We’ve been expecting it, in some form or another, since season 1 — and now that the Olivia/Fitz affair is finally out in the open, it’s here. Fitz’s impeachment trial is really happening. While both sides prepare their cases, there’s one person in particular who seems quite thrilled about the whole thing, and that’s Cyrus Beene, sitting on his couch, shoveling brownies and sparkling wine into his mouth, and proclaiming: “This is the moon landing! The Berlin wall is coming down!” Not quite, Cyrus, especially since this happened with Clinton already. Did anyone really care about the second moon landing?
Good Guy David Rosen is trying to stay out of everything, but still ends up helping Fitz prepare a tiny bit, because he’s such a good guy. “Do you even know what an impeachable offense is?” he asks, but he’s not being a jerk — legitimately, there’s no definition of an impeachable offense. It’s whatever Congress, the prosecutor, the judge, and jury decide it is, kind of like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s definition of pornography: You know it when you see it. Rosen recommends a slightly unorthodox lawyer to Fitz, and he hires her. Also? Fitz can’t talk to Olivia about the case.
Liv, meanwhile, realizes she can’t handle this on her own, either. So who does the top fixer hire to fix her problems? Welcome back good ol’ Leo, who we haven’t seen in a minute. And Leo has a great plan: “We’re going to take what the public views as a cheap and tawdry affair and spin it into the greatest romance ever told.” And in the montage of Liv and co. telling Leo everything she knows, Shonda buries the best bit of dialogue she’s ever written:
Leo, searching Liv’s fridge: Where’s all her food?
Huck: You mean her wine and popcorn?
To make the plan work, they need a character witness to speak about Liv on TV — someone the public trusts, and who really knows Liv. She goes to her old ex-boyfriend Edison, who only agrees to fluff her up after calling her “a criminal, a whore, an idiot, and a liar” for making him look stupid when he guessed at the Fitz affair long ago. That was a painful scene, but he eventually calls her (onscreen) “a person of the highest moral conviction,” so I guess the abuse was worth it?
Over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Fitz’s lawyer arranges a document dump: The prosecuting committee wants evidence? Sure, they can have all the paperwork the White House can find — especially the pointless stuff. She also does a fantastic job cutting Liz North down after hearing Liz whine about “executive privilege” one too many times: “Did someone give you a list of buzzwords when you took this job?” (Of course, the irony here is that Scandal loves a good buzzword. Let’s play: Vermont, white hat, stand in the sun, gladiators in suits…)
Mellie obviously has to recuse herself from the investigation: Divorcing the man who’s being investigated is a slight conflict of interest. But before she goes, Mellie makes sure to leave her mark, leaking the story of the ring Fitz gave Olivia — which surely hurt a little extra, since it was a family heirloom. The ring throws Leo’s plan for a bit of a loop (“Does this mean the president is both engaged and married?” one reporter asks), so he shifts the story. “It’s time for Olivia Pope, Lovestruck Teenager,” he announces.
Let’s shift back to Cyrus for a minute: He’s still gleefully enjoying his own personal banquet and performance, with an array of desserts, cheeses, and wine on his coffee table (which part of this episode did I care about the most? Hmm…). Mellie comes over and they bond, drinking and giggling in their despair over Fitz discarding them, and their joy in seeing him potentially suffer. Eventually, Mellie asks Cyrus to work for her again, and he reconsiders their own rise to the top.
Liv is a lot more in-control than she was last episode when cruel internet strangers drove her to tears, but she still needs to pay a visit to her rock, Jake. She’s in for a surprise: He’s a little hesitant to let her in… because the wifey is here! But Elise gives him a big, territory-marking smooch and leaves them to chat. Jake realizes Liv doesn’t want to play the “lovesick” role because she’ll be tied to the White House forever, with no escape left, and Liv admits he’s right. He advises her to tell the truth.
NEXT: “I wish we’d never met”