Scandal’s Back! Olivia Pope/Julia Baker Ditches The Bathing Suit for Her White Suit

More love triangles, and a new case involving a lecherous Senator.

Where in the world is Olivia Pope?

That’s the question we were left with at the end of last season. And we find out in the opening moments of the season premiere: On a secluded beach 100 miles off the coast of Zanzibar making out with his sublime hotness, the five-o’-clock-shadowed Jake Ballard. In between all the sassiness, she’s reading Gone Girl (product placement) and indulging in bottles of rare wine. Only now she’s Julia Baker, a clever play on the name of Diahann Carroll’s character in Julia, the last TV show to have an African-American woman in the lead role.

Spoilers ahead!

So in terms of the Gladiators: “Abby the red head” is now “Abby the press secretary” to President Fitz. The administration is in disarray because he’s dumping his cabinet and grieving the death of his son (at the hands of Mama Pope, the terrorist.)

Huck is a computer technician named Randy. Huck “died” when Olivia left and he will only be Huck if Liv comes back for good. He works, goes home, plays video games, then does it again the next day, in his words. So Huck is still a loner and an oddball, which is fine with us.

Quinn tracked down Olivia using the super-sleuthing skills she learned from Randy/Huck. She found Olivia after remembering her oenophilia and with a little tenacity.

Mellie is wandering around the White House dressed like Mrs. Roper from Three’s Companyeating cereal out of the box and looking for booze. She’s still grieving the death of her son and probably had the most touching moment of the evening when, during a visit to the cemetery, she lays down on her son’s grave. She also had the funniest moment when she reminded Fitz that if he was to get frisky, he’ll find that she hasn’t waxed and “it looks like 1976 down there.” Hey now!

And Harrison is dead. He was shot to death and left in the desert. We learn that he was brought up in a group home and had no one except for the Gladiators. In real life, Columbus Short was fired from the show after numerous tabloid stories. He actually tweeted through the show, asking Shonda to open Harrison’s casket at his funeral. Strange and sad.

But what about the PR you ask? Wine and PR shenanigans!

 

As soon as Olivia touched down in DC, she ditched the curly hair for straight locks and her white power suit.

In the midst of planning Harrison’s funeral and visiting the remaining associates, she gets a call that there’s been an incident with Sen. Benjamin Sterling. She arrives at his house to find him bleeding, having been pushed from an upper floor and landing on a glass table. Liv takes a closer look, sees him moving, calls 911 and leaves him there.

At first, she thinks that she’s working with another Senator, Stephanie Vaughn, who says he attacked her and she fought him off. But, when she tries to explain the story, she’s at a loss for specifics. Sensing that something is amiss — a victim would remember everything — she calls Quinn using a mobile from one of Vaughn’s staffers and finds that Sen. Sterling’s type is typically a young brown haired woman, more like Quinn. Sen. Vaughn is older and blonde. Upon closer inspection of the phone, Liv finds that it was the staffer, Kate Warner, who called Sen. Vaughn. Vaughn admits that she sent Warner to further entice Sterling into signing an Equal Pay bill, to “help it go down easier.” He got too rough with Warner and she pushed Sterling overboard. Vaughn only showed up after the fact.

Sen. Vaughn is awful.

So when we next see Olivia, she’s hosting a press conference with Warner, who has been messaged into a hero, standing up for equal pay and women’s rights. “Moments like this give every woman an opportunity to decide what kind of woman she wants to be…” says Olivia. “We know our worth… We have a choice. We can hide in the shadows or we can stand in the light.” It’s an interesting strategy, but we’ll have to see how it holds up when Sen. Sterling recovers.

We’re going to skip Jake’s “I’m the one who makes you moan” speech because it’ll set all the computers on fire. And Papa Pope said he had nothing to do with Harrison’s death but had a hand in crazy Mama Pope’s demise. He didn’t have a big speech last night, but we’re sure one is coming. Cyrus also has big hair, David Rosen is the new Attorney General, and Portia Di Rossi is involved.

But our final look is Olivia Pope in her white suit, strutting past Fitz. Their hands almost touch in slow motion… but not quite! He smirks. She smirks. Annnnd… we’re back.

While it’s always great to have the love triangle (or trapezoid, if you count all the players) back in play, we’ve missed the cases. All of the drama of those scandalous projects really made the show pop.