By JEWEL WICKER/ Jewel.firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Thursday, April 21, 2016
“Scandal” fans have known Jake Ballard for three seasons. But they’ve never known Pete Harris.
In the latest episode of “Scandal,” titled “Till Death Do Us Part,” we learn that Ballard and Harris are the same people.
Born Pete Harris, the former B613 agent has been surrounded by abuse all of his life. It’s a fact that has shaped who he is up until this very episode.
We learn through flashbacks that Jake’s father was physically abusive towards his mother and sexually abusive toward his sister. We watch as Jake meets Rowan Pope for the first time and is trained to join B613.
Rowan promises to be the troubled soldier’s family, but he also torments him, blaming him for standing by as his sister was abused. He questions why Jake wasn’t strong enough to stand up to his father. He promises to be the father Jake never had.
Of all the gruesome things that have happened throughout “Scandal,” the psychological manipulation that occurs throughout this episode is particularly disturbing and hard to watch.
At the end of his training, Rowan gives Jake a chance to walk away. He can live a normal life.
Jake leaves, but, of course, he isn’t able to fully escape. He returns to his childhood home and kills his father before joining B613 with his new father figure.
Back then he couldn’t have known that he would fall in love with Rowan’s daughter. Or that he’d be getting married and planning to run for Vice President.
But that’s exactly what happens in-between the flashbacks.
She pretends to be drunk and coerces Jake into telling her that he doesn’t really love Vanessa.
“The truth of the matter is I’ll never love anyone as much as I love you,” he says.
The two then have sex and come up with a plan to be together.
Rowan wants Jake to marry Vanessa so that he can run for Vice President alongside presidential hopeful and Olivia’s ex-fiancé Edison Davis. Jake knows that calling off the high-profile wedding would cause Rowan to react. Vogue is already planning to give Jake and Vanessa an 18-page spread in their most popular issue, so the world is watching.
The pressure is on.
Olivia tells Jake that he must leave Vanessa at the altar. It’s the only way to avoid giving Rowan time to blackmail him and it will make the public hate Jake, which means he won’t be able to run for Vice President.
The two head to the altar, excited to put their plan into motion.
“I want to be happy. I’m ready to be happy,” Olivia tells Huck before the wedding.
But, Rowan is always one step ahead.
He tells Olivia that he knows what she’s up to. Then, he tells her that she has to call things off with Jake or he will "slit his throat."
“I would rather he be dead than mediocre,” he says.
Terrified, Olivia approaches Jake and delivers some harsh words, calling him a “yo-yo” and telling him that he’ll never be good enough for her.
At first, Jake doesn’t believe her. But Olivia just keeps going with the insults.
Eventually, Jake marries Vanessa, setting Rowan’s plan into motion.
Will Olivia’s ex-fiancé and ex-boyfriend win the election and secure the White House for Rowan? Will the show ever revisit the fact that Olivia murdered someone or will they move on from that major plot-line like it’s no big deal?
Scandal airs Thursday nights at 9 p.m. on ABC. Click here to