Huck is in a hole, Hollis is in the crosshairs, and Harrison is a gladiator in a suit — this is how you resume a show after a holiday break!
When we get back to our favorite fictional D.C. dwellers, Hollis is trying to convince the Woman I Will Still Call Vice-President Langston to give herself a public pat on the back for catching the president’s would-be assassin; Langston does not want to, since Huck has not actually confessed yet, but on Hollis’s suggestion, they are using “advanced interrogation techniques” like waterboarding and general face-punching to try to break Huck, tucked away underground in a glass cube. Newly reinstated Assistant United States Attorney David Rosen is uncomfortably watching the interrogation from beneath his freshly combed-back, totally serious hairdo; he asks the group of shadowy men if perhaps they can stop waterboarding a U.S. citizen in a government building since he is technically representing the U.S. and not overwhelmingly comfortable with the ordeal. One of the heavies tells him that this is not American soil: This is the Pentagon, they’re going to do whatever they want, and David Rosen, “Shut. Your. Mouth,” which he absolutely does.
Justice Verna runs to Olivia’s office to tell her that she is the reason they took Huck away, resulting in another meeting with the League of Extraordinary Presidential Rigging (Cyrus and Mellie). Justice Verna is concerned that Hollis has two phones, one of them being a “cheap little burner like the drug dealers use.” You have to love a judge who watched The Wire. No one cares about Hollis’s phones until she mentions that he called “a Becky” and mentioned the hotel where the sniper rifle was found, and slaps them upside the head with, “Look, Hollis, the power-hungry murder-filled maniac, is the one who tried to assassinate the president, dummies!” Harrison chats up a lady who works for Hollis at a bar while Abby steals her key card and breaks into Hollis’s office, picks the lock of his desk, and gets the phone numbers from the burner phone; when she slips the card back into the purse, Harrison makes a graceful exit by saying, “I’d love to get to know you better … actually, I don’t want to get to know you better,” and he peaces OUT. Not suspicious at all! Harrison, you could have learned a move or two from Steven.
Someone is signing a letter, words are flying by … president pro tempore … Senate … capacity … resume … Cabinet … a signature … Fitz is back! We think! Olivia is at her apartment with Edison, who has been looking for Huck unsuccessfully. They make out a little bit before an Army dude shows up with an official letter for Edison; he says “saved by the bell,” signs his name in triplicate, and gives a scan of his thumb. Olivia wants to know what he meant, and Edison is like, “We haven’t had sex in a week,” and Olivia is like, “The president was shot,” and Edison is like, “So?” The letter says that Fitz is asking to be reinstated, and this is how Olivia finds out the president is awake; she goes to the hospital, rips Cyrus a new one for not calling her, and then they hold hands and smile as they skip toward the president’s room, only to find him in the same vegetative state. Mellie is there, so Olivia unhinges her jaw and shouts, “What. Did. You. DO,” so we all know now that the letter was faked.
Mellie admits that she forged the signature. Olivia starts spewing about treason and American values; Cyrus cuts her off and says, “Oh, you think we can’t just steal the White House? Yes, you can — it’s been done before and will be done again,” which, in your face, Olivia, in your slightly hypocritical immaculately dressed face. Mellie is like, hello, I am the valedictorian of signing Fitz’s signature, and I am a-okay with this! She says, “I broke the law, I broke the Constitution, and I would do it again!” (which is definitely my new e-mail signature) before she and Cyrus decide that, hey, they could totally run the country together, right? No big deal. Not so fast, Our Gang! V.P. Langston is meeting with the security council and about to wage war on East Sudan, when one of her aides comes in and cock-blocks her with the news of the Fitz letter. She immediately gets on the phone to Mellie and wants to talk to Fitz; when Mellie balks, the jig is up, and she puts down the phone, saying, “She knows.”
Across town, emo kid David Rosen takes a meeting with his boss, Neal Schweiber’s dad. He’s still pretty sad about this waterboarding business, but Neal’s dad says, hey, I thought you could handle this. David gets a call from James, who is eager to talk about the story of the election-rigging, and David reminds him that the president got shot, so there are much bigger fish to fry at the moment. Meanwhile, Harrison is reminding the Pope & Associates crew that they shouldn’t call the number Abby found, that Olivia has a plan, and this is some next level, grassy-knoll shit. Olivia marches in with a new client — it’s Fitz! The fixers are going to fix the Fitz.
The next day, V.P. Langston is telling Hollis that she wants to out the liars, but doesn’t want to look too power-hungry; he tells her to “get someone else to do your bidding,” which she does by leaking the letter to the press, which includes Perd from Parks and Recreation. Olivia puts the gladiators, Cyrus and Mellie, in action to set in motion a series of lies confirming Fitz’s well-being. The press eats it up, with tons of stories confirming that Fitz is “out of the woods and ready to take office,” even though he’s still nonresponsive.
James calls Cyrus’s bluff while they’re getting ready for bed by talking about how miraculous the recovery is; he’s pissed because he still doesn’t have the baby Cyrus promised him. Cyrus reveals a little of his monster by threatening to take the baby away since James hasn’t quit his job yet, and says, “It might take a miracle to get a baby in your arms.” DAMN, CYRUS! You just rolled your husband like a chump. Huck is still being tortured; he promises to talk but only to “the guys behind the glass”; everyone comes in; they turn on a video camera; he asks if the president is still alive; and when David Rosen confirms that he is, Huck shouts, “You in danger, girl! She’s coming back to finish the job.” They go back to beating him mercilessly; they might not break Huck, but they definitely broke David Rosen, who shows up at Olivia’s office to tell her he knows where Huck is. He confirms that Huck is being tortured, Olivia goes to V.P. Langston’s office to tell her they’ve got the wrong man, and she only believes it when someone shows her Huck’s dossier, confirming that he’s been trained to kill and not get caught. David Rosen hands over the papers saying Huck is to be released by order of the vice-president, and the shadowy men just drop him off on the street in broad daylight, bloody and bruised but back with Olivia.
Olivia wants Fitz transferred to Camp David, since it is easier to lie about your conscious state when you’re deep in the woods. Mellie tries to make nice with her husband’s mistress by asking Olivia how she’s doing; Olivia tells her to pull it together and get a grip since she only has one job right now, which is a pretty ballsy reaction to the eight-months pregnant first lady who’s husband you’re boning. At the hospital, Harrison is preventing Edison from seeing the president; Olivia shows up, and they have a weird exchange about how she’s been ignoring his calls. He tries to exert his power as the leader of the Senate, saying he will prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law if she had any part in forging that letter, and when she tells Edison good-bye, you know she means good-bye FOREVER.
There’s an incredibly touching scene in the hospital when James goes to meet his baby, and he says, “I’m your daddy,” and, “She’s clearly very intelligent,” and I cried a little because I am NOT MADE OF STONE, people. Ugh, Shonda Rhimes, give this man his baby already! Give US this baby already — we need some levity.
It’s moving day! Lady Killer Becky is shining up her arsenal and setting up shop across the street from the parking garage where Olivia and Huck are standing watch. When Becky’s phone rings, it’s Huck, and he’s standing right behind her! The whole Camp David thing was a ruse used to trap her, and she walked right into it. She tells Huck her real name is Kate, and he’s like, “Do you actually think I give any shits about your name after you set me up to be waterboarded?” They’re both handcuffed and forced to the ground. This is the worst breakup ever.
V.P. Langston finally gets to make her announcement that they’ve apprehended the assassin, just as Huck is brought back to the office, released to Olivia’s custody. The next day, V.P. Langston meets with Mellie to tell her she’s been studying graphology and knows the signature is forged; if Mellie doesn’t withdraw, she’ll reveal the letter for the “humiliating forgery it is.” At the same time Cyrus confesses to James that Fitz is still sleeping and that James can report the lie; James says he quit his job, and they just want to go and get their baby. Cyrus’s phone rings, and we cut to Olivia’s office; Quinn is interrogating Olivia for not calling the FBI on Hollis Doyle, since she has now figured out that he hired the assassin, framed her, and ruined her life. Olivia agrees to a talk about it, but her phone rings and it’s Cyrus — Fitz is awake.
Next week, it looks like Edison asks Olivia if she was in a relationship with the president, and Fitz confirms that the aftereffects of getting shot in the dome is that you perpetually see the world as the acid-trip tunnel from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.