olivia having wine with mellie lunch ride sally ride season 3 scandalGladiators, Scandal is baaaack from its midseason hiatus, and as usual, Shonda Rhimes & Co. have our adrenaline pumping from the get-go ... 

Last we saw Vice President Sally Langston, she was freaking out about killing her husband Daniel, and as a result, we were pretty sure she wouldn't follow through with her threat of running as an independent against Fitz in the upcoming election. But oh no, she's running!

And hence a big ol' mess of crazy coming down the pipeline involving Cyrus (who helped cover up the murder), James (who knows his husband covered up the murder yet wants to continue sleeping with the enemy and serving as White House Press Secretary only to ultimately expose him for the "monster" that he is), Sally's campaign manager Leo (who's aware of all of it and is now seeking backup support from now-fired B613 Command, aka Olivia's pops Rowan Pope), and David Rosen (who James is conspiring with to take down his monster husband).

In the meantime, Olivia is serving as Fitz's campaign manager, and the on-again, off-again couple is currently back on, getting caught locking lips in the Oval Office by none other than beleaguered Mellie. What's new, though? Oh, well, the fact that we may be about to see Mellie herself stray from her marriage to the POTUS, it seems! Fitz has to replace Sally as his running mate, so he chooses Andrew Nichols (The Closer's Jon Tenney), his former lieutenant governor of California who is currently holding Fitz's former job in the Golden State. Nichols is also a playboy bachelor because, as he admits to Olivia while being vetted, he missed out on marrying the woman he really loved ... who we soon learn must be Mellie. OMG.

While that story line is setting up to be all sorts of sexy fun, tonight's ep already touched on the always juicy Olivia-Fitz-Jake love triangle that so isn't over. In attempt to distract the public from any negative Sally scoop, Leo re-fuels the public fire over that rumored affair between Fitz and Olivia. A fire Mellie knows she can't let get out of control, lest it threaten Fitz's re-election.

So she calls Olivia to meet her for a very public lunch, where the copious photogs and reporters present are bound to tell the story she wants them to tell, that Mellie and Olivia are so friendly, Olivia can't possibly be with Fitz. But, as Mellie explains, that strategy is just day one. Day two requires Olivia picking an eligible bachelor to at least appear to date. Oof. Tough but true. And so Olivia picks none other than ... Jake Ballard, now Command of B613. Yes, the very same Jake who told her he loves her. Ahhh, chills! Of course Fitz was PISSED! Too bad, though! As Olivia murmured to herself while wallowing around her apartment in her signature white sweater cardigan, sipping from her signature Big Gulp-sized glass of wine, they're only getting further from Vermont. That said, a fixer's gotta do what a fixer's gotta do!

Oh, also, we've got some hotness for Harrison on the horizon, with Adan Salif, the dreaded enemy from the past he's been totally freaked out about, showing HER face. While it seems like he'd be wise to run in the other direction, the two of them apparently have irresistible albeit potentially dangerous chemistry.

All in all, Scandal shows no signs of slowin' down or getting more sane in the final eight episodes of season 3. Loving it!

What was your reaction to all the crazy on tonight's midseason return? What do you think is going to happen between Mellie and Nichols? What about Olivia and Jake? Harrison and Adan?!

 

Image via ABC