Mellie is still trying to recover from the public backlash of the last year so she decides to do a hard-hitting news interview. Meanwhile, as Cyrus continues to plot against Sally Langston, we learn how Fitz, Mellie and Cyrus became a team. Back at OPA, Huck continues to push Quinn away, but Quinn’s bloodlust could get her into some dangerous situations.
The episode begins with footage from a special on the East Wing and Mellie’s First Lady duties. We then flash back to “better” times for Mellie – fifteen years ago in Santa Barbara, when her marriage with Fitz was still actually a happy one. Fitz’s father Jerry introduces them to a fifteen years younger Cyrus Beene, and a dream team is born.
Back in present day, Quinn is continuing her ill-advised hang out times with Charlie at the shooting range. Charlie tells her he’s a P.I. now. Quinn, this new bloodthirstiness is not a good look.
Olivia, meanwhile, is physically running away from the Fitz phone (and then sprinting right back not two seconds later.) She tells Fitz he’s a stranger to her. He tries to explain that there are reasons for him withholding information from her and to stay away from Jake, but his “I love you,” is met with “So what?” Ouches. At least we find out that Fitz actually doesn’t know the connection between Rowan and Olivia after all, which is good, because otherwise that would be a whole ‘nother truckload of betrayal for Olivia to handle.
Olivia heads to work, where she tells her team (and Jake, who seems to be an honorary Gladiator now) that they have a new client, the deceased Maya Pope.
Mellie has another flashback to Cyrus giving her, Fitz, and Jerry advice on how to move forward with his campaign for Governor. Fitz doesn’t want to run as a war hero – probably because he knows he isn’t one.
Present-day Mellie complains to Cyrus about the special. He shows her an escort website, where they plan to get a woman to tempt Sally’s wayward husband with. Cyrus scuttles off to make sure Sally’s going to be out of town, while Mellie goes to “rattle the cages” and remind Sally exactly who she’s married to.
Olivia updates her team on everything Rowan, Remington, and Maya-on-the-plane related. What she needs help figuring out is, did Rowan give the order to kill Maya specifically, or was she collateral damage? Girl, if you were already going to investigate no matter what your dad told you last ep, you shoulda used your one question on something else.
The team discovers some oddities: the flight was delayed by 27 minutes but wasn’t listed as delayed, there were 330 seats booked on the plane but only 329 names show up on the manifesto, and Fitz’s father Jerry headed up investigations on the plane post-crash. Abby tells Olivia, and tries to comfort her obviously frazzled friend with a hug.
Another flashback shows us Jerry and Fitz arguing over Fitz joining the Navy, doing black ops missions, and his upcoming campaign. And in case anyone was still in denial over it, Fitz really did shoot that plane down; Fitz’s father confirms is, as he was the one to cover it up.
Quinn, by the way, is continuing her creepiness by stalking Charlie at one of his P.I. jobs. He spots her of course, and comes over to hand her a jacket, kiss her, and ask her out on a date. Oh, Quinn, honestly. Please do not hang out with Charlie tomorrow night.
At the White House, Mellie brings Teddy and the cameras to Fitz’s office to try and squeeze in some quality family time, but Fitz isn’t there. Mellie flashes back again to Cyrus leaving the Grant house because he “gets enough family drama at home with his wife”. He gives Mellie some advice: if Fitz is to walk the halls of power, then Mellie needs to drop all else because Fitz is now her full time job. She asks Cyrus to come back tomorrow, and she will have Fitz ready to work.
Abby and Harrison go to interview the gate agent the day of the crash. She tells them that there had been a person escorted off the plane just before it took off, which explains the 330 seats, 329 people deal. Oh em gee, was the passenger Maya Pope?
Nope, it’s a guy named Omar Dresden. Olivia dispatches her team to find out everything about Omar and the marshal that escorted him off the plane.
Flashback time: Mellie and Jerry are having a drink later that night to discuss what to do about Fitz. He tells her about the plane Fitz shot down, and that there was a tip that a dirty bomb was on the plane which is why Fitz was given the order. And then in a way too drawn out, brutal scene, Jerry rapes Mellie. After the assault, Mellie sneaks back into her room and Fitz brings her into bed with him.
The next scene is Mellie in present day airing out her anger and grievances to Fitz. She asks him to be her friend, just a little bit, so they can get through this together. The next day, Fitz actually shows up, and they have a successful interview together.
Charlie and Quinn’s date, meanwhile, involves them making sweet talk about torturing people and Charlie framing Quinn for murder. God freaking dammit, Quinn, I told you not to go on that date.
Another flashback to the morning after Mellie’s assault; Mellie tells Jerry over breakfast that she won’t tell anyone he raped her if he pulls Fitz aside and apologizes for being a terrible father – to tell him whatever he needs to hear to make sure Fitz is ready to campaign.
Present day, Mellie and Cyrus try to foist pretty women off on Sally’s husband, only to find that he doesn’t really swing that way when he starts flirting with Cyrus’ husband James.
Quinn is inducted into B613 by Charlie. Jake arrives at the scene of Quinn’s accidental murder to find that the man she killed was the guy who drove the stairs for the flight, and was their only link to Omar Dresden. Fitz gets a file on Maya Pope, which also includes a helpful photo of Rowan, and the dots connect – Rowan is Olivia’s father.
In some prison somewhere, Omar Dresden’s getting a visit from Rowan Pope. Or should I say, “Omar Dresden,” because it turns out the prisoner escorted off the plane was Maya Pope – she’s alive after all. Well, we all saw that coming.
Olivia: I’m surrounded by murderers, that’s how I am. I’m surrounded by men who have a body count. I’m standing in a graveyard made by people I thought I loved, that is how I am.
Mellie: It’s bad enough that I actually have to spend my days choosing drapes and digging holes in the rose garden, but to pretend that I actually enjoy it? On camera?
Cyrus: It’s not fair. It’s American.
Cyrus: She’s got a tattoo of a dragonfly on her ass! That’s sexy!
Mellie: It’s trashy. She’s trashy.
Cyrus: It’s an escort website, Mellie! Trashy is a given!
Cyrus: You’re way better at picking out hookers than you are china patterns.
James: You control everything, which is precisely why I want to kill you and have sex with you at the same time.