Welcome back, gladiators, to 'Scandal'! It's been a few months but we're delighted that the exploits of Olivia, Quinn, Abby, Huck and Harrison as Washington DC becomes the biggest and most dangerous political playground on the planet. Betrayal, murder, assassinations, secrets, affairs, paternity issues and everything under the sun - God how we've missed 'Scandal', so let's return with this Sally-centered episode. We jump right back into the heart of the action as Mellie races to inform Cyrus of Sally announcing her plans to run as President in the next election, the media having a field day. James, Cyrus and Mellie are planning on how to deal with the Sally situation, looking at polls, potential leaking information, and soon interrupts Fitz and Olivia in a hot-and-heavy makeout - she's his new campaign manager and Mellie is just thrilled by this latest development. Olivia is running the campaign for Fitz, helping the team attack Sally through well-designed points, touching on her status as a 'traitor' and a 'selfish quitter'. Sally announces via a media broacast that she intends to run as an independent whilst remaining as Vice President, shocking the media and Olivia's team. In the aftermath, a drunken and furious Fitz is calmed down by Liv at Mellie's behest, and rejects their offers of a new VP in lieu of his own choice - straight white male Andrew Nichols, a former Army colleague and governor of California. Fitz shuns them all, even Olivia. Discussing Nichols and Liv wanting him removed as Fitz's VP candidate, Cyrus reveals Ballard taking charge of B613 to Olivia's surprise. Liv meets up with her dad, Rowan/Eli, at a treasured spot. They discuss their memories of Maya and their family past, before Liv reveals that she knows he got fired and is sorry. Rowan talks her down and berates her for her naivety and her bad choices, which led to the freeing of Maya. He becomes threatening, threatening her and Fitz, promising he will kill Fitz to Olivia's horror. James and David Rosen review Sally's confession of murder in David's offer, and although the tape is inadmissable, David thinks they can take them down. James disagrees and soon David receivs a call from Harrison who asks them to investigate Adnan Salif. David reluctantly agrees. In a newspaper office, a mysterious figure known as Publius texts young reporter Vanessa about Daniel Douglas' autopsy, while on a political TV show, Sally's manager Leo and Abby are having an on-air tete-a-tete when Leo flings mud at Olivia's rumoured relationship with Fitz, startling Abby and sending more intrigue and rumour the White House's way, forcing James to deal with an escalating situation. Vanessa brings up Daniel's autopsy - or lack thereof - live on air and soon it spreads, Sally and Leo discuss the situation, Sally bringing up her religious rhetoric to justify murdering her husband, revealing the truth to Leo, including Cyrus covering it up. Leo challenges Cyrus, revealing he knows about the murder and Cyrus covering it up. Later, Cyrus and James talk about trying to keep things together as a family and protect one another, although they soon disagree. Cyrus tells Mellie to work the charm offensive with Fitz to keep the campaign together with Olivia and Fitz's rumoured love on the books. Mellie takes Liv out to dinner so that they can smile for the camerras and Mellie can tell her to stay away from Fitz, giving Liv a choice of fake boyfriends to start dating for the sake of the campaign. At the B613 office, Ballard and Charlie have a meeting, and Ballard officially releases Quinn from the B613 camp - just as Olivia and her team investigate Andrew Nichols for the White House campaign and interview him. Charlie and Quinn later discuss her current situation, Charlie suggesting Ballard needs time to recruit Quinn, shortly before Cyrus hires Charlie. Quinn kidnaps the young son of Dr Linda Sulliva, the coroner in charge of Daniel's autopsy. Olivia orders Huck and Abby to find information on Daniel Douglas' autopsy report and soon go to the coroner, threatening her with a past indiscretion in order to reveal the truth. Linda, however lies, saying Daniel's death was an accident, as Charlie and Quinn are holding her son hostage until Abby and Huck leave, with Quinn visibly missing her gladiators. Harrison discovers from David that Adnan is here to stay, much to his dismay, and steals Abby's gun. Abby catches him and he reveals the truth about Adnan coming to kill him. Abby is concerned and gives him the gun for protection. Later that night, Harrison is approached by Adnan - who is actually a beautiful woman - and soon they're getting busy on the desk. Wow, go Harrison? I guess? Olivia interviews Andrew Nichols and berates him about his perceived notions - he comes off as shallow, commitment-phobic - and Nichols reveals he missed his chance with his one true love, so he puts himself into his work. He comes across quite earnest and sweet, really. Meanwhile, Vanessa asks for more info about Daniel's autopsy, but to no current avail. Liv soon gate-crashes the Oval Office for Fitz (with poor, adorable Lauren caught in the crossfire) and she soon tells him that she likes Nichols, but not for the VP role. Olivia offers her resignation to help his campaign. Soon, they're kissing - because of course they are - and Fitz refuses her resignation, treading the line between being sweet and being creepy as hell. Liv turns the conversation to Ballard's recent posting as B613 head, angry that he will be corrupted by the role, and Fitz admits he needs his secrets protecting, and Ballard is the only man for the job. Things end frosty, however, and it seems their exhaustative love affair continues. Sigh. Olivia and Ballard meet at her apartment and discuss his new B613 appointment. Liv wants Quinn back, but he doesn't have her, and soon their conversation escalates into an argument about where his patriotism and loyalties lie. Cyrus and Leo discuss the leak, uncomfortably working together for their own interests in the cover up of Daniel's death, and discuss that someone is leaking the information to Vanessa. They're unaware that Cyrus' photo frame of his family has a bug inside it, courtesy of James who is determined to reveal the truth, along with David, and soon reveals himself (James) to Publius. The next day, Liv is seen with Ballard in the park, releasing the heat off Fitz and Olivia's relationship, and ahead of a Presidential rally to announce his new running mate, Liv assures him this means she can stay on the campaign. Sally and Leo meet to arrange something new, with Leo meeting with none other than Rowan. Scary! In a quick flashback, Nichols and Mellie chat while Fitz is distracted, and a previous love between them is discussed. Nichols is announced as Fitz's running mate to thunderous applause, the eyes of the world upon the trio. A great, solid episode to reintroduce the world of Scandal and one that jumps in with Sally taking centre stage as the heart of the political maelstrom. Kate Burton is the episode's MVP, switching between steely determination and the wide-eyed zeal of a religious woman. The regular cast do well here as well, although Guillermo Diaz gets nothing to do apart the odd bit of exposition. Darby Stanchfield and Columbus Short get more screentime and fun scenes together, making their interactions a highlight of the episode, and Harrison's development is welcome here. All in all, 'Ride, Sally, Ride' is a solid return from the winter break and sets up big stories and major players for the future as the chessboard settles itself with old players in new positions, and new players in older positions. Shonda Rhimes and her writers clearly haven't lost their touch, and we'll be right here to see it flourish. ED NOTE: CAN YOU ADD FOUR STARS, PLEASE?