'Scandal' recap: You're the one that I want
As the Rolling Stones said, "You can't always get what you want."
In a flashback to his final debate during the campaign, Olivia asks Fitz if the presidency is something he truly, really, utterly wants.
He finally figures out the answer (yes), but that doesn't help him in the Electoral College. Fitz can't win unless Olivia betrays her personal integrity to help fix the polls.
So what does Olivia want, Hollis asks. He's getting power, Verna's getting a Supreme Court seat, Cyrus will be chief of staff, and Mellie gets to be first lady. What's Olivia getting out of this?
She gets to see the man she loves, a man she believes in, get what he wants. And in the process, loses a piece of her soul.
Rise and shine
Fitz is awake (hallelujah!) but that doesn't solve all of their problems. He might suffer from a shorter attention span, aphasia, maybe even personality changes.
Meanwhile, Olivia gets home to find Edison there. Uh, remember when Olivia said "goodbye"? That was a breakup. When he starts questioning Olivia about her relationship to Fitz, she angrily tells him it's none of his business and kicks him out.
Flashback time! After his first debate with Reston, Fitz is still down in Electoral College votes. Hollis finds Olivia and Cyrus on the campaign plane and outlines a plan to rig polling stations in Ohio. What, is he crazy?! The subject gets dropped … for the moment.
Mellie comes up with her own plan: ask Fitz's father, Big Jerry, to stump for them. But Fitz despises his father. He may be a "national treasure" with many political victories under his belt, but Big Jerry is also a philanderer. Still, Olivia knows they need him, so she uses her best persuasion method: hot and heavy sex!
Back in the present day, Sally Langston is holding court in the Oval Office. She argues that Fitz's reinstatement request was premature. Then the door opens … it's Fitz! "Sorry I'm late," he says.
The look on Sally's face: priceless.
Another flashback: As Fitz preps for a second debate, his father strolls in and steals the show. The guy is charismatic, we'll give him that. But Big Jerry is also a big jerk, telling his son, "I've done more in the past 20 years than you'll do in a lifetime."
Dad's presence is so annoying that Fitz gets drunk and manhandles Olivia in the elevator. Mellie discovers them, but instead of accusing them of an affair, apologizes for Fitz's rude behavior and hugs Olivia. Oh the awkwardness!
After another lecture from his father, Fitz gives up and tells his team to do everything Jerry says. First task: Play dirty. Olivia doesn't like it, but brings in the gladiators (including a homeless-looking Huck) to do opposition research on Reston.
The numbers are still not good, and Hollis pushes rigging again. Surprisingly, it's Verna who's the first to back him up. Fitz is the real deal -- does it matter how he becomes president?
Back in present time, a weak Fitz attends a briefing in the Situation Room. He orders a SEAL team to take the East Sudanese president -- whose name he can't remember. Oh no, can Fitz keep it together for much longer?
Fear and loathing
Flashback-ville: The gladiators dig up dirt on Reston; turns out he's got a Prozac problem. That bomb will drop during the debate.
In a final prep session, a frustrated Fitz explodes at some poor campaign workers. A deadly calm Olivia asks if he really wants to become president. And not just that, but why he wants to be president. But he doesn't have any answers. She encourages him to show America his true self.
At the debate, the moment comes when Fitz is supposed to reveal Reston's drug issue. Instead, he speaks from the heart about the fear he felt as a Navy pilot. He understands voters' fears because they are his own -- that's what will make a great president. Big Jerry leaves in a huff.
Meanwhile, back in the present day, an exhausted Fitz is planning to hold a press conference about the East Sudan situation. Cyrus and Olivia try to talk him out of it, but he's resolved. "The people deserve to see me, to know that I'm in charge," he says.
Olivia tenderly mops his brow, then kisses him. "Show them who you are," she tells him, like she did before that debate.
At the press conference, a reporter asks whether Fitz is still impaired. He takes a long, delaying sip of water. But Fitz rallies and emphatically answers, "No." Go Fitz!