Scandal Season 6 Premiere Recap: And The Bombshells Keep Dropping

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Scandal has returned for its sixth season and with it come several massive bombshells. You wouldn't think a show could still deliver the shock and awe nearly 100 episodes in, but we should all know by now to never doubt the power and imagination of Shonda Rhimes. Warning: Massive spoilers ahead if you haven't watched "Survival of the Fittest" yet. Bombshell No. 1: Mellie loses It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) would win the presidency. Not only has her journey been one of the most fascinating, nuanced character studies on Scandal, but Ricardo Chavira — as great as he is — is merely a guest star, so him winning the presidency wouldn't have worked for the show. It's an interesting zig by Scandal, because this plot thread could have easily turned into a bit of wish fulfillment by putting the first female president in office — in this world, if not IRL. It also avoided a real-world parallel, as Donald Trump stand-in Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry) dropped out of the race two episodes ago. Furthermore, it might have actually been kind of interesting to watch Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and co. figure out their lives in Washington without a direct line to the oval office. Alas, all of this is moot because of... Bombshell No. 2: Vargas is assassinated In true Shondaland fashion, the TV mogul found a way to wring some emotional drama out of Mellie's loss and then put the perfect scenario in place to get a second President Grant anyway. Fitz's (Tony Goldwyn) struggle about whether to endorse Mellie or Cyrus (Jeff Perry) felt very organic. Fitz knows what the "right" choice is, but he also knows what he wants to do instead, which is endorse Mellie — a choice that isn't necessarily "wrong," as in it wouldn’t be bad for the country, but it's simply not quite as "right" as endorsing the vice president-elect, i.e. the person whose ticket won the election. However, nothing can ever be that simple. While it's sad that Vargas died — his wife crying over his body in the hospital was a real gut-punch — it was the perfect catalyst for Scandal's Season 6 mystery... Bombshell No. 3: Cyrus planned it all Like Olivia, our first instinct was that Papa Pope (Joe Morton) had Vargas killed in another attempt to give his daughter what she wants, and keep his family swimming in power. While he's wrong in saying he's not a predator — because sometimes Papa Pope is the apex predator of the show — in this particular instance, he's right in pointing out that he doesn't quite fit as well as another likely suspect. Cyrus easily has the most to gain by Vargas' death, but it still made our jaws drops to realize it was him. Once that was out there, though, we never bought his fake shock. It made perfect sense that it was him as soon as Papa Pope said it, so we're glad Olivia realized it truly was Cyrus before episode's end. It would have been really frustrating watching her and the Gladiators spend several episodes trying to get there. They're smarter than that. So, it’s on now: Olivia knows it was Cyrus but can’t prove it; Fitz doesn’t believe (or want to believe) it was Cyrus and is going to need concrete evidence; and Cyrus knows Olivia knows he did it, so the power dynamic trifecta of Fitz-Olivia-Cyrus is back in play. Should be a lot of fun to watch. And finally, the one bombshell that's unrelated to the rest but just as shocking... Bombshell No. 4: Quinn and Charlie get engaged Charlie (George Newbern) planned the Caribbean trip in order to propose to Quinn (Katie Lowes). Um, what? In what world does that work out? You know what they say: "The family that tortures together... lives happily ever after"... ? That just seems insane. My notes literally say: "Charlie wants to marry Quinn, OH MY GOD." Also, we've always quietly been hoping Quinn would get back together with Huck (Guillermo Diaz). Guess this is a way to keep that love triangle interesting, or maybe Quinn is truly done with Huck, as she gives Charlie a definite "yes" at episode's end. But whether you're Team Charlequin or Team Huckleberry Quinn, welcome back, Pope and Associates. It's been far too long, and four bombshells in one episode is great stuff, even by Scandal standards.
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