Tonight's episode of Scandal was ostensibly about Olivia's (Kerry Washington) return to normalcy after killing Andrew (Jon Tenney) two weeks ago. But in reality, most of the episode was devoted to Jake (Scott Foley) and his backstory, both with Rowan (Joe Morton) and with his biological family. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn that Jake's father beat his mother and raped his sister. Jake feels guilty about not doing anything to help them. After Rowan saves Jake from spending 10 years in prison for disorderly conduct and insubordination in the Navy, Jake eventually kills his father, an act that pleases Rowan enough to welcome him into B613. Jake has been living with Rowan for a while now, and after killing Andrew, Olivia's been living at her father's house, too. Earlier this season, we learned that Rowan's been using Vanessa's (Joelle Carter) money to fund Edison's (Norm Lewis) presidential campaign. But as we learn tonight, Rowan's plans for Vanessa and Jake's relationship are about a lot more than campaign funding. After a significant amount of prodding (and flashbacks), Jake reveals to Olivia that Rowan plans for Jake to run as Edison's potential vice president on the Democratic ticket. A high-profile wedding to Vanessa — complete with 600 guests — will increase his presence in the public eye. That's all well and good, other than the fact that he tells Olivia that he doesn't love Vanessa, before sleeping with Olivia just days before the wedding. In a brief moment of vulnerability, Olivia seems ready to commit to Jake, too. "I want to be happy," she tells Huck (Guillermo Diaz). "I'm ready to be happy."
She and Jake plan for him to leave Vanessa at the altar — a move so cold, even Olivia Pope couldn't make a political spin out of it. Jake would be free from Rowan's clutches, since the American public wouldn't vote for a ticket that included such a coldhearted man. But, of course, Rowan knows what they're plotting, and the plan is short-lived. Olivia backs out after Rowan tells her he'll slit Jake's throat if the wedding doesn't happen — a casual father-daughter conversation — so she tells Jake that she can't run away with him after all. This is where things get weird, though — Jake's known Rowan for 20 years, and he immediately recognizes that Olivia's backing out on the plan because her father got to her. But instead of telling Jake about Rowan's threats, she tells him, "This isn't him, this is me." Olivia urges Jake to marry Vanessa, the woman he's admitted he doesn't love. "You're not good enough for me," Olivia tells Jake. "You're weak. You need me too much." And then, to top it all off, she tells Jake that she's in love with Fitz (Tony Goldwyn). Any good relationship is built on trust and honesty — and while Olivia may truly love Jake, she's not being open with him about her feelings, which isn't a great sign. It's clear there's still a lot of chemistry between them — arguably more than there ever was between her and Fitz — but it's not enough to sustain their relationship (or to stop Jake from marrying someone else).