‘Scandal’ Returns With Addictive Tension, But a Slower Start

Published on February 3rd, 2017

Despite a story line that rivals the drama of Donald Trump’s recent presidential campaign, “Scandal” returned with a slower start compared to last week’s season 6 premiere. But its ending left the viewer with a distinct emotional pang.

All the drama of season 6 is completely original. It picked back up on election night and a controversial White House bid between Democratic hopeful Francisco Vargas and President Fitzgerald Grant III’s previous White House chief of staff-turned-vice presidential candidate Cyrus Beene running against Republican ex-first lady-turned-senator Mellie Grant and her running mate, assassin-turned-NSA head Jake Ballard.

This week, Kerry Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, is hell-bent on proving that Beene killed Vargas so that he could become the next president. The outcome of the real presidential election caused writers to rethink the show’s direction, said “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. However, they did not want to reshoot the first five episodes, which were shot before the election due to Washington’s pregnancy.

In the current episode, Pope’s campaign against Beene doesn’t match the drama and complexity of Mellie’s relationship with new Press Secretary Marcus Walker. (Remember that guy from the black lives matter episode?) Their relationship was the focus of this episode, and the tension was addictive.

It looks as if Mellie has finally gotten her sweet revenge. In an interesting role reversal of Olivia and Fitz, a flashback of Marcus and Mellie reveals they shared a steamy night together that clearly neither has forgotten. In the present day, they can’t help exchanging lingering “I wonder what could’ve happened” looks.

“Scandal” hasn’t seen this kind of tension since Pope and President Fitz were still rendezvousing in closets. Now that Olivia isn’t really in the dating game, Marcus and Mellie’s dynamic is sure to capture viewers’ attention.

It already has the cast’s attention. During the episode, a tweet asked, “What would Mellie and Marcus ship name be?” Tony Goldwyn, who portrays the president, responded, “Fitz calls them Marlie and me.”

Speaking of Fitz, QTNA*1: Is Olivia over Fitz?

In an interesting addition to the show, the new director of the FBI is a cute African-American woman who may have a thing for the president and Olivia isn’t having it.

During these side plots, we still don’t get the answer to whether Cyrus killed the would-be president. We all know it’s never that easy. “Scandal” fans should take a page from Mellie and Olivia — Share a drink over their problems, and wait until next week’s episode.

*1QTNA: question that needs answers

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