Oh, so THAT’S why Jake feels such a connection to Rowan.

Yikes.

On Scandal Season 5 Episode 18, viewers were invited to a wedding no one wanted to see take place: 

The nuptials between Jake and Vanessa Moss, which were going down as part of a plot to turn the groom into Edison’s running mate.

But the bulk of the hour was spent looking backward, not forward, as we learned all about Jake’s daddy issues and why he’s so drawn to Olivia’s evil father.

And the details are mighty troubling.

Via a number of twisted flashbacks, we discovered that a young Jake stood idly by as his father violently beat his mother and raped his sister.

But that wasn’t even the worst of everything:

This volatile cycle only concluded with his sister’s taking her own life… following the abortion of his nephew/brother.

When Jake – formerly known as “Pete Harris” – found himself in B613 boot camp, Rowan made a point to exploit every last demon on the path to breaking him and eventually using him.

“I’m not him,” we saw Rowan tell a shivering Jake, who had just spent time in the hole. “I will not hurt you. I will protect you. I’m here for you, son.”

(His fake son then had sex with Rowan’s real daughter the night before his wedding, but whatever. We aren’t about to blame Jake for anything right now.)

When the wedding finally arrived, Jake was prepared to play runaway groom… until Rowan whispered a few sweet nothings in Liv’s ear:

“If this wedding does not go forward, I will slit his throat. … He’s the talent in this family, and I’d rather he be dead than mediocre. I’ve already lost a daughter. Like hell if I’m going to let what happened to you happen to my son.”

Knowing that her dad is not one to bluff, Liv told Jake that she loves Fitz and that he is nothing more the “lesser version of him, a sad reminder of the man [she] truly deserves.”

And the speech worked.

Jake and Vanessa exchanged vows… Jake lived to see another day… and fans were left to wonder if he’ll also see the inside of the Oval Office.

Crazy, right? Poor Jake!

Relive his very troubled past when you watch Scandal online and then leave a Comment below with your take on this intense episode.