Thursday, October 3, 2013

REVIEW: 'Scandal' Reveals Who Leaked Olivia's Name as Well as a New Dark Story Named Operation Remington in 'It's Handled'

ABC's Scandal - Episode 3.01 It's Handled

With Olivia's name out there as the President's mistress, both the White House and Pope & Associates face their biggest scandal to date, and a surprise allegiance is formed in order to get things handled. Meanwhile, Rowan will stop at nothing to carry out his orders and no one, including Olivia, can stand in his way.

A lot of the foundation of Scandal is a balancing act. The core relationship between Olivia Pope and President Fitz Grant is a toxic relationship. How long the dynamic between the two of them is interesting and doesn't grow stagnant as the series ages is a pressing issue. Not only that but the series has absolute no reservations in painting every single one of its characters as villains. Some fully embrace their monstrous side - like Cyrus and Mellie. Others try to justify their actions as the things that needed to be done despite the sketchy ways they handled it - like Olivia and most of the characters. The only person who still is figuratively wearing the white hat is David Rosen. As the third season opens, the show returns just as twisty and devilish and exciting as ever.

But sooner or later, these characters will have to deal with the consequences of their actions. These people are geniuses at spinning every situation so that it ends up in their favor. But they are all destined to spiral out of control at any given moment. The second season finale exposed Olivia Pope as the President's mistress and that set up an amazing story of the White House and the gladiators trying to deal with the aftermath of that revelation.

That nine minute sequence between Olivia, Fitz and Mellie as they figured out the plan to just tell the truth was one of the best scenes on television this fall. That was the show being as blatantly honest and open as it was even been. It was also a huge showcase moment for Kerry Washingon, Tony Goldwyn and Bellamy Young. But when has the show ever presented a solution and then actually followed through on it? Never. So, of course, the plan to try to go just through the story by exposing the truth - albeit a fabricated version of the truth that pleases all parties - wouldn't pan out. Especially once you remember that Harrison and the rest of the gladiators have something going on as well.

So, now Mellie, Cyrus and the gladiators have shifted focus away from Olivia and onto the press aide who had just enough affection for the President for them to weave a believable story out of it. Olivia has taken her on as her newest client. And in the final moments of the hour, Charlie returned to kidnap Cyrus and bring him to Rowan who revealed the true nature of a mission named Operation Remington that Fitz and Jake did years ago. The truth shocked the hell out of Cyrus - which is very near impossible to do. So naturally, expectations are really high for this reveal to truly change the game and overshadow the reveal of the President's mistress. But I can't help but think that the addition of the Remington story and putting the spotlight off of Olivia will diminish the need of these characters to face the consequences of what they've done. That's the only thing keeping me from giving this opener an A. Otherwise it was a completely fantastic premiere.

Some more thoughts:
  • I'm fully expecting this episode to hit a series high in the ratings. The show repeatedly was hitting highs last spring and the fall historically has a higher number of viewers watching.
  • "Can't we just kill another intern?" Quinn is going down a dark path.
  • So, how much of the Olivia kill folder can we take as the actual truth.
  • I loved that opening scene as well because it tackled the race issue as head on as it ever has and was very smart in how it did it. Plus, Joe Morton was just stellar for the whole hour.
  • And Fitz was the one who leaked Olivia's name to the press - through the help of the Secret Service. Now, who had guessed that?
  • I also really enjoyed the two scenes between Fitz and Sally Langston. She frequently can be gung-ho but it was really great to see the two take a step back and openly admit their problems and offer up opportunities for the other.
  • What's everyone guesses on what Operation Remington is?