Scandal’s back! Thank you, season 6 premiere, for providing us with an hourlong mental break from the headlines that are reminding us about our steady march toward becoming Nazi Germany. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Woman down: Scandal wastes no time. We begin at presidential candidate Mellie Grant’s campaign headquarters on the night of the election, and the gang is all there: Olivia Pope, President Fitzgerald Grant, Quinn Perkins, Huck, Abby Whelan ... even Jake Ballard and his new wife, who’s being played by a new actress and has a new drinking problem.
We learn that one county in California is going to decide whether Republican Mellie Grant or Democrat Frankie Vargas is going to win the election. Yeah, right. As a proud California resident, I have to say, we’ve been going blue since 1992, thank you very much.
Within the first couple of minutes, we learn that Mellie loses the election. Team Scandal shot this episode in its entirety long before Nov. 8, but it seems as if they knew the country wasn’t ready for its first female president before the rest of us did.
Man down: Mellie and Olivia mourn their loss while passing a bottle of champagne back and forth in a bathroom, but somewhere between tipsy and drunk, they learn that Vargas has been shot in the middle of his victory speech. He takes shots to the arm, stomach and head, and he doesn’t survive. The intelligence community believes a “lone wolf” is responsible. Huck confesses that he voted for Vargas. Real talk, I would have voted for Vargas, too. RIP.
The twilight zone: But wait? Who will become president now? Attorney General David Rosen breaks down Presidential Elections for Dummies and tells Fitz that, although Vargas won the popular vote, the Electoral College has not yet decided who our president is because, as we learned in our most recent presidential election, the popular vote doesn’t mean diddly. Rosen explains, “Right now we’re in the twilight zone,” and it’s up to Fitz to decide whether Mellie or Cyrus Beene, Vargas’ running mate, will be president.
This will be Fitz’s last major decision as president, so he makes Abby lock down Vargas’ hospital ward and steal his widow’s phone to buy himself some time before the news gets out that Vargas is dead.
Shoot your shot: Olivia asks Papa Pope if he had Vargas killed. Papa Pope denies any involvement, skips over the six stages of grief and tells Olivia that this is her chance to get Mellie into the White House. He also suggests that Cyrus is the one who had Vargas killed. But “Cyrus loves Vargas!” Olivia counters. But Papa Pope speaks the truth: “Cyrus Beene loves Cyrus Beene.”
Olivia wastes no time trying to convince Mellie to get on board, but Mellie is done running for president. “Well, I’m not,” Olivia states for the record. Olivia begs Fitz to delay his statement announcing Vargas’ death until she can get proof that Cyrus had Vargas killed, and after a heart-to-heart with Fitz, Mellie decides that she does still want to be president. She probably realized that she didn’t want to spend the rest of her days hiking in the woods with Hillary. #toosoon
Cyrus didn’t do it ... did he? Olivia believes that Cyrus had Vargas killed and imagines him already selecting his Cabinet, preparing his acceptance speech and picking out artwork for the West Wing. But when she goes to see him in the hospital, he’s still covered in Vargas’ blood and suffering from shock, which she reports back to Fitz with embarrassment and shame. So Fitz offers the presidency to Cyrus and asks him to honor Vargas’ legacy. We should have known Fitz wasn’t going to pick Mellie. Mellie hasn’t been Fitz’s first choice for the last five seasons.
Speaking of shooting your shot, somewhere in the midst of all this drama, B613 Charlie proposes to Quinn and she says yes, but when he confesses that he didn’t have time to buy a ring because he was too busy going through the 832 calls to the FBI with tips about the shooter, Huck realizes that one call got deleted from the log. When they get to the bottom of the missing message, they find out it was from a Vargas-campaign volunteer who said that Cyrus killed him. Before Huck and Quinn can visit this volunteer in her cabin in the woods, her cabin explodes. Of course it did.
It ain’t over: In fact, it’s just getting started. Olivia confronts Cyrus at Vargas’ repast and tells him that she knows he killed his way into the White House and she’s going to prove it. On her vision board, Cyrus is behind bars and Mellie is the one in the White House. For an election-rigging (Defiance) murderer (Andrew Nichols) herself, Olivia sure likes to take the moral high ground in her pursuit of justice.
I have questions:
First, why let Cyrus know that you’re on to him? Weezy already taught us that “Real Gs move in silence.”
Second, if you know Cyrus is capable of killing and having people killed, why does Olivia think he wouldn’t kill anyone else who got in his way? That includes Olivia and Mellie, too.
Third, I know B613 isn’t real (or is it?), but given the pickle in which America currently finds itself, will Judy Smith, the real-life fixer on whom Olivia Pope’s character is based, please stand up?