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HER LIPS ARE SEALED Olivia wants to run a clean election for Fitz, but she also wants him to win. She can't have both.
Back at the campaign, 27 days before the election, Fitz's father steamrolls his debate practice and tells his son how it's done. Not with math! With folksy stories about a guy giving a woman the Heimlich not because he wanted to save her, but because he was the IRS and he'd come to collect the Penny she swallowed. Personally, I thought Fitz's speech about how he planned to reduce the debt by $5 trillion in three years sounded more interesting. But, folksy works in this universe.
The senior members of the campaign go to dinner and everyone is drinking and laughing and listening to Grant the elder's stories about craps while Fitz gets super drunk on something brown (scotch or bourbon?). Verna's laughing along with his father, saying "I was more of a Poker girl." Fitz drunkenly interjects with a creepy "I bet you were." This leads to a campaign strategy fight with his father and an attempted tryst with Olivia in the elevator. Olivia's having none of it, but the door opens and of course Mellie is standing there. Fitz stumbles out and Mellie walks into the elevator to apologize to Olivia, and to let her know how important she is to them. They hug. We all feel uncomfortable.
There's a brief interlude with Fitz in the situation room looking all lethargic and like he's just experienced major brain trauma and woken from a coma. Sally Langston is not pleased.
At the directive of Fitz's "Did we bring pillows to a knife fight?" father, the advisers agree to dig up dirt on Reston and we see the future Olivia Pope and Associates come together for the first time. Abby, Harrison, and homeless Huck all meet at a diner and start hunting for something that they can use against Reston. Meanwhile, the Collective is still debating whether or not to rig the election. They decide that it might actually be a necessary evil because they have the chance to put "the real deal. A patriot. A believer" in the White House. Olivia is hesitant, though. Are we seeing where she developed the moral fluidity that allowed her to become Olivia Pope the Fixer? Was she an idealist who would never compromise before this moment?
NEXT: Olivia asks Fitz if he even wants to be President...