Scandal Season 4 Episode 1 Review: Are We Gladiators, Or...

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It's been FIVE MONTHS (almost) since we last saw the cast of Scandal on our televisions. In that time, Columbus Short got himself fired, Kerry Washington had a baby, and Scott Foley went on being one of the hottest men alive. 

Scandal Season 4 Episode 1 picks up two months after the Scandal Season 3 Episode 18 where Jake and Olivia rode off on an airplane to stand in the sun, and stand in the sun they did. And they got horizontal, too. A LOT. (Hot. Damn!)

Meanwhile, everything fell completely to pieces back in D.C. and, of course, Olivia Pope is the only person on the planet who can put them all back together again. So naturally, that's what this episode was all about.

Two Months - Scandal Season 4 Episode 1

Olivia Pope is both the metaphorical and actual glue that holds absolutely everything and everyone together. In some ways, that's great, and in other ways, that's sort of...not. 

So this review is just going to focus on the ways it's great instead of the ways it isn't because I, for one, am super glad that Scandal is back if for no other reason than red wine consumption and shirtless Jake.

But first, a quick snark/vent/rant before we continue to get it all out of my system.

It's sort of dumb that Fitz was able to make the White House stronger with Olivia Pope gone and we're supposed to somehow hope those two find their way back to one another. And it's also sort of dumb that he can't be a strong man who leads a country and also in love with our protagonist at the same time. 

Why does love have to make him so damn weak?

(Serious answers to that question which I feel is totally legitimate welcome, you guys.)


Quinn used her newfound super-spy powers to lure Olivia back to D.C. by tracking global wine shipments and then sending Olivia a newspaper clipping alerting her to Harrison's death.

She and Abby are the only two who have managed to survive life post-OPA.

Abby has a fancy new job at the White House but no one there knows her name. She's the new Olivia. Except not Olivia. Let's call her Fauxlivia for a little Fringe throwback, shall we?

Literally no one at the White House knows Abby by anything other than "Red," and Abby just...takes it. That's categorically NOT Abby-like, which is a marker of how she's now different in her post-OPA life. She and David have also broken up, which probably makes me sadder than anything else.

Those two are great together, so I'm holding out hope they'll reconcile soon. Probably after he becomes Attorney General and she goes back to work for Olivia. It's not like that's not coming down the pipes, you know?

Huck is, once again, practically begging the world to hug him. Except he could probably rip our arms off and use them to do unspeakable things that would make us very afraid and dead.

He has been absolutely traumatized by Olivia's absence, deciding to call himself Randy and work as a tech geek. Randy is hopeless. Randy has no hope.

Whatever happened with his family, it wasn't good. We probably shouldn't hold out much hope that Huck and his wife and son were reunited. Clearly things didn't work out with Quinn either.

Ugh. Huck. We need good things for this guy, okay? He's the saddest (scariest) character in all of television right now.

But the heartbreaker award for tonight goes to Mellie Grant, who has taken the role of grieving mother to the absolute extreme. 

She's so completely undone over the loss of her son that I cannot help but want to see her heal. The vitriol and anger she spews isn't justified but it's coming from a place of pain so deep. 

Homegirl needs a grief counselor, a hug, and maybe rehab. (She can totally keep the Uggs and two day shirts because y'all, we have to keep it real sometimes, okay?)

It was clear from the outset that the Senator's case would lure Olivia back to D.C. Just as it was clear that Rowan Pope was lying about having nothing to do with Harrison's death. Deep down Olivia knows that, and watching her discover the truth about who killed Harrison is going to be interesting to watch as the season unfolds.

Will she go up against her father to defend the memory of her friend? Will she trust that her father was working in her best interest to keep the details of her affair under wraps? And how will Jake play into all of it?

He's sort of the wild card in all of this. 

The writers clearly want us all rooting for Fitz and Olivia, but this show is about so much more than a love triangle, or it can be. If we choose to let it be about more than that.

The little moment between Fitz and Olivia in the Capitol where their fingers flinched toward each other and they smiled gets two thumbs way up for the cinematography. It was a masterful shot that showed his "I won't see her" was an impossible lie he's telling himself and Mellie because he wants it to be true for the sake of his family.

But a lie is still a lie, you know?

Jake is still there, still standing by Olivia, but aware that now that they're back in D.C. things are changing in their relationship. It's not his turn anymore, though he knows there's still a chance it might be. Here's hoping we get lots of hot moments where he tries to make Olivia remember what (who?) went down while they were on that island, if for no other reason than to see Scott Foley shirtless a few more times.

What did you think of Scandal Season 4 Episode 1? Should Olivia reopen OPA? How many episodes will pass before she and Fitz rekindle their romance?

If you missed tonight's episode, you can watch Scandal online to make sure you're all caught up before our latest Scandal Round Table hits the web!

Randy, Red, Superfreak, and Julia Review

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Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Scandal Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

'We'? We're not a team, Liv. You're just Olivia Pope. There is no 'And Associates.' Not anymore.


Do you need to validate your broomstick or can you find your way out on your own?