The President has been shot. Live news reports are communicating to a grief-stricken nation the latest regarding their leader. Olivia is in shock. Edison, as Majority Leader, is being placed in the bunker along with the rest of the Cabinet. Olivia happens to be in the ER as the President is rolled away to surgery. She walks into the room he was in and picks up the President’s flag pin.
The flag pin becomes the object that jars memories for Olivia. The episode flows gently through present day events to memories of Fitz’ first few days as President. It provides much-needed back story to a set of characters that we are still getting to know, as they continue to develop. In this recap, I will deal with the past first, before turning to the present, post-President being shot storyline.
Olivia gives Fitz the flag pin. It was President Eisenhower’s. Olivia does not go to the Inaugural Balls. She is very much aware that the relationship that she and Fitz had while on the campaign trail cannot continue now that he is in the White House. While sitting in her White House office as the Communications Director, she is called to the Oval Office. However, she is not called for official business, but for pleasure. She attempts to resist the President’s advances, but it proves to be too much for Olivia.
Vice President Sally Langston, much to Verna’s surprise, tells the President that she will be working on her list of Supreme Court nominees. The President reveals that it was part of the deal for Sally to join his ticket. Verna is not pleased, and tells Cyrus and Olivia to fix it. She is supposed to get that nomination.
After Sally gives Cyrus the name of her nominee, he takes it to his former boyfriend James who is a journalist in the White House. The story comes out, and Sally knows Cyrus had something to do with it. She yells, “I’m no longer a team player,” as she leaves Cyrus’ office.
As Fitz jogs with the Secret Service, Tom tells him that there are cameras all over the White House. And that each morning, an agent reviews the tapes and either archives or deletes. He tells the President that the footage from the evening of the inauguration were deleted. He wants the President to be aware of the cameras.
The President, Olivia, Cyrus and other White House staff go to Camp David to prepare the State of the Union address. Olivia and Fitz continue their affair. One evening, there is a knock at Olivia’s door. She opens it expecting the President, but finds the First Lady. She got bored back at the White House, and decided to come out to Camp David.
Olivia is not okay that Fitz brought Mellie to her door. It is reason for Olivia that this has to end. She compares their relationship to Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson. A reference that Fitz does not care for. He proclaims his love for her, despite Olivia telling him that his is unavailable. The relationship turns more serious when Fitz takes Olivia to touch the Constitution. “We’re in this together,” she tells him.
A reporter calls the White House about Defiance. Olivia takes the call and meets with Hollis Doyle. A young man named Jesse Tyler is poking around. Hollis tells Olivia that he will take care of it. In a few days there is an explosion connected to Hollis’ company. Seven people died. Right away, Olivia knows that Hollis made it happen and that one of the seven is Jesse Tyler. Hollis acts like it is no big deal. Olivia is torn over it.
Olivia learns that Hollis is having a girl named Lindsey set up for the bombing. She goes to Cyrus, and Cyrus says, “The best thing to do is buckle down.” In other words, we know nothing, see nothing, do nothing. Olivia can’t though. She calls Huck, who meets her outside the White House. She gives him a key to her apartment, tells him to shower first and settle in. We can only assume that this is the beginning of Pope and Associates.
During a photo shoot with her husband, Mellie notices that Fitz’ flag pin is missing. One of the secret service agents notices and seems uncomfortable. Mellie goes to him later and learns that Fitz took Olivia to see the Constitution and that is when Fitz lost his pin. Mellie retrieves it from the secret service agent and gives it to Olivia. She acknowledges that she, Olivia, and Cyrus have always been a team, and will continue to be. She asks Olivia to give the pin back to Fitz.
During the State of the Union address, Olivia walks in the Oval Office, places the flag pin on the desk along with a letter of resignation.
While Edison is being escorted to the bunker, agents arrive to escort the Vice President to a safe and secure location. Sally refuses and demands to be taken to the South Lawn of the White House. A place traditionally reserved for the President to land. Once there Sally makes a statement to the Press.
Harrison calls Olivia to let her know, and she and Cyrus rush over to the White House. Cyrus finds Sally in the Oval Office. He explains to her that it doesn’t work this way. Olivia, in the hallway, noticing that there is a lack of leadership, takes control, resuming her formal role. One of the staff members asked if this meant she was back, and Olivia answers, “I’m back.”
Olivia holds a press conference. Harrison, Abby, and Quinn are watching Olivia on the television. They ask where Huck is, and Harrison wonders why Olivia left her job at the White House. Edison calls Olivia as they move him, telling her that Sally is trying to get the Cabinet to sign over the Presidency to her. Olivia goes to the hospital to get support from Mellie.
Olivia: Sally is knocking at the door of the Oval Office.
Mellie: I’ll need something to wear.
Olivia returns to the White House to get the First Lady something to wear. While holding one of Fitz’ old Navy sweatshirts, she breaks down and cries. She quickly pulls herself back together. Mellie makes a statement where she says, “He has not given up on you, don’t give up on him.”
Despite the effort, Verna swears Sally in as Acting President. Fitz has come through surgery well, but is not responding. As Olivia stands in the hospital room door, Mellie sitting at Fitz’ side, places the flag pin on his bed.
News reports say that the suspect is a man of average height, wearing a red hoodie.
The closing scene is of a man in a red hoodie packing up his gun and other equipment. Right before the episode ends, the man’s face is revealed. It’s Huck!