Scandal Season 4 Premiere: Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia Review

On the beach or in Washington D.C., Julia Baker will always be Olivia Pope. Here's our review of the Scandal season 4 premiere...

This Scandal review contains spoilers… 

The season four opener of Scandal sets Olivia (her new alias is Julia Baker) on the beach, Marvin Gaye’s, “Sunny” setting the relaxed tone of the scene, with her hunky new beau, Jake coming up beside her. Both are sun kissed, unstressed and Olivia has finally let her curls go wild. The weather is perfect, her relationship is perfect, and the wine is perfect.

We are in paradise with our new favorite couple…for about two minutes. Soon we are brought back to reality when Olivia receives a letter with a clipping about Harrison’s death. 

Back home, it looks like Quinn is the only one who has kept to her gladiator ways. When Olivia and Jake return to D.C. temporarily (oh please…) she goes up to her old office, sheets strewn over the furniture, no one scurrying across the office to follow a lead on a new assignment.  That’s when Quinn reveals herself and tells Olivia she’s the one who tracked her down because of her order of a very rare red wine, of course. Well, we know when Olivia has wine in hand, something is about to go amiss.  

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Huck is now Randy, the technological hardware fixer upper at a local store. Quinn takes Olivia there, but Huck won’t even talk to her until she has agreed to come home for good. Abby and Olivia also have a bitter reunion after Abby accuses Liv of leaving them alone there and blames her for Harrison’s death. Olivia retaliates immediately that Abby too left the gladiators behind, abandoning her team for the White House. Abby is now press secretary and the new “Olivia Pope” to President Fitz— in the professional sense, not in the steamy affair sense. With Abby in the White House now, this will bring in some interesting storylines, including one that has already begun: Cyrus doesn’t trust Abby. At all. 

Cyrus is back to his frantic ways and panics when he has to tell Fitz that Olivia is back in town. They have made major changes in the White House, including cutting major staff. Not to mention the new face at the White House, an RNC chairman played by Portia De Rossi, who seems to already be at odds with Cyrus. Fitz is ready for major changes… and I like it! 

He is clearly affected by the news about Olivia, but is still trying to stay by Mellie’s side as they continue to cope with the death of their son. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Mellie’s grieving process, but seeing her dressed in sweats and uggs instead of her usual Jackie Kennedy-esque garb, I felt like I was watching the wrong show. 

Mellie has a rather emotional scene where her and Fitz visit Jerry Jr.’s grave and Mellie lies down in front of it, touching the tombstone. Though Mellie may seem softer, she is still a spit fire when it comes to Olivia and Fitz and she’s not taking any more of it this season. She even takes a stab and Fitz for attempting suicide (what?) and claims at least she isn’t like him in that way. I really did think the season would open with a bit more love between Mellie and Fitz, but it looks like the words bitter and depressed will continue to plague them both.  

The main question of the episode is, will Olivia be staying? Cyrus wants to know, Fitz wants to know, Jake wants to know, Huck wants to know, we want to know! Well, while Olivia becomes emotional over another glass of red wine as she talks about planning Harrison’s funeral with Jake, a phone call and a knock on the door put her right back in her gladiator shoes.  

As we were learning about what was going on with our favorite Scandal characters, new characters were introduced when she took on a new case. Two senators, a secretary, sexual assault and attempted murder…right up Olivia’s alley. In the beginning, she feels obligated to take on the case. But towards the end of the episode, she is back in action when that obligation turns into her passion once again. I suppose Jake will need to cancel that flight back to their hideaway. It became almost certain she would be staying, once her gladiators came together for Harrison’s funeral. 

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In the final scene of the episode, after Olivia gives a speech about the worth of women in support of her new clients, we are taken through a slow motion of Olivia and Fitz seeing each other for the first time. They pass each other at the court, their hands just nearly touching suggesting there is still and always will be that undeniable tension between them. This scene reminded me of their love in the first and the beginning of second season. More romantic, less destructive. I’ve loved being on team Jake since his first episode in season two, but I’m excited to see if Team Fitz will have a stronger pull this year. Plus, it looks like Jake’s storyline of wanting to take down B613 will continue and since David Rosen accepted the Attorney General position Cyrus offered him, that may just be the beginning of it all. 

Hearing that sound of the camera clicking away on tonight’s episode was music to my ears. “Are we gladiators or are we bitches?” Something Harrison used to say which Olivia reminded us of as she was making her decision whether or not to stay in D.C.

Despite the fact that we know her father lied to her about killing Harrison, I still want her back in her old stomping grounds. As her inspiring speech about a woman’s ability “to decide what kind of woman she wants to be” plays over the last few scenes of the episode, it all became clear. 

Olivia wants to be a gladiator again… and I am game. 

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3.5 out of 5