We’re two episodes into season 4, and it looks like Shondaland is breaking us in gently:
* Olivia is back to sporting white blazers, earnestly rocking a feathered side bang (c’mon, it’s 2014!) and handling and fixing everything—even the things that Abby is being paid to handle and fix. Despite Abby’s shining “Children die” moment with Mellie, this week’s theme might as well have been “Abby is good, but Olivia is better.”
* Speaking of second fiddle, Jake seems to have accepted his role as Olivia’s “backup plan.” He keeps himself occupied by investigating Harrison’s and Adnan’s deaths until Olivia shows up at his hotel room wearing only her “booty call boots” and sex-summons him with, “Come here to me.”
* Meanwhile, Mental/Mourning/Madcap Mellie (take your pick) is looking like freshman-year finals as she schleps around in pajamas and Uggs, eating potato chips and fried chicken, but she triumphantly–albeit temporarily–pulls it together to attend Fitz’s stellar, Olivia-inspired State of the Union speech.
* David Rosen decides that it’s time to play to win and does some dirt-digging and blackmailing to help his Senate confirmation chances. In the ongoing “Battle of the Bouffants,” Lizzy Bear, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, hires a sex worker to try to seduce and then blackmail Cyrus. And Huck and Quinn … who cares?
But you know it's only a matter of time before Scandal kicks it into high gear and we're scrambling to hold onto our seats. Who knows what combination of murder-sex tapes-murder-rape-murder-terrorist plots-murder-torture-porn is in store? Knowing that nothing is too “out there” for Shondaland, I’m tossing out these predictions for season 4 based on what we’ve seen so far:
1. Quinn creates a vision board and figures out her purpose. Yeah, right. At best, Quinn starts a gmail draft with a few incomplete “notes to self.” It's more likely that Quinn, running out of B-613 goons to shag, hooks up next with Tom, Fitz’s Secret Service guy/Papa Pope’s top B-613 agent.
2. Jake sees a therapist. Tired of looking at himself in the mirror and asking, “Why am I so basic?,” Jake finally seeks the professional help he needs to quit Olivia Pope.
3. Huck secretly stalks his family. Huck secretly moves into the tree outside of the house where his ex-wife and child live and spies on them through binoculars. Although he never musters the courage to talk to them, he sneaks his son’s favorite snacks into the fridge while they’re away and secretly hooks up their cable box with extra movie channels.
4. Abby Whelan & Associates. Done with living in Olivia’s shadow and answering to “Red” (and sometimes answering just to finger snaps and whistles), Abby quits the White House and opens her own fixer firm that competes with Olivia Pope & Associates. AWA Slogan: “When you can’t afford the best …”
5. Cyrus gets hooked on Tinder. Lonely but not quite sold on the sex worker, Cyrus looks for a good time on Tinder. It’s addictive and he’s on Tinder all the time, even at press conferences and during high-level cabinet meetings, so Lizzy sets him up with a new sex worker on Tinder. She forces Cyrus to resign by leaking photos of Cy at a TGI Friday’s in Greenbelt, Md., drinking an Ultimate Long Island out of the sex worker’s navel.
6. David Rosen goes to prison. As attorney general, David finds himself too deep into the dark world of special favors, government secrets and criminal cover-ups, so he turns himself in and serves a brief stint in federal prison. After he’s released, he becomes a motivational speaker à la Jordan Belfort.
7. Mama Pope and Papa Pope rekindle the flame. This time, Mama Papa gnaws off her ankle to escape confinement. She shows up at Papa Pope’s door and convinces him to pick up where they left off 20 years ago (you know, before she left him to bomb London). Papa Pope can’t help it. The heart wants what it wants. He asks her to move in with him. Then she tranquilizes him during taco night, steals his jet and flees the country.
8. Mellie triumphs over adversity and fried chicken. (This is true north.) Mellie puts down the potato chips and pulls it together. With the support of the American people behind her, she and Olivia finally join forces and use their powers for good. They launch a presidential exploratory committee for Grant-Pope 2018! (Season 5: After vigorously campaigning for the ticket and giving Mellie 70 percent in the divorce, Fitz moves into the house in Vermont by himself, buys a rescue dog and pens the great American novel.)
Anything is possible in Shondaland. What are your predictions for season 4?
Akilah Green is a recovering Washington, D.C., lawyer-lobbyist-politico turned TV and film writer and producer living in Los Angeles. She currently works for Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show, Chelsea. She has also worked as a staff writer for Kevin Hart’s production company, HartBeat Productions, and as a consultant for Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO. In addition, she co-wrote and is producing Scratch, an indie horror-comedy feature film, and is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow Green’s adventures in La La Land on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.