BELLAMY YOUNG, DARBY STANCHFIELD, JEFF PERRY, TONY GOLDWYN, KERRY WASHINGTON, SCOTT FOLEY, JOSHUA MALINA, GUILLERMO DIAZ, KATIE LOWESEvery since April 17th of this year, Gladiators across the globe had to wait to find out what the hell happened to Harrison Wright, how could Fitz (and Mellie) endure a second term in the White House after losing their first-born son, and which part of the sunset did Olivia Pope and Jake run off to?

Well, tonight we got answers and they were answers aplenty.

Millions of Scandal fans received their lives on a silver platter by Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington, and crew with tonight’s long-awaited season premiere. In return we gave up fiancés/fiancées, potential dates, children for the hour or two and what have you along with wigs, edges, extensions, and souls to find out how in the hell would Olivia Pope return to the scene after being gone for 6+ months to wreck shop on the lives she left like an extremely outdated iPhone. The twists were twisted and while the entire episode is worth a lengthy discussion complete with wine and/or aspirin (at your own risk), I’m only going to focus on the top five things from the premiere that I’m dying to get off my chest.

1) R.I.P. Harrison Wright

The reason behind the OPA founder’s return was plausible and sound thanks partly to the behind the scenes antics of one particular cast member whose demise gave Olivia the door to return to the life she vowed she had left behind. I would love to have been a fly on the wall down in Atlanta tonight at Columbus Short’s Scandal premiere party to see his facial expression as the show bid his King of Gingham character adieu with either a super old pic of him or some random black guy they attached unto a fake article announcing Harrison’s demise, but I digress. Olivia strutted back into the lives of her (former) employees as if things were all hunky dory and got hit with two hard ass roadblocks in the name of “Red” (Abby) and “Randy” (Huck), but more on that later.

CShortScandalPArty

Yes, this happened.

Despite the (highly justified) opposition from her two oldest compatriots, Olivia’s focus was on giving Harrison a proper send off with the only family he knew in attendance, rain or shine, and this was where you have to give Shonda Rhimes and the OPA portion of the Scandal cast props. Instead of tossing the messiness that was C-Short’s firing (brought on by himself) under a rug and running with a story declaring Harrison left town for good, Shonda faced the issue head on and gave the toughest Gladiator of OPA the most heartbreaking funerals of Scandal‘s four years on air. No tears were shed here, but I’m sure someone out there was suited and booted for the funeral of the TV season. I simply was not ready.

With Harrison being clearly murdered and dumped like a bad sack of potatoes in the middle of the desert (along with his former boss/lover Adnan), it’s clear to Olivia that her dad, Rowan “Captain No Chill” Pope, himself had something to do with her fallen comrade’s death. Hopefully she will not lose sight  of this blatant fact and place avenging Harrison as a focal point for the rest of the season. P.S., Olivia’s dialogue with Quinn about Harrison’s family, or lack thereof of a biological one, was the most we had ever got about the character’s past for his entire three years on the show.

2) “Randy, Red, Superfreak, and Julia”

When I saw the title for the season premiere, I automatically thought OPA would get involved with some D.C. version of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, but after Olivia announced her new name was Julia, and seeing Huck’s “Randy” name tag, everything clicked into place and the title screamed brilliance. The new aliases/episode titled represented both a new era for both OPA and Scandal as well. Harrison was basically the glue to OPA’s operation, the cog and the heart. With him ripped out of the equation, the entire structure crumbled like a rusted assembly line and left everyone else shattered, lost, and deep in their feels. It will be a mending period for the group, but not without a few growing pains along the way.

For starters, Olivia is going to have to take some responsibility for what transpired after she decided to give D.C. and its resident the deuces for an extended island getaway. When both Abby and Huck, sorry, Randy read Olivia from cover to cover, was I the only one who felt she needed that good tongue lashing? You can’t ask the people you care about to give their all and get involved with some craziness surrounding your dysfunctional family and jump ship once the going gets tough, leaving them to fend for themselves. Olivia might not have pulled the trigger herself, but in a sense she inadvertently played a part, which I believe deep down inside she feels the same way.

And isn’t ironic that it was Quinn who brought them all back together? I have high hopes for her this year, and pray that she shuts her detractors down this year.

3) Back to the Basics

Olivia wasn’t even in D.C. for a hot second before she being called into action with a case that thankfully didn’t dominate the entire episode. With that said, it was highly refreshing to see Liv back to basics with less baggage to deal with this time around. Speaking of the case, I did notice the assistant was visibly more nervous and shook up than her senator boss, who acted as if calling Olivia to get rid of a body was like ordering take out. However on Scandal, most of the interns and assistants of Washington, D.C. always look as if they are about to die at any moment if they make a mistake that will drive their superiors to kill them without warning. I had gotten so used to that characterization that it slipped my mind until Quinn expertly deduced the pattern of the almost dead senator’s sexual prey.

4) Mellie is a Wreck, and Rightfully So

Scandal‘s First Lady has been through the wringer, the dryer, the self-wash car wash, to all seven layers of hell and back. Saying the woman needs a break is the understatement of the century, so it only made sense to see her “Fuck Yo Feelings” meter set to “Absolutely No Fucks Given” at this point in the game. While it’s a tragic time for everyone’s favorite ice queen, it will be most interesting to see where else Shonda will take this character this year. Then to add insult to the utmost painful of injuries, we had Fitz tell Mellie that despite Olivia being back in town, he would not reach out to see her.

Really, Fitz? Really...

Really, Fitz? Really…

Boy, stop. Bye, Felicia. And fuck out of here with that, Fitz.

Luckily, Mellie is on the same page as the audience and just simply asks for Fitz to disclose to her if and when he meets up with Olivia, because she (as well Cyrus and moi) know that the reunion is inevitable at this point. Then Mellie dropped a signature Drunk Mellie line about not having waxed or trimmed her garden in some time, describing her private area as 1976, which sent this writer howling into the night and plenty of meme generators on the prowl for the right picture to simulate such an image.

However in the midst of Mellie’s drunken rants, we found out that Fitz tried to off himself in light of his son’s death, which is quite shocking in many ways than one. Did the media catch wind of it? Any White House aides?  If not, then wonder how long before Olivia finds out? This brings me to my last observation…

5) Olitz 2.0

Jake might can “reach places Fitz never could” (the most jaw-dropping line of the night), but that doesn’t mean Olitz is over. Far from it if their little finger gesture at the end of the episode indicates anything. It was the only time the two former (current?) love birds were in each other’s ‘presence’ and it spoke volumes. Not a word was uttered, nor an eye-locking glance. Just a simple passing by was all it took to still serve enough electricity to light up a third world country for decades. Some fans might dislike the prospect of another round of Olitz, but I’ve yet to warm up to Jake as a viable suitor for  Olivia and don’t see anyone else worthy of her heart at the moment.

Other moments to point out: Cyrus’s new hair piece (?);  Huck’s family was mentioned, but no word on what happened once we saw them last April; Portia de Rossi’s character spells trouble for Fitz’s White House; and David Rosen was nominated the new Attorney General, which Abby urges him to take in order to have some power to work with while sifting through all the B-316 files left by Jake.

Scandal Season 4 seems as if it will focus on new beginnings, which is much-needed and understandable this late in the game. I’m happy as hell the show is back, though. My Thursdays had become pretty tame and pointless since Olivia and Jake jet-setted into the great wide open. And now with How to Get Away With Murder trailing immediately behind Scandal, Shonda is out for not only the edges this year, but the roots as well.

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