Let's start with the election: Mellie Grant is running as the Republican nominee, with Jake Ballard as her vice president. They’re up against Democratic nominee Frankie Vargas (played by Desperate Housewives' Ricardo Chavira), whose second banana is none other than Cyrus Beene.
But how did these wackadoodle pairings come to be, exactly? Well…
Olivia arranged for Jake to join Mellie's ticket as a means of "freeing" him from Rowan's clutches.
Just a few weeks prior — at Jake's wedding to Vanessa (now being played by Glee's Jessalyn Gilsig, in a recast) — Olivia's father made her agree to leave Jake alone… or else!
THE REPUBLICANS, Cont'd.
But what Olivia doesn't know is that getting Jake onto one of the tickets had been Rowan's plan all along.
So, once again, Papa Pope wins.
THE 'NEW' COMMAND
And here's another thing Liv might not yet fully realize: In getting Jake (closer) to the White House, her infamous white hat got a little darker.
(To quote Rowan, "The apple does not fall far from the tree, Olivia, poison though it may be.”)
Rowan had initially pitched Jake to be Frankie's running mate, but following Olivia's unexpected interference, Cyrus stepped up to the plate himself.
THE DEMOCRATS, Cont'd.
Cyrus' candidacy came as particularly bad news for his side piece Tom — yes, that Tom, Fitz’s former bodyguard — who was unceremoniously dumped.
In an effort to appear more vice presidential, Cyrus reconnected with Michael, who agreed to smile for the cameras and pretend like all is well.
Babe magnet David Rosen was sleeping with Susan Ross, but she dropped him like a hot potato when she found out he didn't believe she could win the Republican nomination without his help. (Not to mention, you know, the infidelity.)
Silver lining: He's now back to boning Elizabeth North.
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS, Cont'd.
There's also a whole lot of sexual tension between Marcus and Mellie, who came this close to kissing towards the end of the season.
ALSO WORTH REMEMBERING…
Olivia “secretly” beat Andrew Nichols to death with a metal chair, an inconvenient truth Cyrus has already threatened to use against her.
AND THEN THERE'S FITZ…
…who, as of the season finale, still has hope that he and Olivia could end up in Vermont together someday.
BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY…
Noted husband killer Sally Langston remains the finest female in primetime cable news.