This week's Scandal was all about how to escape things that imprison us — secrets from the past, exes we can't truly leave, judgement from others, the preconceived notions of how to "correctly" be in a relationship, and actual jail. There was a get out of jail free card for almost every form of captivity. Because this is Shondaland, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) ended up going with the one card that carries the biggest cost of all. But we'll get back to that. Last week we saw the formation of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and we picked up with the hearings this week. The Committee sacrificed Mellie (Bellamy Young) to show they meant business, and this left the people waiting to be called on for testimony with two choices — going to jail for perjury, or revealing private secrets to the world. Fitz can be protected from testifying through executive privilege, but Liv's only option is two rings on that left finger and spousal privilege. (The real question is why Mellie agreed to speak to the Committee when she is actually still married to Fitz and has actual spousal privilege). Fitz proposed by saying, "We called you hear to discuss a wedding, our wedding." Flawless. Just present those facts before your shotgun White House wedding for legal reasons. Three cheers to the sanctity of marriage, y'all. Liv doesn't want a get-out-of-jail-free marriage. Nor does she want to be forced to live her whole life in the White House, her own personal jail. She's now faced with two choices — should she perjure herself and end up in an actual jail, or should she get married and end up in her personal jail? In an attempt to get to the next get out of jail free card, the B-plot of this week happened at rapid speed. We found out that Papa Pope (Joe Morton) is in secret cahoots with Jake's (Scott Foley) wife, and she is trying to help him out of prison. In the next scene, Jake learns about this secret, as we learn that Eli is in the hospital for an injury. And in the following scene, we all learn that his wife is actually trying to kill Eli. This is a lot to happen before the second commercial break.
Fitz takes a stab at a do-over proposal. There are roses. He gets down on one knee. I can't tell you anything else because the writers once again decided the balcony is the perfect place for private moments. Why? Why is this damn balcony where they go for privacy? Go. Inside. Why is this a hard concept? Fitz decides to guilt trip Liv and ask her for a five-year-plan for their relationship. Really? They went on their first date three days ago. He is not divorced yet. They are all possibly about to go to jail. They are all about to lose their jobs. This is really not the time to assign her relationship homework. That is when the next get out of jail free car comes in. Eli Pope. He is willing to reveal the secrets of all the Committee members if Mellie (the Senator of Virginia, where he happens to be incarcerated) releases him from jail. If I was a professional fixer with a reputation of finding people's secrets, I would have taken Eli's great idea and executed it myself. Liv? She decided to go to Mellie and ask for her mass murdering, lying, terrifying father to be released from jail. Mellie says no. This leaves a hopeless Liv reluctantly taking off that promise ring, and replacing it with her engagement ring. Fitz — completely ignoring all processes and timelines plebeians have to follow — gets a divorce. Time for those rushed, pragmatic wedding bells. Right before they say forced "I do's," Mellie changes her mind. Eli is a free man, and manilla folders are handed to every Committee member with their dirty secrets — the one thing you can never really escape. The investigation is officially called off. Olitz can now have their true happily ever after. It turns out Eli's plan doesn't just keep Liv and Fitz from a life behind metaphorical bars, but Mellie, too. Mellie wants a favor for releasing Eli — Liv to help her become the next president. Yes, Nothing will help Mellie get elected the first female President more than having her husband's former mistress on her campaign. The American people are so open, forgiving, and embracing of strong females who own their sexuality and flaws, after all. Some other notable moments — Susan Ross (Artemis Pebdani) thought about resigning because Fitz had extramarital sex, and David's (Joshua Malina) response was basically "you would be a better president because you won't have so much sex." Because that is how it works. Also, Jake is apparently still in love with Liv. Oh, and his wife was killed by Eli, thanks to Liv's rescue. Looks like the Fitz, Jake, Liv love triangle is not quite over yet. While we wait for next week, I have some questions. Do you think Liv made the right call? What do you think Eli is planning next? Is there still a romantic future for Liv and Jake? And, why do you think Fitz proposed on the balcony? Really, I need some thoughts on the last one.