Welcome back, Gladiators! It’s time for another fun-filled episode of Scandal and I’m itching to go after last week’s dramatic ending! In case you need a refresher, former VP Andrew Nichols’ attempts to blackmail the president and everyone around him, pushed Liv to the breaking point and she beat him with a chair. Now, let’s see how our resident fixer fixes this mess!
We open with a flashback into Jake’s past. His father is abusing his mother as Jake plays outside. Back in the present, Olivia is still recovering from her traumatic breakdown and Jake has been taking care of her. Jake tells her to stop beating herself up for Andrew’s death, especially after everything he did to her. Rowan agrees and tells her that Fitz and Jake made sure no one would investigate. He encourages her to leave her room, then drops the bomb that Jake’s wedding to Vanessa has been moved up and is in just a few days.
In another flashback, we learn how Jake, then Pete Harris, first got started with B613. Rowan visits him in military prison and urges him to join the task force. Jake tries to refuse but Rowan convinces him that it’s either B613 or jail for crimes against the navy.
Back at the house, Olivia is finally up and moving again, much to Jake and Rowan’s delight. She runs to meet Quinn and Huck and reveals that her depression has been an act all along. Liv tells them that Jake is moving up the wedding and tasks them with finding out what Rowan and Jake are using Vanessa for.
At OPA, Quinn and Huck dig deeper into Jake and Vanessa’s relationship and their (shockingly oversized) wedding plans. Huck discovers that Rowan was the one who moved up the wedding and increased the guest list. They report back to Olivia and she makes plans to exploit Jake’s feelings for her to get information.
Later, Jake and Vanessa prepare for their engagement party at the White House, which Liv is supposed to attend. When she doesn’t come downstairs, Jake finds her huddled in her room, crying. She plays up her sad guilt and Jake agrees to stay with her, much to Vanessa’s dismay. Jake tells Rowan that he thinks moving up the wedding was a mistake but Rowan shuts him down and makes him go to the party.
This brings us to another flashback, where Jake is causing trouble during B613 training. Rowan scolds him for being ungrateful that he saved him from his old life and prison. Jake tries to swing at him but Rowan is stronger and beats him down, reminding him that nobody takes Command.
At the White House, Fitz asks Jake why he’s getting married, especially to someone who isn’t Olivia. Jake says that he and Liv just weren’t meant to be and that things with Vanessa are easy. He asks Fitz if he misses Olivia and Fitz says it’s good to be free.
In the past, we see Charlie and Rowan attempting to break Jake. Charlie thinks Jake is a lost cause but Rowan sees something special in him. Still, he sentences him to a month in the hole. Back at the house, Jake finds Olivia drunk in the living room. She asks him about the party and he tells her that he played his part. She tells him that she sees him suffering, that she knows he doesn’t want to be with Vanessa, but he denies it.
After a drunken tirade, she finally gets him to admit that he doesn’t really love Vanessa. Jake realizes that Liv has been playing him and admits that his marriage to Vanessa is ploy to get him nominated as Edison’s VP. He tells her that he’ll never love anyone as much as he loves her, despite every bad thing that has happened between them. She tells him that he can’t marry Vanessa but he doesn’t know what else to do. Naturally, this whole ordeal ends with them doing the horizontal mambo.
The next morning, Jake asks Olivia what happens next. She asks him if he’s still getting married and he asks her if she wants him to. She tells him that she’s not sure how to protect him from Rowan and he’s not sure either. They agree to pretend for a moment that everything is good.
In the past, Jake emerges from his month in the hole and meets with Rowan. Rowan berates him about his past again, blaming him for allowing his mother’s abuse and his sister’s rape and ultimate suicide. Finally Jake snaps and lunges at Rowan. Rowan tells him that there is no redemption for the past and promises to protect him like his father never did, calling himself Jake’s family. This is where the connection begins.
Back at the house, Jake tells Liv that he wants to be with her, and asks if she feels the same. She kisses him and they head to OPA to brainstorm how to free Jake from Rowan’s control. Olivia says that the only way to free him from Rowan and prevent the wedding is for Jake to publically leave Vanessa at the altar, destroying any chances Jake may have had at ever holding a public office. Jake agrees and heads home, agreeing to meet Olivia at the church. Huck confronts Liv and asks if she’s sure about this plan. She tells him that she’s ready to be happy and that she knows what she’s doing.
It’s graduation day for Jake in another flashback and he’s prepared to begin work with B613. Rowan gives him the option to leave or to stay and work with B613. Jake decides to leave and go back home (but obviously this doesn’t last).
In the present, its Jake’s wedding day and everyone’s all dolled up. Rowan confronts Liv about her plans and tells her that Jake is still getting married. Liv tells him that Jake doesn’t want the power that he’s trying to give him. Rowan says that if Jake doesn’t marry Vanessa, or if Liv tells Jake that Rowan made her dump him, then he’ll slit Jakes throat. He tells her that the choice is hers.
Olivia tells Jake that she can’t be with him, hiding the fact the Rowan got to her. When he refuses to accept it, she tells him that he’s not good enough for her. She calls him weak and tells him that he was an escape, never a real option. He still refuses to believe her, so she calls him pathetic and tells him that she’s still in love with Fitz, calling him a weaker version of him.
The wedding begins and Jake remembers killing his father to get justice for his mother and sister, before returning to B613. Finally, Jake and Vanessa say their I-do’s and the episode ends on a super depressing picture of Jake as a child.
Although we all know how I feel about episodes sans Mellie—I mean seriously, not even a tiny cameo? Really?—I actually rather enjoyed this one. It was really interesting to get a glimpse at Jake’s life before he met Olivia and the process by which he became so submissive to Rowan. Still, it was a little messed up of the writers to get me all on board for the whole Liv-Jake thing and then rip it away! Not cool, Shonda! Not cool!
But what did you think? How long do you think it’ll be before Jake’s marriage implodes? Tell us in the comments!