By Natalie Abrams
November 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM EST
Mitchell Haaseth/ABC
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Scandal fans have known all along that Rowan Pope (Joe Morton), the nefarious leader of B613, is not a good guy. Fortunately, Olivia (Kerry Washington), Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Jake (Scott Foley) are all now in the know, too.

After Rowan basically framed Jake for the murders of Harrison (Columbus Short) and POTUS’ son, Jerry (Dylan Minnette), Olivia set out to clear her boyfriend’s name, finally uncovering the truth that her father was the mastermind behind it all. Why’d he do it? To ensure Fitz would stay in the White House for another four years and allow Rowan to his job back as the head of the country’s shady black ops organization.

But can this tumultuous trio work together to take down one the cunning Command after Fitz beat Jake to a pulp? “It’s difficult for him to team up with Jake,” Goldwyn tells EW. “There’s a lot of hostility there. Fitz feels like a fool. He had his reasons for trusting Rowan more than Jake, but he knows he was clouded by his feelings for Olivia. It was very difficult for him to disentangle that. Jake went through a tough experience and Fitz beat the sh– out of him wrongly, but in another sense, there’s a part of Fitz that feels Jake deserved that beating for what he did by taking Olivia away at the moment of Fitz’s son’s death. That was so dark of Jake and Olivia to do to Fitz. Fitz doesn’t have time to reflect on how he feels. It shifts immediately to we’ve got to get Rowan and everyone’s in danger, so he’s galvanized into action.”

Now that Jake’s name has been cleared, at least in Olivia’s eyes, what does that mean for the First Love Triangle? “She’s definitely feels pulled in the direction of both of them in very different ways for very different reasons,” Washington says. “While there’s so much love there in both relationships, they’re such different relationships. It’s a different kind of love and a different kind of relating to each other. They bring out very different parts of her.”

You can certainly expect Fitz, who’s had the upper hand in the love triangle during recent episodes, to put up a good fight. “Fitz believes they should be together and he believes that they could be,” Goldwyn says. “As he said in the past, if she would just commit, they would survive it politically. He’s a second term president, so screw them. He knows he can do his job well. He would be all for it. He’s been advocating that from the beginning.”

But Olivia will have other things on her mind when she’s faced with the very real possibility of losing both her mother (or so she thinks) and father in the same year. Can Olivia actually let her father go? “Yeah,” Washington says. “She takes all the steps and all the actions to rid herself of her father. I love the way our writers have written the Rowan character because he just represents all of those dark forces in one’s life that try to convince you that you can’t be whole without them. To me, he’s this beautiful archetype of evil, always telling her she’s not enough, she can’t do it without him, she’ll never be accepted, she’ll never be loved, she’s nothing if not with him. it’s just these really classic archetypical expressions of the dark side. Joe Morton plays them so beautifully and in a nuanced way. You feel that deep psychological tug that he’s able to have on her sense of self.”

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Shonda Rhimes’ political drama: Sex! Murder! Olivia’s suits!
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