[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday's episode of Scandal. Read at your own risk!]
After a nerve-wracking Scandal-less holiday — sarcastic thank you, Shonda Rhimes — President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) finally woke up from his coma after being shot multiple times by Huck's assassin girlfriend. As if we couldn't get more excited, the first person Fitz wanted to see was... Olivia (Kerry Washington)! Yes, knocking at death's door may have given Fitz a new outlook on life, which should make Fitzlivia fans very happy. But there are still many obstacles ahead for POTUS to face, including rehabilitating from being shot in the head (!) and cleaning up Mellie's (Bellamy Young) mess. To get the scoop on what's ahead, TVGuide.com turned to Goldwyn:
How has the shooting affected Fitz?
Tony Goldwyn: It's affected him pretty severely physically, which you will find out about. It's going to be a struggle for him. But also, as classically happens in a situation like this, it's given him a sense of real clarity about what he's doing and what's important in his life, mainly Olivia, but also a lot of things. In a lot of ways, this even clears the slate for Fitz. He will become more purposeful, being less concerned with what everyone thinks he should do and setting in motion what he believes is important.
How will the shooting affect his ability to work?
Goldwyn: It's going to be a struggle. Fitz is going to push himself very, very hard. Mellie really sticks her neck out and does this terribly stupid thing of forging Fitz's signature, and he's going to have to be present enough to figure out a way to fix that for her in order to protect her. It'll cost him. It's going to be really tough for him.
Is he happy about what she did, or does it cause more of a headache for him?
Goldwyn: Oh, no, I don't think he's happy about it all. He views it as another example of Mellie's overreaching. He has real contempt for it. He would never do that. Fitz's attitude towards Mellie is so complicated. In one sense, he has a compassion for her and he knows on some level Mellie was trying to preserve his legacy and to keep Sally Langston (Kate Burton) from having power, and that somehow Mellie had faith that Fitz was going to come out of it and she just took the bull by the horns. But at the same time, there's the flipside of that coin where Fitz has tremendous contempt for Mellie's striving ambition. In many ways, he hates her for it, even though he's deeply connected to her. It's messy and it swings back and forth, his feelings about Mellie in that way, which I think is really great.
Ultimately, she was trying to protect him because Sally Langston was doing some shady stuff with Hollis (Gregg Henry) to try to take over. Are we going to see Fitz go head-to-head with Sally or is he unaware of how far Sally really has gone?
Goldwyn: No, I think he's going to know. Fitz is going to skillfully solve this situation. In my view, I think Fitz is smarter than Sally. I don't know if Kate Burton would agree with me. [Laughs] But I think Fitz is this idealistic, great guy politician, but at the same time he knows where to stick the knife when he needs to. Despite his disability and the fact that he's just awoken from a coma and has gunshot wounds in his body, one in his head, he will handle Sally and save Mellie. But he's not going to be happy about what Mellie did.
What about Cyrus' (Jeff Perry) role in that? Cyrus is Fitz's best friend, but he still had a role in helping Mellie in faking Fitz's condition.
Goldwyn: Which is true, and Cyrus' pitch to Fitz is that Mellie did this before she told Cyrus about it. She went ahead and did it and then it fell into Cyrus' lap to clean up the mess, and thank God Fitz woke up. He won't hold this against Cyrus. We just need to move on now and fix it.
You mentioned that Fitz is going to look at things differently, including Olivia. Will he ultimately change his mind about breaking things off with her?
Goldwyn: Things are very complicated, as you see. But put it this way, the first person that he wanted to talk to when he woke up was Olivia. It's kind of like the Downton Abbey premiere, where Matthew says to Mary, "I've realized that I won't be happy with anybody as long as you're walking this Earth." I think that Fitz realizes that about Olivia. So, that's one of the things he's gotten really clear. I'll just say yes, he's going to make attempts to get clarity on that and not playing any more games, but it's going to be very complicated and problematic. We're going to go a whole other round now with Olivia and Fitz.
Will we see more flashbacks to their past?
Goldwyn: There's going to be a whole flashback. It's another flashback episode where you go back rather like in the sixth episode of last season on the campaign trail. We're going to now go back to approaching the actual election and get deeper into Fitz and Olivia's loving relationship. We'll meet Fitz's father, who is a real problematic person in his life. Barry Bostwick is playing him. There's going to be a whole lot about Fitz and Olivia in flashback as well as in present.
Will we find out how much Fitz really knows about how the cabal of five rigged the election?
Goldwyn: Nothing. Nothing. I think I'm safe to say — I don't think Shonda would mind — Fitz is not part of that and whatever that is, it's very complicated and you'll find out more about it in the upcoming episodes, but Fitz is totally in the dark about it.
The audience knows Hollis was the one who set out to assassinate Fitz, so the question is: Will Fitz also find out that Hollis is behind it? Will he investigate the reasons why he was shot?
Goldwyn: Well, I don't think Fitz takes anything at face value. Yes, you will find out that that's the theory, but I don't know that he buys it 100 percent and is allowing the FBI and the CIA to do their job. He is charging Cyrus to figure out what really is going on. I don't think Fitz is going to accept that it was as simple as Hollis trying to off him. It doesn't make any sense. Whether that's what happened or not, I can't reveal that. It doesn't add up to Fitz. So, it is, in fact, more complicated than that. But he's got to run the country and he's dealing with his injury and in recovery, so he's not going to be primarily involved in that investigation.
For what he is involved with, does that run the risk of bringing him close to finding out what the cabal of five has done in rigging the election?
Goldwyn: I suppose so. I don't know. I hadn't thought about it that way. I suppose the more he digs into Hollis, the more he could find out about what's going on. He can't think why Hollis would want him dead, but we're going to find out.
Are you excited about the possibility of Fitz and Olivia getting back together? Hit the comments!
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.