Welcome back, fellow Gladiators in Suits!
Olivia Pope, along with Pope and Associates, are back in action in the second season of Scandal, and tomorrow night fans everywhere will finally have an answer to the mystery of “Who is Quinn Perkins?” as well as more questions pertaining to that topic by the end of the hour. When Shonda Rhimes said how the mystery of Quinn would be the main story arc of the season, she was not whistling dixie there.
Rhimes doesn’t wait to answer the question of Quinn’s identity as the truth is revealed very early in the episode, setting the stage for the main conflict of the premiere. Quinn’s true identity is a plausible one, but there could be a few nitpickers who might call into question why it wasn’t hinted at during the first season in some capacity. It’s nothing to gripe over really since Rhimes handles the story and pacing exceedingly well, while blending in the conflicts that arise with Olivia being dead set on defending Quinn. Forget the courtroom, the actual trial worth noting is really within the walls of the war room of Olivia Pope and Associates.
Back to Quinn’s true identity, some theories were close to the mark and others just didn’t make any sense whatsoever. But one thing is for sure: by the end of the hour, you will be asking yourself another question that I won’t go into here in this review. Just know that you will be looking at certain people in a different light and your jaw will take an extended vacation on the floor. Moving on…
The dynamics between the characters are just as red-hot as they were this past spring. Kerry Washington just owns this show to the point that if Scandal was a house, her name would be on the deed. She knows when to be vulnerable, yet powerful, and when Olivia tells you to just trust her, you seriously want to knock the hell out of anyone who doesn’t abide by that request. While Shonda Rhimes is the woman behind Olivia Pope, Washington simply wears the character well.
Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes and Guillermo DÃaz all have their moments to shine in the premiere, clearly having fun with their alter egos just as much as I enjoyed watching them engage one another on-screen. Short and Lowes shared a scene that reconnected back to the first scene in the pilot that was just too awesome for words. Newly promoted regulars Joshua Malina (U.S. Attorney David Rosen) and Bellamy Young (First Lady Mellie Grant) fit perfectly within the tapestry Ms. Rhimes has set up. But you could also say that they fit perfectly last season as well. Speaking of Scandal‘s casting changes, Stephen’s (Henry Ian Cusick) departure is mentioned throughout the episode, but once a character brings up his name, you can’t help but get a brief (we’re talking nano seconds here) after-thought that someone was missing from the action.
At the White House, President Fitzgerald Grant is still sparring with Chief of Staff Cyrus and Mellie over what they think is best for the Grant Administration and the issue that arises in the premiere could turn into another season long plot. The good thing about that assumption? The potential plot in question is one that even the least politically aware person could follow. The bad thing about that assumption? Um… I can’t really come up with one to be honest. Mellie and Cyrus are sort of messy in this episode, but their intentions, while duplicitous, are quiet plausible when everything is all said and done. With that said, you can tell that there is a clear power struggle among the three, which generates great drama and dialogue between Fitz, Cyrus, and Mellie throughout the episode and, hopefully, the entire season.
The one thing that boggled me about one portion of the White House storyline in the premiere was that one cliffhanger from last season didn’t get mention in any capacity in the episode. I won’t say exactly what that particular “OMFG” plot point was due to preventing spoilers, plus I could be the only person who cares if Ms. Rhimes will return to dangling thread from last year. In spite of that, it would be wise for Shonda Rhimes and crew to not leave that plot thread under a dank rug for too long.
As for Olivia and Fitz’s relationship? The top couple of Scandal will have their moment to shine, but it might not be what fans will expect. The only thing you need to know about this love affair is that it’s far from over and is on hiatus at the moment.
Bottom line: the season premiere will leave you speechless while you tweet away the events as they unfold on your TV screen. It pained me to not shout to anyone who would listen about how this episode gave me life and a resurrection or two after seeing it. In short, I’m actually jealous of those who will see this episode for the first time tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see the millions of reactions on Twitter as the episode plays out, but I will really be watching for your reactions as the last 2 minutes play out on-screen. Yes, the ending is that insane.
Scandal Season Two premieres tomorrow 10/9c on ABC.
Photo Credit: ABC