Edison accuses Olivia of having an affair with Fitz. This has Liv going off on a rant where she doesn't ever deny the charge. Edison offers to help her before Sally Langston tells the Cabinet that Fitz's reinstatement letter is a forgery. At the hospital, a doctor details all possible pitfalls that come with a bullet ripping through one's frontal lobe. She believes Fitz is three weeks away from returning to the Oval Office. That's not gonna work. Sally Langston's meeting with the Cabinet is interrupted when the door opens. Everyone rises. Why? Because that's what you do when the President of the United States, Fitzgerald Thomas Grant, walks into a room.
The idea was to have Fitz make a brief appearance then return to bed. Plans change. Fitz doesn't believe he can show any weakness. That's why he attends a military briefing on East Sudan. Fitz starts off strong but struggles to recall the name of the East Sudanese leader he wants to capture. Hollis advises Sally to ride this out until the president falls on his face. This may happen sooner than expected as Fitz plans to answer questions from the press on live TV. Olivia is sent in to talk him out of it. She can't. All she can do is wipe his brow and kiss his lips. She also agrees with him that what happens at the press conference will be great.
We jump back two years to a time when there were just 35 days before the general election. Fitz is not doing well in the debates with Governor Reston. His numbers are down. Hollis Doyle lets it be known that he can rig the election in order to get their boy into the White House. He's not joking. Olivia says that's not an option. She is, however, jazzed about the idea of having her candidate's politically successful father join the campaign. She tries to convince a reluctant Fitz that his dad can help. Fitz agrees to this strategy if only to get her to stop talking for 20 minutes so they can make love.
"Big Jerry" Grant is a larger than life figure who owns every room he enters. That's why Fitz has no choice but to step out of his mock debate seat so his dad can show everyone just how an election is won. There's no denying that Jerry knows how to play the political game. Too bad Fitz is incredibly resentful of him. It could have something to do with the fact that dear old dad repeatedly cheated on his mom. Fitz has a little too much to drink. He calls out his dad and later tries to get intimate with Olivia in an elevator. Mellie catches them in the act. She apologizes to Olivia for the way her drunk hubby tried to force himself on her. Little does she know...
Jerry convinces Fitz to dig up some dirt on his opponent. This leads to Olivia assembling a team of investigators that's made up of Harrison, Abby and a super scruffy-looking Huck. They don't find anything too terrible about Reston, so the idea of rigging the election is broached once again. As for Fitz, he's freaking out on his campaign team while prepping for his next debate. Olivia clears the room. She wants to know why he wants to be president. Fitz screams, "I don't know what you want me to say!" Olivia realizes that's his problem. She knows that he needs to say what he believes, not what he thinks others want to hear.
Olivia's team learns that their opponent has been taking Prozac for many, many years. Jerry advises that Fitz blindside Reston with this tidbit during the final town hall debate. We cut back and forth between the debate Fitz had before he was president and the press conference he has in present day. In the White House briefing room, Fitz pauses before answering a question about any possible impairment he may have due to the shooting. At the town hall meeting, he's given an opening to bring up his opponent's drug use. In both the past and the present, Olivia stands on the sideline anxiously waiting to hear what Fitz will say.
At the town hall debate, Fitz first lays out everything he "should" say. Then he lets the people in on what he truly believes. In the present day, Fitz assures the White House press corps that he's ready to lead again. Both speeches are met with an eruption of applause. Even Sally Langston can't help but clap. She later accepts Fitz's letter of reinstatement and admits that it is not easy being president. As for Big Jerry, he lets his son know that he's going to lose the election. He says Fitz was never cut out to lead and that he'll never be a winner like him. This guy's not exactly Father of the Year material.
Olivia is once again drawn in to a conversation about fixing the election. This occurs around the same time Fitz learns that his father has died of a heart attack. In the present day, Edison apologizes to Olivia for his previous accusations. He also wants Olivia to know that he's in love with her. He would very much like to marry her. At the White House, Fitz lets Mellie know that he wants a divorce. Once again, we jump back to the past. Fitz is briefed on the importance of winning in Defiance, Ohio. Cyrus lets Olivia know that in order to march behind Fitz, they need him to be president first. That's why, the day before the election, she lets everyone know that she's onboard with the rigging plan. Hollis makes a call. It's a go.