Scandal hasn't aired a new episode since December 12. That's a lifetime ago! When we left off, the vice president's husband was dead, Mama Pope was on the run, Quinn had changed allegiances (maybe?), and Olivia? Well, she was being pulled in a bunch of different directions. Scandal's gotta Scandal. One hopes tonight's episode, titled "Ride, Sally, Ride," will have been worth the wait. To that end, here is a ranking of urgency, from most to least essential: Whose stories do we need to know more about right now, and whose subplots can wait?
EXPLAIN THIS RIGHT NOW:
Mama Pope, and her relationship with Eli/Rowan Pope
Honestly, if tonight's entire episode is a flashback to the '80s and explained everything about their backgrounds, that would be great. (It's probably going to be about Sally, though, given the title of the ep.) When we last saw Mama Pope, she had thwarted a plan to fly to Hong Kong — thwarted that plan through murder — and had stayed in D.C. after all; we saw her telling Olivia that she'd see her "soon," and then tossing a burner phone into the trash outside the White House. Who are you? Olivia knows next to nothing about either of her parents, which is starting to feel both frustrating and a little bit contrived.
Huck, Quinn, and that really messed up torture stuff
Huck tortured Quinn, and maybe would have killed her if Olivia hadn't put a stop to it. But this isn't a case of a weird misunderstanding: That torture sequence was crazy and brutal and terrifying, and an appalling violation of everything Huck and Quinn had built together. Is she really into Huck's former colleague Charlie? (They are actually sorta cute together.) Can the other Gladiators really be comfortable working with Huck, knowing he could do that to one of their own? What is going to happen to Quinn in general? And does OPA offer a comprehensive dental plan? Because if Quinn comes back, she's going to need some serious dental surgery.
EXPLAIN THIS SOONER RATHER THAN LATER, PLEASE:
Sally Langston, and if she's ever going to get caught for murdering Daniel Douglas Langston
The sugary but evil VP Sally stabbed her cheating (gay) husband to death, and then called Cyrus to have him cover it up. And he did! Mission accomplished! Or so it seems. But is it really that easy to pay off funeral directors or coroners not to acknowledge that someone has been stabbed to death? (The "official" story is that he had a heart attack.) If this isn't going to be a point of contention, that's okay, but Scandal needs to assure us of that.
James, Cyrus, and the state of their union
Scandal does not hold marriage in high regard. But James and Cyrus, however horrible and cruel and dangerous and exploitative they are (very!), do secretly regard one another as fantastic. They are still awful to each other, with James sleeping with Daniel Douglas Langston to spite Cyrus, even though Cyrus had basically pimped him into doing so. In December, James had convinced Cyrus to finagle him a job as the press secretary for the White House — which is an insane thing to ask for, given that James doesn't really believe in the Fitz administration. What is their deal?
EXPLAIN THIS EVENTUALLY:
Mellie pushing Olivia to come back to work for Fitz
It wasn't really part of "A Door Marked Exit," but Olivia returning to the Fitz administration will have to come up eventually.
YOU KNOW WHAT, DON'T WORRY ABOUT EXPLAINING THIS, IT DOESN'T MATTER:
Abby and David's romance
Let this romance go on in peace! If they don't show us what's happening between these two lovebirds, it means they can't show them breaking up and being terrible to each other.
Anything having to do with Harrison
Sorry, Harrison, you have no interesting stories.