TV

Stuff I Shout at the TV: ‘Scandal’ is back and still crazy as hell

If ever a show needed a “Previously on…” segment, it’s “Scandal.” The last new episode aired over two months ago, and even back then you needed a flow chart and a PhD in analytics to follow everything.

Here are, to the best of my memory, the bullet points of how the last episode ended: Olivia Pope’s father, Eli Pope, just lost his job as head of super spy agency B-613 when the characters who had spent the entire season trying to figure out how to displace him went with the “We could just tell him he’s been let go and hope he doesn’t challenge it” approach (which worked). Olivia’s mother turned out to be a super terrorist and closed out the episode with the news that she was about to do something big (a cliffhanger which gets addressed not at all in the premiere, so glad I waited all this time to see how that one goes). James Novak discovered that his husband/the president’s chief of staff, Cyrus Beane, had covered up Vice President Sally Langston’s murder of her husband Daniel Douglas (which, at this point in their marriage, has got to be like the fourth worst thing he’s found out his husband did). And, of course, Jake Ballard’s abs were still amazing.

The show finally returned last night with the episode “Ride, Sally, Ride,” and here are a few things it left me shouting at the television.

"Oh good. He's still emo."
The episode starts with Sally announcing that she is running for president as a third party candidate. Everyone seems pretty convinced this makes Sally the frontrunner, because, I mean, how could a third party candidate whose entire campaign depends on mobilizing the Republican base despite being pro-choice possibly lose?

You're not going to believe this, but President Fitz's reaction to this is... being mopey.

For the last three years, we've been led to believe that Fitz was demonstrating the emotional fortitude of a 15-year-old because he couldn't be with his one true love: Olivia. However, now the two are back together (I didn't mention this in the catch-you-up-to-speed portion, because honestly, I didn't even remember that they were back together. At this point, it's like keeping up with whether or not Jennifer Aniston is in a relationship) and... he's still emo and drinking!

While discussing what to do next, he hurls a 90-mile-an-hour scotch glass at Cyrus' head. Cyrus looks completely unfazed after barely ducking out of the way, because at this point, attempting to send your top advisor to the emergency room isn't erratic. It's just Fitz being Fitz.

"Really?! No one prepped you on that?!"
With things kick off, Sally's campaign manager Leo Bergen does a debate show with Abby Whelan, who is now working for the Fitz campaign. The two have a spirited back and forth until he brings up accusations that Olivia and the president had an affair. This tactic of a notorious mudslinger bringing up incredibly well-known allegations that were being discussed only a few months ago? It catches her completely off guard, because, I guess she did no prep whatsoever.
"Wait, how are we going with door open?"
So now the allegations are in full swing and Fitz needs a new running mate for the upcoming election (he's going with his former Lieutenant Governor Andrew Nichols, who we later find out had something going on with the president's wife Mellie, because no one on this show can just exist without banging someone). Olivia comes to Fitz's office to discuss the situation.

“Can you close your door on the way out?” Fitz asks his assistant, Lauren, after she has let Olivia into the office.

“Lauren, could you leave the door open?” Olivia says.

“Door closed, Lauren,” Fitz says.

“Door open, Lauren,” Olivia rebuts.

At this, Lauren looks completely dumbfounded and stutters, “I don't know what to...” then trails off. I mean, like, totally bewildered.

Um, Lauren, let me break this down for you. One person says door open. The other person is both your boss and PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. I'm gonna go with door closed. Of course, the president relents and goes with door open, because, as we all know, Olivia is twice the man her boyfriend will ever be.

Then Olivia talks to Fitz about the affair the two of them had and how Mellie is trying to get Olivia to start a fake relationship so people will believe she's not banging the president. Again, I would've gone with door closed.

Olivia starts getting hysterical, and finally Fitz closes the door (oh thank God) and does what any man would do when his woman gets hysterical: shove his lips into hers. A tactic which I think worked to actually calm a woman once in a 1950s Spencer Tracy movie and another time in an episode of "Saved by the Bell: The College Years," but otherwise probably isn't the most effective technique.

"Can no one keep it in their pants?!"
A few other things happen in this episode: James goes back and forth on what he's going to do about a moral dilemma facing him because James' entire character description at this point is “Guy who goes back and forth about what he's going to do about a moral dilemma facing him.” He finally decides to work with David Rosen (whose entire character description at this point is “the other guy who goes back and forth about what he's going to do about a moral dilemma facing him”) to expose Sally and Cyrus for their roles Douglas' murder. Eli Pope does some yelling at Olivia about how he is going to destroy Fitz' presidency before making an alliance with Bergen.

But the biggest focus of the episode after Sally's run for president is the fact that someone named Adnan Salif is coming to America with the intention of killing Olivia's employee, Harrison Wright. For his part, the actor who plays Harrison has spent the last few episodes presumably getting only one note from his director: Act worried. Finally, we meet Salif and... she's a woman. Which I think is a surprise, but it's possible that if I knew anything about other cultures it would turn out that Adnan is a woman's name. I'm really not sure.

But anyway, what do they do when she finally confronts him in his office? They bang. What else? Like I said, no one on the show can exist without banging someone.

It's good to have “Scandal” back.

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