Liv, of course, has decided to help Vaughn. She gets to the house to hear the story. Vaughn went to Sterling's house to talk about the Equal Pay Bill. He offered her a drink, which she accepted, and then, he tried to seduce her and she pushed him off of her. He landed on a table, and she believes he's dead. Liv sees his hand move, so she tells Vaughn's assistant to get her boss out of there and anonymously calls 911.
A few quick clips from the news (did I ever mention how much I love the way this show uses TV news clips to drop in exposition? It's really clever.) tell us that Senator Sterling's vote would have been crucial to the Equal Pay Bill. Liv's busy trying to recruit a good defense attorney for Vaughn, knowing that this is going to be a really tricky case.
Liv heads back to see Huck, breaking a new phone in order to force Huck to talk to her. She's planned the funeral and she wants to know what's happened with his family. But he shuts her down, telling her that he is not Huck, but Randy the Smart Guy. Randy doesn't hope. Hope is dangerous and he can't have her getting his hopes up.
At home, Jake tries to have some sexy time with Liv, but she can't stop thinking about the fact that Senator Sterling is being made into a saint by the press when she knows that he's a rapist and that the woman who he tried to assault feels like she has to remain hidden because it could hurt her career and damage her credibility. Yes, Feminist Liv! I love you and I missed you.
She tells Jake to go ahead and start kissing her again, but since he's getting all of the comedic lines in this episode, he tells her to "wait for it" and she continues to rant, pushing him to the side so she can grab the phone and tell Clark, the lawyer, that he shouldn't make a statement because she's taking the case.
Jake tries to remind her that she "doesn't work here anymore" and warns that they are never going to get back to the beach. But his biggest issue with them staying in D.C. is, of course, Fitz. As soon as she gets back there, Fitz creeps back into her life, despite the fact that Jake "is the one who reaches [Liv] in places that [Fitz] can't begin to touch," and a whole lot of other things that made my jaw drop. "Scandal" is turning things up in Season 4.
The only problem with Liv helping Senator Vaughn is that, against every anti-victim blaming impulse that Liv has, her gut tells her that Vaughn's lying. She can't remember details about the assault when pressed by Clark, which Liv says would be impossible, if it really happened.
After confronting Vaughn about lying, she borrows her assistant's phone and calls Quinn to tell her they need to look for another angle. That's when Quinn notices that all of Sterling's assistants kind of look alike: brown eyes, brown hair and curves. Liv instantly realizes that it wasn't Vaughn who was assaulted by Sterling, but her assistant. The senator is lying to cover for her.
David and Abby meet up and it doesn't seem like they're happy. David's freaked out that Fitz asked him to be AG, believing it to be an attempt to buy his silence. Abby assures him that she didn't tell them about his files, but he's skeptical since she works for the "Deathstar." Oh, David Rosen, how I missed you.
Abby insists that she joined the staff because the president asked her to serve, but David argues that they don't even know her name. (David: "They call you 'Red!'" Abby: "I have red hair!" David: "You have a color rinse!" Tears.) She didn't know they wanted to offer him the AG position, but if they'd asked her she would have told them that he's a good lawyer who loves justice...more than he loved her, she says, since he spent those months after Liv left pouring over those files instead of helping her deal. She tells him to get on the inside, get some power and use it. Um, yesss, Abby.
Vaughn tells Liv that she was going to take the fall for her assistant because she thought she'd be more readily believed. Of course, Liv knows that to be utter crap. She quickly figures out that Vaughn knew Sterling had a type. The senator admits that she sent her assistant to Vaughn's house in order to try to make the "vote go down easier," a risk she was willing to take to get equal pay passed. Her assistant overhears and the disgust and betrayal on her face is enough to remind Liv why she left town.
But first, Harrison's funeral. It's small, but lovely, with the entire OPA staff showing up to bury their friend and get a little healing going.
Mellie and Fitz have also reached a weird point of peace, at least on Fitz's end. Earlier in the episode, he stood by her when he thought Cyrus was going to criticize her bathrobe and messy hair, and then followed that up by standing with her as she visited their son's grave. He asks her to come in from the balcony before it gets cold, but she tells him that even if she did jump, the fall wouldn't kill her.
Apparently, Fitz tried to kill himself one night, which she kind of throws in his face. He firmly tells her not to bring it up again, which she "adds to the list" with her rape, Little Jerry's death and Liv being MIA. Fitz tells her that Liv's back, and she demands that he give her a heads-up when he sees Liv. That way, she can mentally prepare for him to want to have some twisted, just-saw-my-mistress sex with his wife. He promises that he won't see Liv, which Mellie doesn't believe.
But ... something may have actually changed between them. They run into each other at the White House, where Liv has given a press conference (she's sticking around to represent Kate, Vaughn's assistant, and announces it with the best speech she's given in a while), and Fitz has officially nominated David for the AG gig. They run into each other in the vestibule, and although their fingers almost touch, they keep on moving.
Same players, but a new, more exciting-looking game.