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‘Scandal’ Season 3 Premiere Review: The Secret’s Out in ‘It’s Handled’

ABC/Eric McCandless

After being on hiatus for the last four months, entirely too long for me, SCANDAL IS BACK.  I repeat, SCANDAL IS BACK and with the best numbers to date – 10.5M viewers!

Here’s my top five “HOLY !@%$” moments from the season opener.

#1 Rowan and Olivia

I literally held my breath for the first act of the show during Joe Morton and Kerry Washington’s scenes. It was a master class for acting.  When he opens with, “You raised your skirt and opened your knees and gave it away to a man with too much power…Why do you have to be so mediocre?”, all I could do was sit there catching flies with my mouth.  His verbal lashing came so fast and furious I couldn’t even form words for a comeback for Liv.  Not only is he calling his OWN daughter a whore, but also he’s furious she didn’t aim higher with her vajayjay.  WHAT?!  He literally would have preferred she sleep Mellie than Fitz because power doesn’t come from Fitz it comes from the people around him, which is true, but DAMN.

The man had me cowering on the couch when he cut Liv to the core in five sentences flat and then rested his hand on her cheek. He didn’t need to physically pummel her, he already slayed her spirit.  His drop of an octave with, “You are getting on that plane, come hell or high water, and to be clear, I AM hell AND high water!”  Whoooooa. The fact that Olivia isn’t a heroin addict, rocking in a corner astounds me.  Rowan is the reason psychiatrists and Xanax were created.

ABC/Eric McCandless

ABC/Eric McCandless

Consequently, I don’t blame her “ambitious slutty” ways of her youth.  She has my permission to bang her way through Congress just for being able to get up and function every day.  So, for all those people who were liv-id that she ran from Fitz in the season finale and chose her gladiators, now you know why she’s a mess when it comes to love: Her father is Satan. No, I take it back, her father is the grandfather of Satan, that’s how horrific he is AND she had no mother to protect her since hers died in a plane crash.

Or did she?  I don’t believe Shonda Rhimes until I see a body and even then I question the DNA results.  (I also will not let go of casting Phylicia Rashad to play opposite Washington and Morton because it would be A-MAZING and I hope Linda Lowy reads the thousands of tweets saying this)

In happy news, turns out Rowan didn’t try to have Olivia killed; he really wanted Jake dead…he only had Jake make a sex tape with his daughter to use against her.  Now if that’s not love, I don’t know what is…..

#2 The Gladiators

Harrison takes the lead of OPA to help Olivia since she’s the client, whether she agrees to it or not.  His line, “Are we gladiators or are we bitches?” needs to be on a t-shirt and I need one in my life.

ABC/Eric McCandless

ABC/Eric McCandless

Although Quinn was only around for a couple of scenes, her, “Couldn’t we just kill another intern? It wouldn’t be that hard …” to get Liv out of this mess is why I now love her. She’s Baby Huck, all messed up in the head for leading with murder, but it’s with the best intentions to protect her boss.

The plot these gladiators create with Cyrus and Mellie is genius because it saves Olivia, and Cyrus and Mellie get to keep their power but that poor girl Janine is about to throw herself off a building. Good thing Liv is taking her as client just like she did Quinn when Hollis set her up for Cytron. Liv collects broken people and fixes them, just not herself.

#3 The Bunker

Bellamy Young, Tony Goldwyn, and Washington showed everyone how it is done in this pivotal scene. Weeks before, while filming this scene Washington tweeted that she couldn’t wait for everyone to see this scene because it was amazing and very theater-like. I worried that maybe it was just to hype up the season, it wasn’t. At all.

As these three hatch a damage control plan to get out of this shitstorm of a PR nightmare, I couldn’t breathe. First of all, the aesthetics of the scene, the manner in which it was shot – the constant rolling between characters, but being able to see all simultaneously – was beautiful.  Also, the silence in the background made you sit up and take notice. This show uses music to help make a point, no music means the scene is carried by the words and acting use to express them and the clothes they use to express the character’s personality.

Look at Mellie’s powersuit and big hair to demonstrate her control, Liv’s gorgeous Burberry coat as armor to protect her, and Fitz’s laidback, no tie, shirt unbuttoned style because he’s Mr.-Calm-During-the-Storm. Everything was spot on.

Olivia is trying to be rational and think like a fixer, but her heart is breaking because she can only look at the love of her life. Mellie’s plan to “fix” the situation is to pretend everything is just fine, but in her defense, that’s worked for well over a decade between her and Fitz so I don’t fault her thinking.

Fitz, however, is as cool as a cucumber and is all about coming clean. Here is where the alarms start going off in my head that something isn’t right with him (more on this later). Mellie, of course, is not here for telling the truth, because she’s physically incapable of being honest unless it’s to screw with someone or get her something she wants. And she wants the control back over this mess more than anything. If she’s in control, Liv is just a “whore” who slept with her husband a couple of times when they roll out the new story for the press.

The problem is Fitz. He shuts Mellie down with, “that is me being in love with another woman.” And I screamed “BOOOOOOM” at the TV. She can’t control his love for Olivia and it absolutely burns her to the core. She is PISSED, I know this because her voice dropped two octaves when she started speaking again.  This man called out Liv’s name when he was shot. I didn’t think there was anything worse than calling out a different woman’s name in bed, I was mistaken.

Meanwhile, Olivia has to sit down and take a moment on the step as she hears all about Fitz’s love for her from his wife, including her knowledge of their Oval Office desk sex. Take your most awkward significant other moment and multiply it by a billion and I think that’s what this would feel like. I don’t know though, I’ve never been locked in a bunker with my president lover and his wife, but I’ll get back to you should it ever happen.

I will take a moment to highlight my feels when Fitz took Liv in his arms to just hold her while she sobbed.  That’s what you do for someone you love, you just stand there and hold them and let them lose their shit for as long as they need. Liv, of course, pulls away and leaves he bunker like she got stung by a bee. Sigh.  Eventually these two idiots will get it together, I call it for the series finale, because it’s Shonda Rhimes and she likes to break and stitch up my heart about 294838292 times during her shows.

#4 Fitz Leaks Olivia’s Name and Gets His Testicles Back

How do you spell “B-O-S-S?” Fitzgerald T. Grant, that’s how.

Since I had too much time on my hands waiting for my show to come back this summer, I thought through each character to see who would benefit the most from Liv’s name coming out.  After whittling down the characters, I came to two options: Hal or Fitz.  Hal because he’s Ride or Die for Mellie and I figured he did it to impress her so she would fall for him and Mellie would FINALLY break in her own desk.  That’s more me projecting my brilliant ideas onto the show though, so let’s discuss what really happened.

Fitzgerald T. Grant snatched his balls back from Mellie and took control of the situation. Well, he made the first move in this ongoing battle with Mellie and I wanted to give him a standing ovation for it. There is nothing sexier than Fitz with a purpose and the damsel in distress mode was getting old. This man loves Olivia Carolyn Pope and not just the ‘I love you and care for you’ love; it’s the ‘I am hopelessly, utterly, devastatingly in love with you whether we’re together or you’re across the world’ love. Yes, be betrayed Liv by leaking her name, but he did it for the greater good of getting her and them out from under Mellie’s control.

Does that ‘greater good’ thing sound familiar? Defiance anyone?  Gotta love the role reversal Rhimes has set up.  I’m not saying I won’t blame Olivia for hating him for doing this to/for her when it blows up in his face, but I get why he did it. She is going to hate him though, and it’s going to be ugly.

Also, Fitz honestly could care less about who knows about his feelings.  After re-watching the episode (more than 2 times, less than 10 – so far), his demeanor, words, and actions with Sally, Mellie, and even Olivia, are very deliberate. When he tells Sally, “I need time to prepare my family,” I’m pretty sure he means Liv and his kids. He’s trying to figure out how to get his woman in the White House, and if it means not being president, he’s ok with it.

This man would rather have Olivia in his life publicly than be the most powerful man in the world.  That is deep and ridiculously scary for someone like Olivia Pope. I’m pointing out that Mellie is not his family; she is the business associate from whom he can’t seem to escape. When he owns leaking Olivia’s name and putting his head in Mellie’s lap, I heard the shots fired for World War III and I am here to see every single battle.

PS- Shoutout to Ride or Die SS Tom, he’s a boss too for his name dropping for Fitz.

#5 Operation Remington

How in the holy hell does Rowan know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING?? At this point, not even Jesus could bring down Rowan. This black folder is the alpha and omega of whatever Rhimes has in store for us this season.

More importantly, anything that makes Cyrus, a self-proclaimed “monster” take pause and gasp means bombs, literally and figuratively, are about to be dropped. Now, I’m positive Fitz did some shady, horrible, terrible things with Jake as his sidekick in Iran and it’s all about to come to light. You don’t get to be a flyboy in the Navy without having enough baggage to fill up a couple of airport hangars.

I will go on record now and say nothing Fitz has done/will do is going to make me love him any less.  I already accepted that he murdered a dying Supreme Court Justice.  Really, he just helped her along in the process, so it’s all good in my book. The underlying connection of Jake and Fitz is about to get way more complicated, because sharing a woman isn’t disturbing enough…..

More Shout Outs

JEFF PERRY, DAN BUCATINSKY-Cyrus begging Olivia not to run because he’s afraid Fitz will think he had her killed

Kate Burton in every scene.

-James only being drugged and not dead, I thought for sure he was a goner

-David Rosen being a friend and worrying about Liv

-Lyn Paolo for her incomparable fashion sense for each character

-SS Agent Hal aka “Blinky” for being Mellie’s pet

-Lululemon for Liv’s white jacket because I want it.

I was thrilled with the entire episode; there wasn’t a weak link to be found anywhere.  What did you think? Tell me in the comments below.

And as always, you can follow me on Twitter.

Angela Romack
Angela Romack is writes what you’re thinking about when it comes to your favorite TV shows. If you don’t agree, that's fine. She's okay with being right. Follow her on Twitter at @AngelaMRomack.

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