Olivia Pope, exposed as the President’s mistress, was the one being handled on last night’s Scandal third season opener “It’s Handled.”

The dramatic episode began directly where the season 2 finale left off: Olivia Pope’s name has been leaked to the press as President Grant’s mistress and she is whisked away from the crowd of photographers and reporters by her CIA, B-613 boss, father, Rowan (Joe Morton).

Olivia’s father informs her of the plan: he has hired a private jet to take her to a secluded island for eight months. In the jet are new identity documents, and, when those eight months are up, he will have her moved to a secure, European location where she will never be heard from again. That is how he is going to handle it. Olivia (Kerry Washington) fights him, but her father over powers her with fear and she gets on the plane. Before she takes off forever, she calls Cyrus (Jeff Perry) to get him to tell Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) goodbye for her. Cyrus pleads with Olivia to stay: he will handle it and he will do everything in his power to shut this scandal down for her, but she cannot leave. If she leaves, he tells her, Fitz will think that Cyrus had her killed and he will never trust him and his political power and destiny will never be fulfilled.


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Olivia gets off the plane, marches straight past her father and heads to her offices. Pope & Associates is on complete lock down and surrounded by a mass of eager press hounds. Huck (Guillermo Diaz) retrieves her and gets her inside safely. Once there, Olivia evades her staff’s questions on how to handle her current situation and tries to do some damage control with her clients – the firm is losing business, fast.

Meanwhile, things aren’t going so well for Cyrus’ attempts at damage control. When a video is leaked of the President secretly exiting Olivia’s building late at night, Cyrus throws in the towel on Olivia and orders his assistants to put together a “kill folder” on Olivia. Through the kill folder, we learn that Olivia’s mother died when she was young, and she never returned to her family home. Instead, her father sent her away to the best boarding schools.

As the scandal continues to dominate the news, Olivia plays her last card: she pulls out her emergency calling card and gets herself in a safe bunker with Fitz and Mellie (Bellamy Young). She’s not interested in an emotional confrontation; she wants this handled and she needs them to come up with a plan to salvage what’s left of Fitz’ presidency.

Mellie wants to do what they have always done: smile, hold hands and deny, deny, deny. But Fitz and Olivia know that that wouldn’t work, not this time. Mellie herself had already confirmed an affair on national television in her exclusive interview with James (Dan Bucatinsky). Fitz wants to tell the truth and declare his love affair with Olivia in front of the press, let them ask their questions and then move on. Mellie won’t allow it – admitting to a few meaningless nights is all she will agree to. The three get their story straight and agree to arrange a press conference for the next day. As always, Mellie has no intention of following through and she goes straight to Cyrus with a plan.

Pope & Associates gather, led by Harrison (Columbus Short), and decide to burry the Olivia-Fitz affair. How? They unearth a DVD video and send it over to Cyrus who gives it to his journalist husband. Mere hours before Fitz plans on coming clean with the public, the contents of the DVD are released to the press: it’s the VP’s top aide, Jeannine Locke (Samantha Sloyan), drunkenly going on about how hot President Grant is. All of a sudden, it’s Locke who had the affair with the President, and Olivia Pope’s name is cleared. Olivia storms into her office: “What did you do?” she asks her team.

Fitz is furious and confronts Mellie about her plan to blame an innocent young woman. Mellie unappologetically says she did what she had to do, just like when Fitz leaked Olivia's name to the press. Fitz informs Mellie that he didn't leak Olivia's name to secure his happily-ever-after. He simply played the card before Mellie could have the chance. Mellie will no longer be able to threaten exposing his relationship with Olivia to the press in order to blackmail her husband.

Finally, the episode ends with the opening of a new mystery: Rowan pays a less than friendly midnight visit to Cyrus and shows him classified documents on what really happened during a military mission executed by the President and Jake Ballard (Scott Foley).

We don’t know what it is yet, but, whatever it is, it is shocking enough to make Cyrus say, “Oh my God.”

Scandal Season 2 continues with “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” airing Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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More on Scandal:

'Scandal' The Complete Second Season: The Addictive Drama Reveals More About Pope & Associates In A Fantastic Season

'Scandal' Spoilers: Still Hope For Liv And Fitz And Jake Makes It Out Of The Hole

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