Olivia’s team try to resolve a security breach. Meanwhile, Fitz contemplates ignoring Olivia’s advice when his reelection campaign loses momentum; and Adnan and Maya strategize about how to proceed.
Sometime after Jake choking out Olivia in last week’s cliffhanger (which continues to be at least twenty five different kinds of unacceptable – why can’t Olivia meet a nice, normal, sane, non-possessive or aggressive dude for once), Fitz and Cyrus have been called to Pope & Associates, because the best way to stave off the cheating rumors is to secretly go to your alleged paramour’s office late at night. Once Fitz and Jake are done yelling at Olivia for shutting down B613, Jake briefs them all on Maya Pope’s terror plot.
In a shocking move, Fitz decides to call in Papa Rowan Eli Pope for help. Eli identifies Maya’s mystery friend as Dominic Bell, Maya’s old handler and weapons supplier for the highest bidder. Eli and Jake have a bit of a dick-measuring contest over who can solve this problem best – one which they’re probably hoping will translate into who should be leading B613 – as Olivia asks Fitz to remain in the White House while they’re containing the threat. Fitz and Cyrus leave, and the rest of the group continue their work.
In the morning, Jake calls in the cavalry (which means Quinn and Charlie, because he apparently doesn’t have any other capable agents out there beyond those two). However, Jake keeps clashing with Eli on a personal and informational level, and Olivia chooses her father over him to help.
Over at the White House, Fitz is deliberating between defying Olivia’s advice to stay put in the White House, and delivering a televised eulogy for a dead senator/friend to help his reelection chances. Sally’s already planning a eulogy to give, while Leo is skulking around a high school trying to get Jerry Grant’s girlfriend to swipe some of Jerry’s DNA for obviously nefarious purposes. During one of their usual theme song-heavy phone conversations, Fitz promises Olivia he won’t leave the safety of the White House. In return, Olivia brings the reelection campaign to him, establishing personal interviews and phone lines to talk to the American people. Elsewhere, Adnan and Maya finalize details on their terrorism plot.
While the rest of the Gladiators (and, for the time being, honorary Gladiators) follow dead ends, Huck manages to successfully track Dominic down and dumps him on the floor of OPA. Seriously, when did we start calling it that? It’s weird and I don’t want to get used to it but I suspect I will. Anyway, they interrogate Dominic, but he’s got nothin’.
Leo reveals what it is he wanted with Jerry’s “man chowder,” as he calls it: a paternity scandal to bring down Mellie and Fitz. He enlists Papa Pope’s help in doing so, but Eli has already switched allegiances; he tells Olivia what Leo’s up to and sends her to the White House to stop it. Olivia confronts Mellie (who seems to be in a constant state of sad and messy drunkenness in this episode). The entire scene is indescribably amazing – Bellamy Young’s performance is amazing – and it ends with Mellie mumbling, “Big Jerry ain’t something I wanna be nailed to anymore.” Olivia hears it, of course, and Mellie asks her to clean this up and keep quiet, because Olivia owes her.
Though Jake left OPA somewhat quietly, he’s obviously not going to keep away from the case. He lies in wait in David Rosen’s office and gets him to use his resources to track down Maya Pope. Meanwhile, Papa Pope is fed up with playing nice, and armed with the knowledge that Dominic is the only man Maya ever loved, he decides to threaten Dominic to get Maya to tell them the location of the bomb. Maya, predictably, sells Dominic out. Papa Pope, predictably, follows through on his threat and kills Dominic
At least he continues to help Olivia on the paternity test front though, paying a lab tech to fix the test results to that Little Jerry and Fitz are a match. Leo and Sally drop that lead, but it might not even matter because Fitz is losing states to her due to staying holed up in the White House. Fitz decides to go to Ohio. When Olivia and Eli hear of this, Eli convinces Olivia to follow Fitz to Ohio, saying that Maya only loves one person and it’s her daughter. She won’t kill Fitz if there’s a chance Olivia will be caught in the blast. That’s a hell of a gamble to make, dude. Still, Olivia listens to him and goes.
Harrison finally finds the bomb location – at Defiance High School, which is conveniently exactly where Fitz is heading right now. Adnan stops him from making the call at gunpoint.
While Quinn and Huck have gross sex in the carpark, Maya Pope walks right past them and into OPA, where only Papa Pope is left standing. She angrily tells Eli to “bring my baby home.” The high school is evacuated, and all seems well until Adnan reveals to Harrison that they switched to Plan B when they realized what everyone was up to.
Olivia returns home to find her father dying on the floor of her office. David Rosen and Jake discover what Maya’s true plan is: she killed Fitz’s senator friend to ensure that there would be a funeral for him to attend. She’s planning to bomb the church. Jake calls Cyrus to let him know… and Cyrus keeps the information under wraps because he knows Sally Langston’s already at the church. Um, holy shit, Cyrus. Holy freaking SHIT.
Maya activates the bomb to go off in one hour. Cyrus delays Fitz by giving him a phony story about the senator’s widow wanting time alone. Mellie opens her real paternity test envelope. CUT TO CREDITS. Next Thursday can’t come soon enough.
Jake: You mean the sacrifice of sleeping with me so you could hack into my phone? Crazy, right, all these years of thinking B613 is untouchable and all it takes to kill us is a good quick tug on a zipper. [And in that moment, I swear we all lost any remaining care for Douchenozzle Jake Ballard.]
Eli: My country? I’m not here for my country, Mr. President, or for you. I’m doing this for me. This man ruined my life. It’s my turn to ruin his.
Quinn: I am not going back to OPA no matter what happens. I didn’t try to catch Maya Pope for OPA, I am not loyal to OPA, and the last place I’d ever wanna be is OPA.
[Quinn and Charlie go to OPA]
Abby: Sooo. Are you guys, like, an item now?
Jake: He will reel you in with a trail of warmth and kindness. He will hold you in his arms and tell you that he loves you, and once you’re comfortable, once you feel safe, he will take everything that matters to you and he will leave you with nothing. He will break your bones and step over your body on his way out. Do you know how I know that? Because that’s what he taught me to do.
Fitz: Somebody out there wants me dead.
Mellie: You think it’s just out there?
Olivia: The NAACP is not supporting Sally Langston.
Fitz: Well, they could.
Olivia: They won’t. Have you met Sally?
Fitz: I’m telling you I’m losing.
Olivia: I’m telling you I’m black. Sally doesn’t have the NAACP.
Harrison: Papa Pope! …It’s okay, right, if I call you Papa Pope? [oh my god they said it they said the thing]
Leo: Did you hear the rumor about the First Lady asking about a paternity test? Well, you just did. I need you to score some presidential DNA. Isn’t there a secret stash of POTUS blood in some White House vault? And before you start whining, note that I’m standing here with a bag of Little Jerry’s man chowder.
Mellie: Forgive me for thinking the White House doctor, a man who serves under my husband’s command, could respect doctor-patient confidentiality!
Olivia: Of course he didn’t respect doctor-patient confidentiality, it’s the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY. This is the White House, this is the election. This is power, and the future of this planet. This is everything. You’d have to be an idiot to be this reckless. And you… are not an idiot. And you are never reckless.
Mellie: I want his head on a fire, and I wanna see him burn.
Mellie: I have lived this lie for fifteen years, and all the while I have watched him walk away from me. I have been destroyed while I made him President. It is my turn.
Quinn: Do you honestly think they’re any different, B613 and OPA? Because I’ve worked for both and believe me, they’re not.
Abby: We don’t torture people.
Quinn: You just destroy them.
Maya: It must kill you, Eli. After all this time, to keep hoping, thinking, if I cared about him, maybe at some point I cared about you. Goodbye, Dominic.
Olivia: She loved him my whole life and when the time came to save him, she let my father kill him. I don’t think she can love anyone. I don’t think there’s room to love anyone in her world.
Jake: You are not your mother.
Olivia: I know that. You don’t think I know that? I know that. But it must be nice, to feel nothing. To care about no one. It must be easier.
Eli: Do you have any idea what that does to someone? He took everything from me, and I enjoyed ending his life. I’m sorry, but I enjoyed it very much.
Quinn: You two go talk, or punch each other, or make out, whatever, I don’t care. Meanwhile, I’ll be disposing of the body by myself in peace.
Fitz: Mellie. You ready?
Mellie: To be blown up? Yes, Fitz.
Mellie: If we’re gonna die, can we do it now so I don’t have to listen to you two?