[WARNING: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday's Scandal. Read at your own risk!]
The president of the United States is having an affair with his campaign manager, who is hiding the truth by dating the head of a secret Black Ops division of the government, who is in turn chummy with POTUS. Scandal has one messed-up love triangle.
It gets more complicated because Olivia (Kerry Washington) might actually have feelings for Jake (Scott Foley), which she admitted to Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) during Thursday's episode. Will Jake, who overheard the conversation thanks to his spy in the White House, try to win Olivia back? TVGuide.com caught up with Foley to get his thoughts on the relationship, whether Jake will go as dark as his predecessor and if Jake will have to "handle" these new threats:
Olivia isn't sure about her feelings for Jake. How does Jake feel about that?
Scott Foley: He thought that the door was closing beforehand. All of a sudden, it's as if he's got his foot back in the door. It's a pretty position turn as far as Jake is concerned.
Will he actively pursue her?
Foley: For Jake's job and his needs — whether it's personal and professional — having Olivia in his life and keeping her on a hook is very important to him.
Considering his feelings for Olivia, what does that do to Jake's relationship with Fitz?
Foley: His relationship with Fitz has really changed because it started that they were Navy buddies and Fitz was his superior, but they really had a connection there. Fitz would turn to him when he was in military intelligence and B613 for help, but now that Jake is running Command, there are personal feelings there, but Jake's main focus is the Republic and making sure that he's doing his job as Command. With regards to Fitz and Olivia, it's tough. Is it possible for Jake to keep a friendship with Fitz while they both go after the same girl? Is that possible?
Not in Shondaland.
Foley: [Laughs] There's your answer.
Why do you think Jake is ultimately better for Olivia than Fitz?
Foley: I think it's a hard argument to make. There is definitely something there between Fitz and Olivia, something unspoken and raw. But I also think that Jake has her best interests in mind. I don't necessarily think the president can say that without considering himself in the equation. If he really had her best interests in mind, he wouldn't still be with his wife. It's got to be extremely hurtful for Olivia with this back and forth. I don't think Jake would ever put her in that position. He would treat her well. He's been looking for that for a long time and maybe thinks he's found it with her.
How will being Command change Jake?
Foley: Jake really believes in B613 and his mission. I also think that he believes that Rowan [Joe Morton] did it the wrong way and did the organization a disservice by doing it the wrong way by treating its operatives in a way that didn't need to be done. I think Jake is going into it — much like I am as an actor knowing how Joe Morton played it — I'm constantly trying to fight against falling into that darker side. That being said, there's a lot of pressure on Jake now that he is Command. Things we think we know once we get to the bottom of the situation, we had no idea how much we didn't know. Jake is realizing that the weight of his position will definitely take its toll on him.
He now knows Rowan is working with Leo (Paul Adelstein). Will he actively try to take Rowan down?
Foley: I don't think his first objective is to take Rowan down. He has other things on his plate, but Rowan is always there in the background and he has to keep a close eye on him. We haven't really dealt with how or if he'll take Rowan down yet. I'm interested to see what will happen.
Quinn (Katie Lowes) made a valid argument to be hired by B613. If Jake does hire her, would that hurt his chances with Olivia?
Foley: It might hurt his chances. If he does hire Quinn, I don't know if that's forgivable on Olivia's behalf. We know that Jake was looking over Quinn and making sure that she was doing OK, but to hire her means that he's going to, at some point, put her in harm's way, and that's what Olivia requested him not do, so that would definitely hurt their relationship.
There are some real threats to the nation right now. First, James (Dan Bucatinsky) is leaking information to the press about the First Lady's husband. Will Jake have to step in?
Foley: This whole Publius story line is interesting, aside from the horrendous name, which is obviously a throwback from Shonda Rhimes to the Roman Empire. Any threat to the Republic is a job for Jake and something that he takes very seriously regardless of where it's coming. The position that he now has is one where you have to put all friendships and allegiances aside. Unfortunately, being Command has put him in that position. It's going to be interesting to see what happens with David Rosen [Josh Malina] and James. You're dealing with a Vice President [Kate Burton] who killed her husband [Jack Coleman] and people know about it. It's a really big threat to the president and the Republic, so I think it's going to be on Jake's plate sooner or later.
We also now know that Adnan Salif (Nazanin Boniadi) is working with Mama Pope (Khandi Alexander).
Foley: Aside from the whole Publius thing happening, we're still dealing with Mama Pope! Where the hell is Mama Pope? The fact that Harrison's [Columbus Short] boss/lover is now teaming up with Maya Pope, it just is so intertwined and convoluted. It's a real threat and one that, again, could hurt the Republic; so Jake has that on his plate. He's being pulled in so many different directions professionally, but when you think personally, his allegiances between B613 and Fitz and Olivia, I'm surprised he sleeps at all.
Do you think Jake and Olivia are meant to be?
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.