It's easy to dismiss Scandal as a silly show. Because, let's face it, it's a pretty silly show. But it''s impossible to deny that it's really good at what it does and, therefore, extremely entertaining. Season 3 got off to a predictably intense start tonight.
When we last left the crazy, twisty world of
, Mellie had leaked to the press that Olivia Pope was President Grant's mistress. The press swarmed, and Olivia was whisked away in a car, only to come face-to-face with her father, aka the Mysterious Man in season 2 who seemed to want to kill her. We pick up tonight's episode right where last season left off.
Joe Morton gets a bigger role this season as Olivia's dad Rowan, and wow, he is instantly our favorite thing about this episode. He gets a juicy
-esque monologue right off the bat, scolding his daughter for being foolish enough to have an affair with the president and thinking things would turn out well for her. Boy, is he FANTASTIC. ("I am the hell AND the high water.") We hope the whole season finds much more for him to do.
For the first time in the show, Olivia looks ... afraid. It doesn't seem like she has the greatest of relationships with her dad: "The White House will destroy you," he tells his daughter, after she decides not to follow his orders to get out of D.C. "That's what mom used to tell me about you." Ice cold, Olivia.
Cyrus is back with as much furious indignation as ever, lashing out at Vice President Sally, working covertly with Mellie, ordering a "Kill Folder" on Olivia Pope. Just a normal day for Cyrus, who won't stop until he's backstabbed everyone on this show.
Meanwhile, everyone else is trying to find proof that it really
was Olivia who carried on an affair with the president; a video is released showing the president leaving Olivia's house. (At one point, Harrison tries to reason with Cyrus that it's in everyone's best interest if the media can't prove it was Olivia who had an affair with Fitz, because duh. But Cyrus has another idea: He wants to use the "ambitious slut" card against her. Classy!)
The best scene in the episode is when Olivia goes to visit Fitz and (surprise!) Mellie is also there. It's great to see all three of these people in a room talking about The Affair like it's one big (highly emotional) strategy meeting. (Or, as Cyrus later calls it, the "secret unholy political trinity.") It's capped by a tear-filled Fitz/Olivia hug, which is confusing on many levels. Are we still supposed to be rooting for them as a couple?
After the meeting, Mellie comes up with a plan, because Mellie always has a plan. Not wanting to go public with the fact that Fitz and Olivia did indeed have an affair, she orchestrates the release of
another video in which a communications aide calls the president "really hot." The 26-year-old is implicated in the affair instead of Olivia. Good to know Mellie still has plenty of things up her sleeve this season. Heck, she even figures out it was
Fitz (!) who leaked Olivia's name to the press! Nice work, Mellie. Even we didn't see that one coming.
Know what else we didn't see coming? Hitman Charlie ambushing Cyrus and his family and bringing him face-to-face with Mr. Pope. We love the idea of those two men in a room together, yelling into each other's faces. Looks like next week will dig into whatever Cyrus saw in that mysterious folder. It's presumably some horrible act committed by the president, but what?
What did everyone else think? Was it a good start to season 3? How'd you like Olivia's dad? And is poor Scott Foley going to be stuck in that hole in the ground forever?