As the White House grieves, Olivia Pope finds her White Hat again

By Katie Atkinson
March 21, 2014 at 03:37 AM EDT
S3 E14
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Last week ended on a doozy of a cliffhanger, and we got an immediate answer: Jake’s victim was James. I have to say, I didn’t think the final gunshot in the last episode would be fatal. I thought we’d get a coma or life support, but not death. Wow.

If Cy was evil with James in his life, what’s he going to be like without him? But James wasn’t the only person on the scene; David Rosen somehow gets a get-out-of-jail-free card with Jake, but he’ll surely pay for it. “Are you smart, David?” Jake asks the U.S. attorney. “Can you work with me on this, or do I need to stop liking you?”

I guess David can work with him, because he’s still alive at the crime scene the next morning, and asks that all evidence go through him. “We’re going to find whoever did this,” Olivia tells an in-shock Cyrus in his office. Little does she know, it’s her fake boyfriend.

The only silver lining of James’ death: We get a flashback to when he met Cy. The young reporter approaches the then-campaign manager and asks for some quotes, before Cyrus tells him if he’s going to run with the big dogs, he needs to dress the part. “You really think I’m going to take fashion advice from a guy with a neck beard?” James asks during their meet-cute.

In the wake of James’ death, Fitz wants to suspend his campaign, but Mellie’s not so sure he should skip a gun lobby event following a staffer’s shooting. “I’m not politicizing the death of a friend,” Fitz says. His VP and opponent Sally Langston calls to say she’ll suspend her campaign as well — but Leo Bergen has other ideas: go after the gun lobby endorsement with “guns blazin’.”

NEXT: Olivia puts the pieces together

When Liv sees that Vanessa Chandler is a no-show at a White House press conference — and that NSA employee Shelby Moss is also MIA — she puts the pieces together and realizes James’ death was no carjacking. But what about David? Abby runs to find her very-much-alive boyfriend — and he’s not offering any answers. Olivia calls up her old reliable fake boyfriend to look into James’ murder — you know, the one he committed. But he’s a little busy filling in a shallow grave at the moment.

Meanwhile, flashback James is sidling up to Cyrus on the campaign bus: “Why hasn’t Grant taken a stance on marriage equality when he has a gay campaign manager?” The intrepid reporter noticed that Cy lost the neck beard — and he likes it.

When Olivia asks Huck to take a closer look at the Daniel Douglas file, he realizes someone else has been in the OPA safe: Quinn. And speaking of the onetime Gladiator, she and her man Charlie are busy creating a fall guy for the James murder. But for some reason, David Rosen isn’t taking the bait. A crisis of conscience, perhaps?

When flashback James first flirts with Cy, the typically confident politico has no idea what to do. “I don’t indulge very often,” he tells James. “I’m not a dessert,” James responds. And just when he’s about to give up, Cy goes makes his move: a passionate kiss.

Back in the present, Cyrus has thrown himself into work to forget about his late husband. First order of business: Stop Sally from stealing the gun lobby. The plan is to ground Air Force Two and send Andrew and Mellie down to Houston in Fitz’s place. (Nothing could go wrong there.)

NEXT: Mama Pope returns

After an episode without them, Maya Pope and Adnan Salif are back, and they have bags of money. They’re meeting with shady types to spend that money wisely. Maya’s daughter, meanwhile, is finding out about Quinn’s B&E. She goes straight to her faux-boyfriend to air her grievances. “Random, coincidental bad things happen to good people all the time,” Jake says unconvincingly. Liv demands to know what happened, and Jake admits that he single-handedly orchestrated the whole cover-up. We’re guessing there won’t be another Gettysburger and wine date at Liv’s place anytime soon.

Olivia calls a meeting with Rowan — you know, the guy who used to do all the bad stuff Jake now does — and she just wants him to be her dad for a second. His way of being dear old dad is informing his daughter that he’s responsible for the deaths of 183 people. “You become the hand of God,” he says of being B613 Command. But it’s not all doom and gloom. If everyone is a monster, then everyone is equally worth saving. “In the face of darkness, you drag everyone into the light,” he tells his daughter, in a speech that could have come from Liv’s own mouth. Like father, like daughter.

Andrew and Mellie do their best, but the gun lobby still wants to go with Sally Langston. Mellie does some convincing, however, and they agree that a White House speech would go a long way. But Cyrus has a different plan: He thinks James’ shooting — not to mention Fitz’s assassination attempt — is the perfect opportunity to change positions on guns and steal some votes from the left. “Let’s turn some purple states red.”

Speaking of purple, Mellie has on a saucy purple dress as she gets in a gun-control argument with Andrew. But it’s all just verbal foreplay for what we all know is going to happen, and no sooner are they making out than Mellie starts stripping down to reveal matching purple lingerie. Even when engaging in extramarital sex, the first lady is coordinated.

Abby comes to see David and find out the truth about James and the missing ladies. He finally admits that the carjacking story is bogus and the Vanessa and Shelby aren’t just MIA. “They’re all dead and I’m alive,” he tells her.

NEXT: Quinn + Huck = NOOOOOOOO

When Quinn arrives home, Huck is waiting in the shadows. Please, god, don’t let him lick her face again. “You come for some more teeth?” she asks. “I came here to kill you. To put you down,” he responds. But he realizes that she wanted him to catch her on camera, that she’s still a Gladiator deep down. Quinn spits in his face…AND THEN THEY START MAKING OUT. You guys, I can’t express in words how against this I am. In my mind, Huck is an asexual hacking machine. He has the capacity to care, sure, but not the capacity to suck face. No, Shonda, just NO. Please tell me in the comments if I’m wrong, but I get the distinct feeling I’m not wrong.

All the OPA employees converge on Liv’s office at the same time to unload all their problems. Abby wants to save David from Jake. Harrison wants to figure out what Adnan is up to. Huck wants to get Quinn out of B613’s clutches. But Olivia has nothing to say. Instead, she heads to the Lincoln Memorial to meet David. And instead of helping him expose Jake, she wants him to just arrest the wrong man for James’ “carjacking” and get on with it. But she’s not giving up on wearing her white hat altogether. “Instead of standing alone and turning this into a suicide mission, stand with me and turn this into a cause,” she tells David. “Lose this battle so we can win the war.” It looks like she’s taking her dad’s evil ways and turning them around into something positive. THIS is the Fixer Olivia we’ve been missing for a long time. She’s done being victimized by all the evil and ready to look at the big picture and fix everyone and everything. Go, Liv, go!

One last flashback: Cyrus is at a black-tie event, alone, and he goes out to the press corral and brings James back in to dance with him in full view of everyone, announcing their relationship to the world. Back in the present, Cy is addressing a room of reporters, revealing his husband’s killer. And he positively breaks down in tears. Cyrus is a real human being, you guys. If only he had acted like more of a human being when his husband was alive…

We also see Jake’s last moments with James, who didn’t die quickly and cleanly. Jake had to make it look like a carjacking, so he did a sloppy job. But he sits and waits until James dies and assures him his daughter will be safe.

Wow, another roller coaster of an episode. There were the happy highs of watching Cy and James’ love story unfold, the utter lows of Huck and Baby Huck locking lips (ewwwww, sorry if you had already pushed that out of your mind), and the triumphant ride of Olivia having a renewed sense of purpose. So what do you want Liv’s first move to be on her new quest with David? And what do you think Maya and Adnan are up to? So much to discuss in the comments, so get started!

Follow Katie on Twitter: @ktatkinson.

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