‘Scandal’ Season 6 Premiere Recap: Six Craziest Moments — Election Results, a Major Death and More!

No amount of popcorn and red wine could help fans cope with the wild Thursday, January 26, return of Scandal — clearly, Shonda Rhimes was coming for Us harder than Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is now coming for Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry). The episode picked up on election night, in the tight race between Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Frankie Vargas (Ricardo Chavira). It took about 10 minutes for the results to come in — and a character to be killed off. TGIT. Here’s what happened in the crazy episode.

“I’m sorry I lost”

Just a few tense minutes in, we learned Mellie lost the race, and only by a few thousand votes. A distraught Olivia offered tough love to handle the situation, telling Mellie to concede immediately and avoid the public writing her off as a “bitch” or a crybaby. 

“Do you hear me? We lost. They won. It’s over. Make the damn call,” the crisis manager said. Olivia briefly broke down on Fitz’s shoulder and later drunkenly bonded with Mellie over a bottle of champagne in the bathroom, apologizing for letting them lose. What’s more shocking, the loss or their heart-to-heart? It’s a tossup.

The assassination

Moments after he was announced president-elect, cries were heard as Frankie Vargas was shot while giving a speech on national TV. While in the hospital, it’s revealed he was shot in his arm, stomach and across his face. Next thing we knew, his pulse went flat, and he died. Even more of a sick twist? Since he wasn’t officially elected by the electoral college, it was up to current president Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) to pass the baton. #OliviaPopeForPresident. Just saying.

“Survival of the fittest, Olivia”

With the instinct that her cutthroat father (Joe Morton) had something to do with the murder (because why wouldn’t he?), Olivia immediately approached him. “It was a genius move,” he admitted, but said he wasn’t involved. Not only did he claim to be innocent, but he pointed a finger at a much more believable suspect. “How could let that man outplay you?” Papa Pope asked Olivia. “He’s always been the most dangerous predator.” Cyrus Beene, you psycho, psycho little man.

Katie Lowes, Guillermo Diaz and Kerry Washington (from left). Tony Rivetti/ABC

Olivia kind of wants to be president

With the next POTUS decision in Fitz’s hands, Olivia urged Mellie to continue fighting for the role, even though she lost. “You don’t think I’m going to step on the corpse of Frankie Vargas at a chance at the Oval, do you?” she asked Olivia. With Mellie sternly telling Olivia she was done running for president, Olivia fought back with, “Well, I am not.” Dang, girl. 

We kind of knew this already, but obviously, Liv didn’t quit there and still urged Fitz to pick Mellie/her: “The king is dead, Fitz. Long live the king. Your word is all it takes.” OK, can we just name Olivia president already?

Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn Tony Rivetti/ABC

“Good luck, Cy”

Olivia’s team relentlessly searched for a link between Cyrus and the shooter to prove Cyrus did it in hopes of becoming POTUS. (Remember that he also staged a murder for Vargas to be nominated, a.k.a. he plays by his own rules.) But shockingly, Olivia went to the hospital to see Cyrus, where he simply looked out with a frightened gaze, covered in blood, unable to speak and in shock.

After coming to the conclusion that Cyrus didn’t stage the shooting, Fitz — wait for it — gave him the presidency. “I am handing you the most beautiful thing in the world. I’m handing you America. Take care of it,” he said. But of course the twists wouldn't stop there. Pass the wine, please.

"You son of a bitch"

After Fitz named Cyrus the next POTUS, Olivia’s team recovered a message on a tip line from a woman on Vargas' campaign who said Cyrus orchestrated the shooting. She was later not-so-coincidently killed from an explosion while in a cabin in the woods. In the last scene, Olivia politely approached Cyrus, offering her condolences before quietly delivering this slay into his ear: “You son of a bitch. I know you killed him, and I’m going to prove it.” Again, more confirmation that the merciless Olivia Pope needs to be POTUS already. Until then, we’ll happily watch her take Cyrus down.

Tell Us: Do you think Cyrus was actually crazy enough to kill Frankie Vargas?

Scandal airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!