Written by Carlye Wisel
You know when you want to catch up with a friend but dread the actual required phone call because it’s been at least a year and there’s too much to catch up on? Unless you’ve been a dedicated watcher since season one, you might also feel that way about the incessantly-talked-about Scandal.
Good news! With this guide, you’ll get caught up all the way to tonight’s episode (we’re currently neck-deep into season three) in less than five minutes.
ALSO: spoiler alerts below. ALL OF THE SPOILER ALERTS. But that’s the point, right?
There’s nothing Olivia Pope can’t do. Or survive.
Olivia is a “Fixer,” which means she’s the main character, a police chief, PR maven, White House Press Secretary and Clinton-rivaling pantsuit diva all wrapped into one. There’s no problem she cannot fix, from bloody apartments to kidnapped babies to a big-time Congressman accidentally murdering his contractor. She has a long-running affair with President Fitzgerald Grant that some (but not all) people know about, but they’re in love so it’s, like, okay or something.
Her dad is an evil, powerful CIA guy who’s not as evil as she once thought (Scandal!), and her mom is an evil terrorist who’s not as dead-at-sea from a plane crash as Olivia once thought (Scandal!!).
It’s essentially a never-ending battle of good vs. evil.
Olivia and her team, a rag-tag bunch of wounded birds she’s saved personally from individual tragedy, are good.
B-613, the secret CIA program that trains off-the-grid secret agents — previously run by Olivia’s dad! — is evil.
President Grant, despite sticking his free world-leading rod in Olivia while holding office, is good.
Religious nutbag Sally Langston, current Vice President and secret husband-murderer, is evil. (See how this works?)
The only two that exist in the middle of the venn diagram are President Grant’s overly ambitious Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene, whose scandalous ways are to blame for his husband’s recent murder, and Quinn Perkins, doe-eyed B-613 agent and former employee of Olivia’s, who could still go either way.
There are lots of scandals, but only a few are huge.
Practically everybody in the show fixed the election to help Fitz win the presidency, which he was pissed about. He’s over it now, but if it pops back up, it’ll be referred to as Defiance, Ohio.
Season Two revolved around Fitz’s involvement in the plane Olivia’s mom “died” on, but it was all a hoax because she’s a crazy biotch.
Season 3 is full of nutzo plotlines, but Cyrus Beene’s husband getting murdered for trying to expose Vice President Sally Langston for murdering her own husband seems to be the strongest. (Whew.) Besides the terrorist attack Olivia’s mom appears to planning on US soil, of course.
Everyone’s slept with everyone.
Trust us, just assuming that no one is sexually off limits makes things a whole lot easier. Important relationships to note: Olivia and B-613’s current head Jake Ballard — aka Scott Foley from ye olde Felicity — banged a bunch, which made for a love triangle with his old Navy bro, President Grant.
Millie Grant and Andrew Nichols, President Grant’s VP candidate for the next election, have a secret fling, but less because of his lush hairline and more because he sees “the real her.”
Quinn and Olivia’s employee-BFF Huck have a weirdly sexual mentor-student relationship, and while it hasn’t been consummated beyond a kiss, he got real aroused by the idea of murdering her. Yeah, it’s pretty gross.
Kerry Washington is so beautiful it hurts your eyes to stare directly at her.
Like the sun! Or a spotlight! Nothing to do with the show, but it’s scientifically proven.
You see, Scandal is SO beautiful and insane that President Fitzgerald Grant narrowly survived an assassination attempt and it’s not even on the radar of important shit that’s gone down in Washington. The president! But still, we just saved you fifty hours of life you would have otherwise wasted on Netflix.