Jake is a polarizing character on Scandal, mostly because he gets in the way of the clear endgame of Olivia and Fitz. He's been looked at as the sweet, loyal puppy dog waiting in the wings while the president will always be Liv's first choice. But let's not forget, this puppy dog is more of a pit bull. He kills people and keeps secrets for a living, and the latest episode reminded us of that darker side. This week, Jake bared his teeth with killer speeches and a killer ending. Maybe he kept his shirt on for the full hour so we could finally have a clear view of who this man really is with no distractions.
But let's not skip to the ending: We begin with Jake in a shadowy room talking about what it takes to be in B613. No connections. No family. No light at the end of the tunnel. We get a few nuggets of intel about Jake's Indiana upbringing, and it starts to really make sense why he's chosen the brooding, complicated Olivia Pope as his love interest. "There's been so much blood," he says, to no one in particular, of his life in the top-secret government organization. "This becomes your family, and you can't imagine any other life."
On to Leo Bergen, who's enlisted Sally Langston's preacher to help with debate prep (Leo stresses his "preacher-Sally confidentiality" agreement). He's flown him in on a private plane since the "servant of God won't fly coach." How does Shonda manage to come up with these one-liners for Leo and Cyrus? It turns out the pastor has a pretty steep job ahead of him. Sally is one centimeter away from speaking in tongues when they walk into the room, rambling about cloven hooves and frying pigs and making zero sense -- but still scaring the bejesus out of us. Godspeed, preacher man.
Over at Grant campaign debate prep, there's a lot less biblical bacon. Andrew Nichols is filling in for Governor Restin, while Mellie is putting on a delicious Southern drawl to fill Sally's sensible pumps. Cyrus calls up Liv to tell her what a great job Fitz is doing and how she needs to see his debate skills for herself, but she has a few guests at the moment. David Rosen is over at Liv's playing the tape of Cy's conversation with Sally about covering up the murder of Daniel Douglas. Even though David lays out all the evidence for Olivia ("Watergate had less to go on," the U.S. attorney says), she still can't wrap her head around why Cyrus would help Sally and why he would pimp out James in the process. "If Cyrus Beene needed to cover up a murder, he'd come to me," she says. (We appreciate that you're good at your job, Liv, but maybe don't brag about murder cover-ups to a U.S. attorney.)
"I know about Daniel Douglas," Liv says, walking into Cy's office. And he doesn't deny anything; he just says he has it under control. She laughs at how preposterous it is -- especially that every person in the presidential debate is a murderer. "It's literally murderer's row," she says, laughing maniacally. She also points out that, like Defiance all over again, they've stolen Fitz's chance at a clean campaign. "I can't do this again. I want to walk into the light and feel the sun on my face," Liv says, storming out of his office.
NEXT: "I want to drink too much wine"