The moment Olivia Pope steps into her car in a dark parking garage, she know she’s not alone. Someone is in the backseat. Olivia screams for the intruder to get out. He does as she wishes, but not before begging for help regarding a government conspiracy. Olivia guns her car up the garage ramp. She screeches to a halt when the panicked man screams that they know about the late night calls she’s been getting from the West Wing. Alarms are suddenly blaring in Olivia’s head.
Artie Hornbacher is a low-level data entry specialist for the NSA. He stole a program called “Thorngate” to prove that the government is spying on American citizens. There’s a good chance Artie is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, but Olivia digs into his story just to be sure. As it turns out, the guy is legit. The team assembles in a safe house while Huck hacks into Thorngate. The program self-destructs moments after they see an unaware Cyrus chatting inside the White House. Big Brother really is watching. Everyone!
Harrison and Abby head off to track down a woman named Monica who was on the Thorngate development team. They need this lady to corroborate Artie’s story until Huck can hack into the NSA to get the program back. Too bad Monica is dead in her apartment from what looks to be a suicide. The black sedan parked outside suggests that maybe Artie isn’t paranoid enough. In other news, Olivia meets with a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Edison Davis. These two have obviously known each other for many years. Edison warns Olivia to stay away from the NSA.
As Mellie folds some new baby clothes sent to her by the Queen of England (yes, they are some really fancy baby clothes), she lets her husband know that it’s nice how the two of them are getting along now. Cyrus has also noticed that Fitz has been happy lately. At least, he’s been “acting” happy. Fitz’s exterior mood takes a dark turn once he learns that the NSA may have a whistleblower regarding Thorngate. He gets even more upset upon seeing a photo of Edison Davis meeting with Olivia. Cyrus knows his boss is a ticking time bomb.
Fitz is not the greatest shot when it comes to duck hunting. Still, it’s an activity he must engage in from time to time for political reasons. This particular hunting trip gets personal as two secret service agents deliver Olivia to the woods. Fitz must first fit her with some proper footwear before they have a private chat. It’s the most stimulating, fervor-filled, uncomfortably silent shoe-fitting ever. The Cinderella moment ends when Fitz’s fury over the Thorngate situation and Olivia’s meeting with her ex-boyfriend, Senator Davis, boils over. Rage turns to passion as the two of them kiss hard under a tree. Olivia ultimately pushes Fitz away telling him that it’s over. Talk about a scene that leaves you emotionally spent.
Mellie notices the difference in Fitz after his return from the hunting trip. She debriefs a couple of Secret Service agents in her own special way to learn that the cause of her hubby’s mood swing was another secret meeting with Olivia Pope. Mellie screams at Fitz to get over her now. If he sees her again, she blow him away politically. We believe she’ll do just that. After all, she’s a much better shot than Fitz. The hits have come rapidly for the president as he also knows that Cyrus used Thorngate during his late night chats with Olivia.
Olivia believes the only way to keep Artie alive is to go on national TV to expose what the government is doing to its citizens. Fitz wants to launch a legal tsunami to quash the interview. The network is about to buckle to the pressure until Olivia gives its boss a personal sneak peek at what Thorngate is all about once Huck gets everything back online. Too bad the man of the hour isn’t ready for his close-up. Artie skips out of the safe house after swiping the Thorngate drive. He hops into the black sedan that’s waiting for him outside.
Artie Hornbacher scammed Olivia in order to get her team to decrypt Thorngate. He killed Monica to help with the ruse. Huck tracks down Artie. He turns the guy over to the proper authorities after only hurting him a little. Abby knows Huck saved them on this one. She also knows that she can’t keep hurling digs at Quinn after her colleague/former murder suspect tells her to go to hell. In other news, Edison Davis wants Olivia to take him on as a client now that the president has removed him from the Intelligence Committee. Our favorite fixer assures the senator that she no longer has any ties to the White House.
U.S. Attorney David Rosen has some explaining to do when his assistant, Alissa, catches sight of his Beautiful Mind-like research wall regarding the Quinn Perkins trial. So… he explains. David knows that Olivia wouldn’t have gone to such extremes to manipulate the justice system without good reason. He now believes that someone else may have wanted Quinn’s boyfriend and his coworkers dead. Someone else may have had a more sinister motive for the murders. Quinn may not be a killer, but someone in her office must know something about a possible cover up. Perhaps David can get the scoop now that he’s sleeping with Abby.