Scandal returned yesterday (January 26) after an extended break with a killer episode. The Season 6 premiere titled "Survival of the Fittest" is possibly the best episode Scandal has aired in a very long time.
The episode picked up where we left off at at the end of Season 5 which ended with Mellie Grant securing a place alongside Pennsylvania Governor Frankie Vargas in the general election race. We are then ushered straight into election night in which the results of who the American public have decided to become their next president are close to being unveiled.
As a longstanding Mellie fan I was obviously rooting for the former rather than the latter and when the results were unveiled, I was extremely shocked. Why did Mellie loose when she seemed so perfect for the role? This could have been Mellie's happy ending, the happy ending she deserves! I guess I forgot I was watching Scandal, a dark and sinister world in which happy endings are non-existent.
Mellie lost the vote in California thus Vargas became the president elect and the first Latino President of the United States. However, all was not lost, and in true Shonda style the episode took a nasty turn. Moments after Vargas is announced as the 45th President of the United States and is about to make his victory speech, he is fatally shot three times and passes away in hospital soon after.
This leads to the question of who will become the next President of the United States. Mellie still has a chance and Vice President Elect, the one and only Cyrus Beene also has a shot. Olivia suspects, after meeting her fathe for a good ol' chin wag, Cyrus planned the assassination in order to make himself the next President however the #Gladiators are unable to find sufficient evidence to prove this and Olivia concedes.
After the death of Vargas, President Grant must decided who he will support; Cyrus or Mellie. His support in the public eye will guarantee that individual the Oval Office. He chooses Cyrus over his ex-wife (Fitz usually puts other people before Mellie so this is no surprise) and Cyrus accepts. However, twists and turns are a Scandal staple at this point and a closer look at the evidence gathered by the #Gladiators reveals a phone call incriminating Cyrus was placed during the shooting. Cyrus is guilty and is about to become the next President. At the end of the episode Olivia vows to bring Cyrus down.
"Survival of the Fittest" is Scandal at its best - fast paced, unexpected revelations, shocking twists and of course SCANDAL. It is extremely rare for a hyped season premiere episode to maintain the same level of excitement and anticipation for the duration of the episode (see Empire's season 3 premiere as an example of what not to do) but Shonda Rimes manages to pull it off effortlessly.
Furthermore, the topicality of the episode is chilling when one considers the events of the actual General Election in the United States. A well qualified female political figure loses the job of a lifetime to a corrupted and fairly unexpected person, but this can only be considered a coincidence as the season began production last summer. While Shonda's intentions may not to have been to reflect the political climate in the United States, audiences are likely to draw comparisons between Scandal and the real world once they see Mellie lose an election she clearly should have won and Cyrus Beene (CYRUS BEENE?!) making strides to become the next President.
If Scandal managed to maintain this level of quality and eerie relevance to the actual political climate across the duration of its 16 episode season, #Gladiators are sure to be in for a wild ride filled with twists, turns and thrills.
SIDE NOTE: This is the first episode of Scandal after I became a huge Felicity fan last summer. #TeamNoel