review-bMINUSOh, “Scandal”. You really must credit Shonda Rhimes and her team. Never before has a show been so consistently absurd, over-the-top, disorganized, and just altogether a complete trainwreck… and yet still been impossible to stop watching.

We rejoin the show to begin its fifth season, and it’s still as “Scandal”-y as ever. All the classic ingredients are here: Liv and Fitz, a riff on a popular conspiracy theory, mind-blowing twists, and Quinn doing nothing particularly useful.

The scandal-of-the-week tonight revolves around a car accident in which a paparazzi-coveted princess and her bodyguard are killed, but it may be more than it seems. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is an exact copy of a “popular” conspiracy theory surrounding the death of Princess Diana. (As the theory goes, Diana was getting it on with the son of an Egyptian billionaire and had gotten pregnant, and thus was murdered for disgracing the royal family.) Likewise, in the “Scandal” universe, the princess of “Caledonia” was murdered for an affair with her bodyguard; the Scandal twist being that the Queen herself ordered it. Oh boy! After four seasons it’s just all getting too predictable.

Meanwhile, Olivia and Fitz are back together, which is…. something. I don’t know. It’s exhausting at this point. But apparently it’s going to stick; Fitz goes so far as to serve Mellie papers (at her Senate confirmation, no less). More significantly, it is revealed to the world via Sally that Fitz and Olivia are an item as the episode’s “shocking ending”. We’ll have to wait till next week to see what that entails, but my guess is it’ll be just like the last time the world found out about them a couple of seasons ago.

Mellie, obviously, is pissed that Fitz wants to divorce her. She yells at Lizzie Bear, who responds quite ferociously. Nice to see Portia de Rossi get the first monologue of the season. She resorts to going to Cyrus for help, and they mostly just sulk for a while about how Fitz doesn’t love them anymore.

Overall, the “Scandal” opener plays it surprisingly close to the belt. Aside of the end of the episode’s twist, which still wasn’t that shocking, it’s pretty much standard fare for the show. Maybe after four seasons they’re simply running out of twist material, which is perfectly understandable. It will be interesting to see if the show can keep up its steam despite the beginning signs of age shining through.

Other Notes

  • Always good to see Artemis Pebdani (“Always Sunny”) pop up as her absurd VP character, even if just for a brief moment
  • Huck and Jake are apparently teaming up, out of which nothing good can possibly result
  • Kerry Washington is pretty good at this whole acting thing

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