- Title: Scandal – Happy Birthday, Mr. President
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The attempted assassination of President Fitzgerald (Tony Goldwyn) throws Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) world into a tailspin. As Fitz fights for his life in a hospital emergency room Olivia thinks back to inauguration day and the first few days of his presidency. With the Press Secretary (Keiko Agena) seriously injured in the attack, and the Vice President’s (Kate Burton) grandstanding attempt to seize power, Olivia returns to the White House to help Cyrus (Jeff Perry) take control of the situation.
The flashbacks shine new light on the events surrounding Hollis Doyle’s (Gregg Henry) culpability in the Cytron explosion and the events that led to Olivia’s departure of the White House and eventually undoing Doyle’s damage by creating Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes) a new life. In the present, Olivia is forced to call on the help of Mellie (Bellamy Young) to stop the Vice President’s power play, but complications from the President’s surgery make it impossible for Cyrus or Olivia to block the VP from invoking the 25th Amendment and taking over as acting President of the United States.
The structure of the episode, jumping between flashbacks, the White House dealing with the assassination attempt and its fallout, and the real-time news updates from a national news anchor (Stephen Collins) work well. The uncertainty of the President’s health raises big questions for everyone’s future, especially how long Olivia will stay at the White House and leave her employees in limbo, but the episode saves its biggest surprise for last with the reveal of the identity of the assassin (Guillermo Díaz) which will have serious consequences for everyone at Olivia Pope and Associates.