'Scandal' recap: Season 4, Episode 1, 'Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia'

KERRY WASHINGTON

 

Liv returns to Washington. Huck is a four-year-old. And it's 1976 in Mellie's pants. If you can't handle it, don't worry: Olivia Pope will. Here's our recap of the season premiere.

 

We last saw Liv (Kerry Washington) on a plane to nowhere with on-again-off-again lover / Fitz replacement Jake Ballard (Scott Foley). Now Jake has a scruffy beard that he should never shave, and Liv reclines on a white-sand beach — her hairis curly and a copy of "Gone Girl" waits by her chair, because she is gone, girl.

 

She's Julia Baker now, but not for long. This time, when the boat delivers expensive and rare red wine to her deserted island, it also brings a letter, a bat signal that traveled all the way from DC toan island 100 miles off the coast of Zanzibar that's not even on a map: after months of being missing, Harrison's body has been found. She has to plan his funeral, and she will turn this island around, dammit.

 

Making the band


So she returns to DC, straightens her hair, and while she's there, let's get the gang back together.Abby Whelan (Darby Stanchfield) is now the White House Press Secretary. Also, she's not a natural redhead. Huck (Guillermo Diaz) works as a "Smart Guy" at the "Smart Counter," which is a way of saying "Apple Genius Bar" without getting sued. Also, he goes by the name Randy and speaks in curt, detached, third-person sentences, like a 4-year-old:"Randy, the Smart Guy"; "Hoping is bad for Randy"; "Randy needs to go potty."

Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), is the only one who doesn't reject Liv outright, and has spent this whole summer break looking for Olivia (she found her by tracing world deliveries of expensive rare wines). As forHarrison (Columbus Short), it's unclear. Sure, he's dead, but how? Papa Pope (Joe Morton) chooses words carefully when he promises Liv, "I had nothing to do with his murder," so his death may have been more complicated than Papa putting a gun to his head.

Mellie's state is also complicated. Still grieving for her son's death/murder-by-poison, she's stopped getting dressed, and only rocks pajamas and a kimono. She doesn't give a shit and wants Fitz to know: she's stopped waxing, so if he puts his hand in her pants, he can expect 1976.

In another act of feminism, Fitz, who is now an out liberal instead of a thinly veiled one, is pushing through a bill demanding equal pay regardless of sex. And it was just about to pass, when one of the votes he needed went and sexually assaulted a woman on the Hill, who then accidentally killed him. It's like they knew Liv was back in town. It's also like this storyline, about violence against women, is a big eff-you to Columbus Short, who was fired after allegations arose of domestic abuse.

Assume the procedure


Here's the short story: a female senator went to a male senator's home to talk equal-pay, when he attacked her. Except, as Liv discovers — based on the fact that all of his staffers are young with long, brown hair — it was actually the lady senator's young brunette assistant who was attacked. And, worse,the lady senator, recognizing that the girl was his type, knowingly sent this lamb to the slaughter. Liv is disgusted enough to escape again, but Jake really should have known that she'd never leave her white hat in the closet while a helpless intern was in need. He makes one last effort to keep her in his orbit by saying, "I'm the one you like to ride; I'm the one who makes you moan," and I felt a little assaulted myself since I was watching with my in-laws.

But she can't be swayed to run away again, because, "Are we gladiators or are we bitches?" Her crew returns to work for her. But don't count me in, Liv, because I'd be off the coast of Zanzibar with scruffy Scott Foley. Hell, I'd live on the Gowanus Canal if he's there.

Staying means she'll see Fitz. And, at the end of the episode — after we learned that he survived a suicide attempt — they're finally in the same room, some large government rotunda with lots of pomp and art. And as they walk toward each other, past reporters and statues of dead leaders, time slows and will they make eye contact? Not at all. But questions remain.

David Rosen (Josh Malina) was named Attorney General — but why? Cyrus does nothing without a motive. Huck won't talk about what happened when he approached his family, but it can't be good. Also, was that Portia De Rossi? As in, Portia De Rossi's on Scandal now...really? And finally, Liv totally smirked when she passed Fitz: was she happy that she was able to avoid eye contact? Or was she thinking about riding Jake? If so, with or without his scruff?

 
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