Scandal recap: 'It's Handled' (season 3, episode 1)

Oh Scandal, how we've missed you. Thursday night's season premiere entitled "It's Handled" proved once again that no one in the Scandal Universe can be trusted. Least of all Secret Service Hal!
 
We catch up with Olivia and Papa Pope as they finish up the limo ride that started last season. Dad is taking Liv to a waiting private jet. He plans to whisk to an island where she will hide out until the First Mistress stench isn't so strong in American's collective noses. But not before he tells her she is mediocre, not special, and stupid for ever getting involved with the president. Granted it wasn't the smartest thing Liv's done but goodness--it was hard to find any parental love in his words or his tone.

After she is on the plane, she calls Cyrus to say goodbye and he makes an impassioned plea for her to stay and fight. Not necessarily because they are BFFs, but if she disappears, Fitz will think Cyrus had her killed. Fair assumption on the president's part considering she wouldn't be the first if his mistresses to go missing. Olivia agrees, hops off the plane and heads straight to Pope & Associates offices where media is staked out paparazzi-style.
 
Once inside she is greeted by her freaked out team with the news that they are hemorrhaging clients as a result of the publicity. Olivia grabs the phone and gets to work calming them down.

Back at the White House, Cyrus finds out from James that the reporter that broke the Pope-gate story likely hangs at a bar that secret service agents frequent. Cy takes that info straight to Mellie who practically sprints to agent "blinks a lot" Hal. Turns out he also talks a lot because he immediately spills that he spoke to the reporter at the bar but didn't mention any names. For someone whose entire career revolves around secrets, that guy sure has a hard time keeping them.
 
Soon a video of Fitz leaving Olivia's apartment building surfaces, and Cyrus can no longer put off the inevitable. Despite his pledge of devotion just hours earlier, Cyrus orders the file with the dirtiest of Olivia's dirt to bury her--just as her father predicted. As upsetting as it was to watch Cy stab Liv in the front and the back, it was nice to get a glimpse into Olivia's background. She's an only child, mom died when she was 12, and she has a thing for older powerful men. Oh and Dad is a curator at the Smithsonian? Good one.
 
Later that night Dad is once again offering to Houdini her life. And in another fiery exchange, which included references to overweight Americans, fast food, national security and vibrators, Olivia again declined. Only this time she called in the big guns. Using some super-secret security code Liv summons Fitz and Mellie to a bunker that I'm pretty sure is only supposed to be used in a nuclear attack. Fitting.

The unlikely threesome is there to broker a deal and plot their way out of this mess. Mellie wants to deny anything concerning Olivia. Fitz wants the exact opposite. He wants the truth about him and Olivia out there for the world to see. Olivia is hesitant but works an outline of how that would go and decides everything would be wrapped up by primary election time. Mellie will have none of it and brings them back to reality. She refuses to stand next to Fitz while he is grilled about his years-long affair with a woman he is clearly in love with. Eventually they settle on telling a partial truth--that Fitz slipped up twice with Olivia and everybody's real, real sorry.

There was a sense during the entire episode that Fitz was plotting his own demise one scheme at a time. Every conversation with VP Sally Langston was Fitz giving his blessing for her to be independent of him. None more so than their last when he outright told her to publicly condemn him and be the voice of the party. And after the frame the communications staffer plan that Mellie devises, Cyrus relays, and Harrison and company puts into play, Fitz makes his intentions clear. He initiated the leak of Olivia's name to the press as a sneak attack in a battle Mellie didn't even know she was a part of. Fitz has declared war on Mellie and his first step was to remove the threat of leaking Olivia's name from her arsenal; so he did it himself.

Charlie surfaces again. This time to take his former boss hostage. Cyrus is presumably stuffed in a trunk and taken to a secret location where he is greeted by Dad. He is handed a folder with some shocking stuff about what Fitz and Jake did on their mysterious mission the the Middle East years ago. We don't know the details yet, but if Cyrus' reaction is any indicator, it's going to be a doozy.
 
We covered a lot! Did I miss anything? Let me know what you thought of the show!

NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS:

-I simply cannot get enough of Mellie.

-If Dad is this intense all season, I might need some counseling.

-The real victim in all of this is reporter Vanessa. In less than a week, Fitz made your career, and Mellie ended it.

-Fitz is so smooth even Sally Langston has to

back down when they are one on one.
 
-James will do ANYTHING for a scoop.

-Hal needs to be relieved of his duties.

Watch "Scandal" on Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC15.

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