TV Club: After an explosive premiere, Scandal needs a drink

After a season premiere that saw an assassination and cabin explosion, “Hardball” feels like Scandal getting back into the groove. This episode is full of classic Scandal moves––the gladiators pull off a heist, Olivia manipulates someone she claims to care about, Jake tortures someone––but the urgency of last week’s episode is lost. The gang is still desperate to prove Cyrus is guilty, but that plot has to share space with odd Mellie/Marcus flashbacks and the clumsy introduction of Fitz’s next love interest. Scandal wouldn’t be Scandal without romance, but the focus on Mellie and Marcus undermines the entire battle they’re trying to set up between Cyrus and Mellie.

Because, well, with every episode it just becomes more and more clear that Mellie shouldn’t be the president. Mellie spent eight years complaining about the lack of privacy and abandonment she felt as First …

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