Scandal returns from hiatus this week

By Michele Corriston
Updated February 09, 2016 09:00 AM

When Scandal returns Thursday, Olitz is over – and so is our gladiator-in-chief’s reign in the White House.

In a sneak peek exclusive to PEOPLE, Olivia (Kerry Washington) is reunited with her devious dad Eli aka Rowan aka Pape Pope (Joe Morton) is what is a truly bizarre case of season 2 deja vu. They sit down for dinner like he didn’t run a shadowy government organization, assassinate the president’s son and basically order a PTSD-plagued operative to fall in love with her. The red wine is flowing, and everything’s nice and cordial until women at a nearby table fan-girl over her, snapping a not-so surreptitious photo and mouthing, “We love you!”

“Celebrity,” he says, amused. “Has your newfound notoriety been good for business?”

Apparently, dumping the leader of the free world can do wonders for a crisis management firm’s reputation.

“Olivia, you’re overcompensating,” he lectures. “You stood on the mountain top. The ring of fire was around you. You played him like a fiddle. You held power in your hands. You were power. You had the Oval. My baby had the Oval! You were running the place, and he was clueless. Tell me I’m wrong.”

“It’s better this way,” Liv responds, clearly remembering how Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) turned her into a Stepford First Lady.

“No,” he insists. “You taste the blood. You know what it’s like. You want it.”

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