New Show Recap

New Show Recap: Scandal, 3×01, “It’s Handled”

Oh my, oh my.

Scandal did not disappoint, did it?

When I was first musing about how to write this review, I found myself wondering how to describe the malignantly evil speeches people made to their loved ones during this episode. For the moment I think I’m going to call it toxictaunting. But trust, it merited its own term, because things got MEAN.

Daddy’s Little Girl

First of all, Olivia is cornered by her father, the super-powerful Rowan, who spews some of the most hateful, bilious talk I have ever heard, and I went to Catholic all-girls school: “You raised your skirt and opened your knees and gave it away to a man who had too much power. You’re not rare, you’re not special, your story’s no different than a thousand other stories in this town. You know how this goes.” He momentarily cows Olivia into getting on a plane to leave the country. Fortunately, she calls Cyrus Beene (yes, Selena, the last name is for you) (you get a raise! – SMI), who begs her to stay, pleading with her that if she disappears, Fitz will think Cyrus had her killed and he won’t trust Cy anymore, meaning Cy won’t be able to help Fitz. Olivia stays.

Wow, we’ve learned a lot about Olivia already. Growing up with a father like Rowan, I am more impressed by Olivia than ever. It’s amazing that she did not spend the rest of her life curled into a fetal position, rocking back and forth, let alone becoming Olivia motherflippin’ Pope.

The Hits Just Keep on Comin’

Fitz and his crisis team try to figure out next steps. Vice president Sally Langston and Cyrus butt heads. She seethes that she has kept her opinions about his “godless homosexual lifestyle” and that “poor, sweet, brown baby” to herself, but she’s had it and she isn’t backing Fitz. Fitz tells her he’s ready to deal with the consequences and confess, but he needs to get the people in his life ready. She agrees. (We later learn something interesting, if not too surprising: Sally’s husband has his own indiscretions.)

Meanwhile, Olivia’s team wants her to respond, but she says they need to get back to business as usual. She changes into a dove grey suit (peace, y’all) and calls her clients, only to find they have dropped her, as her team warned her.

Olivia should be a lot angrier than this. (Photo courtesy of ABC.)
Olivia should be a lot angrier than this. (Photo courtesy of ABC.)

**We will now take a break from the regularly scheduled show so we can observe a few things about Olivia’s team. First of all, Abby’s hair looks amazing, and she is wearing smoky eye makeup. Second, Harrison is wearing what looks like a pinky/coral/orange gingham shirt and a blue patterned tie. I’m not feeling it.**

This looks much better in the photograph than it did on film. (Photo Courtesy of ABC.)
This looks much better in the photograph than it did on film. (Photo Courtesy of ABC.)

David Rosen comes to give Olivia a pep talk. He urges Olivia not to make the wrong choice. He is interrupted by news that a video has been unearthed showing Fitz coming out of Olivia’s apartment.

Responses are Planned

We cut to the White House, where a reluctant Cyrus tells his staff to start making a kill file on Olivia. We learn that Olivia went to the best schools, never lived with her father after her mother died, and had a reputation as a party girl with a taste for silver foxes. Bingo — Cy knows there is enough evidence to support the “Olivia as ambitious slut” characterization if they need to use it.

After a visit from her poisonous father, who tells her she has no more choices, Olivia takes advantage of the nuclear option — she summons Fitz to a secret location using some sort of presidential code left over from her time working for Fitz. Fitz is angry she did that, and he’s shocked to see that Mellie is joining them. Mellie is livid, but calms down enough to agree that they will admit the affair as a two-time event. Mellie can tolerate that, but not any suggestion that Fitz loves Olivia. After Mellie leaves, Fitz apologizes to Olivia for how hard it must be for her. Fitz takes off his jacket and despite Olivia’s objections, he takes her in his arms and hugs her. She resists, but eventually sobs into his shirt before shrugging his arms off of her.


While Olivia is steeling herself for the big reveal, someone pulls a switcheroo. The president’s young press secretary is identified (framed) as Fitz’s mistress. It remains to be seen (at least IMHO) whether Cyrus or the Gladiators were part of the implementation, although Liv seems to think her team has something to do with it. (I think they all worked together. Like Voltron. ~SMI)

So who leaked the press secretary’s name? It turns out the mastermind was Mellie. She saw Fitz’s endgame, which was to leak Liv’s name to start the process of making the public comfortable with her. In other words, he still envisions Liv as the First Lady. Fitz corrects Mellie; that wasn’t the first step of his plan, the first step was to lay his head in Mellie’s lap and beg forgiveness. (Remember that scene? It looks like we weren’t the only ones choking back the vomit.) He leaked Olivia’s name because that meant she couldn’t be used as a bargaining chip by the vindictive First Lady.

Stealthy Goings-On

Cyrus returns home to find Charlie, who is sitting next to an unconscious (drugged) James on the bed. My stomach lurches for a second when Charlie says that the baby is also drugged. Fortunately, Charlie merely was praising the efficacy of the fancy baby swing in the nursery. (Shonda Rhymes, please, please, please keep Charlie around as an occasional presence in the show — he has a certain je ne sais quoi. For one thing, even though he is an agent of the bad guys, he has a rather upbeat way of dealing with people. He’ll kill you, but he’s not cruel about it. He also appreciates a job well done, whether it is baby swing design or pastry baking.)

Cyrus finds himself delivered to Rowan and delivers one of the funniest lines of the episode about his method of transport: “The trunk was very comfortable, thank you.” Rowan lets Cyrus (but not the audience) in on the secret behind Operation Remington, the mission Fitz and Jake flew together in Iran. (Oh, come ON, did we have to end the show with another code name?) Cy is shocked, and I suspect we will be, too.

Other Stuff

  • David Rosen is calling Abby, and she’s not returning his calls? First, is he really that forgiving, or is the sex just that good? Are they still hooking up? A glance between the two of them suggests the answer is yes.
Abby's looking sultry. (Photo courtesy of ABC)
Abby’s looking sultry enough to catch her a Rosen. (Photo courtesy of ABC)
  • Is toxictaunt this year’s bullybragging? That remains to be seen, but this episode certainly suggests it.
  • An enraged Olivia has charged in on behalf of the hapless press secretary. No surprise there.
  • Quinn’s suggestion for crisis control involves killing an intern. Cue me stifling a yawn. I could see this coming,
  • I hate Fitz a LOT right now. I can’t believe he voluntarily put Olivia through that without her consent.

Quotent Quotables

  • “I am a monster, but honey, I’m your monster.” – Cyrus, persuading Olivia to stay and fight it out.
  • “My idealistic, optimistic, romantic, idiotic husband.” – Mellie, describing Fitz’s plan to “out” Olivia. She spits out the words like they are acid.

By Moretta

Moretta will take that applause. Her Twitter is

4 replies on “New Show Recap: Scandal, 3×01, “It’s Handled””

I’m so glad this show is back, I can’t even tell you.

I thought this episode did a better job of acknowledging race — especially in the opening toxictaunt coming from Olivia’s dad — than previous episodes have.


I think that the “outside help” Mellie and Cyrus enlisted was the gladiators, thus the Voltron comment above. And I LOVE this! They should team up more often, minus the part where they destroyed that poor woman’s life.

I actually stood up and yelled when I thought Charlie the Misunderstood Assassin had offed James.

This fucking show.

I definitely felt that Olivia’s response really conveyed genuine horror at what her team had done — talk about understanding things entirely differently. Unfortunately, none of the other players appear to have any sort of self-awareness.

Fitz is completely and entirely irredeemable to me, and I’m pretty aghast at everyone who hung the press secretary out to dry, too.

I don’t understand why these calculating minds don’t recognize that this affair is going to lose its intensity after a while. Olivia should just have a lot of sex with Fitz until he is out of her system, and vice versa. Mellie should be encouraging this approach. Taking the forbidden aspect out of it will lessen the intensity a fair amount, too.

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