Gladiators! Scandal is back, and I am picking my jaw up off the floor. Did you see that? This episode starts with Olivia Pope's exposure as the other woman in President Grant's extramarital affair. But by the end of the episode ... well, I guess this is time for SPOILER ALERT. I want to talk about the season 3 premiere of Scandal, and for that we're going to need your thumbprint and signature right here, please. Now, let's talk about what just happened.
Okay, I'm a little bit annoyed at the whiplash this episode gave me there at the end. I thought we'd spend a few episodes dealing with the, you know, scandal of Olivia Pope's name getting leaked. That seemed meaty enough. So why did they dispense with that plotline so handily at the end and move on to the next thing? Too easy! And not as satisfying.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I loved getting into Olivia's relationship with her dad. "You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have," he's told her countless times. It would make him sound like a wise if exacting father except for all the other cray he spews. "I am the hell and high water!" He wants to fly her off somewhere, out of the way. "The White House will destroy you." "That's what Mom used to tell me about you," Olivia retorts.
I don't know about you, but after I found out Liv's mom died in a plane crash, I was glad Olivia got off that plane. He's right, though. Slippery Cyrus tells Olivia he'll protect her ("I am a monster, but I am your monster ...") and then turns right around and starts a kill file on her.
Olivia returns to the office and finds she's losing all her clients. But she's FINE, okay? "I'm handling it," she keeps saying, which is code for "I'm a crazy-ass control freak who can't handle getting help from anyone." Oh Olivia, been there, said that. Later she tells Fitz, "I'm okay!" but he finally breaks through her defenses and she gets to sob helplessly for about 10 seconds before she's back to work.
Anyway, I knew Mellie wouldn't go through with the plan to just come clean-ish about the affair. That's not her style. Framing that young aide, Janine Locke, was a great move. It worked -- too easily, I think. But I loved how Cyrus told her, "We're all here for you." Don't fall for it, Janine! Oh what the hell. She'll probably be killed off in the next episode or two.
Now ... Mellie tells Fitz she knows he's the one who leaked Olivia's name to the press (WHAT!) so he could neutralize the situation and eventually get the public to love her. You've got to love Fitz's romantic streak and the way it's always clashing with his ambitions -- and he keeps thinking he has the right to both at the same time.
And just like that, we're on to the next big crisis: What really happened in Operation Remington. Oh, also, Janine is Olivia's new client. Now here's my favorite lines.
"The Lord is not allowed to vote in the United States of America." Cyrus
"I am NEVER out of options." Olivia
"Are we gladiators or are we bitches?" Harrison
"You're in the clear, Liv. There is nothing wrong with a little self preservation. Doesn't mean you don't wear the white hat." Harrison again. (Shonda Rimes, please tell me your runners are going to give this guy something substantial to do this season, for once!)
Do you think Olivia was cleared from the affair too quickly and easily?
Image via ABC