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09/26/2014 06:12 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2014

'Scandal' Recap: Season 4 Gets Off To A Steamy, Wild Start

ABC

Welcome to our "Scandal" chat! Each week, we'll review the ups and the mind-bogglingly twisted downs of everyone's favorite bonkers show. This week, we're discussing the Season 4 premiere, "Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia."

JACK:

Danielle,

First, how incredibly delightful is it that "Scandal" is back? The world was a bleaker, less forgiving place with it gone. And, of course, I am equally delighted to be doing this again with you. Plus, this was kind of a great episode to come back on.

OK, let's get to it. First, the hair. There is so much exposition-via-hair in this episode that we have to go through it (hair)piece by piece.

Season 3 ended with Olivia getting on that plane with Jake and going off to that mysterious island, and the first thing we notice when "Randy, Red, Superfreak and Julia" opens is that Olivia's ditched the sleek look for some awesome curls. DC Olivia is dead — this is Island Olivia! Or, Island Julia, really, since that's what Olivia is calling herself these days. She's also got Jake around for the crucial jobs of not wearing a shirt and pleasuring her. (He's also sporting a bit more of a casual look.) What could go wrong?

Duh, everything. Just as we predicted, Olivia's off that island in about two seconds once she gets some mail with the tragic information that Harrison is dead. She returns to DC and straightens her hair again. RIP Island Olivia. I loved your hair. (She says she's only coming back to plan Harrison's funeral. Three minutes in, and already the lies are starting this season.)

Cyrus's new hair, however, gave me that sad and depressed feeling inside, much like I imagine Cyrus to be a lot of the time. He has desperate-old-man-who-doesn't-want-us-to-notice-he's-balding-and-got-a-disgusting-hairpiece hair. Maybe it was a present to himself after James died. (RIP James.)

Otherwise, Cyrus seems about the same, spearheading yet another ideological overhaul in the seemingly endlessly permeable Grant White House. He's also sparring with Portia de Rossi, who, even though she's playing the head of the RNC, seems to have been given a cheap Hillary Clinton wig. When those two were in the same room I almost found myself having to look away from the hair horror show on display.

In the hair upgrade department: Abby, who became the new White House press secretary after Olivia took off on a plane and abandoned everyone she loved the most. Her job is much better than the one Huck got at a—gulp—technology store. She's ditched the weirdly glam hair she was sporting last season for an altogether nicer look. Maybe this means that Abby will have a real role this season? She certainly has enough on her plate in the White House, especially with the First Family in the state it's in.

Mellie, for instance, has turned into a drunken zombie who won't even get out of her pj's. Her hair, which used to reach Dolly Parton levels of altitude, has never looked so lank, but then, again, neither has she. You can't really blame her, either, since she has to deal with the murder of her son, the fact that she's married to Fitz, and the fact that everything is basically terrible.

Fitz's hair is basically the same, but that's because he's a repressed WASP whose coldness will eventually lead to his downfall. (Sorry I'm just over this man.) He won't discuss his recent suicide attempt with Mellie, leaving them with probably just the weather and Instagram to talk about.

Quinn and Huck's hair also remain the same. Huck gets a pass because he's all messed up inside, but Quinn doesn't because she's Quinn and the fact that she's still alive makes me angry. She seems to be back in the fold, though, helping Olivia when a real-life Scandal Of The Week happens and she needs to Handle It. It seems like Liv didn't need too much of an excuse to get back into the game, much to Jake's chagrin. Goodbye island sex, hello lots of talking in bed about DC evil. Jake's going to need to get a new hobby. (He can keep up the blush-worthy pillow talk to Liv, though. Talk about a moment where everyone went "daaaaaaaamn.")

I haven't talked much about the plot of the episode because it was mostly about getting everyone sort of back together, but what did you make of David becoming Attorney General, or Papa Pope being the same horrible person he always was and lying to Liv about not killing all those people and about killing her mom? Oh, and what about Liv's white suit only getting busted out at the end, and that moment with Fitz? And will you miss Island Olivia's hair as much as me?

DANIELLE:

Jack,

Now that "Scandal" is back, it feels like things are right with the world again. The sun is shining brighter, the birds are chirping louder, and the turmoil and all-encompassing evil of the show's ongoing plot are back in their rightful place. HURRAY!

I wholeheartedly agree with you. The hair in this episode is something to behold, and I feel like each character's hair tells a serious story about each individual. As much as I was loving Liv's -- er, Julia's -- island look, it just didn't fit her as naturally as the straight look paired with a classic trench coat. In the same way, the island just didn't fit her. As soon as she got back to DC she fell right back into her old habits -- which, as they say, die hard. But I got the sense that as relaxing as that island was, filled with a shirtless, scruffy Jake and presumably lots of sex on the beach, it wasn't fulfilling her the way fixing terrible problems and whirling in the political evil of DC is.

I was happy to see Harrison get a proper sendoff. As awkward as it would have been to pretend like his character just disappeared, I have to say I was sort of expecting that. But I was happy to see his spirit kept alive in a sort of respectful way that brought all the gladiators back together (even if it was just for a moment, although let's be honest: they're all gonna come back together eventually).

As much as it looks like Abby has made a way for herself and struck gold in the White House, she's still very obviously an outsider -- a fact that is pointed out repeatedly from Mellie calling her "red-headed woman" to David Rosen telling her that nobody knows her name. Despite her sharp-talking, "I only have three minutes" attitude she seems lost just like everyone else. She's just doing her day job and going through the motions, the same way Huck is. As for Quinn, sigh. I'm still annoyed that she's alive and I'm confused that she decided to bat for the other team again and is so vehemently loyal to Liv once again.

Mellie was a super-genius in this episode! The thing I love about Mellie is, even when she's got a drink in hand, deflated hair and is donning the universal depressed woman's uniform (Uggs and sweats), she still exhibits this silent strength. The scene where she frankly tells Fitz she has no time for b.s. -- including waxing her vajay and pretending like he's not going to eventually become wrapped up in Olivia again -- was just another example of her ability to keep on keeping on despite everything she has been through: dead son, her husband's missing mistress, rape and Fitz's attempted suicide.

I totally agree with you about Cyrus. The hair hurt my soul, the same way James' death did. But I wasn't surprised, considering the circumstances. His whole speech to Fitz about Olivia and how "we've all seen this movie before" was spot on and I was so glad somebody said it. As much as that last scene was great and both Fitz and Liv managed to temporarily pretend like they've moved on, we all know there will be the inevitable sappy scene between the two of them... le sigh.

As for Jake, I'm really interested to see what hobby he takes up now that Olivia is back at it. My guess is that he goes after Rowan and B6-13. This episode was interesting because he was sort of treated like an object whose sole purpose was pleasuring Olivia. I'm interested to see where that goes.

Papa Pope remains evil, and he will obviously be pissed off by the fact that Olivia is back. Fitz is depressed, and I'm pretty sure the only thing that will bring him back to life is Liv.

Can't wait to see what Shonda's got in store this season!!!

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