“Go big or go home!” That must be the mantra of the Scandal writers because the show has resumed with a bang. After an excruciating summer waiting to see what befalls Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), it’s time to see how she handles being at the center of the maelstrom.
Let’s bitch it out…
The season three premiere sets up some promising storylines for the season to come. Most notably, there’s the shocking discovery that Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) is the one who leaked Olivia’s name as his mistress. And the outright war he’s started (continued?) with Mellie (Bellamy Young). We also return to Operation Remington, the mission briefly mentioned last season that Fitz and Jake (an unseen Scott Foley) flew years ago, the details of which are so top secret that Cyrus (Jeff Perry) needs a security clearance upgrade to see it. Why this mission is important will undoubtedly drive this season’s arc, but first let’s review what else occurred this week…
We begin where last season left off, with Liv in her dad’s limo escaping the press. Her dad, Rowan (Joe Morton), tells her to leave DC for good and disappear. They proceed to have what has to be the worst father/daughter heart-to-heart ever. It includes Rowan assuring Olivia he didn’t try to kill her – he was trying to kill Jake (much better!). Her father then chides her for “raising your skirt and opening your knees” for a powerful man, after which he asks her why she has to be so mediocre (ouch). He brusquely states that Liv could have striven for Chief of Staff or Secretary of State, instead she thought she’d be First Lady (geez Liv – way to aim low).
I guess we can’t hate dear old dad too much since he did try to keep her safe, including his warning that the White House would burn her to save the presidency. It’s amusing that Cyrus very nearly does, despite being the one to talk her off the plane and get her headed back to DC.
Meanwhile, Fitz has a heart to heart with Sally (Kate Burton), asking for her help covering events while he prepares his family for a public confession. I’m just going to say it: I am so conflicted over Fitz. Season 1: loved him (oh, the way that man leans in). Season 2: hated him (he’s a murderer! And a whiny, childish, selfish one at that!). This scene with Sally I thought, okay, maybe he’s just exhausted and really wants to move on with his life. And then we find out at the end of the episode that he’s playing the long con to try to ease the public into accepting Olivia into his life. Who is this guy?
The major scene of the episode occurs when Fitz, Liv and Mellie meet in a U.S. Navy protected bunker to discuss next steps with the affair (taxpayers will be pissed that this is your fictitious tax dollars at work). The three collaborators decide that the best course of action is to tell the truth: admit the affair and get in front of the story. In an extremely well written and acted scene, Mellie and Liv hash out the details to Mellie’s satisfaction (intercourse 2x: once on inauguration, once after Fitz was shot).
However, in the end Mellie and Cyrus once again save Fitz from himself and, with a little help from the gladiators, set up White House Communications Aide Jeanine as the patsy/fake mistress. This is also a good example of why you shouldn’t drink too much and take a cell phone video talking about how hot your boss is. The press obviously eats it up and, in a dispiriting denouement, Cyrus tells Jeanine not to worry or get a lawyer because the White House will protect her (during this conversation you can almost see him twirling his evil mustache).
Luckily for her, Olivia takes her on as a new client. I, for one, can’t wait to see where that goes next week.
- I was so annoyed in last season’s finale when Fitz laid his head on Mellie’s lap because I thought he was just a needy alcoholic who’s toying with her emotions. This episode seems to suggest that that was all part of his master plan to manipulate her into doing what he wanted. I wonder if the writers had the events of S3 planned out when they wrote the S2 finale, or just fit it in when they realized it was the direction they wanted to go this season.
- I’m glad Liv cared enough to ask her dad what he did to Jake. I realize I’m probably alone in this (as does poor Scott Foley), but I really like Jake for a few reasons. 1) I don’t think the show can be sustained indefinitely with the primary focus on the forbidden love story, and 2) Fitz is turning into kind of a d-bag, so I am ready to see Liv hook-up with other people. It’s hard to integrate new characters into a series, but so far I like what the writers have done wit Jake and I am excited to actually see him in season three (hopefully not too many more episodes stuck in an off-screen hole)
- Abby (Darby Stanchfield) took a curling iron to her hair – I love it.
- Isn’t it weird that we’re in the third season now and Fitz and Mellie’s older children have only been mentioned in passing a few times? I don’t think either the President or the First Lady are ever going to win Parent of the Year.
- Rowan kills people for a living. I have a problem believing he wouldn’t just drug Olivia and ship her off to some remote island instead of just warning her it’s a bad idea to go back to DC.
- Cyrus ordering a Kill Folder on Olivia not only reinforces how ruthless he is, but also allows us to get a quick peek into Olivia’s past, which includes a deceased mother and a fake identity for her father who apparently gave her a wealthy, boarding-school upbringing.
- Quinn: “Couldn’t we just kill another intern? It wouldn’t be that hard” [shocked looks follow] “What? A bad one… the worst one.”
- Cyrus (to Sally when she says she needs to follow the Lord): “The people elected you to be the president’s sidekick, not the Lord. The Lord did not fill out his voter registration card.”
What did you think? Did the premiere get you excited for what’s to come this season? Were you as shocked as I was that Fitz was the leak? Can Cyrus and Mellie be trusted? Excited to see more Jake (eventually)? Sound off below!
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC. Be sure to sign up on the right hand side to receive updates via email or on Facebook whenever we post new reviews