringing Liv there. It doesn’t take long for him to tell her that Karen was the one who called Liv, but he omits the sextape from the story.
When Mellie says that she will clean up her own daughter’s mess and demands that Fitz get Olivia out of the White House, Fitz finally loses his patience. He reminds her that he’s been patient with her through her grieving process (Drunk Mellie was even name-dropped!) but he will not stand by as she tries to rewrite history.
He says that she hasn’t been “mothering” anyone since Jerry died and harshly breaks the news about the sextape. He also reminds her that he has to run the country while Mellie spends every day ignoring Teddy (remember him?), getting drunk and siting around in a dirty bathrobe. It’s cold, but not as cold as Mellie saying that Karen made the tape because she takes after her father.
Fortunately for the Grants, Quinn has tracked down one of the boys in the video, cornering him behind Gettysburger, where he works. His name is Bobby and he’s a scholarship student at Franklin Prep with a mom on disability and a brother in prison. She chokes him and threatens to ruin his entire life if he doesn’t give her the video and name of the other boy in the tape.
Bobby gives up his friend, Donald, and Olivia brings his parents into her office to talk. Initially, they act as if they are onboard with deleting the video in order to protect their son’s future, but as soon as Liv breaks down the plan for getting rid of the tape, they decide to blackmail the POTUS for $2.5 million.
Of course, Fitz doesn’t want to do it, but Liv tells him that, if the video is released, it will become all Karen is known for (I snorted at Liv calling reality stars “the lowest form of life.” SO MUCH SHADE.) instead of all of her accomplishments and charity work. Fitz starts launching into an “I’m failing at everything” pity party before starting to seduce Liv. They kiss for a bit before she finally stops him and tells the truth about Jake and the island. Naturally, he’s furious and just tells her to pay Donald’s family.
When Liv meets with Donald’s parents, they smugly demand another $500,000 “for expenses,” which pushes Olivia to the edge. She snaps pictures of the couple and the check, saying she’ll leak the story and destroy them. She reminds them that the Grants just lost a child and that the sex tape is child pornography starring their own son. She promises to manufacture any evidence to make it appear like they sent their son to make that sex tape in order to blackmail the POTUS. I love Olivia so much.
Mellie talks to Karen about the tape. She says that it would be one thing if Karen had slept with those boys because she felt empowered and wanted to, but she knows that Karen did it because she was sad. Her brother died right in front of her, so she gets this one free pass. Mellie reminds her that she’s the daughter of the most famous man in the world. She says sexist and unfair, since they would congratulate a boy in her shoes, but tells Karen that this can’t happen again.
Over in the West Wing, Cyrus has brought in the Inspector General who is looking into the issues with the Secret Service. He’s already discovered that, two days before the election, Tom was at Ft. Dietrich when he was supposed to be elsewhere. Fitz is the only one who knows why that is significant, but he doesn’t tell Cyrus. Instead, he goes to make a call on a secure line.
Tom calls Jake to tell him about the inspector’s findings He’s afraid that he’ll be executed for treason, but Jake tells him to turn in Rowan, since he’s got enough evidence locked way to take Command down. Jake then heads to the Oval to try to talk with Fitz, but he’s headed to the interrogation room where Tom is being questioned.
Turns out, Rowan was the one who Fitz called to find out who exactly gave the order to have Jerry killed. Badgered by Rowan, Tom lies and says that Jake gave him the assignment. Jake, who was still waiting in the White House, is arrested by a group of agents. Looks like Rowan might just win this war, after all.