While Olivia thinks she prevented an explosion in Ohio, the real fireworks are saved for next week's finale

By Katie Atkinson
April 11, 2014 at 03:52 AM EDT
Kelsey McNeal/ABC
S3 E17
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Remember when Olivia thought shutting down B613 was going to solve all her problems? Well, turns out it’s created a whole new world of them.

Fresh from wringing Olivia’s neck, Jake is trying to explain just how detrimental the B613 shutdown is when Liv’s other boyfriend, the president, walks in. (OPA’s stunned reaction to Fitz walking into the office is a reminder that, oh yeah, this dude runs the country. It’s easy to forget when we usually see him making out near sheer curtains and punching dudes in the face.) Liv wonders what’s wrong with all the other national-security organizations we have and why they can’t stop her mom, while Jake laments that last week’s sexcapade was just a ploy to hack into his phone. Fitz clearly likes hearing about his lady’s “good quick tug on the zipper” with Jake.

So who can help get them out of this jam? The only person to find Olivia’s mom is Olivia’s dad. Rowan has a history with Dominic Bell, who provided Maya with the bomb. And we know from last week that he definitely has a history with Maya. Is the Dominic-Maya-Rowan triangle just as complicated as the Fitz-Olivia-Jake one?

Speaking of love triangles, Jake summons Charlie and Quinn to OPA for backup. I’m getting sick of Charlie and his possessiveness over Quinn, but I did like his greeting to Jake and Rowan: “Command. Other Command.” But they won’t both be there for long. When Rowan says he won’t take part in the mission with Jake, Olivia is quick to kick her very recent lover to the curb in favor of her diabolical dad.

When a senator dies of a heart attack, D.C. mourns — and then quickly figures out how to capitalize on the tragedy. Sally calls Leo Bergen to try to secure the eulogy, while Cyrus wants Fitz to deliver it, even though a high-profile funeral would be a pretty fitting place for Maya to deploy her bomb. A seemingly drunk Mellie (is it even the afternoon?) sarcastically revels in the opportunity to “stand by my man.” I love when Mellie’s drunken Southern drawl makes an appearance.

NEXT: ‘And I’m telling you I’m black’

Back at OPA, Quinn has to choose between Huck’s plan and Charlie’s plan for finding the man behind the bomb. And Olivia is trying to figure out what her dad really has against Dominic, when Fitz calls to ask Liv’s permission to pursue Senator Hightower’s eulogy. Obviously, the best moment is when Fitz thinks Sally is closing in on an NAACP endorsement. “The NAACP is not supporting Sally Langston,” Olivia says. “Have you met Sally?” Fitz: “I’m telling you, I’m losing.” Liv: “And I’m telling you I’m black.” HA.

But Olivia refuses to give her permission, because she wants to keep Fitz alive. She also acknowledges that it’s the four-year anniversary of his dad’s death. (Is that why Mellie is already hitting the sauce?) Fitz takes her advice and does all his campaign appearances via satellite, while his staff hits the phones. I have to say, the spark between Fitz and Olivia during the video interviews reminds you why these two work together in the first place. Sometimes the melodrama makes you forget why Olitz are Olitz.

People are really nailing the greetings tonight, BTW. When Harrison sees Rowan in the doorway, he says, “Poppa Pope…it’s OK if I call you Poppa Pope, right?” Um, probably not. Charlie and Quinn return empty-handed after trying to track down Dominic, just as Huck appears with the bomb-maker all tied up in a duct-tape bow. Is that Quinn’s turned-on face I see? Ugh, I wish it wasn’t.

Meanwhile, Leo is back at the prep school to meet with his Lacrosse Lolita. Turns out he’s doing business with her to get some, um, forensic evidence from the First Son. While she could have just stolen a toothbrush, she decided to get some different DNA from Jerry. Total Harvard material! Leo then calls Rowan asking for presidential DNA so he can test if Jerry is really Fitz’s son. Where did this rumor all of a sudden come from? And is Jerry III really Big Jer’s son? Looks like we’re about to find out.

Of course, when Rowan tells Olivia what Leo is up to, she immediately suspects Andrew is the father. And Liv knows it’s not an accident that Leo got his hands on this information. Mellie wanted someone to find out to hurt Fitz. “I want his head in the fire, and I want to see him burn,” she spits in her drunken drawl. She also lets it out who the dad really is — the first person in the world who she’s told the truth, and it’s her husband’s mistress. “You’ll help me,” Mellie directs Liv. Honestly, Olivia kind of owes her that much.

NEXT: Russian roulette with Maya’s Russian boyfriend

Jake is not happy with David Rosen going behind his back to help dismantle B613, so now he’s asking him a favor. And since he watched Jake shoot James in the head, he’s all ears. He wants David to cross-reference Maya’s photo with all the city’s security cameras so Jake can find her first. Maya’s ex-husband, however, gets her on the phone by calling from her boyfriend’s phone and threatening to shoot Dominic if she doesn’t say where the bomb is. Maya tells him to go ahead and tells her man goodbye. Cold-hearted. Then Rowan kicks everyone out of the room and a single shot is fired. Did he really just execute Dominic?

Back from commercial break, and the answer is a very solid YES. How do I know this? Because of the brains pouring out of his head. The sight is almost as bad as when Maya chewed through her own wrist. Almost. And after he’s done murdering people, Rowan sets up Leo to think that Jerry is, indeed, Fitz’s kid.

Olivia is having a hard time getting over a dude’s brains being blown out in her office, so she calls Jake. And while he should hate her now, he thinks what they had was real. “That wasn’t you handling me, that was us,” he says of their night together. But then she talks about loving Fitz and that their night together was a betrayal. Jake, however, calls it a “first step.” A first step to what?

On top of being Maya’s lover, Dominic was also the person who convinced Liv’s mom to marry Rowan for access to the government. So while Rowan is sorry for getting brains on the walls of his daughter’s office, he’s not sorry for killing him. Fair enough. While Charlie and Huck fight over how to dispose of Dominic’s body, Quinn just takes off to get rid of him herself.

Olivia finds out that Fitz is heading to Ohio after all by hearing a helicopter in the background of her phone call with Cy. Rowan says Liv needs to head to the Buckeye State too, because the one person Maya won’t blow up is Olivia. This plan could go one of two ways…

NEXT: Back to Defiance

Harrison learns too late that Maya’s plan involves Fitz’s stop at Defiance High School in Ohio. Yes, THE Defiance High School, where James discovered the one rigged voting machine from four years earlier. Adnan finds Harrison just before he can call Olivia, so off Liv goes into the belly of the bomb. Man, a lot of stuff goes down in Defiance. “I’ve been a baaaaad boy,” Fitz says when Liv sits down next to Mellie in the high school gym. Is Fitz really flirting with his mistress over his drunk wife?

Back in D.C., Huck and Quinn are alone again. Oh no, you guys… But anything I could have imagined going down in that parking garage wouldn’t be as bad as what actually happens. I could barely handle Huck making out with Quinn, and I definitely couldn’t handle him licking her, but now I have to handle both of those things plus really violent sex on the hood of a car. OMG, Shonda is seriously pushing me to the brink. Did this scene totally floor anyone else? I can’t with these two! Make it stop!

Meanwhile, as they’re engaging in the show’s grossest love scene ever, Mama Pope just strolls into OPA to confront Rowan. She asks him to get Olivia back home, so he calls his daughter, and Defiance High School is evacuated. But the bomb wasn’t at the high school, and Maya’s not at OPA anymore. She left after stabbing her husband, and the bomb has been at Senator Hightower’s funeral all along — a funeral that’s only happening because Maya caused that heart attack. Dayum.

The surprises aren’t over: Jake figured out Maya’s real plan and informed Cyrus, but instead of evacuating the funeral, he lets everyone but Fitz attend the event, meaning Sally, Leo, and Andrew are in the line of fire. And as we learned from the scenes for next week’s finale, the bomb does go off.

Wait, so this wasn’t the finale? Man. Will Eli survive? Who will make it out alive from the senator’s funeral? And where is Charlie to prevent all this Huck and Quinn action, like for real? As the promo said: Watch it live Thursday, or hate yourself Friday. We’ll be here live with you next week, Gladiators! We’re going to need each other…

Follow Katie on Twitter: @ktatkinson.

Episode Recaps

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