Jeff Perry as Cyrus Beene in Scandal (Eric McCandless/ABC)

Times are hard when you’re doing hard time. That’s what Cyrus Beene learned during this week’s episode of Scandal. Last week, Cyrus’ ex-lover Tom Larsen confessed to the feds that he assassinated President-elect Frankie Vargas at Cyrus’ request. This week, Attorney General David Rosen drops Cyrus off at the local penitentiary, where Cyrus is summarily stripped of his clothes and his dignity.

While guards are asking Cyrus to bend over and spread ’em, Mellie Grant asks Olivia Pope to get up and dance with her as they pregame Mellie’s impending presidency.

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Things are not looking good for Cyrus. In fact, the Justice Department has decided to pursue the death penalty, which Abby Whelan, calling upon the authority of her boss, President Fitz Grant, instructs David Rosen and FBI Director Angela Webster not to do. Fully confident that David and Angela will respect her wishes, she sends Elizabeth North, Cyrus’ former chief of staff, to let Cyrus know that Abby is not going to let him fry.

Meanwhile, back in the pen, Cyrus is getting in his steps by walking in a circle in a cage (no, seriously), when he sees Tom being led down a hallway by a guard. So when Liz comes to deliver Abby’s message, Cyrus has a request. He’s going to write a love letter to Tom in hopes that Tom’s scorned heart will soften and he’ll recant his confession that Cyrus ordered him to kill Vargas. He needs Elizabeth to get that letter to Tom.

While Cyrus is plotting on how to get his hands on some pen and paper, Fitz and FBI Director Angela Webster are laid up in his bed while Fitz tells her how gorgeous she is. For Scandal-heads across the internet who have been in the trenches with Olivia and Fitz—“Olitz”—for the past five seasons, the sight of another woman in Fitz’s bed made them threaten to grab their protest signs and march.

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While snuggling, Angela mentions that Abby told her that Fitz said the death penalty wasn’t an option for Cyrus. Oops. Fitz wastes no time calling Abby into the Oval Office and scolding her in front of Angela and David for speaking on behalf of Fitz when she wasn’t authorized to do so. Then Fitz announces publicly that he’s in full support of the death penalty for Cyrus. After all that Abby has done for Fitz, Fitz is going to pay for turning on her.

Back to the pen: Cyrus gets a guard to give him a pen and paper in exchange for some advice on how to get out from under the grip of a certain group of prisoners, and he gives Liz the love letter to deliver to Tom. It looks like all is going according to plan until Cyrus’ husband, Michael, visits him to deliver his own message: He’s divorcing Cyrus and he’s keeping the house and full custody of Cyrus’ daughter. Apparently Michael intercepted Cy’s love letter to Tom and discovered that it was full of lurid details about Tom and Cyrus’ sexual past, most of which overlapped with Cyrus and Michael’s marriage. Whoops.

Later, Cyrus’ guard friend lets him get some fresh air in the middle of the night and then locks the door behind him as a group of inmates who were Vargas supporters jump Cy so badly, he sees stars. Rather, he sees a dream sequence of his own inauguration. When it seems as if things can’t get any worse, Cyrus calls Olivia to ask for help, but she tells him that while she’ll always be his friend, she’ll never speak to him again.

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At this point Cyrus is ready to end it, and the murderer in the cell across the hall from Cyrus—who, incidentally, ate his entire family except for the dog (because what kind of person eats his own dog?)—had been advising him to get a belt and hang himself. I confess to not fully understanding how things work in prison, but then the Guy Who Ate His Family grabs Cyrus’ guard friend, somehow gets his key, gets out of his cell, gets Cyrus out of his cell, gets into Tom’s cell and uses the guard’s belt to choke Tom out.

As Tom is using his very limited breath to tell Cyrus that he didn’t kill Vargas and that he just said that because he wanted to see Cyrus suffer, Quinn Perkins discovers that Tom was 600 miles away from Frankie the night he was killed, and it looks as if someone paid Tom to blame Cyrus.

It looks like Cyrus is innocent! Don’t celebrate just yet, though. Cyrus still has to prove it, which might be an uphill battle.