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 mailâ€”that Jake foreshadowed as â€œPandoraâ€™s Box,â€ sweeps Olivia and Jake back into reality.
The envelope is labeled â€œJulia Baker,â€ Oliviaâ€™s new name. In it is Harrisonâ€™s obituary.
Olivia insists that theyâ€™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. Itâ€™s Quinn who greets Olivia first, and sheâ€™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 â€” 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 Oliviaâ€™s abandonment, too. Huck is working at a tech assistance counter, and heâ€™s completely shut down. When he sees Olivia, he just asks, â€œAre you back for now, or you back for good?â€ Olivia says sheâ€™s back for now, and Huck refuses to say anything else to her. Apparently, he hasnâ€™t been talking to Quinn either, even though sheâ€™s been checking up on him regularly.
For now, we still donâ€™t know what happened when Huck saw his family at the end of last season. From the looks of things, though, it didnâ€™t go well. Huck is more broken now than weâ€™ve ever seen â€” and that says a lot.
Iâ€™m not surprised to see Abby as the new White House Press Secretary. I knew sheâ€™d be in some sort of powerful position when we returned, and it seems like sheâ€™s the one who is holding things together now. Sheâ€™s confident, charismatic, and really good at her new job.
Sheâ€™s also still pretty angry with Olivia for leaving, and more than that, she blames Olivia for Harrisonâ€™s death.
Abby: â€œWe are not a team, Liv. Youâ€™re just Olivia Pope. There is no â€˜and associates.â€™ Not anymore.â€
I get it. Really, I do. But I wish Abby would cut Olivia some slack. And blaming her for Harrisonâ€™s death crosses a line.
Fitz seems to be managing the death of his son pretty well in light of everything thatâ€™s happened. Mellie, on the other hand, is a hot mess. Sheâ€™s lost her son and doesnâ€™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 doesnâ€™t know how, and just offers: â€œMellie, I thought we were going to try and get dressed today.â€ Itâ€™s devastating when we see Mellie and Fitz visit their sonâ€™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.
By the way, thereâ€™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 â€” Lizzy â€” is worried about the way Fitz is handling his presidency. And sheâ€™s even more worried about Mellieâ€™s lack of leadership as First Lady.
Meanwhile, Jake is trying to figure out whatâ€™s next for his relationship with Olivia. Back in D.C., the two donâ€™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, Oliviaâ€™s heart lies with Fitz and not himâ€”and as long as they are in town, thatâ€™s who Olivia will be thinking about.
Jake: â€œAs long as weâ€™re back, itâ€™s always his turn. Despite the fact that Iâ€™m the one you like to ride. That Iâ€™m the one who makes you moan. That Iâ€™m the one who reaches you in places that he canâ€™t begin to touch.â€
Honestly, thereâ€™s a big part of me that wishes Olivia would just go right back to the island with Jake. But, that wouldnâ€™t do much good for the story, would it?
Harrisonâ€™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 Harrisonâ€™s body be lowered into the ground. There may just be a moment of reconciliation as they all watch their friend â€” their family member â€” be lowered into the ground. Abby even takes Oliviaâ€™s hand, and we imagine there may even be some hope for their friendship.
The bad news? Eli Pope was at the funeral too â€” heâ€™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 Harrisonâ€™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 Iâ€™m nervous!
Near the end of the episode, we see Mellie and Fitz together again. Mellie is still in her pajamas, and sheâ€™s leaning over the rails outside on the deck. This is when we find out a little more about how theyâ€™ve been coping with their sonâ€™s death â€” among other things.
Mellie: â€œIâ€™m not gonna jump. Iâ€™m not gonna try and kill myself.â€
Fitz: â€œI know that.â€
Mellie: â€œIâ€™m not you.â€
Fitz: â€œI had a bad night. One bad night. Donâ€™t ever bring that up again.â€
So far, Fitz seems to be holding it together pretty well. But an attempted suicide suggests weâ€™ll likely see more of his demons come through this season. Iâ€™m really interested to see how heâ€™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 Harrisonâ€™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?”
Iâ€™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 â€“ however tarnished â€” back on.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.
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