Season 6 of ABC’s Scandal returned tonight and picked up right where we left off. Season 5 ended with Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) securing the a spot in the general election race against Pennsylvania Gov. Frankie Vargas (Ricardo Chavira). The new season opened on Election Day, where Mellie and campaign manager Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) are awaiting the results of what seems to be a win for the Republican nominee.
However, in what is described as “one of the greatest setbacks in political history,” it was revealed that Vargas, dubbed “The Comeback King,” had won the election, thus becoming the 45th President of the United States. But, in a Shondaland-esque turn of events, President-elect Vargas is then fatally shot three times at the podium during his acceptance speech.
As his last major decision, President Fitz Grant (Tony Goldwyn) is tasked with selecting the next President, which can go to anyone of his choosing. Still feeling the guilt from his win through a fixed election, he chooses Vice President-elect Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry), who is revealed at the end of the show as a prime suspect in Vargas’ murder.
The Scandal-world election comes six days after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, which delayed the show’s return one week. This season was shortened and pushed from fall to midseason to accommodate Washington’s second pregnancy.