Jake, Fitz and Liv meet in the super-secret bunker we were introduced to last season. They are laying plans to take out Rowan Pope, but the situation is very complicated -- for obvious reasons.
Jake, who is fresh out of Supermax and furious, wants to kill Rowan for the things that he's done, but Liv and Fitz want to prosecute him.
The entire thing seems rather naïve. For one, it's ridiculous to think that Jake and Fitz can successfully work together. As Jake points out when he insists that Fitz call him "Captain Ballard," Fitz spent days torturing and beating him. Secondly, prosecuting Rowan will undoubtedly expose B613, which will basically rip America apart.
With a little push from Olivia and after goading Fitz about the island and that damn "standing in the sun" catchphrase, Jake agrees to go with their non-violent approach. He offers up the B613 files in his storage unit, winning a smile from Olivia in the process.
Never one to slack off, Liv takes on another case in the meantime. Lizzie Bear is afraid that her phone's been tapped. Given that she's the female head of the RNC, she has plenty of enemies, making it kind of difficult to come up with a list of suspects.
Party leaders hate her even more since Fitz's political agenda has shifted further toward the left, and they probably didn't trust her much from the beginning, given that she's the conservative black sheep of a political family who only switched sides after falling in love with a right-wing politician.
Liv doesn't even like her, but she does respect what she's been able to accomplish. Besides, Olivia Pope is a professional. She doesn't have to be besties with her clients in order to do her job.
VP Andrew leaves an event. Before going to his car, he's shaking hands with some of the building's staff. He's mid-shake when his car explodes. Given that Andrew's speech was anti-West Angolan Liberation Front and that car bombs are their M.O., they are the prime suspects.
This is the perfect opportunity for Mellie to reconnect with Andrew, which she does, in a (literal) bodice-ripping, office sex scene.‘Tis the season for poor decisions.
Papa Pope calls to "check" on Olivia, since she missed their weekly dinner and there are bombs going off in the District and whatnot. He killed her ex-boyfriend's son and framed her current boyfriend for the murder, so no one can really blame her for not wanting to sit across from him at a dinner table and play nice.
Liv basically tells him just that, which causes Rowan to launch into his first read of the week. It's long-winded so here's the gist: those men may love her and be sleeping with her, but after the chase is gone, they will move on to other conquests. Family is more important than anything else, and while he admits that he isn't perfect, Rowan is the only family that she has.
Undeterred by Rowan's speech, Liv presses on. They have soldiers retrieve Jake's storage unit files and call in David Rosen to discuss prosecuting Rowan. Of course, David had those files for months and used them to his advantage, but that's not something that Liv and Fitz need to know.
Jake pretends to tell David about both his stint as Command and the evidence. They ask him to handle Rowan "discreetly and creatively," since this could blowback on Olivia and destroy the Republic. They are looking for a private, but legal, way to try Rowan and David accepts the challenge.
After the meeting, Fitz approaches Liv in the hallway and I'm so annoyed with the entire thing that I can't say much about it without using words that would be inappropriate on this site. I would much rather focus on Liv's work life, since that's actually interesting.
Huck finds out that Cyrus is the one tapping Lizzie's phone. Olivia goes to confront him and he cops to everything, telling her about Michael and his role in Lizzie's scheme. (Side note: There's even a mention of his and James's daughter, which is always nice.) Cyrus is in trouble and he needs Liv's help, but she hesitates, since Lizzie is technically her client. Cyrus reminds her that Lizzie is not just out to destroy him, but Fitz, as well.
Liv heads back to the office to get Huck's help, but she walks in on him hanging out with his son, Javi, who he has been spending time with unbeknownst to his ex-wife. Olivia is concerned, but Huck tells her to mind her own business and focus on the case. After Javi leaves, she explains the Cyrus situation and asks Huck to figure out what Lizzie has on her friend.
Huck makes some passive-aggressive comments about the legality of backstabbing their client, but he finds the dirt. Lizzie has pictures and video of Cyrus and Michael's meet-ups. Cyrus is furious with himself. "I wrote the book on this brand of political extortion and I fell for it," he says. He's put his integrity, family and president at risk.
Liv tells Lizzie that her phone just had some Goldilocks virus, and asks Cyrus to cancel his plans with Michael, go home and pull himself together.
Michael doesn't stay away when asked, though.He turns up at Cyrus's doorstep for their date. Cyrus hesitates, but lets him in and they begin to have a really, tense sex scene that I just knew would end with Cyrus shooting Michael in the back of the head.
And that would be very bad. Not just because Cyrus would be adding murder to his list of very poor decisions, but because Michael didn't exactly betray betray him. Huck finds out that, although Michael had access to all of Cyrus's info, he only gave Lizzie the details about the military closings.
Curious, Liv confronts Michael about it the next day. He didn't give Cyrus up completely, because he thinks that Cyrus is a good man. He also tells Olivia about Lizzie's secret love den across town. She's been having an affair with some mystery man. Liv sends Huck to stake out the apartment, and he foolishly brings Javi to tag along.
Olivia's other team isn't getting along as swimmingly. Jake and Fitz can't agree on a course of action, because they are too busy bickering. Annoyed, Liv takes the reins and comes up with a plan. She calls her father, pretending to have seen the error in her ways, and asks him to dinner. They plan to take him alive, but snipers will be posted around the restaurant, waiting to kill Rowan should he try anything.
The last 10 minutes of this episode were classic "Scandal," draw-droppingly good, outrageous and intense. Everything viewers had assumed, everything we knew to be true – it all got thrown out of the window with a few, quick scenes.
Andrew goes to talk to Mellie about their latest romp. She shut him out completely after they ended things, furious that he'd chosen the vice presidency over her, but after Jerry died, she softened some. Now, she just wants to try again, and he is more than up for it.
Things start to get interesting at Huck's stake-out, so he sends Javi out for ice cream. Moments later, Quinn bursts into his truck, demanding to know why he and Javi are there. Turns out, the man with Lizzie is Dan Kubiack, the dirty ex-cop who murdered Caitlin Winslow. Quinn has been tailing him for most of the episode, bored out of her mind.
They briefly discuss Jeremy Winslow, but are interrupted by the doorbell. It's Andrew Nichols(!), Lizzie's actual lover, which means both the head of the RNC AND the VPOTUS are behind the law firm's investigation of Liv. Huck and Quinn are just about to call Liv when Kubiack bursts through the window, shooting a gun into the truck.
Huck is able to get the gun away from him, but Kubiack gets him in a choke hold. Quinn tries to help, but the clip is empty and stabbing Kubiack doesn't seem to do anything. Huck finally gets the upper hand, and he pulls Kubiack's neck down onto the shards of broken glass, still on the sill. Kubiack dies in minutes, but Javi, back from his ice cream run, sees the entire thing.
Liv's plan doesn't go as expected, either. She knows that something is wrong when Rowan launches into a speech about how much he loves her and regrets his mistakes. "I am who I am because of you," he says before warning her that everything he is about to do is because of her, as well.
Rowan is, as always, a few steps ahead of them. He has his own snipers take out their snipers. As for Jake's files, Rowan got to those, too. David and his team open the boxes and find that all of the papers are blank.
Rowan is furious with Olivia for trying to set him up for a trial and execution, and he leaves, washing his hands of his daughter. He then walks out of the front door, unscathed. So much for that Olivia vs. Rowan battle we'd hoped for. From the looks of things, Rowan has definitely won.