S3 E01 It's Handled

10/03/13 | TV-14 | CC

When we last left Olivia Pope, she was off on a leisurely drive with dear old dad. 22 minutes pass before she finally addresses the high-ranking, ever-scary government insider we’ve come to know as Rowan. She wants to know why he tried to have her killed. Rowan assures that he only tried to have Jake Ballard killed, not his little girl. Still, Father of the Year honors are probably off the table. Rowan gives Olivia a harsh verbal smackdown before shuffling her onto a plane so she can disappear. A preflight plea from Cyrus to not run has her canceling her trip. Needless to say, daddy isn’t pleased.

Huck shuffles Olivia into the office while protecting her from the throngs of press people trying to score a snapshot. The phone has been ringing off the hook all morning with press and clients looking to fire the firm. The big boss can’t stop the bleeding, so Harrison rallies the troops behind her back. Olivia sneaks away in the middle of the night to meet with her father. She wants to know Jake’s whereabouts. The only thing Rowan will tell her is that he refused an order, and no one refuses an order in his business. Rowan warns Olivia that she’s running out options. His daughter assures him that she is never out of options.

Cyrus presses James for info on how the media got wind of the affair. Mellie is also on the hunt for the source of the leak. Both learn that a reporter got wind of the news at a bar where the Secret Service drinks. Hal blabbed about the affair, but swears he didn’t give up a name. A video is leaked showing Fitz exiting into the back alley behind Olivia’s apartment. Cyrus begins damage control by ordering communications aide Jeannine Locke to dig up dirt on Olivia. He learns that his old friend never lived in her family home again after her mother’s death. As for Olivia, she accesses a secret cell phone. Her password is “Providence.” A short time later, she’s in a top secret meeting room standing across from the President of the United States.

Fitz admonishes Olivia for using the Providence key. It was supposed to be for extreme emergencies. Liv feels this qualifies. That’s why she needs Mellie to join the discussion on how to handle their current situation. Before they proceed, Olivia asks the first lady to refrain from referring to her as a whore. Fair enough. Fitz suggests that they tell the truth. Olivia agrees, but it can’t be the whole truth. They’ll say they slept together twice. It’s a number Mellie can live with. They were together on inauguration night and once again after the assassination attempt. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it. Once Mellie leaves, Fitz tries to comfort Olivia with a hug. As usual, she finds it impossible to resist his embrace. She leaves the meeting in tears.

Sally Langston initially balks at the request that she be the one to take on all the president’s public appearances in the midst of this latest scandal. She’s surprised when Fitz admits to having an affair. The president then asks her to help him buy some time before he comes clean to the world. The vice president agrees to help. Sally is happy to hear that Mellie will be standing by Fitz’s side during the forthcoming presser. She also reveals the challenges she faces in her own marriage. Fitz advises her to take advantage of his upcoming speech to rise up as the moral center of their party. That’s something she can do.

Mellie isn’t truly onboard with the strategy that was laid out during the secret meeting. She lets Cyrus know she has her own plan, but they’ll need outside help. A short time later, Harrison, Abby, Quinn and Huck recommit to being gladiators before delivering a DVD to Cyrus. It contains old video footage of a tipsy Jeannine Locke referring to Fitz as “freakin’ hot.” As spot-on as her assessment of the leader of the free world may be, it doesn’t mean she had an affair with the guy, right? Wrong. The press now believes that Jeannine Locke is the president’s mistress, not Olivia Pope. Cyrus assures the blindsided aide that the White House has her back. Yeah, right.

A furious Olivia knows her fellow gladiators are involved in the unsubstantiated takedown of Jeannine Locke. A furious Fitz knows Cyrus is behind it, too. He’s shocked to learn that his loving wife is truly the one who has been pulling all the strings. She leaked Jeannine’s name after she figured out her hubby is the one who leaked Olivia’s name. It’s all true. Fitz used his Secret Service agents as part of his plan to neutralize the situation so he could one day fulfill his vow to bring Olivia into the White House. Mellie may have won his battle, but Fitz is comforted by the fact that Olivia is in the clear. She’s free to get back to work helping her newest client: Jeannine Locke.

Cyrus is stunned to find Charlie in bed with James. It’s just business. See, James has been rendered unconscious so Charlie can abduct Cy at gunpoint without issue. The baby is also sleeping soundly in the next room thanks to a sweet ride on the infant swing. Cyrus is brought to a room where Rowan raises his security clearance. The topic of their discussion is a classified mission Fitz ran with Jake Ballard in Iran known as Operation Remington. Cyrus is allowed to flip through the formerly redacted file to learn what really happened on that mission. After a few moments of perusal, Cyrus looks up at Rowan with a horrorstruck look on his face. What the heck is in that file?!

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