There are a couple of time sequence issues in Episode 317, Flesh and Blood may have caused a huge bit of confusion.
First let it be understood that Leo and Papa Pope were working together and that Leo was the one who first called Papa Pope to ask HIM to get the President’s DNA. Leo then informed him while standing out in front of DC Point Lab…
Olivia: (referring to Dominic) That man? Do I know him?
(Rowan’s phone rings)
Rowan: Phone’s ringing (he answers)
Leo: Did you hear the rumor about the First Lady asking about a paternity test?
Leo: You just did. I need you to score some Presidential DNA. Isn’t there some secret stash of POTUS blood in some White House vault…and before you start whining, you might note that I’m standing here with a bag full of Little Jerry’s man chowder, so…
Rowan: I’ll see what I can do.
Olivia: Who was that?
Rowan: (pretending to reluctantly reveal) Leo Bergen.
Olivia: You’re working with Leo Bergen?
Rowan: I was. Now I’m working with you and to prove it, I’m going to tell you what he’s up to and you’re going to go straight to the White House to stop him.
Meanwhile, Olivia goes to confront Mellie about what her father has just shared with her. At this point Mellie accidentally, drunkenly reveals her rape by Big Jerry. During this period Huck is also interrogating and torturing Dominic. Later that night, after no information is garnered from the interrogation, Dad borrows Charlie’s gun in an effort to “scare” Dominic into revealing where the bomb is. At this point, no matter the outcome, we knew that Dominic was a dead man.
Side note: I am of the belief that this was the plan all along. I believe it was also Marie’s revenge…for Dominic never trying to rescue her. It was her job to bring him out of hiding so that both she and Eli could get their pound of flesh from him.
Eli used his death two-fold.
The first paternity test was done using Dominic’s DNA. Dominic was Marie Wallace’s lover who was murdered by Papa Pope.
We later see Huck rolling Dominic in plastic for final disposal. As he is doing this, Abby uses tweezers to yank a single hair from Dominic’s head, which she immediately places in a plastic bag and then envelope and hands it off to Papa Pope. That same night, Papa Pope then calls Leo to tell him he is sending over a sample of the President’s (Fitz’s) DNA. This means that he either had it delivered directly to Leo or had it was sent via messenger to DC Point Lab. Olivia was too devastated after her father murdered Dominic in her place of business…she had to go home so she had no involvement in the first DNA exchange although she had knowledge of it.
Now here is where things get weird. Directly after Papa sends the fake “Presidential DNA” for processing, we flip to a scene…
DURING THE DAY, which we assume is the next day, but could have been even days later…but note, taking place in DAYLIGHT HOURS.
Abby arrives, get the results, which are not a match. But a simple chiding and a bribe from Abby (via Papa Pope) and the DNA is a match and Leo and Sally pick it up none the wiser that they have been foiled by a faked DNA test. They stop digging for dirt.
Mission Accomplished they are off the trail and Papa can continue to gain Olivia’s trust while putting his ultimate plan in motion.
Again this all takes place during DAYLIGHT HOURS? WHAT DAY OR WHAT TIME IS HARD TO DECIPHER.
Next scene we find Olivia at home on the couch it is dark…she is still distraught and she calls Jake. She references the fact that…
“My father killed my mother’s lover tonight in my office. Just…like it was nothing…like it was Tuesday…he just…There is a dead man lying on the floor of Olivia Pope and Associates right now… ” (Yes you read right…TONIGHT! Which means that the Daylight scene that came before was actually a flash forward and could have happened a few days in the future.) This also means that Olivia was not there when Papa Pope set up the fake DNA test…but perhaps had knowledge of it later, but she did not initiate it.
Again, Papa Pope orchestrated the first DNA test…using it as a way to make Olivia believe that he was being helpful and it was also meant to throw the bloodhounds (Leo and Sally) off of Mellie’s trail as they had heard rumors of her affair with Andrew and that she herself had ordered a DNA test earlier in their time in the White House…and they assumed that the baby might be Andrew’s.
No one, but Mellie, Olivia and now Fitz know that the true reason for Mellie’s original request was due to the rape by Big Jerry.
Understand that it was Leo who put Papa on the DNA trail in the first place. It was a distraction device. I mentioned before that season 3 was a chess game. Papa Pope moved all the pieces into place to accomplish exactly what he wanted from the beginning.
While Olivia was distracted by Mama and DNA…she couldn’t possibly keep up with what he was doing. Papa played everyone.
To get to the second test, we take a journey through the final third of the episode. We find Olivia confronting Papa over having killed Dominic in her office and he tells her how much he enjoyed doing it.
(Scene with Charlie, Quinn and Huck loading Dominic’s body for disposal)
After the heated exchange between father and daughter, Olivia makes a call to Cyrus to inform him that Dominic Bell is dead and that they don’t know where the bomb is. She informs him he should keep Fitz in the White House, when she hears the sound of the chopper and realizes that Fitz, Mellie and Cyrus are boarding the Presidential Helicopter to head to Defiance, Ohio. She wants to stop him, but he is already leaving, so Papa (being the “good” Dad that he is) encourages her to go be with him, because Marie wouldn’t dare set off the bomb and kill Fitz if she (Olivia) is there.”Your mother will not kill the President if it means killing you too!”
(Scene where Harrison goes to find Adnan and gets held at gunpoint…Shonda’s first warning to us all)
Olivia arrives in Defiance, Ohio, most likely arriving on Papa’s private jet…along with a Secret Service or B6-13 agent (This would explain how Pops was able to time the stabbing just right because he knew when she landed back in DC)
Olivia makes her way to the stage and sits beside Mellie, who is drunk and now sits between she and Fitz. They exchange light banter with a side of sarcasm from Mellie. Fitz and Mellie are introduced and they stand together smiling and waving at the crowd then Mellie returns to her seat beside Olivia and we get the following exchange:
Olivia: Those rumors we talked about earlier, they’re not going to come out. It’s been taken care of. (referring to the previously faked DNA test) But if you still want the paternity test, just get me the DNA samples and I’ll make it happen.
(Mellie’s eyes brighten and she smiles)
(Scene where Quinn and Huck…HUCK and Marie slips in on Papa)
Papa calls Olivia to inform her that her mother is at the office and the bomb is still set to go off and she (Olivia) doesn’t have much time. (Olivia hangs up and immediately texts someone, likely Abby to facilitate getting the DNA needed from the White House)
Olivia steps to the podium beside Fitz to whisper for him to wrap it up.
(Scene where David and Jake discover where the bomb is)
(Scene where Olivia discovers Dad stabbed and bleeding on the floor of OPA)
(We now know that Dad orchestrated this whole scenario)
Also keep in mind that this may have been the following morning as it is a 7 hour flight from Defiance, Ohio to Washington, DC. so it is very realistic that Olivia could have facilitated getting the new DNA test done by phone while in the air.
(Scene with Adnan and Harrison, followed by Jake frantically trying to reach Liv…then he reaches Cyrus…we know how this played out)
What follows is a montage of scenes…from people gathering at the church for Senator Hightower’s funeral. Most State funerals are held in the morning or early afternoon. We see Cyrus gloating over his evil deed. Mellie has received her very real DNA results.
Marie sets the bomb for one hour. Cyrus still gloats. The President prepares the Hightower eulogy and Cyrus stalls by asking him to read it to him.
All this happens under the strains of… “Smiling faces…smiling faces…sometimes…they don’t tell the truth. Smiling faces…smiling faces tell lies.” this was our first clue that the finale was going to be a doozy. If you pay attention you will see all these quick vignettes that inform the set up of what happened in the finale.
“SADLY BOAY, I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU!”
So Papa knew without a doubt that Little Jerry was Fitz’s son…he planned this meticulously, so do you really think he didn’t make sure?
He had Tom at his beck and call and had access to the entire First Family and their DNA. He would have made sure that the boy was his so he knew it would sting. He wanted this to hurt, to be painful. To literally destroy Fitz. Remember, he said he knew everything about Fitz, but he did not know everything about Mellie. So he had no idea she had been raped. If Fitz knew, this would then be in the category of things to know about Fitz…therefore Rowan would know it, but how could he when Mellie only told one other person and that was Andrew and he never told and I don’t think he even knew about the original paternity request.