Scandal 3×01 – It’s Handled

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It’s back and it’s as spectacular as ever.

First off, can I just say that Joe Morton as Rowan Pope has to be the most perfect casting choice in the history of television? The way he talks, screams, and pauses – he taps into all of Kerry Washington’s nuances and you completely buy that he’s Olivia’s dad when he’s spouting off one of Scandal‘s signature monologues. The sequence in the hanger has to be one of the most brilliant things the show’s ever produced, as our heroine’s dad berated her for not being “twice as good” and aiming for something so “mediocre“. Simply put, it was Scandal returning with a monumental bang and it was a resounding success.

I applaud Shonda Rhimes for completely flipping Olivia’s life on its head in last season’s finale. Watching her scatter this week and trying to win back all her clients really elevated the stakes, making the eventual resolution all the more satisfying. Yes it would have been gutsy to keep Olivia the target all season long, but I doubt the show could have operated efficiently in that manner. The status quo had to be somewhat reset, and singling out White House aide Jeanine Locke as the mistress is an exciting way to go. Naturally, Locke is Olivia’s client now which is bound to produce some riveting drama.

There’s no denying that this episode had one hell of a standout scene: Olivia, Fitz and Mellie in the bunker. I’m in utter awe of these three powerhouse performers as they play off each other in the most magnificent ways. It was just tremendously engrossing to watch a man, his wife, and his mistress attempt to spin the narrative and play out potential scenarios with the whole world hanging in the balance (because obviously these three are anything but ordinary). I particularly adored Olivia asking Mellie to decide how many times she slept with Fitz, then breaking down in Fitz arms. Powerful, and extremely heartbreaking.

The reveal that Fitz was the one who leaked Olivia’s name to the press was a real stunner. Even better was Mellie carrying out this epic reveal as her husband retaliated with the promise of a full-on war. I think Bellamy Young’s speech to Fitz (found below) might be one of the most gloriously performed and impeccably-written monologues from the show yet. Young sold every nook and cranny and it was downright masterful. Give the woman an Emmy now.

Of course it wouldn’t be Scandal if we didn’t have a season-long mystery, and this year’s arc will seemingly revolve around Remington – a covert mission Fitz and Ballard undertook in Iraq and which has a little bombshell of its own as Cyrus uttered a quaint little “Oh my God” in the episode’s closing moments. Suffice to say, I’m pumped to discover what Shonda and company have in store for us this year.

Scandalous Bits

– Is it wrong that I was kind of rooting for Sally when she fought back against a condescending Cyrus?

– I loved that Fitz and Sally had some heartfelt moments this week, particularly in the way he pleaded with her to buy him some time.

– Tidbits we learned about Olivia this week: her mother died in a plane crash when she was 12, and she became a full-on party girl during her college years. Shonda has promised a lot of backstory on Olivia this year, and I for one can not wait.

– Olivia utilizing the “Providence” number was badass. Loved the multiple cars surroundings hers to confuse the paparazzi.

– Admittedly, Fitz leaking Olivia’s name so she could be “free” of Mellie’s grasp was pretty genius.

– While I didn’t miss Charlie, it was a nifty little twist to see him in Cyrus’ bedroom with a gun (and a knocked-out James).

– Does Cyrus know Rowan is Olivia’s dad? I was wondering in that last scene. I don’t think he does…

Quipyness

Rowan: (to Olivia) 22 minutes without making a sound. If only you’d been this quiet as a child.

Rowan: Olivia you are getting on that plane come hell or high-water, and to be clear – I am the hell and the high-water.

Mellie: If all we had to talk about was a blue dress with a stain and a cigar that had been in interesting places, I would be fine, I would not give a damn.

Fitz: How are you?
Olivia: I’m fine.
Fitz: Your name’s a headline, you’re not fine.

Sally: Why are you extending kindness?
Fitz: Because we are not married to one another.

Quinn: Look, it’s not too late to pull back. Couldn’t we just kill another intern? It wouldn’t be that hard. A bad one. The worst one.

Harrison: Are we gladiators or are we bitches?

Mellie: The upsetting thing about being as educated as I am and as intelligent as I am is that being First Lady is profoundly boring. What did you call me? Ornamental? Not functional? I am a rose dying on a vine here. Give me a war to run or the CIA or something but… I use the copious amounts of free time I have to think – and I have been thinking. Who could have possibly leaked that name and why? Then I realized: who would benefit the most? My idealistic, romantic, optimistic, idiotic, husband.

Harrison: (to Olivia) There is nothing wrong with a little self-preservation.

Must-Download Tune
Superfreak by Rick James

Conclusion
Right out the gate with guns-a-blazing, It’s Handled is an absolutely incredible premiere from Scandal.

Nad Rating
A

3 comments

  1. See? I told you we'd agree again! Awesome premiere. It made me realize how very much I'd missed Scandal over the hiatus! I love that the episode gave so many of its very fine actors a chance to really perform. They're all so amazing. I'm still disappointed so much of the cast was snubbed at Emmy nomination time this year. Maybe next year… At least Dan Bucatinsky won! (Were you as scared as I was that James was dead?)

  2. Missed you sunbunny. Hahah I forgot how much we were starting to disagree on Scandal. let's hope this is a sign of good things to come ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes, it's so horrible that so much of the cast was snubbed. Mellie and Cyrus in particular!

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