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Scandal “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia” 

Scandal “Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia”
Photo Credit: Craig SJodin/ABC
Photo Credit: Craig SJodin/ABC
Photo Credit: Craig SJodin/ABC

We found Olivia Pope!

When the premiere episode of Scandal opens, Olivia and Jake are in paradise. Drinking wine on a private island, enjoying the sunshine, and making out. It almost seems as though it is a dream sequence. But a simple piece of mail—that Jake foreshadowed as “Pandora’s Box,” sweeps Olivia and Jake back into reality.

The envelope is labeled “Julia Baker,” Olivia’s new name. In it is Harrison’s obituary.

Olivia insists that they’ll only be back in D.C. for a few days, but Jake is skeptical. He knows her all too well.

When she returns to OPA, Olivia quickly learns how much things have changed. First of all, the office is barren. OPA no longer exists. It’s Quinn who greets Olivia first, and she’s a completely different character than when we first met her in season 1. When she explains how she found Olivia, she almost reminds me a little of Olivia — her confident, quick speech and her intuitive logic. There are maps and documents covering the walls. Quinn has been very thorough. How did she find Olivia Pope? Through shipments of good red wine, of course.

The other characters have changed since Olivia’s abandonment, too. Huck is working at a tech assistance counter, and he’s completely shut down. When he sees Olivia, he just asks, “Are you back for now, or you back for good?” Olivia says she’s back for now, and Huck refuses to say anything else to her. Apparently, he hasn’t been talking to Quinn either, even though she’s been checking up on him regularly.

For now, we still don’t know what happened when Huck saw his family at the end of last season. From the looks of things, though, it didn’t go well. Huck is more broken now than we’ve ever seen — and that says a lot.

I’m not surprised to see Abby as the new White House Press Secretary. I knew she’d be in some sort of powerful position when we returned, and it seems like she’s the one who is holding things together now. She’s confident, charismatic, and really good at her new job.

She’s also still pretty angry with Olivia for leaving, and more than that, she blames Olivia for Harrison’s death.

Abby: “We are not a team, Liv. You’re just Olivia Pope. There is no ‘and associates.’ Not anymore.”

I get it. Really, I do. But I wish Abby would cut Olivia some slack. And blaming her for Harrison’s death crosses a line.

Fitz seems to be managing the death of his son pretty well in light of everything that’s happened. Mellie, on the other hand, is a hot mess. She’s lost her son and doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore. Her hair is mussed and she wears pajamas for the entire episode. Fitz is half-heartedly trying to help, but he doesn’t know how, and just offers: “Mellie, I thought we were going to try and get dressed today.” It’s devastating when we see Mellie and Fitz visit their son’s grave. Fitz is holding her up, ushering her to the grave. Wearing sweat pants and a robe, she lies down over the grave and closes her eyes while Fitz watches.

Photo Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC
Photo Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

By the way, there’s an exciting guest star in our midst this season. Portia de Rossi makes an appearance on this episode, and it looks like it will be an important recurring role. For now, her character — Lizzy — is worried about the way Fitz is handling his presidency. And she’s even more worried about Mellie’s lack of leadership as First Lady.

Meanwhile, Jake is trying to figure out what’s next for his relationship with Olivia. Back in D.C., the two don’t have the same rhythm that they did on their private island.

Jake tries to make love to her, but Olivia can only focus on the case that was thrown in her lap soon after her arrival to D.C. Jake sits up and lets her talk, then expresses concern about Fitz. He knows that deep down, Olivia’s heart lies with Fitz and not him—and as long as they are in town, that’s who Olivia will be thinking about.

Jake: “As long as we’re back, it’s always his turn. Despite the fact that I’m the one you like to ride. That I’m the one who makes you moan. That I’m the one who reaches you in places that he can’t begin to touch.”

Honestly, there’s a big part of me that wishes Olivia would just go right back to the island with Jake. But, that wouldn’t do much good for the story, would it?

Harrison’s funeral was the moment that brought everyone back together. Jake watches at a distance while Olivia and Quinn are joined by Abby and Huck to watch Harrison’s body be lowered into the ground. There may just be a moment of reconciliation as they all watch their friend — their family member — be lowered into the ground. Abby even takes Olivia’s hand, and we imagine there may even be some hope for their friendship.

The bad news? Eli Pope was at the funeral too — he’s watching from his car and the only person who sees him is Jake. He lied to Olivia about not having anything to do with Harrison’s death, but I think that secret is going to come out this season. Meanwhile, it seems that Eli Pope has something terrible planned. And I’m nervous!

Near the end of the episode, we see Mellie and Fitz together again. Mellie is still in her pajamas, and she’s leaning over the rails outside on the deck. This is when we find out a little more about how they’ve been coping with their son’s death — among other things.

Mellie: “I’m not gonna jump. I’m not gonna try and kill myself.”

Fitz: “I know that.”

Mellie: “I’m not you.”

Fitz: “I had a bad night. One bad night. Don’t ever bring that up again.”

So far, Fitz seems to be holding it together pretty well. But an attempted suicide suggests we’ll likely see more of his demons come through this season. I’m really interested to see how he’ll handle his presidency this time around.

Jake is eager to get back to the private island with Olivia (can you blame him), but Olivia is hesitant. I think part of her does want to go back there and just live happily-ever-after, but even in Harrison’s absence, he makes a large impact on the story. Olivia tells Jake she just keeps thinking about what Harrison would say:

“Are we gladiators? Or are we bitches?”

I’m not sure what this is going to mean for Olivia and Jake, but what it means for the gladiators is that Olivia Pope and Associates is back, and Olivia has her white hat – however tarnished — back on.

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.

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