ABC aired the second episode of its hit show Scandal last night. The television drama stars Kerry Washington as an expert in crisis management and political public relations with her group of “gladiators” at OPA (Olivia Pope and Associates). Formerly ruling the 10|9c hour, the show is in a new time slot in the network’s revamped Thursday night schedule. TGIT, also known as the Thank Goodness Its Thursday features a star-studded lineup of Shonda Rhimes produced dramas. The classic veteran medical drama Grey’s Anatomy kicks off the lineup at 8|7c followed by popular the political exploits of Scandal, which is then proceeded by Rhimes’ latest legal production, How to Get Away with Murder? Last week saw record high ratings for both HTGAWM as well as America’s favorite Washington D.C. based series. While Nielsen ratings are not yet available for Thursday Scandal’s latest telecast, episode 2 of season 4 was fairly eventful.
The State of the Union begins with Olivia and Jake jogging near the White House. At one point Jake tells Olivia that he has is staying at a hotel suite and is available for “booty calls.” Liv is dismayed by Jake’s sudden shift in their relationship and initially finds the idea of her commuting to his hotel for sex as laughable. However, Jake attempts to legitimize this idea by proclaiming that he is no longer going to stay Olivia’s home waiting on her beck and call since they are no longer “standing in the sun,” and he is busy again.
Liv and Jake’s conversation is interrupted when Cyrus appears waiting on the infamous park bench by the White House. During an impromptu meeting, Cyrus asks why she Liv did not notify him of her arriving back in Washington D.C and refers to her as his friend. When Olivia condescendingly questions the status of their friendship, he takes her to task. Despite the fact that Liv no longer works for the White House, Cyrus forces her hand to do a “favor” for Fitz. He explains that in order for the President’s new policy on gun control to go over smoothly with the republic he needs Liv to assure the attendance of two guests.
James and Lisa Elliot are America’s lovable couple and textbook cases for gun control advocacy. James was a prisoner of war and a military vet, while Lisa is a teacher who’s been paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair, after a school shooting. Olivia is reluctant to help but she has virtually no choice to but to accept when Cyrus explains he has pulled strings with the IRS and threatens to tell Fitz that she misses him and checks up on him everyday.
Scandal lovers quickly learn that OPA is back up and running. When she visits the Elliot’s at their home, Olivia quickly becomes a mediator and realizes that America’s sweethearts actually hate each other. She convinces the two to pack to go to the State of the Union address and has Huck and Quinn babysit the duo. Unfortunately the pair are involved in their own lover’s quarrel and can barely rationalize their feelings. In the midst of this distraction, they go into a separate room to argue. Huck is angered by Quinn’s inability to mind her own business and is unapologetic about removing her teeth as a punishment last season. In the midst of their disagreement they discover that Mrs.Elliot stabbed her husband in the leg with a corkscrew.
Liv arrives to check in on the Elliots and she questions Huck about his relationship with Quinn, although he does not budge. Eventually Olivia is able to smooth over the situation with the Elliots by promising if they get a divorce she can still guarantee they will stay in the spotlight separately. They both agree and to terms and now there is only one problem, Mellie.
The First Lady faces a heavy scandal that could ruin Fitz’s gun control platform, when her sanity is questioned. A photograph of Mellie in a comprising position surfaces showing her laying down and eating potato chips at her son’s gravesite. To add insult to injury the photo on the front page of the news also reveals her new attire of a bathrobe, Ugg boots and unkept hair. When Fitz and Cyrus explain that America is under the belief that she is crazy, Mellie expresses little concern and she is certain that Jerry’s death has changed her for good.
However, Abby gives Mellie a tough love speech that sets her straight and eventually convinces her to attend the political function. Abby spent most of the show defending Mellie’s actions of grieving during a press conference that turned into a media ambush. However, Olivia runs interference with Abby’s PR speech at her own interview and this upsets her. The feisty red-head winds up spilling the tea on Huck and Quinn’s scandalous activities.
Scandal season 4’s new character, Elizabeth who served as the head of the RNC strikes hard in this episode. Liz attempts to foil David Rosen’s nomination for U.S. Attorney general because he is a democrat. She somehow hires someone to uncover photographs of Rosen’s ex girlfriend that show her battered. Despite the fact that Rosen and the President’s cabinet know he was innocent and Olivia set the incident up all along, Cyrus and Abby attempt to force Rosen to decline his nomination. However, David is hale bent on “winning”. He digs up a dirty scandal on a major republican congressman and blackmailed him into publicly supporting his nomination.
This infuriates Elizabeth but she has another scandal up her sleeve for Cyrus. He meets a handsome young guy in a bar but Cyrus initially declines his interest due to his vulnerability from James’ death. Later Cyrus goes back to seek out his suitor and they head upstairs to the hotel room where things start to heat up. Cyrus finds out that his Prince Charming is actually an escort and he appears unable to rebuff his advances. Later viewers are in for a shock when they discover that not only has Cyrus been seduced by a sex worker but that the charmer is actually working for Elizabeth.
Meanwhile Fitz delivers a great speech thanks to Olivia’s assist during the State of Union address. The Elliot’s appear as the poster boards for his gun control platform. Nonetheless, Fitz abandons Abby’s speech in favor of Olivia’s advice to admit to the public that his wife and family are still grieving from his son’s loss. He thanks Mellie for her strength and support. The crowd falls for his speech and the gun control model with a standing ovation. Afterwards, the First Lady has an emotional breakdown and Fitz attempts to console her.
After failing to get Jake to return to her apartment, Olivia shows up to Jake’s hotel unannounced. She sports a scandalous outfit of nothing but her overcoat and thigh high boots. They quickly kiss and begin to make love.
The trailer for Scandal’s next episode shows that Cyrus’ escort will be back in action. Olivia is later seen on the ABC promo, feuding with Jake about the fact that she is still in love with Fitz but electing to sleeping with him. The shocked look in Olivia’s eyes when Jake cracks his door and utters the harsh reality of their circumstances may be just the tip of the iceberg for next week. Scandal returns to ABC next Thursday 9|8c.
By Brandon Wright