"The president's been shot." That is perhaps the most heart-stopping sentence anyone can hear.
But for Olivia Pope, it's much worse than that.
The love of her life has been shot -- and may not survive.
Olivia always tried to separate the personal from the professional, but after President Grant is critically wounded from gunfire, the two sides merge. She has to keep her cool and try to keep the administration from imploding, all while dealing with her turbulent emotions of love, guilt, fear, and heartbreak.
With this shooting, everything is coming together in a huge pile-up -- her affair with Fitz, the nefarious Defiance plot, Lindsay/Quinn's set-up, and even Huck's shady past as a black ops agent.
For dear old Huck -- Olivia's best pal -- seems to be the one who shot Fitzy!
At the pleasure of the president
As a dazed Olivia wanders through the hospital after the shooting, she finds Fitz's bloody flag pin.
It triggers the memory of when she gave it to him, just before his inauguration as president. Mellie interrupts (boo!), and he goes off to take the oath of office.
Later, as Fitz and Mellie dance the night away at inauguration balls, Olivia roams the halls and overhears Cyrus and James fighting. Seems that Cy isn't really out of the closet yet, and he dismisses the incident to Olivia as a tiff with "some reporter." Ouch.
Olivia is checking out the Oval Office when Fitz enters. He ditched the balls so he could be with her. "We can't," she says breathlessly as he begins to kiss her.
"We can't stop. I can't," he replies. "You're the most important person in my life. I can't just stop. Can you?"
No, she can't. They proceed to have sex on the Oval Office desk!
Back in the present, Vice President Sally Langston commandeers a helicopter and lands on the South Lawn to give a statement that she is in control. Cy is furious -- only the president can do that ... and "you are not the president."
Olivia takes over the communications staff, since the press secretary was also shot, and assures them everything will be OK. But from her expression, she isn't too sure.
Dissension in the ranks
Flashbacks show that Sally Langston has always been a thorn in the administration's side. After the inauguration, she demands her quid pro quo: nominating a Supreme Court justice. This doesn't sit well with Verna, who reminds Cy and Olivia what she did to help them in Defiance.
Fitz is preparing for his first State of the Union address and is using a speech-writing getaway to get it on with Olivia. And then Mellie shows up, all perky and "did I interrupt anything"-y.
Her appearance rattles Olivia, who tells Fitz they can't keep the affair going. She doesn't want to be that person anymore, and likens their relationship to Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. Oh, snap!
Later, an aide tells Olivia a reporter is asking about voting irregularities in Ohio. Trouble! She tells Hollis, who promises to "take care of it." (Even worse trouble.)
Fitz and Olivia meet in "their place," the Rose Garden, where he calls the Jefferson-Hemings reference a low blow. She says she can't keep smiling at Mellie, while sleeping with her husband. And she's tired of always waiting for Fitz, watching for Fitz.
He then issues this incredibly romantic declaration. "I love you. I'm in love with you. You're the love of my life. My every feeling is controlled by the look on your face. I can't breathe without you. I can't sleep without you. I wait for you, I watch for you. I exist for you. If I could escape all of this and run away with you, there's no Sally or Thomas here. You're nobody's victim, Liv. I belong to you. We're in this together."
How can you not be in love with this man?