Scandal: Survival of the Fittest Review

'He’s always been the most dangerous predator,' said Papa Pope about Cyrus. It's Scandal’s season 6 premiere!

This Scandal review contains spoilers.

Scandal: Season 6, Episode 1

I was weary watching the first 10 minutes of Scandal with a sickening eeriness of how reminiscent it was to our own election last November. But, that soon ended when gunshots rang through the air and the President-elect was in no one’s hands, but President Grant.

And the President is…Vargas?

I’m a little unsure how much time has passed since Scandal went on its long hiatus. After Kerry Washington announced her real life pregnancy, the show decided to take a longer break and come back just after the new year. Its premiere was even booted a week later due to last week’s pre-inauguration coverage. If you are looking for a break from election coverage, Scandal may not be your best bet. The episode not only centered on their election, but a corrupt election once again.

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I liked how quickly the episode got going. Only a few minutes in and Frankie Vargas was being announced the President-elect and then a few moments after that he was assassinated during his acceptance speech, something I definitely didn’t see coming. But, as the episode went on…I don’t know how I could have been so blindsided.

President Mellie Grant, or not…

After the horror on national television of Vargas’ murder, Mellie backed down from wanting to be in the White House again, reiterating its toxicity and how it feels “cursed.” Mellie definitely had a point. She once again went over Fitz’s lack of appreciation for his role as President (talk about beating a dead horse with this conversation) and how she always wanted the job. Her contempt for the presidency quickly faded after Olivia’s pep talk with her (meaning…Liv proclaiming she still wanted to be in the White House. I’m sorry…who is running for president here, Liv?) Mellie told Fitz she still wanted the presidency, giving Fitz a difficult decision to make…

Mellie or Cyrus?

Personally, I think both are terrible choices. But I still would have chosen Mellie over Cyrus in a heartbeat. Mellie’s dramatic speeches can get to me at times, but Cyrus is too cold-blooded, too unremorseful. I mean, I will never forget what Mellie did causing those jurors to be killed, but she will never forget it either. She at least showed some regret. Cyrus…his end game is his creed and he will do anything to get what he wants. Even if it means killing his President-elect.

Did Cyrus kill Frankie Vargas?

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The perfect image of Cyrus’ quaking body, his shirt bloodied as he stood in shock in an empty hospital room, convinced me right then and there. There’s no way he killed him. At first, I was right along with Olivia and the gladiators as they searched through every nook and cranny to find some sort of connection to Cyrus and the shooter, Mclintock. But, they came up short. Cyrus looking nearly paralyzed with fear and Olivia’s confession to Fitz that she was wrong had me totally persuaded. That was until Huck and Charlie found a deleted phone call with someone on Vargas’ campaign team saying Cyrus was the one who killed Frankie. Huck and Quinn would have dug up more information…if the girl hadn’t been murdered too.

Classic Scandal.

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Next week

Olivia’s new mission this season? Prove Cyrus’ guilt. She closed tonight threatening Cyrus that she will stop at nothing until she proves he killed Vargas. However, while that may be her primary mission, Olivia clearly has ulterior motives.

Olivia for…president?

I mean, we have all seen Olivia’s power hungry tendencies and how much they skyrocketed as of last season. Tonight was no exception. When Mellie was having her “I don’t want to be president” mini meltdown and said she was done with the White House, Olivia said she wasn’t. Olivia knows that she is working for Mellie, right?

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What’s going on?

There were some notable changes in tonight’s premiere, several of which I know will come more into play this season.

Marcus as press secretary

So, when did Marcus leave the team of gladiators? It was probably for the best, especially since Huck didn’t want him there anyway, being corrupted by their group of disturbed, blood-lusting criminals…I mean, people. But, I’m curious to know what was the final straw for Marcus, especially after it seemed Marcus and Mellie were becoming quite close…?

Jake acting…weird

OK, that’s not really out of the ordinary for him. But, for being Mellie’s vice presidential nominee and to disappear soon after Mellie’s succession was rather…ominous. Especially since while he was gone, Vargas ended up being shot and killed. His wife Vanessa seemed finally affected by his eccentricities as she gulped down her wine waiting for the results to come in. What happened to Jake’s very clean cut and composed fiancé from last season? I know the actress was replaced by Vikings’ Jessalyn Gilsig…but what was she brainwashed too? Did someone put her in “the hole” like Jake and Huck?

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Who knows…

Papa Pope and his Puppet strings

Of course, my first thought to who killed Vargas was obviously Papa Pope. But Olivia believed him when he denied it and offered up Cyrus as the most likely of the assassin candidates. I kind of did too. Not to say Rowan wouldn’t do something like that…I’m just not sure he did this time. But after several encounters between Cyrus and Rowan last season, it’s not a far fetched idea that these two may be working together; and possibly Jake too.

Well, at this point, Mellie’s ship has sailed on becoming the next president with Fitz announcing Cyrus Beene as the new leader of the free world. But, if the gladiators already found a flaw in Cyrus’ plan…there are many more to come.

Welcome back, TGIT. We’ve missed you.


4.5 out of 5