It’s an Olivia and Jake episode, y’all. (Fitzvians cover your eyes.)
Things have gotten so complicated in the life of Liv lately that she’s now resorted to a self-imposed stay at her dad’s house — which is fitting because now that she’s got (more) blood on her hands, she’s just like a chip off the old block, right? But she’s not the only one of his kids who’s hanging around the place like they own it, and she’s not even the favorite, apparently.
Jake Ballard, as we’ve seen with all those quiet dining room table dates in recent episodes, is all but blood related to the Pope fam now, too, and as we come to discover during a throwback history of the formation of Eli and Jake as father and “son,” the depth and completeness of Eli’s stranglehold over Jake’s every move (possibly thoughts, too) is shudder-inducing.
The first glimpse of the tumultuous past that landed Jake in B613’s vicious clutches is of him as a little boy, playing out a morbid battle scene with toy soldiers and tanks on the front porch as his dad shouts like a loon in the background. When the fighting escalates to the point of obvious physical violence, Jake closes his eyes and tries to transport himself to somewhere else, maybe a place where he could be free of this constant terror? (Spoiler: Not even close, kid. Sorry.)
Back at Pope HQ, Olivia’s still camped out under daddy’s roof — also attempting a mental escape? — sleeping in her own room even, where she’s still got plastic ponies and kid karaoke and a Dead Poets Society poster on the wall.
Jake’s there and trying to make her eat a little something because she’s been a sullen Sally over what she did last week (you might recall Andrew Nichols’ face being turned into a pile of human jello), but she’d prefer to just lay there and mope the day away instead.
“You gotta stop beating yourself up over this,” Jake says to soothe her. “After everything he did to you, the only thing you should feel bad about is that you didn’t do it sooner.”
Eli arrives to offer his agreement with Jake’s warped little wisdom nugget and sends Jake on his way. He’s got lots of groomy activities to get to because, as Eli informs Liv, his wedding to Vanessa Moss has been moved up to this Saturday. Oh, and she’s invited, too, so yippee for that! Or not (although she looks alive at this news, which is a plus).
Meanwhile, we should have already guessed that Jake Ballard is a pseudonym for something else: Pete Harris. Turns out, Pete Harris is something of a screw-up in his 20s, seeing as he enlisted with the Navy and proceeded to do everything within his power to have those stripes stripped right off his shirt.
In a flashback (during which the struggle to overlook some horrifyingly/hilariously bad wigs is REAL) we learn that Pete Harris is but inches from being dishonorably discharged from service, charged with assault, and then sent to jail for the next decade of his life…and only Eli can save him (of course, groan).
“I can turn you into somebody, a real soldier with a real future, and there’s no one else on this planet that can promise you that without being a fool or a liar. So what’s it going to be, Pete Harris or Jake Ballard? Their b—- or mine?” he offers.
Back in real time, Liv’s finally put on some going-out gear to take a neighborhood jog. The guys are happy to see her on two feet again, and, whaddya know, Huck and Quinn are happy to see their boss at their little rendezvous point down the street. She’s got a mission for them now: Dig up all the dirt on this Vanessa Moss, Jake’s super soon-to-be bride.
NEXT: She’s her own best weapon…