Scandal timed it’s return from hiatus perfectly. While the real world is still healing dealing with the aftermath of our election, fans will finally get to find out who runs the world of Scandal when it returns tonight. So before we found out if it’s #Grant2017 or #Vargas2017  (ah, the glory days of not knowing!) let’s head back to campaign HQ and catch up on where we left off.

First off, let’s take a minute to clap it up for Mellie. First Lady went OFF on Fitz, reminding him that she is the reason he was able to run the world. But she makes it clear that unlike him, she got her name on the ticket by herself. She got there by earning it. It’s a moment a long time coming, and one that proves just how badly Mellie actually wants that seat in the oval. There’s just one-ish problem: she still doesn’t have a VP.
But that’s what Pope & Associates are for! They’re  eventually able to find her some viable candidates (Read: Male. Married. Military) but in the end the name on the ticket ended up being a familiar face: Jake Ballard. Fitz summed this up perfectly with his reaction: “Your ex-boyfriend is gonna be on the ticket with my ex-wife?” But in the end, gives Liv his full support. He specifically says, “I support your decision.” (which fans know yes, applies to Jake, but more-so to the fact that he caught wind of Liv’s medical records earlier in the episode and finally learned of her abortion).
So, while Fitz is letting that sink in, Jake is looking for a super(wo)man to come and save him. He’s able to get his SOS to Liv (thanks,Edison!) that he needs out of Command. There’s just one problem: getting out of Command has legit been impossible this far in the series. This puts Liv at a loss of what to do until Huck offers her this ounce of wisdom: Go in the front door like a gangster. And so she does. Like a G she walks Jake right out of Rowan’s house, even when he had a gun to Jake’s head. And with that Jake is finally free. Well, free from one Pope.
As he’s getting ready to take the stage with Mellie he decides he’s gonna bow out of the race. He’s finally free and ready to be normal. But Liv, in an almost direct quote from her father, says she didn’t “work twice as hard for half as much.” Mediocrity is not on the table for them her. It’s then that Jake realizes he went from being one Pope’s bitch to another. And why Liv put him on the ticket in the first place. He gives one final plea for them to heard toward normalcy, but Liv is literally #NotAboutThatLife. So on to the stage he goes.
Apparently, neither of these candidates have been prepping properly because Vargas is also left without a running mate. Cyrus, has some ideas of his own, another friendly, familiar, albeit fair, face: David Rosen. He thinks the two would be the perfect storm because they’re cut from the same cloth. The cloth that believes they can actually change the world aka the type of fabric Cyrus would never wear.  So, while David mulls that over, Cyrus returns to campaign HQ and finds Vargas finishing up conversations with a very “generous” donor: Rowan. He introduces the idea of Jake being the VP for Vargas, and ultimately Vargas asks Cyrus for his opinion. Cyrus gives a super unfiltered response: he’s a monster and a murderer. Then he snaps out of his daydream, and tells him he’s the perfect guy for the job. Welcome back two-faced, Cyrus!
Cut to the end of the episode when Cyrus learns of Liv’s little VP-switcheroo, and finds his candidate without a VP. But as we all know, Cyrus is always wiling to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. And what he wants is to be back in the White House. After chatting with Liv, and promising her that one of them is making their way back to the oval, we see Vargas make his way on stage with his new VP: Cyrus. Welcome back conniving, Cyrus!
The outcome:
While we won’t know the outcome of this election until tonight at 9/8c, we do know one thing: this entire plan has essentially been orchestrated by Rowan. As moves are being made at the end of the episode, we get a montage of all the words of er… wisdom, that Rowan has given Olivia over the years. We see that he’s not only created this path for her, but has been leading her down it the entire time. So when Cyrus tells Liv that one of them is getting back in the White House her response is simple: “It’s gonna be me.” But what she doesn’t know is Papa Pope is sitting back, smiling with an eerie sense of pride saying, “That’s my girl.”