"The first four episodes are're going to need respirators. It's crazy."

Welcome back into the eye of the Scandal storm, Gladiators!

After a brutal 75-day wait (But who was counting?), ABC has finally decided to gift us with the TV version of crack as Scandal returns with its winter premiere, amazingly titled "Ride, Sally, Ride,"  tonight at 10 p.m. (Our therapist is so relieved that we will finally stop talking about our abandonment issues.)

Of course, it was been awhile, so we won't blame you if your memory is a little fuzzy on all the mayhem that went down in the winter finale in December. Don't worry, we've got you covered. We're running down everything you need to know before sitting down with a glass of red and a bowl of popcorn for tonight's outing, as well as teasing what you can expect from the rest of season three...

Where We Left Off

Mommy Dearest: Oh, what fools we were to fear Rowan (Joe Morton) instead of Mama Pope, Maya (Khandi Alexander), who was revealed to be a terrorist. And is currently on the loose (looking fabulous in a gorgeous white coat) in D.C. Oops! With parents like this, it's no wonder Olivia (Kerry Washington) likes to indulge in a nightly glass (or bottle) of vino.

New Boss Man: Jake (Scott Foley) is the new head of B613. Let us repeat that: Jake is the new head of B613. With the help of Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), Jake has taken over as command for Rowan. (He also told Olivia he loves her. Whoa, boy.)

Gladiator Down: "You're not a Gladiator anymore," Huck (Giullermo Diaz), who had tortured the crap (and teeth) out of her earlier, told Quinn (Katie Lowes) when she tried to rejoin OPA after her detour with Charlie and B613. So where did she go? Right back into Charlie's open arms. Sigh.


ABC/Nicole Wilder

VP Gets Stabby: Enraged by her husband Daniel's (Jack Coleman) philandering (and gay) ways, Vice President Sally (Kate Burton) allowed the "devil to come in" and killed him. And then turned to Cyrus for help on covering it up. But Leo (Paul Adelstein), her campaign manager, is definitely not going to let something as tedious as murder get in the way of her presidential run.

Happily Whatever After: Cyrus (Jeff Perry) and James (Dan Bucatinsky), most dysfunctional married TV couple ever? After James cheated on Cyrus with the VP's now-dead hubby to get back at the plotting Cy, James agrees to stay with him on one condition: he gets the White House press secretary job.

What Lies Ahead

Less Episodes: Fans went into panic mode, ready to call their own fixer, when ABC announced that it was trimming Scandal's episode order from 22 to 18, meaning we get four less delicious episodes to live-tweet. But relax, Gladiators, ABC is not falling out of love with Scandal (You could say it's still their jam, heyo!),  the decision was made due to Kerry Washington's pregnancy. And you better believe Shonda Rhimes & Co. are filling the final eight outings with even more twists and turns to make up for lost episodes.

 Re-election Woes: Prepare for Fitz's battle to stay in the White House to "really heat up" in the final eight episodes. Jeff Perry teased, "I can't tell you who the main foes are to Fitz's ambition to get re-elected and therefore Cyrus' and Mellie's, and therefore James' gets juicy fast!" He also added, "No question, Cyrus and Leo are going to be bumping heads."

PHOTOS: TV's hottest love triangles


ABC/Eric McCandless

Mellie Gets Racy: When we chatted with Darby Stanchfield, she couldn't help but rave about the First Lady's juicy storyline ahead. "The First Lady has some really good, steamy stuff coming up," she spilled. So how dark will Mellie (Bellamy Young) go? Young told E! News' Marc Malkin, "As evil as required."

Harrison's Past Revealed: While Scandal moves at a breakneck pace, it's taken its sweet time giving fans more insight into Harrison's (Columbus Short) past. That will change by season's end. "We finally get to see a lot more rollout for him, which is great," Stanchfield told us. Could that include a romance? When we asked Columbus Short about a possible new love connection for Harrison, he just did a hip shake. (Watch and enjoy!)

A Mysterious Newbie: Homeland's Nazanin Boniadi is set to join the show in a top secret role that will have a major impact in the final episodes of the season.

Scandal returns tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC.

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