Olivia Pope and Associates hires hottie Marcus to help with their PR problem, and he gives them a master class in how the media perpetuates racism.
Liv impulsively told the press that she is Fitz's mistress. Abby (with Liv's approval) ruined Liv's reputation with the media to try to save Fitz's Presidency. The Louvre! The Louvre! The Louvre is on fire! Jake knows that means Rowan is up to something, and goes to visit him.
Plot Lightning Round
Let's dispense with Jake's nonsense first, shall we? Jake expositions for the audience that Rowan had a plan if B613 ever went down -- Project Lazarus. It involved stealing some paintings from the Louvre and then setting it on fire, while leaving charred fake paintings behind. Then he would sell the paintings to some unscrupulous people and build a war chest to restart B613.
Rowan laughs Jake off. Jake vows REVENGE!
He convinces Charlie to come to Paris, reminding him that if B613 restarts, they are both on the hit list. Charlie hooks them up with a former spy named Elise to help them fake buy the stolen paintings and ??? and stop Rowan (this plan is nebulous at best).
When they meet Elise, it is obvious that she and Jake know one another, and it's not amicable. Later, we find out that they were married (!) and were supposed to meet up in Grand Central Station after some op, but she never showed. She claims she was late and he should have waited. Jake says he waited for an hour.
With that cleared up, the op begins. Jake and Charlie watch on a video feed as Elise meets with the seller, who doesn't have any obvious B613 ties. Then the video cuts out and Jake and Charlie hear gunshots. They rush in to find both Elise and the seller bleeding on the floor. That's not at all suspicious and I'm sure Elise is totally on the up-and-up.
Jake visits Elise in the hospital, where she confesses that she never went to Grand Central Station because she didn't think two spies could live happily ever after. Jake asks her to come back to the States with him. I'm sure she's not a mole for Rowan or anything.
Quinn meets up with Marcus, the hot community activist that Liv worked with during the Brandon Parker shooting. She offers him a job as OPA spokesperson (have they ever had one of those?) and gives him the same gladiator speech that Olivia usually delivers to new hires. But Quinn is no Liv, and Marcus turns her down. Later, Quinn tells Olivia what happened and Olivia insists that they don't need to bring any new people in, even though they are understaffed and can't hold onto clients.
Emotional Vs. Rational
Fitz calls Liv, because he's frustrated that Lizzie and Abby aren't doing anything to defend Olivia's reputation. Liv assures him that his advisors are right, and reminds him that, as President, he has to act from his rational brain and not his emotional one. How sad is it that she has to spell that out. Shouldn't he know that by now? They yearn at one another some more, silently, and I think the show finally figured out that Liv/Fitz yearning is way better than Liv/Fitz actual relationship. They're cut off when Olivia realizes that someone is taking photos of her through the window. That is why you draw the curtains when you are hiding out. Come on, Olivia.
So I was just settling in to watch my Dateline NBC but instead, it was a different show about that Olivia Pope? You know, the one who had relations with President Grant? Well, it turns out that she had quite the fancy upbringing, thanks to her father, the paleontologist. He seems like such a nice man. Shame about that jail sentence. Anyway, I missed the middle part because my friend Carol called but then they showed Olivia Pope in college and let me tell you, she hasn't aged a day. Carol said something about "black don't crack" but I don't even know what that means. So then they were talking about how Olivia Pope has always dated older, powerful men and maybe she was using the President to get more power? That's just awful. She seems like such a smart lady, and always so well-dressed. I wonder why she felt like the only way she could get power was to get mixed up with the President? My daughter came home from college and said something about privilege and coded language and institutional racism. What they are filling her head with at that school, I do not know. Anyway, I hope Dateline is back next week. I love that Lester Holt. Is he single? Maybe Olivia Pope should date him.
Caucus? Why Would You Want To Caucus?
Who called the meeting? The Congressional Women's Caucus.
What's it about? The She-Lady Man-Hating Society is sick and tired of men making all the laws and having all the power, so they want to impeach Fitz to prove a point about how men can't just stick it anywhere and get away with it. But they want to make sure Mellie's okay with it, because they are women after all, and that's just polite.
How'd it go? Mellie tells Cyrus that she doesn't think it's her place, as a freshman Senator, to get involved. Cyrus yells that if Fitz gets impeached, Susan Ross will become President and implode. And then Mellie can just sweep into the Oval. Or Mellie can just stay the course and be sad and pathetic. Cyrus is a little overly invested in Mellie becoming President.
Alert Type: Impeachment Alert.
Issue: Lizzie meets with powerful Senate Republican Gibson on the golf course to convince him not to take any action against Fitz, since his affair was between two consenting adults.
Complicating Factors: Gibson sees a political opportunity and tells Lizzie that Olivia had both access and influence, and that needs to be investigated.
Resolution: Lizzie and Abby convince Fitz to negotiate with the Republican Senators, even though Fitz stomps his foot and pouts about it.
Spoiler: The Senators have been itching for the chance to undo some of Fitz's more liberal legislation.
Love, Hate & Everything In Between
Quit Playing Games With My Heart
Mellie finds Fitz in the residence playing with Teddy. Remember Teddy? They do that thing all parents do where you pretend you can't find the obviously hiding kid just to make him giggle, and it makes them think sadly of dead Jerry. This was the most humanizing moment for either character in many seasons. Mellie says she doesn't want to fight anymore, and promises not to hurt Fitz if he doesn't hurt her. The kid has ears, you know. He's not really in hiding. Anyway, they make a truce.
Fresh Blood Injection
Marcus changes his mind and takes the job at OPA. He claims he just needs the money but when he gets fired up about how the press is treating Liv, he admits that he's there to "help a sister out who helped [him] when he needed it." Quinn and Huck are adamant that Liv doesn't want them talking to the media, and Marcus gives them a graduate seminar in coded language, and how the media is being racist and sexist, but in ways that only people of color and/or women would understand. This show is so dumb, but then they sneak in some shit people need to hear. They're sneaky.
Who called the meeting? Fitz.
What's it about? Fitz thinks he and the Senate Republicans can put their acrimony to bed if he agrees to campaign for them and sign some pending legislation without a fight.
How'd it go? Senator Gibson excuses everyone else from the room and shows Fitz their proposal, which basically calls for Fitz to roll back all of the important legislation of his Presidency. Gun control, equal pay, Brandon's Law -- it's all in there. Fitz is appalled but the Senator says that Fitz has to, or they will impeach him, and gets in a racist jibe about how Fitz should have chosen a paramour who was "more palatable to the base." I don't know why Fitz doesn't just resign before he can be impeached, move with Olivia to Vermont or whatever, and then let history take care of his legacy. If this legislation is as great as the show keeps telling us, eventually people will forget why he resigned and remember him as a great President.
Seriously, Don't Read The Comments
Fitz calls Olivia to try to talk to her about the Senator's proposal, but she interrupts him to babble about how her character is being assassinated and she's being physically threatened all over the place, but especially online. In the comments. Liv, DON'T READ THE COMMENTS! Never read the comments. Fitz is the sensible one, for once, and tells her to shut down the computer.
That Quote"I have at least a thousand threats of rape here, just on this one site, from guys who are mad that I had the audacity to be born female and black."- Olivia Pope -
Cyrus Has Lost It
Situation: Mellie tells Cyrus that she's not going to agree to impeach Fitz.
What makes it awkward? Cyrus is LIVID that Mellie has the audacity to tell him he needs to let his broken heart over Fitz go and move on with some dignity, as she plans to do.
How is order restored? It's not, because Cyrus goes on a tirade wherein he tells Mellie that he thought of Fitz like a son, and Mellie's son is dead so she should be happy (?) and Cyrus's son is alive and surrounded by vultures. It's super-creepy and more than a little crazy and way inappropriate. Mellie rightly tells Cyrus to GTFO.
Wrap It Up
Marcus is leaving OPA amidst a throng of reporters, and one mentions that Liv is "well-spoken." That's all Marcus can take and he goes off on the reporters about their coded, racist language.
So Quinn, Marcus, and HUCK (!) go on news shows to call out the media for using "dog-whistle politics," where they use coded language that will offend only the people being discussed, but sound innocuous to everyone else. Why would anyone want Huck on any television show? He can barely speak. Anyway, Quinn and Marcus do a good job speaking truth to power and it's my favorite part of the episode even though Quinn was involved.
Which is good, because everything else that follows is rotten dogshit. Fitz shows Abby the Republican proposal and asks what Liv would do. Abby thinks Liv would tell him to accept the proposal or else he won't avoid impeachment. Fitz thinks Liv would do the smart thing, but they don't work for Liv.
Liv is watching her employees defend her on TV when breaking news that Fitz has left the White House in his motorcade interrupts the broadcast. Fitz goes to Olivia's apartment, wades through the press, and takes the elevator up to her apartment. And then they make out in the elevator and head out for a date? I thought he promised not to hurt Mellie. Like if he was going to just be with Liv publicly, why also put her through the media wringer first? And after she talked about how many threats she's gotten, he just showed everyone watching television exactly where she lives? Shut up, Fitz.
As imagined, Mellie is PISSED that Fitz couldn't keep his promise not to hurt her for like twelve hours. She marches in to see the Women's Caucus and tells them to go ahead with their impeachment plans. Good for her.