Back into her D.C. routine, Liv (Kerry Washington) and Jake (Scott Foley) go for a run through the park, where he explains that this time around, he won't be waiting up at her apartment every night. Instead, he invites her to come to him when she's feeling lonely, proposing late night "booty calls."
It's an offer she has to refuse … at first.
Of course, Liv's old frenemy Cyrus (Jeff Perry) is on a bench nearby – she never runs solely for fitness – and he calls on a favor. Cyrus sets her on the White House's latest PR scandal: A war hero and his equally revered paralyzed wife are to appear as a united front at the upcoming State of the Union address, only they hate each other's guts and are on the brink of divorce.
Meanwhile, First Lady Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) continues to despair over the loss of her son, so much so that her weakened mental state has become the talk of the tabloids. When Cyrus tries to get her to show face at the State of the Union by likening his lost love to hers, she says, matter of factly, "It's not the same."
As for Abby (Darby Stanchfield), who's now handling White House press, it seems Olivia has some tall stilettos to fill. Between helping ex-boyfriend David Rosen (Joshua Malina) with his run for attorney general and Mellie's meltdowns, she's got her hands full. But when Cyrus gives her press conference pointers straight from Olivia's mouth, Abby calls her predecessor to say butt out, it's handled.
And so it is. Abby gives Mellie a masterful speech on how her role as a forlorn First Lady is to be a beacon of light for other parents who have lost children. Her point? Suck it up and get back out there, which Mellie does.
It takes some wrangling, but Liv gets the unhappy hero couple to show face at the address. Meanwhile, she and President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) reunite backstage. No, passionate kisses do not ensue – she saves all that for her and Jake's late night romp – but she does come to Fitz's aid, helping him amp up his important speech.
Surely it won't be long before she's helping him out of his suit.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.