Scandal – Season 3 Episode 1 – Recap – It’s Handled
After a break of I don’t know how long because I only caught up just recently on Netflix, ABC‘s political thriller Scandal is back for its third season. This season premiere is a strong one, but it won’t do anything to win over new viewers, as nearly all of the action relies on at least having a basic knowledge of the show. Let’s see if I can catch you up: Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) is a lawyer in Washington DC who runs a crisis management firm that handles high-profile clients who do not wish for their dirty laundry to make them even higher profile, but the biggest political scandals of all involved Ms. Pope, as she is mistress to President Fitzgerald Grant and also helped rigged the national election that got him into office. Got it? Good!
The episode starts right off there season two ended, following the aftermath of the reveal of the reveal of Olivia’s affair with President Grant. Olivia is in the car her dad picked her up in, while her team unplugs the phones and goes into full panic room mode. As they arrive at a private jet, Dad berates her. It’s really pretty intense. The performances on this show are always really good! Kerry Washington nails it as Olivia Pope in crisis, as usual. Anyway, the plan is to disappear Olivia, sending her to an island for eight months. She calls White House Chief of Staff Cyrus Beene to say goodbye, and he convinces her to not leave. Olivia Pope heads back to her office and starts taking charge, calling clients to see if anyone hasn’t dropped them. Pretty much everyone has, and Olivia team is getting panicky. Then, the smoking gun drops: Someone accidentally caught video of the President leaving Olivia’s apartment building late at night.
Olivia enacts an emergency protocol that gets her to the President’s bunker. He yells at her about it, but the meeting gets underway when Millie arrives. Fitz suggests they tell the truth, which Olivia considers. She goes into full fixer mode and decides that, yes, telling the truth will work. Millie disagrees, and brings up some valid points about the kinds of questions the press will ask. Millie threatens to let loose all the secrets they’ve got if Fitz tries selling the story about being in love with Olivia. The story they decide to go with is that Fitz/Olivia happened once on inauguration night and once after Fitz recovered from his assassination attempt.
Meanwhile, Fitz, Cyrus, and Vice President Sally Langston have a, uh… heated discussion regarding the President’s infidelity. Cyrus is being a blustery jerk, like he does. Sally calls him out on it and Fitz asks to speak with her alone. He opens up and takes a stand, genuinely admitting that he needs her help to handle this scandal. She agrees, seeing Fitz as a leader, as a man, as the President, for the first time. It’s a superb scene, really letting us see Fitz as a strong character instead of the weak, emotion-driven manchild he usually is. After Fitz’s meeting with Mellie and Olivia, he extends a kindness to Sally: He tells her to use the affair and the statement about the affair to condemn the President and gain favor within their party for the upcoming primary elections.
After the Mellie/Olivia/Fitz meeting, Mellie leaks to the press (probably with the help of Olivia’s team) faked details that someone from Cyrus’s team name Jeannine Locke was the President’s mistress! Even though she wasn’t! This infuriates Olivia and Fitz. Mellie figures out that Fitz was the one who leaked Olivia’s name to the press (though a flashback disagrees). In the episode’s other cliffhanger, Cyrus is taken away to a secret location, where details of a Navy mission flown by the President make him look up dramatically and say “Oh my God”, ending the episode.
Wow! This right here is how you do a season premiere! It’s fast-paced, tense, and absolutely thrilling. The fallout from last season is being piled in right next to new problems cropping up this season, and the cast delivers. This show is like a rollercoaster ride. It’s exhilarating TV that does not care to achieve much more than that. Solid performances and a plot made purely out of twists is a delightful way to make entertainment! Check out the preview for this episode below.