Scandal Pilot Changes

Scandal Pilot Revisited: Can You Handle How Much This Show Has Changed?

It may be hard to believe, but there was once a time in Scandal‘s storied history when Olivia and Fitz’s relationship was still a secret, Abby wasn’t functionally drunk with power, and the name Jake Ballard meant nothing to anyone.

Ahead of Thursday’s milestone 100th episode (ABC, 9/8c) — which is set in a “what if?” reality where Defiance never rigged the election, Fitz is hitting the bottle, and Olivia is marrying… someone — TVLine is looking back at the show’s pilot, which also feels like an alternate reality, given everything that’s transpired over the course of 99 episodes.

Browse our gallery of memorable pilot moments — you can click here for direct access — then drop a comment below: Do you miss Scandal‘s good ol’ days?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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25 Comments
  1. GeekWithFanGirlSkills says:

    I was just thinking about this a day or so ago when I saw a commercial for an upcoming ep. I think, I think it every time I see a commercial or even an article here. I loved season 1 but gave the show up midway through season 2 because it just wasn’t the show I had signed up for, nor one I wanted to watch. Nothing I’ve seen in commercials and articles since has changed my perspective. I am happy for the show’s cast and crew that the show thrived even with the changes, but I’d have rather had the show season 1 seemed to promise.

  2. Kate says:

    I miss the Gladiator story of the week feel of Season 1. The more they got intertwined with the White House and the shadow groups the less interesting it got.

    • Karen says:

      Agreed!! I miss the weekly story – and the Gladiators barely exist now! :( And Olivia has become less likable as it goes on! Less White House more OPA!

      • Patrick says:

        I loved Stephen Finch. He and the redhead lady had great chemistry. I bailed in season 2 as soon as I knew he was gone. Having loosely kept up with show since, I realize what good decision I made.

  3. Eddie A says:

    To me, the B613 storyline took over this show and ruined it. Kerry Washington deserves so much better than what this has become. I loved the story of a strong independent woman fixing problems for people, now, do they even fix anymore? I had to give it up 1 or 2 seasons ago because these conspiracy storylines were just too much and ruined the show.

  4. themediaho says:

    The first season and much of the second were terrific. You’d have a White House-related story and then a story about a case that OPA was handling. Then they brought on Eli/B613/Jake and it began to deteriorate. They need to lose that portion of the show (and the actors) and return to the glory days. I have nearly quit on numerous occasions because of the B613 crap, but Olivia and her crew at OPA keep me coming back for more. That said, this season’s method of storytelling is too reminiscent of How To Get Away With Murder, and I quit that show 2/3 through season one because of the constant jumping around. Shonda should stick to being Shonda, not a weak version of Tarantino. Bring back the show we fell in love with!

  5. Tracee says:

    I hate how they dumbed down Olivia and her team to make Jake look smart.

  6. Cas says:

    I binged it affer season 3 aired. I was sorely disappointed that Stephen left after season 1 and I remember googling why. I loved him!! Ah those were the days.

  7. Max says:

    No, and that’s why I stopped watching. When it became more about Olivia’s father than about the Gladiators, I gave up and haven’t looked back once. Clean break.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Unlike you, Andy, I remember that Olivia/Fitz moment in the Oval and being quite uncomfortable — not only with its tone, but with the thought that this was the great romantic relationship I was going to be asked to root for. (Don’t even talk to me about the boot-tying incident in a later episode.) Stupidly, though, I held off buying my first class ticket to Nopeville and hung on through season two, fast forwarding much of Fitz in general, and the last I saw of “Scandal” was a clip of Joe Morton’s “you are a boy” speech I found on YouTube, that did and continues to give me great joy. I yearn for the show I was promised in the pilot (and most of s1 as well) — I don’t remember continual cliffhangers that good since “Alias” — and oh, the things this show could have been and done.

    Still, 100 episodes — and with women of color at the helm on both sides of the camera to boot! — is an awesome achievement, so congrats to Gladiators everywhere.

  9. Zack B says:

    It has had missteps for sure, but what it is now is still pretty engaging. I miss the gladiator of the week structure, it gave the characters good things to do. And while I normally don’t like over-the-top gore, my favorite shocking moment is the one with the villainous VP and the chair – which I doubt we would have gotten if it had remained a monster of the week series. So, overall it’s been a good ride.

  10. Lisa Echerd says:

    There were so many couples in the early days. So many forbidden couples that you could root for. Now it is all about power and revenge.

  11. Julia says:

    Fitz does suck, as is seems to be the typical tune for most Shondaland men, but it really frustrates me that people can say Fitz is horrible but ship Olivia and Jake. Did we all forget that Jake basically choked Olivia? Fitz is terrible but he’s never caused physical violence against Olivia. I’m still disappointed in Shonda for never really addressing that.

    • Brian says:

      For whatever reason Shonda and the writers have been cowardly when it comes to addressing Jake’s actions on the show. Hate Fitz all you want, but at least when he does something bad, he most of the time does get called out on it by the other characters. While very seldom do we see this when it comes to Jake. They seem to delusionally see this character as some bad-ass stud or something.

    • jules says:

      I don’t hear anyone complaining bout Olivia using sex to manipulate Jake so she could get to his phone. Had it been a man who did that, he’d have been heavily criticized and we’d have never heard the end of it. This show is not black and white, none of these characters are squeaky clean including Olivia herself. If you are going to judge Jake for that incidence then how about start with Fitz, for the 40 men who died when he send them to war needlessly.

      • Brian says:

        Jules you talk as if Jake hasn’t repeatedly said & done bad things on the show. The point is, he has and unlike with Fitz, it doesn’t get addressed. And it’s even more obvious when we’re seeing Fitz is in a good place right now. But watch how douchey Jake will continue to act.

        • Jules says:

          So has Liv, Quinn, Huck, Charlie, Mellie etc. I don’t hear anyone complaining about them. No one’s actions ever gets truly addressed on this show so why is everyone so hung up on Jake. Or is it because he’s in the way of Olitz?

          • Gina says:

            No, it’s because he choked, hospitalised and threatened to KILL the star of the show! How does his treatment of Olivia not bother you?

  12. Caroline says:

    I loved the show in seasons 1 and 2. I am a big Fitz fan and his character is why I keep watching. I am at a loss why we are continually subjected to Joke, B613 and Papa Pope. I’m also super disappointed where they’ve taken Olivia’s character.

  13. Justin says:

    I too bailed on this show;, in retrospect, I should have bailed on it the first time Fitz and Olivia broke up. But I stuck it out till some time in S3, but simply could not deal with the idiocy, inanities and lac of consistency anymore.
    I saw an article online a month or two ago, where Shonda allegedly claimed that there was no storyboard, that the writers get around the table and apparently who has the biggest mouth carries the day. That explains how nonsensical the writing is, having no continuity from week to week. I wish she had said that right at the start.

  14. Justin says:

    BTW – what happened to the gut?

  15. Grace says:

    Stopped watching Season 2. Saw an episode with the roomie the other night. Shonda should be embarrassed to put her name on it.

  16. Cate says:

    to answer your headline – I don’t think I can, anymore. I signed up for a show about poitical gladitors and occasional mercenaries with plenty of competency porn and a side order of romantic drama.
    Instead we’re now living in a conspiracy nutjob land even Agent Mulder would think is crazy. Where the most normal/functional/healthy relationship is between a sociopath and a woman who has been practically driven to psychopathy who don’t mind a little murder/mayham on their datenight. Everybody else is a terrible human being.