Jess Guida ’19/ Emertainment Monthly Video Games Staff Writer
After months of waiting, Scandal fans were finally met with the premiere of the hit show’s fifth season, and it was definitely an interesting episode. Last season, Scandal’s finale shocked viewers as Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Cyrus (Jeff Perry) found themselves kicked out of the White House by Fitz (Tony Goldwyn). Meanwhile, Quinn (Katie Lowes) was contemplating shooting Huck (Guillermo Diaz), Liz (Portia De Rossi) was getting comfortable in the Chief of Staff’s office, and Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Fitz were left kissing on the balcony. It’s safe to say that Scandal fans were left with plenty to think about during the show’s summer hiatus.
The episode seemingly picked up only a few days after where the finale left off, and viewers are immediately thrown into a very steamy love scene between Olivia and Fitz, effectively causing twitter to explode. Of course, the couple is forced to leave their affair at the door as they attend ta dinner with the prestigious royal family. That does not stop certain figures speculating about what is going on behind closed doors. Sally Langston (Kate Burton) makes a surprise return as she provides commentary on the President’s lifestyle from the set of her talk show, and rather accusingly points out that Mellie is not among the attendees of the dinner. Abby (Darby Stanchfield) leaks that Mellie is sick with the flu, something the First Lady is not very happy about as she is completely healthy. Abby confides in Olivia, asking if she knows anything about what is going on with Fitz, but Olivia lies to her in order to hide her secret.
Amidst all of the drama, the princess of the visiting royal family is killed after her car crashed inside a tunnel. Olivia returns to OPA to work her fixer magic, but only Quinn is there to help, leaving the viewers to question the unresolved conflict between Huck and Quinn and where Jake has disappeared to. Olivia also enlists the help of David (Joshua Malina) to investigate the death of the princess.
In her cozy, new Senator’s office, Mellie argues with Liz over her betrayal after she realizes that her own campaign advisor was to blame for her husband finding out about her deal with Rowan Pope (Joe Morton). Liz, however, could not care less and stands by the President’s decision to not attend the First Lady’s swearing in ceremony, resulting in another issue that Abby has to fix for the press. Olivia confronts Fitz about his refusal to support Mellie, stating “You owe her.” Eventually, Fitz comes around to her side of thinking, but he forgets to inform Abby of his change of heart. She does her best to cover for the President while he is actually standing beside Mellie as she is sworn in as the Senator of Virginia, and she has to deal with the backlash from the press.
Mellie is overjoyed that Fitz decided to join her and immediately begins to frantically apologize to him after the ceremony. Heartwarmingly enough, Fitz surprises Mellie on her special day with divorce papers. The emotions on her face are practically screaming, but she remains silent as he continues on, saying “You have so many qualities I despise.” He moves on to blackmailing his wife into remaining quiet about all of their dirty laundry; as long as Mellie doesn’t bring up any of his mistakes or infidelities, he won’t bring up hers.
With Huck spending the entire episode on Olivia’s couch and Jake failing to make an appearance for more than a second, this episode seemed to be failing to provide the fans with complete closure. Olivia and Fitz transform from sensual lovers to foes as they argue over the best way to handle the now confirmed murder of the princess. Fitz is afraid that his deal with the family over a naval base will be compromised if they accuse the princess’s husband of murder, but Olivia is trying to do right by her client, as she always is. Their fighting indicates to Liz that the two are once again hiding a sexual relationship, and she passes along this information to Abby adding, “Olivia Pope is in the White House which means she’s up in the President’s bed which means she is up in our business.”
While Liz is now dealing with these issues, the President’s former Chief of Staff, Cyrus, is at home and not willing to do much about it. Mellie visits and pleads with him to work with her to get Fitz back on their side, but he is afraid that working with Mellie will prevent Fitz from ever taking him back in. As Mellie so eloquently puts it, “He doesn’t want you Cyrus; he doesn’t want you anymore than he wants me.” The moments to follow were heartbreaking as she breaks down in tears over the position she is now in.
As if the episode didn’t have enough plot twists, it is revealed that the Queen was responsible for the death of the princess. The royal family returns home, and Olivia’s actions negatively impact Fitz’s naval base plan. The two fight until Olivia powerfully sets work as a boundary in their relationship. Fitz continues to complain that Olivia is not all in, and he has been the one making sacrifices so that they could be together. However, Olivia reveals that she is not ready for their relationship to be public. She convinces Fitz to slow down and allow them to fix their problems before anything else happens. They make up with a brief, but passionate, kiss on the balcony before they are interrupted by Abby. She quickly escorts them to the television where Sally Langston is in the middle of exposing the affair. In this surprising twist that negates everything that Olivia and Fitz just discussed, Sally produces photos for the world to see. There is finally proof of the affair leaving Mellie, Cyrus, and everyone in the White House speechless as the episode comes to a close. It is safe to say that Sally Langston will be a force to reckoned with this season. Scandal does not fail to wrap things up with yet another cliffhanger, leaving fans with a lot more questions than answers, but Gladiators everywhere are begging to see what’s next.
Episode Grade: B+