Viewers of ABC’s Scandal will get that answer and a whole lot more information that perhaps ever anticipated this Thursday at 10/9c, as the fast-paced sophomore drama toggles back and forth between Mr. President’s present-day life-and-death drama and his Inauguration Day, which you will learn was chock-a-block with dramas of its very own.
Let’s start with a peek at the here and now. “Mellie is horrified” by Fitz’s shooting, Bellamy Young told TVLine at The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s kick-off party for Golden Globes season. “Here they are, going to this huge birthday gala [for Fitz], and there’s a sniper. It’s absolutely terrible.”
The episode’s opening minutes, which effectively capture the sort of dizzying panic that would erupt in the wake of an assassination attempt, soon segue into a flashback to the day Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) would first be called “Mr. President” — an honor that falls on, no surprise, Olivia (Kerry Washington), as she gifts the Canoodler-in-Chief with a 48-star flag pin previously worn by Eisenhower (as seen in this first clip).
Fans of the “POPUS” pairing, as illicit as it is, will also be treated during the flashback segments to a private dance as well as one (ahem) very private dance (…or two), sometimes in inappropriate places and, to be honest, steamier than ever before.
Elsewhere in the flashbacks, the narrative will connect dots that, frankly, you probably never imagined had anything to do with each other. (One involves a deal struck with Kate Burton’s VP Langston that threatens to explode a member of the “Quinntet,” while a second spells out exactly what led to the Cytron bombing.) You’ll also learn why Olivia quit her gig fixing things at 1600 Penn, in the wake of a breakdown scene that, in an ideal world, nets Kerry Washington an Emmy nomination come July.
As Young told us, “You will find out more backstory which will make everything that is happening [in the present] resonate more” — and perhaps even be, she says, “painful.”
In the present, Fitz’s life hangs in the balance, paving the way for the ever-ambitious Langston to make an audacious move (starting with what she does in this second clip). And yes, by hour’s end, you will see who was responsible for sending bullets flying at the leader of the free world.
Will this grim crisis involving the man they both love unite Mellie and Liv… or somehow drive them further apart? “In surprising ways it both divides and unites them,” says Young. “[Series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] wrote the episode, and it is unbelievably well-observed.”