Well, the Twitterverse was all aglow with semi-rabid Gladiators who had been forced to #CopeWithoutPope for the past two months. The queen has returned, and an adorably pregnant Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope found herself—as per usual—caught up in more political scandal and intrigue during “Ride, Sally, Ride,” the spring premiere of Scandal.
This show is always steamy, but it looks like creator Shonda Rhimes is really ready to turn things up a notch. This episode saw some Olivia and Fitz action and some Olivia and Jake smooching. Harrison and Adnan Salif (the woman—surprise!—from his very sketchy, still shrouded-in-mystery past) had quite a time in his office, and Mellie may be getting ready to give her husband a run for his money with her own affair. Things are about to get very interesting, to say the least.
“Ride, Sally, Ride” opens with big news for Vice President Sally Langston. Sure, she may have been covered in her husband’s blood the last time we saw her, but this is Scandal and just because you kill someone it doesn’t mean you can’t run for president of the United States. Although it should be said that Sally does explain to her campaign consultant, Leo (played brilliantly by Paul Adelstein), that the devil, in fact, murdered her husband. See, he “snuck inside” her once she decided to give up her war on abortion and killed her husband. So, it all makes sense now. And throughout the episode someone going by the name of “Publius” (a reference to a Roman aristocrat who lived during 8th century BC and led a group in the overthrow of the monarchy) was feeding hints about the truth behind Daniel Douglass’ death to the press, so Sally has plenty to fear as she begins her run for office.
For those of us wondering about the return of Olitz, Olivia and Fitz were back on in full force, which proved to be pretty awkward. Early on in the episode we see these tonguing each other down like a couple of kids behind the bleachers. Except they’re in the Oval Office, and poor Mellie walks in on them, naturally.
There are a lot of folks who are over Olitz. Three seasons of their on-again-off-again, heavy panting and White House hook-ups, and fans just want them to stick with one relationship decision for more than a single episode. No haps. Before this episode could even come to an end, Mellie had taken Olivia out on the most publicity stunt-ish lunch date ever in an attempt to squash the revival of rumors about Olivia and the president. (We have Leo’s big mouth to thank for that.) In a crowded room, cameras flashing as they battle it out for phoniest smile ever, she demands that Olivia get some sort of faux boyfriend so that, at the very least, her affair with the president might remain a secret. #Mellivia was trending on Twitter because it’s always exciting to see these two women scheming together. Never has a so-called mistress and a wife been more comfortable sitting at the same table, but Mellie proves time and again that—more than anything (love, faithfulness, normalcy)—she wants her husband to remain the president. Olivia decides to follow suit, and is now “dating” (or dating, sans quotes … perhaps) Jake Ballard. This storyline plays a little too much like one from ABC’s other big show, Revenge, and those of us who are watching Emily Thorne and the Graysons know that pretend-dating your real ex-lover is never a good idea. It’s safe to assume the worst for Olivia, Jake and Fitz.
The other drama that took off between Olivia and Fitz concerned his choice for a new vice president—former friend, Governor Andrew Nichols. Olivia is initially firmly against this choice, expressing much concern about the governor’s relationship status. He isn’t married, dating, gay or a total creep. And for that, she doesn’t trust him. And rightfully so. By the end of the episode, we learn that the real reason he is running alongside Fitz is so he can run alongside Mellie, the true love he believes he lost many years ago. For those of us wondering if Mellie would ever return the favor of Olitz, enter Andrellie
Other frighteningly awesome moments of the episode included Quinn kidnapping a child so as to blackmail his Mom, who knew the truth about the Sally Langston murder. (Quinn is secretly still B6-13, though Olivia is trying to get her back.) Then there was the scene between Olivia and her ever-terrifying Dad. Papa Pope was fairly annoyed to be out of a job, didn’t appreciate Fitz’s very audacious tone from the last episode, and pretty much vowed to, well, kill the president. David and James are back in cahoots, and James revealed himself to be “Publius.” But we’ve gone down this road before—where James decides he’s going to take his monstrous husband down, but caves in the end. We’ll have to wait and see if he can actually follow through and expose Cyrus’s cover-up of Sally Langston’s egregious crime … er, I mean, the devil’s egregious crime. And finally, Harrison’s story begins to unfold, though we still know very little about his relationship with Salif (and why he needed Abby’s gun). All in all, a good start, though we could have used a little more Huck. Luckily, Guillermo Díaz promised Paste that he and Olivia would have some big moments in the coming episodes.
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “You’re skipping around in a field full of bombs and mistaking them for daisies.” (Good ol’ Papa Pope)
Shannon M. Houston is a New York-based freelance writer, regular contributor to Paste, and occasional contributor to the human race via little squishy babies. You can follow her on Twitter.