(LOS ANGELES) — On the season-six premiere of Scandal, Huck and Quinn are seen walking in the woods, where a cabin blows up right in front of them. The explosion leads into election night the day before, where the race is in a dead heat between first lady Mellie Grant and Senator Frankie Vargas.
It appears as if Mellie is going to win, but Olivia looks perplexed because she knows a county is in question. Soon after a tense moment, it’s revealed that Vargas wins. Unfortunately, Mellie refuses to give up, saying she wants to get the officials on the phone to make sure there wasn’t vote tampering.
Knowing the loss was her fault, Olivia breaks down in a separate room. Soon after, President Fitz comes in to tell her to get it together because Mellie is in denial about losing. Olivia pulls it together and tells Mellie “it’s over,” and puts her on the phone with Senator Vargas to officially concede.
As Vargas makes his speech, Mellie and Olivia drink in their sorrows on the bathroom floor. Mellie vents about Cyrus Beene being on the winning team, but Oliva warns Mellie to “be nice” to the man who may possibly become president.
Meanwhile, we find out that president-elect Vargas is shot while making his victory speech. Now Fitz and the White House are scrambling to find the shooter. Abby goes to the hospital to put it on lock down, while the gladiators are in work mode to conduct their own investigation.
Liv visits Marcus Walker, the press secretary, to learn Vargas’ condition. He reveals that the president-elect is on his deathbed. Soon after, he’s seen flat-lining.
During this time, Fitz meets with David Rosen to find out who will become president if Vargas dies. Rosen says Fitz ultimately gets to make that decision — by way of his endorsement.
To find out who killed Vargas, Olivia visits her father, Eli, who denies his involvement, but admits Vargas’ death is a good thing because now Mellie can be president. Eli then reveals that it’s Cyrus Beene who killed Vargas — so he could become president in Vargas’ place.
Olivia tells the gladiators to investigate Cyrus, and also tells Mellie that with Frankie dead, it’s time for her to step up. However, Mellie says she’s done with running for president. Olivia says she’s not.
Meanwhile, the president is still pondering whom he wants to endorse: Cyrus or Mellie. He tells Abby not to let Vargas’ wife announce his death until he can make up his mind. Olivia visits the president to advocate for Mellie, and tells him that Cyrus killed Vargas to get into the White House. Fitz says he needs proof, and gives Liv until the morning to confirm it. Back at the office, the Gladiators and Charlie try to figure out how Cyrus is connected.
At the White House, Fitz and Mellie vent to each. Fitz tells Mellie he has to choose between her and Cyrus, and Mellie tells Fitz she wants the presidency.
At Pope and Associates, the gladiators still can’t confirm Cyrus was the culprit, so Liv goes to the hospital to confront Cyrus — but stops her pursuit once she sees that he’s in shock. Now realizing that Cyrus is not in his right mind, Olivia tells Fitz it wasn’t Cyrus, and tells him “he knows what to do.” Fitz then visits Cyrus at the hospital and gives him his endorsement as president.
In the final minutes of the premiere, Marcus breaks the news to Mellie that Cyrus Beene is going to be president. Charlie reveals he wants to marry Quinn, and she accepts, while Huck discovers there is a missing call on the tip line from someone on the Vargas team.
After Huck and Quinn investigate and find the body of the woman who gave the tip, Charlie unlocks the call to which everyone at Pope and Associates learn that it was indeed Cyrus who shot Vargas.
During this time, Fitz publicly endorses Cyrus, while Olivia goes to Cyrus’ new headquarters and tells him she knows he killed the president-elect.
Scandal returns next Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.
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