Oct 4 2013 11:08am

Scandal Season 3, Episode 1 Recap: Daddy’s Girl

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in Scandal Season 3 episode 1Ready for an all-new season of Scandal? For a refresher and to speculate about the upcoming season, be sure to check out Nicole Leapheart's post “Anticipating Scandal Season 3: Gladiators, Grab Your Wine Glasses.” And now without further ado, Kwana Minatee-Jackson's recap of the Season 3 premiere of Scandal, “It's Handled.”

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Scandal.

It’s been a long time, my friends. We’re all a little older and I’m just a tad bit rusty, but it’s all right. Like riding a bike, lacing up your Gladiator sandals is something you never really forget, so let’s get to Gladiating…

When we left our dear friends in D.C., there was all sorts of turmoil in the lives of Olivia, Fitz, Mel and Gang.

Fitz was still lost in love (reality TV and Jack be damned), but Liv was standing strong in her 'get this life back on track' plan after finding out that Fitz sent Verna to the grave faster than she was intended to go. The season came to a heart-thumping halt, with Liv being outed to the press and ambushed in front of her home, only to be swept into a waiting car and coming face to face with the leader of B613, her dear old dad, Rowan. Now how’s that for a family reunion?

Tony Goldwyn as Fitz in Scandal Season 3 episode 1, It's HandledThis season we open right where we left off, with the press all over the story; ironically, the story broke from a style reporter. Love that, and cut to fantastic black and white stylistic shots of all our faves, Cy, Mellie, Fitz and Liv, looking beautifully devastated, while you see the Gladiators over at Pope and Associates springing into action in full color. Next we have Liv in the car face-to-face with Daddy Rowan, and she is not happy and has been pouting for twenty minutes. When she finally talks, she asks her dad why he tried to have her killed. He calmly tells her it was Jake he was trying to kill. Now there’s a comfort. Dad is taking Liv to an airfield and he’s ready to clean it up by making her disappear.

Liv digs her heels in, and when she does Dad pulls out the big guns telling her she “raised her skirt and opened her knees and gave it away to a man with too much power.” And that, “she wasn’t rare or special.” Ouch and double ouch.

But Liv still fights for Fitz, saying how he wouldn’t hurt her, that he would protect her. But Daddy doesn’t play, saying Fitz’s is not in change and is NEVER in charge. “Power is in charge.”

And here is when it gets fantastic. Rowan is not speaking as the head of B613 now, but as Liv’s dad, when he says to her have “I raised you better, and how many times have I not told you, you have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have.” Yes, Shonda went there and the people of color stood up and leaned forward. Because she did not shy away from the have and the have nots elephant on the screen. It was fabulous. It was the past, present and future on my TV and I’m so glad she went there. I believed Rowan when he said, “he was the Hell and The High Water.” And was stepping accordingly.

Following Rowan’s directions, Liv got on the plane, but then she called Cy the other man in her odd love triangle. Cy wooed Liv off the plane with lovely lines like, “I am your monster.” Aww, so sweet. With that, Liv is out, disobeying Daddy and heading back to Pope and Associates. Before she leaves, there is a parting line from Rowan, warning her that the White House will destroy her. Liv replies that’s what her mom used to tell her about him. We find out later that Liv’s mother died when she was 12. Sidebar: I’m raising a brow and believing none of it. I’m going on record to say. Lets wait and see if Liv’s mom doesn’t come back from the dead.

So now we’re in the White House and we have Cy and Fitz trying to get good old Sally on board with helping Fitz keep his not so good name. But Sally is not having it, talking about how she’s “The Lord’s Witness” going on about Cy’s homosexual lifestyle and his sweet brown baby. Alrighty now. I’m sure The Lord’s got enough eyes on his own, but you go ahead with that Sally and keep on tripping. It’s okay though because Fitz does some smooth talking, admits his mistakes in a Sally confessional, and pulls Sally over to his side. Flies, honey and all that. All’s I’m saying is Sally better just watch her back.

Olivia and Harrison in Scandal 3x01, It's HandledBack at work, Liv is mobbed by the press again, but saved when Huck pulls her out of the car with the help of Harrison. In the office she changes into a fabulous suit (nice to have that one waiting) and is ready to get on with business as usual. But it’s not to be. The team isn’t hearing it and the clients are dropping the firm. Liv is not ready to face facts but Harrison is and he’s not ready to lose his good thing without a fight. Go Harry Go!

At the White House, Cy and Mel are trying to figure who leaked the affair. All roads lead to a Secret Service man. Big-mouthed Hal admits to spilling the affair beans, but not to leaking a name. Uh huh…put a pin in the spot.

Back at Pope and Assoc., David has come to visit and there is breaking news: A video has surfaced of Fitz leaving Liv’s apartment. They got him going to his car and looking right at the camera as he does so. Really?...Put another pin in this spot. Thanks.

Things are not looking good and Cyrus starts a “kill folder” on Liv. Which I’d still like clarification as to how literal this is. Kill as in dead or kill as in no more dental and 401k matching? Just wondering. With Cy, you never know.

Next in a strange twist we have our man Harrison stepping up to the plate and calling Cy’s private number (who are you and how did you get this number?). Harrison gives a not-so-veiled threat of the consequences of things and say to Cy that “it can’t be Liv.” Over and out. Message received.

Cy is having a meeting with his aide, Jeanine, and another dude who has lots of jokes and we get a look at this “kill folder.” It’s full of “Olivia Pope, this is your life!” memorabilia with all the men who have come before Fitz (and no family photos. Hmm). Seems all they want to kill is her reputation. So that’s the game plan.

Liv is in the office on the couch, in the dark, when she gets a call from her father and meets him downstairs in a darkened garage. Being that her dad is the leader of B613, I’m thinking I would not meet him there. A Starbucks maybe? Liv decides now is a good time to ask/yell about Jake’s whereabouts. The answer she gets is pretty vague, so I’m thinking Jake hasn’t been sunning in St. Tropez. Rowan tells Liv once again to get on the plane and that she’s running out of options. Stubborn Liv announced that she’s never out of options.

So to that Liv decides to pull out her biggest guns and pulls a black folder form her safe and call out the super police to come and get her to bring her to Fitz and Fitz in turn to her. “Hi,” they both say in way of foreplay.

Liv (in a cool white Burberry trench coat) meets Fitz in a secret safe room where he questions her about “pulling the fire alarm.” I question this too, thinking a phone call may have done the trick here, but okay Liv. Drama, I get it. Liv says they have to come up with a plan but when all the players are there. The third player being Mellie.

Mellie arrives looking cool in blue. And throwing the word “whore“ around like it’s confetti. Liv no likie. But despite that, Mellie is ready to come up with a plan to fix this thing once and for all. Deny to the press. Put up a united front. But Fitz is not playing ball. He wants to tell it. Get the truth out about him and Liv. To that ,Liv comes out with pretty plan that includes the kids and telling the story in the Rose Garden and even Mellie wearing lavender. But then it gets painful when Mellie says they can’t tell the truth because the press will wants details and the details will be too much. As Mellie points out, ”It’s not just a stained blue dress and a cigar." But then when Fitz adds on and points out that the details show him being in love with another woman. Just ouch! Really? As much as I lust for Fitz, I wanted to kick him so hard just then. The pain in Mellie’s face was gut wrenching. And then making up the how many times Liv and Fitz slept together to make Mellie feel better and appease the press was just a wonderful scene. The way Mel flipped and went with the story. You could see her insides twisting and her mind turning.

Mellie leaves and we have a moment where Fitz tries to console Liv and wants to hold her, but after so much emotion, I’m left wondering who’s holding Mellie?

A new day and we have another meeting with Sally and Fitz which is odd, since we know these two are not friends. Sally now confides in Fitz and we find out her hubby is having a little too much “fun” lately. Oh, boy. Sorry Sal. Fitz tells Sally that after his speech she can use that window to pounce. Here’s another moment to stick a little pin and come on back…

Cyrus and James in ScandalMellie rushes in to see Cy and tells him about the plan to go public that Liv and Fitz came up with, but she has another plan that needs to come from the outside. Cut to the Gladiators, Harrison, Huck, Abby and Quinn and they have a CD and are feeling a little anxious about it. But still Harrison hands the CD to Cyrus who hands it to James.

In the White House press room, Cyrus’s aide Jeanine is talking, but the press is not listening as there is more breaking news. Seems that Jeanine is being outed as the woman that Fitz had the affair with because she made some drunken party comments that were on video tape about how hot Fitz is (haven’t we all) and wrote it in a few emails. Liv is off the hook and Jeanine is on. Sorry, Jeanine, somebody had to take the fall. Looks like you were the woman on the CD.

“What did you do?” Cut to Liv bursting into her office mad as all get out at the Gladiators. But Harrison swivels around and gives Liv a look that says, simmer it down, I wasn’t about to lose my job and go back to jail for your affair. It’s handled. Bam.

Now we have Fitz yelling to find Cyrus as he goes into the Oval Office. He’s burning mad because he can’t have his 'outing Liv as his mistress' press conference with this Jeanine news. Mellie tells him to calm down. Fitz blames Cyrus for meddling and throwing Jeanine under the bus. But Mellie stops him, admitting that it was her that came up with this plan. She found out that Fitz leaked Olivia’s name to the press and she wasn’t going to be played like that.

Oh, you can go and pick up all those pins now.

  • Hal never said the name only that it was an affair.
  • Video of Fitz leaving Liv’s apartment. Why was there press there with a camera and Fitz looks right at the camera?
  • Fitz so eager to have Sally fill his shoes? It’s all been a set up. A set up to get the real woman he wants by his side in the end.
  • All this points to of course him having Tom set his boy Hal to hook the fish and for him to reel her in.
  • If you look back to my recap from the final show of last season you’ll see I said it was Fitz when he put his head in Mellie’s lap. I knew it when he had that slight smile.

So now what’s next? We’ve got Liv in the clear. For now. Mellie and Fitz are at full on war. Charlie is once again on the loose. A new black file is out with the secrets of Operation Remington and reading its contents were enough to make even Cy call on The Lord. I don’t know what’s inside, but I’m thinking it’s not good.

Things are off the rails and it’s only episode 1 of this season? Whew, I’m tired. Chime in with your thoughts and join us next week to see Nicole’s take on episode 2.


Kwana Jackson—aka K.M. Jackson—is a writer of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. Her most recent book is Seduction's Canvas, on sale now. She can be found on most days at her blog and at any moment on Twitter talking about everything and nothing at all under the handle @kwanawrites.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Just read on Twitter that Scandal set a series-high record last night with 10.5 million viewers. Apparently that's up more than 70% over last year. Lots of Gladiators out there!
Nicole Leapheart
2. BoxyFrown
Love your recap Kwana! Fitz hurt Mellie's feelings over and over again this episode. He is relentless! He wants Olivia and he is cutting folks to get to's kind of hot. I love that you pointed out the "work twice as hard" part of Rowan's speech. While Shonda doesn't make race a prime topic on the show, she throws things like this in every once in a while, and it hits home hard.
What's in the file????
3. taragel
That bunker scene with Liv, Fitz, and Mellie was something else! It's a good thing Shonda made them all assholes because that way you're not sure which one sympathize with the most! Lol.
K.M. Jackson
4. kwanawrites
@redline_ wow talk about a jump from last year. That is
wild. I guess lots of folks jump on in the water over the summer.

@BoxyFrown Hey there. Glad you liked the post. What a show
last night so much fun. Fitz mad me so mad last night. He really has no love
for Mellie. I’m going to need Shonda to big a little deeper into who that is.
And I loved the scene with Liv and her dad so much. Though race was not thrown in our face it was perfect the way it was presented.

As to the file I’m not sure what’s in there but I thinking
it will show that Fitz and Jack did something very bad indeed. Possibly harmed
quite a few innocents? Who knows maybe Fitz was in B613 or a baby agent in

@taragel Howdy! I know right. With that bunker scene you had
no place to sit your sympathy. It was fantastic!
5. @jupiterjulep24
Hi, Kwana!

Great recap. I agree with your observation about Rowan and Olivia, and how it resonated with many POCs on twitter; myself included. Kerry and Joe really did a good job in showing the parent/child relationship and the power differentials. And when Rowan reminded Olivia about the role that power has in her life, she came up with a plan to reclaim her power. As a consequence, I predict that this whole season is going to be about power-who has it, who wants it, and how far will one go to reclaim it. Mellie wielded hers and was countered by Fitz. How far will this " war of the Roses" go? Harrison claimed his within OPA.. he most certainly isn't a bitch. I could go on, but I'll conclude with Cyrus. He knows what's in the folder. What will he do with that info? Will it shake his faith in Fitz? I think that he and Jake went rogue and "insurgents" were killed.

Until next week,
K.M. Jackson
6. kwanawrites
@jupiterjulep24 Great take. I agree, I think this is the
season for power struggles. We’ll see who wins in the end. I sure hope it’s
someone worthy of the white hat.
Post a comment