Cue the camera flashes: Scandal is BACK. And in traditional Scandal fashion, we begin in the middle of things at the press conference that defines the episode, “Ride, Sally, Ride.” There are several subplots to cover and Sally is up first. Somehow in this show, and now more than ever, all roads lead to Langston.
Note: Spoilers below!
Sally takes over
Sally has decided to run against Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III, who is not only the incumbent and a fellow Republican, but also one of her supposed team members. She’s only the VP to his POTUS. Why run against him? Because “Jesus loves you,” says her manager Leo Bergen, and Sally’s dream has been to unseat her philandering boss and teach America the Ten Commandments. Before Scandal went on its winter hiatus, Mellie and Fitz had finagled Sally into sitting down and being a good second-in-command, but Sally isn’t about that life.
Cyrus and Mellie, always at the ready, are prepared to paint Sally as the “crazy lady” throwing fits after her husband’s death, which, conveniently, was her responsibility. Mellie knows the image of the irrational woman is perfectly sexist, but when Sally blames the devil for the homicide — “The devil used my hand as a vessel of murder” — I have to get behind whatever Cyrus packages for her dismissal. C’mon, Sally. Let’s go home. No one likes a murderous proselytizer.
Salif has entered the building
Adnan Salif, Harrison’s dubious archenemy, is back in town. Salif texted Harrison a photo of him and three associates on a trip in Dubai. Incidentally, the other three are now dead, and Harrison is pretty sure he’s next. He’s so sure that he needs to steal Abby’s stashed gun, leading her to claim, “We’re the normal ones… If we need to borrow a gun, we ask.”
Adnan shows up at the office (I mean really, what kind of security does Pope & Associates employ?) and they proceed to have sex on a desk nearby. I’m not sure how I feel about this femme fatale we’ve just been handed. Writers had built this Adnan Salif into a veritable Charles Manson/Abu Nazir. By all means, have Salif be a woman! But her best weapon is sex? Or Harrison, the DC playboy, can tame the threat with an office quickie? That’s cheap.
Aaron Sorkin now writes for Scandal?
No, Sorkin doesn’t, but he might as well. Otherwise the writers for this episode labored to create a Sorkin-esque rant. Olivia finds Papa Pope sitting in front of the Iwo Jima Memorial. Apparently this is the spot. After Olivia attempts to apologize and empathize with Daddy’s loss (Jake ousted him as Command of B613), Papa Pope prefaces that dear daughter Olivia is “skipping around in a field full of bombs and mistaking them for daisies.” But this is a mere epigraph before Papa launches into a terrifying diatribe that ends with “run.” Damn, Rowan. I see we’re wearing the lay-off stress on our sleeve. The underworld of U.S. intelligence took Hades’ throne and he has plenty of rage to unleash. Here’s an excerpt from a rather long and chilling tirade:
What is currently happening is that President Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III has made an enemy, the worst kind of enemy, because I know all his secrets. I know where every body is buried, and the greatest weapon I can use against him calls me dad.
He adds that the POTUS won’t make it to the end of his term. Welp it was nice loving you, Fitz.
James has HAD it
James entered the scene snooping for information (as usual) to little avail (as usual). But we don’t see any frustration building until the horse is blatantly out of the gate and running towards salvation (we’ll see about that) from his “monster” husband. One of the episode’s few disappointments is its treatment of James and his alias-for-five-seconds Publius. A so-called Publius texted some cryptic messages to the White House, but Publius’ big reveal as James came too quickly and too casually near the end of the episode.
Fun Fact: Publius Valerius Publicola was one of four Roman aristocrats who lead the Roman revolution of 509 BC that overthrew the Roman monarchy and founded the Roman Republic. The Founding Fathers reportedly used the pseudonym “Publius” in honor of him.
Pick a team, Jake
Jake is back, and he’s a PATRIOT. I would say don’t you forget that, but Livy pretty much had to remind us three quarters of the way through the episode. She wasn’t exactly encouraging, but she still seemed to convince Jake to be her fake boyfriend (or is he?). Olivia is no longer the fresh-faced, campaign-trailing aide who is passionate about loyalty to one’s country, or this country period. Now, serving the Republic eats at you until you’re lost, says Liv: “All you can see is God and country and you’re so busy being a patriot that you forget to be a person.” Now, where in this speech does it say, please Jake, walk down the streets of DC and hold my hand?
Things to look for next week:
Adnan Salif is high on the list. Harrison spends a chunk of season 3 scared for this life, steals a gun, and is practically building a bunker when Adnan arrives to have sex?
Mellie’s insta-love triangle: Fitz picked his running mate/wingman Andrew Nichols, a white, middle-aged former governor of California who is sure to win him just about zero brownie points. Little does he know that Nichols has had a decades-long thing for Mellie. It’s about time Mellie has an affair!
Team RoLeo: We spot Rowan and Leo getting cozy (more like scheming to kill) at the end of the episode. So much horror/greatness/deceit/backstabbing/fill in the blank of generally bad things to come will happen. Drink up, gladiators.