Scandal Season 5 Premiere Review: Heavy is The Head

The Scandal season 5 premiere returns with all the expected political drama. What happened? Read our review...

This Scandal review contains spoilers.

Scandal Season 5 Episode 1

“To new beginnings,” the President toasted in tonight’s fifth season premiere, which brought Scandal back to the White House and Olitz beaming in their renewed, secret affair.

So are these new beginnings? Or, are they repeated ones?

There was a similar feel to season two’s finale when Olivia and Fitz have their first scare of being discovered, but this time…it didn’t seem like there was any getting out of this one. The gladiators were not as prevalent in this episode, with only Quinn and Liv really working to figure out who murdered the Princess of Caledonia while Huck secluded himself in Liv’s apartment to avoid facing what he had done (murdering the bus full of jurors at the end of season 4). However, the case with the Princess appeared to really only serve as a parallel to Olivia and Fitz’s situation. We were even made to be thrown off at the start of the episode with Sally Langston spouting about a woman from rags to riches swooping into the White House. I thought…so, the world knows about Olitz?

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Well, it turns out…no. However, after Liv and Abby have a rendezvous in the bathroom with the Princess herself, she explains how horrible it is to be a “spectacle” and that being in that position made it easier for people to tear her apart. Olivia later reiterates this fact with Fitz after he tries to persuade her to tell the public about their relationship. However, she believes the same thing now as the Princess did: if they were to be made a spectacle, then how could they be strong enough to stay together? With Huck hiding out, Quinn frantic with finding out the Princess’ murderer, and Cyrus ousted by the president, there wasn’t much focus on these original supporting characters. Not to mention that Jake only made his comeback briefly toward the end of the hour.

Cyrus appeared withered and humbled in casual slacks and plaid as Mellie begged him to come back to the White House and convince Fitz not to divorce her. However, Cyrus didn’t want anything to do with Mellie if it meant wrecking any sort of chance of him and Fitz mending their destroyed friendship and professional relationship. Once again, we spend an hour watching people hold the President on a gold pedestal, every one fighting for him to be on their side. Sometimes I wish people would hop on the Jake Ballard train and realize the President isn’t some untouchable, human being basking in glory and perfection…but that he was just a man, who made mistakes. While viewers were overjoyed to finally see our power couple back in each other’s arms, others saw it as an opportunity to take him down. Well, not others…

Sally Langston

Sally’s powerful, echoing monologues at the start and end of the episode reinforce the fact that she is not one of those devoted Fitz followers and means to take him down with any sort of ammo she had. However, she wasn’t working alone. When she decides to out Olitz in the final moments of tonight’s premiere, it’s clear she had a little help in her demolition when photos of them together in the White House splashed across the televisions. So long to “taking it slow,” Olivia.

What now?

While Olivia may have made a declaration to keep their relationship under wraps until they had resolved their own issues…of course Shonda Rhimes wouldn’t let her! Of course, she would make it seem very much so possible and then pull the opportunity away before everyone got too comfortable.  

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Sure, tonight’s premiere wasn’t as fast paced as I expected. Nor was it as Olivia and Fitz centric after such a surprising season finale back in May, leaving Olivia and Fitz together on the White House balcony. Yes, everything revolved around them. But only one steamy scene of their secret affair reigniting?

I was shocked.

With Mellie nearly out of the White House and Fitz’s life, the episode focused on another new woman in the President’s life: his new chief of staff, Elizabeth North. She seems to want to know every little move that he is making and when she got even a whiff of tension between Liv and Fitz, she knew it wasn’t politics they were fighting over…it was a “lover’s quarrel.” So will Abby and Elizabeth team up with the gladiators to make sure Romeo and Juliet aren’t taken down by the press? By the world?

Next week, it looks as though the gladiators will step it up to help protect Olivia, including Jake who appears to make a trip to gladiator headquarters. Something tells me Olivia won’t be enjoying her deep pour glass of wine anytime soon. Olivia and Fitz may be out, but they are far from over.


3.5 out of 5