“Scandal” kicked off its third season on Thursday, Oct. 3 by diving right into where viewers left off – with Olivia’s affair being leaked to the media.
It turns out that a gossip columnist named Vanessa Chandler broke the story on the affair, and claims that a source is 100% sure the identity of the President’s mistress is Olivia. And she believes that it’s only a matter of time before more details on the affair come out.
In car with her father, Rowan, Olivia demands to know why he tried to have her killed. But Rowan explains it wasn’t her who the hit was taken out on … but Jake.
“You raised your skirt, opened your knees, and gave it away to a man with too much power,” Rowan angrily lectures his daughter. And while Olivia is trying to figure out how to handle the situation, Rowan has his own plan – Olivia’s staff will be taken care of, money will keep them working and Olivia will hop on a plane with a new identity to disappear for 8 months on an island.
Initially taking the plan for fear of being thrown under the bus by Cyrus and the rest of the White House, a call to Cyrus manages to change Olivia’s mind. Getting off the plane, Olivia heads back to the Pope & Associates office to attempt to get back to work. But when she gets there she learns that all their clients have called to fire them.
Insisting to her team of gladiators that the situation is being handled, Olivia tries to patch things up with her clients … but fails. Meanwhile Harrison and the rest of the group decide to take matters into their own hands to handle the affair situation.
Back in the White House, Cyrus tells Vice President Sally Langston that she must step in place for the President while they try to figure out who leaked the information. However Sally refuses to because Fitz’ affair goes against the lord. The Vice President changes her mind though after sitting down one-on-one with Fitz, who admits that he slept with someone who was not his wife but needs time to get his family ready for the fallout.
Mellie’s already hard at work with Cyrus trying to get to the bottom of things. Asking secret service agent Hal how the information leaked, “Scandal” viewers learn that he was at the bar talking to Vanessa when he accidentally said that the president had slept with a trust advisor. BUT he didn’t get her a name.
Pope & Associates workers are afraid that Olivia will sacrifice herself and the company, Harrison and the others agree to make a call in to Cyrus to tell him that “it can’t be Liv” who takes the fall. A stressed Cyrus warns Harrison to never call him again, and he starts a “kill folder” on Olivia.
Thanks to the kill folder, a little bit about Olivia’s family life is unearthed. Her mother died in a plane crash when Olivia was 12-years-old, and her father, “Eli,” was wealthy enough to send her to the best schools. While they have a lot of photos of Olivia growing up, the one thing they don’t have though are family photos, leading viewers to believe that Cyrus still doesn’t know that Rowan is Olivia’s father.
What they do have on Olivia is that she was “working her way up the totem pole” by sleeping and seeing a string of older and successful men in D.C. With that they decide to play the “ambitious slut card.”
Freaking over her clients bailing on her, Olivia uses a secret code to hold an emergency meeting with Fitz. Agreeing that they need to hatch a plan, Olivia tells Fitz that they need to wait for one more person before talking shop – Mellie.
Mellie’s initial idea is to deny the affair on Oprah side-by-side, but Olivia and Fitz shoot it down as unbelievable after she came out in an interview accusing him of extramarital affairs.
Fitz believes that they should just admit to the affair and Olivia comes up with a game plan – Millie stands by his side as he makes a statement in the Rose Garden. Dressed in lavender or light blue, Mellie should bring the kids home from boarding school but not have them for the press conference. Instead they should set up a photo op after the statement for the cameras to catch them welcoming the kids as they step off the chopper. Like Mellie’s accusations made in season 2, Fitz and Mellie will sit down with James for a tell all and the people will love it because James is a family friend … plus Cyrus can control the situation. Meanwhile, Olivia will release a paper statement saying that she regrets the affair, apologized to Mellie and is praying and trying to put things behind her.
While it sounds like a solid plan, Mellie doesn’t agree. The first lady argues that the media will want details and she refuses to go on camera and hold Fitz hand while admitting that the affair has been going on and off for years. To top it off, Mellie threatens to air all their dirty laundry if Fitz makes an attempt to play the fairytale card about being in love with another woman.
Instead the three of them compromise, deciding that Fitz and Olivia will admit to sleeping with each other twice – the first time when he took office on the night of the Inaugural party, and the second time after he got shot in the assassination attempt.
With their plan set in motion with a press conference scheduled, Fitz sits down with Sally to tell her that he’s going to admit to the affair and work on his marriage, and that she should “use the moment to rise.” Uncertain why he’s extending kindness to her, he explains that it’s because they’re not married to one another.
It turns out that Mellie is actually NOT okay with a plan though, and instead meets with Cyrus to set something in motion before the press release – and it involves Pope & Associates.
With Harrison’s help, Cyrus leaks a video of White House communication aid Janine Locke to the media. The video shows a young Janine working on Fitz’ campaign before the election and calling him “hot.” The press obtains private emails with her calling the president “super doable” and names her as the actual person who had the affair with the president…. Going as far as to offer Olivia Pope an apology.
Janine’s name being leaked sends the White House and Pope & Associates into a wild frenzy:
- Cyrus tells her that the White House is there for her (but we highly doubt that since he’s the one that planted that video).
- Olivia storms into her office after learning of Janine’s name being leaked, demanding to know what her team did.
- Mellie admits to Fitz that she leaked Janine’s name because Fitz leaked Olivia’s name.
- A flashback reveals that Fitz asked his secret service agent Tom to do him a favor and leak Olivia’s name to a reporter when he went out to the bar. His reasoning is not because he hopes to one day bring Olivia into the white house, but because as long as Mellie had Olivia’s name she was at her mercy.
- Now in the clear, Olivia is determined to wear her white hat and right the wrong. Pope & Associate’s newest client is none other than Janine.
The “Scandal” season 3 premiere, “It’s Handled,” concluded with Cyrus coming home to find James in a drug induced nap and Charlie holding a gun to him. But as Charlie explains, he’s “serving a higher purpose” and takes Cyrus to his boss … Rowan.
In a shocking twist, Rowan is not meeting with Cyrus to discuss Olivia and Fitz’ affair. Instead he’s there to talk about Operation Remington which involved Fitz and Jake while they were in the Navy in Iran. He hands over a document that reveals what really happened on the mission and it’s juicy enough to lead Cyrus to say: “Oh my God.”
What did you think of the season 3 premiere of “Scandal?” Let us know your thoughts on “It’s Handled” in the comments section below:
Amanda Remling studied journalism at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.
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