Alright Gladiators, suit up! Scandal's back and we couldn't be more excited!
After a very sad breakup between Olivia and Fitz in the mid-season finale, this episode picks up six months later, with Fitz and Olivia dealing with their split in very different ways.
As Sally Langston drones on and on about power in her incredibly annoying Liberty Report, Liv and Rowan are having dinner. Rowan talks about Liv's relationship with Fitz and how powerful she was when she "had the oval". She says that if felt more like a prison. Rowan says that she should come by the house more often which prompts her to ask why Jake is there. He says that Jake has come home and so should she.
When Liv gets home, Jake is waiting outside of her apartment. He says that he doesn't like waiting so she says he can leave. He asks if she really wants him to and she presses the elevator button... and then they're going at it. Not a huge shocker there. Whenever Liv can't have Fitz, she seems to want Jake.
Meanwhile, the president calls Abby at 2 in the clearly not for the first time. He asks her to clear his schedule for the East Asian Summit. Abby says she can clear most but not the Gridiron dinner. Fitz says that she should join him but Abby lies and says that Leo is sick so she can't. Fitz just says that he'll send over soup but still doesn't let Abby sleep.
Huck goes to Liv's house to tell her they have a client. When she asks why he didn't just call her, he says that this is a client they wouldn't want the NSA to know about. As it turns out, the client is the Head of the NSA-decorated, accomplished, an all-around badass. Apparently a hacker hacked her computer looking for evidence of something called Project Mercury, a program that allowed the NSA to listen to the emails and calls of world leaders.
What's worse is that the hacker came from inside Diana's house, meaning the only real suspect is Diana's boyfriend, a programmer named William (Billy) Torrent. Diana says that it can't be him because she checked him out but Olivia disagrees.
Later, Liv is in bed with Jake when Cyrus calls to ask her opinion about Abby. He wants to know if Abby can handle being Fitz's work wife since neither Cyrus nor Olivia can fill the job. Liv says that she can handle it but says that the position comes with a lot of power and that Cyrus should be sure before he gives that up.
At OPA, Liv asks about leads in Diana's case but Huck just tells her the Mellie is in her office. Apparently Mellie wrote a book airing all her dirty laundry so that it's all out before she officially runs for president. Liv tells her that she's not running her campaign. Mellie asks her to just read it and says that she'll pay her. When Liv still says no, Mellie says she'll just leave it for her and come back to hear what she thinks.
After a press briefing, a reporter for the Post named Nelson asks Abby to stop snubbing him (apparently he wrote some story about the President that Abby wasn't too happy about). He says that he'll make it up to her by telling her about a tip he got about Project Mercury from an NSA officer who sent him tons of files. Abby lies and says that she already knows about it but then scrambles to gather information.
Abby tells Cyrus and Fitz that they need to shut down any stories about Project Mercury. Fitz asks Abby what her plan is. Naturally, she calls Liv and asks her about a woman named Jillian Foster who's the publisher of The Post. Olivia asks why she's asking but Abby dodges the question. After she hangs up, Liv tells Huck, Quinn, and Marcus that Billy took Project Mercury to The Post. She tells them they need to shut it down.
At the White House, Fitz and Jake meet on the infamous terrace. Jake says the Fitz seems good after the breakup. Fitz asks him to help with the Post situation and explains that the US will be alone in the world if word gets out about what the NSA has been doing. Jake says that the NSA must have a whistleblower. Fitz says he needs someone he trusts to handle it. Jake asks him if he's talked to Liv. Fitz says he hasn't and Jake lies and says he hasn't either. He agrees to take the job.
Fitz makes another late night call to Abby. He tells her that you can get Freedom Fries at the store! Abby is not amused but Fitz, once again, doesn't catch on and keeps talking
Abby asks Cyrus why he's letting Fitz call her all night. She's over it! Fitz is driving her crazy; he only talks to her and she's exhausted. She asks why Cyrus won't help. He tells her that she's the president's new work wife because Fitz can't function alone and no longer has Cyrus, Olivia, or Mellie to help him. She'll just have to figure it out.
OPA is still hunting Billy without much luck. Huck tracks his cell signal to a house and Quinn and Marcus go to check it out. When they get there, there's no sign of Billy but when they ping his phone, they find Jake holding it.
Olivia asks Jake what he was doing in the house and he tells her he was working for Fitz. Liv wonders why Billy would drop the phone in a random house instead of a river or something. Jake and Liv argue about her helping cover up for Diana's mistake. Liv says that her only mistake was falling for the wrong guy and Jake says that he understands why she's so sympathetic. Jake says that Billy is guilty and he wins and then leaves.
When Liv goes to visit Diana, she sees agents removing files from her house. Apparently Diana is being investigated. She asks if the NSA is going to fire her. Liv says she won't be arrested but she can't say much about her job. Diana asks if Liv can talk to Fitz because if she gets fired, there'll never be another female leader of the NSA.
Fitz calls Abby again. This time she lies and says that she's at the hospital Leo though she's actually hanging out with Liv. Abby says she loves the silence and asks if Olivia misses Fitz. Liv says she doesn't but she misses the work.
Abby tells Liv that Leo wants her to quit and that he went to Texas because he never sees her. She says she won't quit but that she tired of being "work wifed". Liv says that being work wifed is a good thing but Abby says it just means she has no life. She says that she can't feel sorry for the most powerful man in the world just because he's lonely. Liv says that he's not lonely, he's alone; he has no one because she was the last person he trusted. Abby says she feels like an ass.
Liv tells Abby about Diana's favor but says she can't call Fitz because it wouldn't be fair to him. Abby doesn't buy this excuse and tells Liv that she's really afraid that she'll get sucked in again and be back at square one.
Quinn talks to Charlie about Billy. He says that he's impressed with Billy's ability to leave no incriminating evidence. Quinn seems stirred by this thought.
Meanwhile, Liv finally decides to call Fitz but he says that he's unavailable. Ouch.
Fitz calls Abby again. When she tries to ignore it, he just calls again.
Quinn is investigating Billy but is having trouble hacking into the Post to get the original phone recording. Charlie tells her she should use the same virus that was used on Diana's computer.
Abby and Fitz are vetting new NSA leaders. She's in full work wife mode and seems to be accepting the role.
Olivia tells Diana that OPA will help her transition after she loses her job. Diana asks what the president said when she called him. Liv just says that he was unhelpful. Diana asks if Liv can get her a face-to-face but Liv tells her that she needs to move on. Diana asks who is replacing her and Liv says that Fitz probably has a list. Diana, however, says that he's already chosen. For the first time, Olivia is out of the loop.
As Fitz prepares to announce his new NSA Head, Quinn tells Olivia that Diana's hacker wasn't Billy. The caller used a scrambler to mask his identity but his speech patterns didn't match Billy's . Someone is setting Billy up.
Liv calls Abby and asks who the new pick is. Liv, Huck, Quinn, and Marcus go back to Billy's hideout. Liv asks them where Jake was when they saw him. She goes to the fridge and finds Billy dead inside. She tells them that Jake was the whistleblower and that he did it to get Diana's job. At the same time, Fitz names Jake the NSA Head.
Liv goes to see Rowan and Jake. She says the Jake did everything but Jake just tells her that the world is safer with Billy dead and Diana fired. Rowan says that Diana was weak and oblivious. He says that Olivia can either snitch or get some power and he knows that she can't survive without power.
Fitz calls Abby again but this time she's had enough. She hangs up and goes to the oval office. Fitz is shocked that she hung up on him but she doesn't care. She tells him that she's the Press Secretary and that she loves her job and works hard at it but because of his late night calls, she hasn't been able to do it. She says that she's not his companion. He just sits quietly and listens. When she's done, she says she'll be in her office if he actually needs her.
Abby calls Cyrus to tell him what happened and he says he's proud of her for being a good work wife.
At OPA, Quinn and Huck are hacking away. Marcus asks them if they want to get dinner but Huck declines for both of them. When Quinn asks why Huck is so mean to Marcus, Huck says that Marcus is normal and so they need to protect him. In order to keep him normal, they can't be friends.
Finally, Mellie comes back for feedback on her book. Liv says that she read it and it was boring. She tells Mellie that its cliché and dishonest and that people want to read the other stuff about who Mellie is, what she's been through, and what she really thinks about it all. Something hard to write but memorable. Liv says that's the book that'll get Mellie elected. Mellie says that she wants to write that book. Liv says they'll start working on it tomorrow and the episode ends with more prattle from Sally Langston.
As far as premieres go, this one was a bit lacking. Other than the part you get towards the end about Jake being the whistleblower, the NSA stuff was kind of boring. I also found myself missing Mellie! She always comes with lots of drama and complex storylines so I was disappointed that she only had two short parts in this episode. Hopefully we'll get some quality Mellie/Liv time next week! I also hope we get more Abby and Fitz. I think the two of them could have an interesting and hilarious friendship so I'm curious to see what the writers do with it.
Until next week, tell us what you thought! Did you like this episode? Where are you hoping this season takes us? Let us know in the comments!