Top 10 Moments of the First Half of Scandal Season 3

"Scandal's" Olivia Pope has a reason to look startled. (Photo: ABC)

The first half of Scandal’s season 3 made season 2 look like child’s play with the ever-escalating drama. Shonda Rhimes and team dug deeper into Olivia Pope’s background and we get to see
how she became who she is as we learned more about her parents. Daddy and Mama Pope are no joke and just when we think we know about who has power, the script flips.

Things changed tremendously with Quinn Perkins, as her mentor became her torturer and she’s ex-communicated from the Gladiators for being a traitor.

Episode 1

Hell and High Water – Olivia steps into the limo after being announced as the President’s mistress and is surprised to see her dad sitting there. Rowan takes her to an airplane hanger and tells her she needs to disappear. But first, he expresses his disappointment in her about how she slept with the President, but speaks to all of Black America when he tells her that he’s always taught her that she has to be twice as good to get half what others get. Even so, the moment we all realized that we were dealing with a real goon was when he told her “I am the hell and high water!”

This definitely set the tone for the rest of the episodes as he proved that statement right.

Episode 2

Presidential Balls – The cover-up that is used to deflect attention away from Olivia is that the President’s mistress is really an aide named Jeannine. It was Mellie and Cyrus’ idea and Fitz was not going for it because he wanted to call the shots. Plus, he didn’t want to throw some innocent girl under the bus. Beene challenges the President to “grow some balls” but it doesn’t matter anyway because Mellie bribes Jeannine with $2 million if she publicly admits to sleeping with the President in a press interview. Fitz finds out and right as Jeannine’s interview is set to start, it’s pre-empted by the President, who admits to sleeping with her to get ahead of the scheme, apologizing to the country and deading everyone’s plan. Jeannine no longer gets $2 million, Mellie’s plan don’t end on her terms and killing VP Sally Langston’s plan to issue a statement condemning the President to get political leverage. This kicked off a season where we see Fitz exercise more power and more shadiness than we’ve
seen from him yet and it’s refreshing.

Episode 3

Drunk Mellie – Olivia and a Congressman (Struthers) end up in a hostage with Mary Nesbitt, the mother of a dead CIA agent who was accused of being a terrorist and traitor to the U.S.
government. The mother was right all along but Liv was forbidden to tell her the truth. As Mary releases them after a day long standoff, she hurriedly closes the door and detonates the
dynamite she had strapped to herself. Pope is thrown to the ground but she’s ok. Fitz walks away from the war room where he had been monitoring the situation and runs into Mellie,
who’s sipping on hooch and is 2 drinks past drunk and this gem happened.

“If your whore had died today, brave and strong … honey, the nails, the wood, the cross you would build and hammer her on and the worship you would feel the rest of your days down on your knees praying to Saint Olivia Pope… I’d lose. As long as she’s alive, she’s your flaw. Your Achilles heel. Which makes her my weapon.”

Truth. And I loved Drunk Mellie.

Episode 4

Commanding Attention – After a navy officer named Peter Foster dies, Fitz inquires about him and realizes that he was the guy who barged into the Oval Office trying to tell him something
about Operation Remington. It’s the giant pink elephant in the room and we now knew that Jake and Fitz were right in the middle of it. After placing a call to Liv, Fitz gets out of a car and
is flanked by his squad Tom and Hal, as he walks down a hallway. He opens a door and Rowan Pope is sitting behind a desk, surprised.

This is when we realized that Fitz had more cajones than we previously gave him credit for. Who just rolls up to Command all willy nilly? The President!

Episode 5

Remington Realization – Huck and Jake have been digging into Operation Remington more and what they found out was enough to render our most unshakeable Gladiator shaken up. During
the secret mission, Fitz was in Iceland, and was involved in a plane crash that had 329 victims. He was ordered by the U.S. government to shoot the plane down. On the passengers list was
a woman named Maya Lewis. Had she taken her husband’s last name, she would have been Maya Pope. Olivia’s mother was supposedly killed in the plane that Fitz shot down!

Episode 6

Memories of Mama – Reeling from the news that her mother was killed in Operation Remington, by the man she loves, Olivia remembers the last time she saw her. Young Liv was
sitting at the kitchen table eating cereal and listening to music when her mother kissed her on the forehead and said “I love you.” Liv is devastated and questions her father about whether he
gave orders to have her mother killed. He gives a very straightforward “No.” There will be no answers from Fitz either, as she asks him about Remington. He refuses to give her information,
even upon realization that Liv’s mother was on that flight that he shot down.

The title of this episode was “Icarus” and he was a guy in Greek Mythology who was given wings by his father but warned not to fly too high. He ignored the warning and flew too close to the sun to the wax from the wings melted and he fell into the ocean and died. Everyone was getting too close to the truth and they were going to get burned. Also, just like Icarus, the plane that was shot down fell into the ocean. I see what you did there, Scandal. I SEE IT.

Episode 7

Mellie’s Sacrifice – We flashback to the time before Fitz was President, and his late father Big Jerry is pushing to get him elected as Governor. It’s late and Mellie’s sitting in his office as he
drunkenly rants about his son not appreciating him. He divulges info that his son shot down a plane that killed 329 people and she is horrified by it. He then sits next to her and starts getting
touchy but she rebuffs him and fails. Mellie Grant got raped by her Father-in-Law, and she buried the incredibly painful experience and used it as leverage to get Big Jerry to be kinder to
her son so he can have the confidence to run for office.

Back in the present day, she goes into the Oval Office, upset that he stood her up for a video opportunity that included them playing with Baby Teddy to improve her image. She tells
him: “You didn’t show up for me… If you knew the pieces of myself that I have given away for you…You declare war on me and you shame me and you make me beg for scraps and I’ve done
nothing but fight for you…the least you can do is be my friend.”

It was pent up from 15 years of sacrifice and he can’t even reciprocate that in the smallest way.

Episode 8

Mama Pope Lives – With Olivia’s questions about her mother intensifying, Rowan goes to a top secret prison with double maximum security, and the inmate is none of other than Maya Lewis
(aka Mama Pope)! She requests to see her daughter before he takes her out of the country and when he walks out, she screams his name. Then she bends down in the corner and bites her
wrist until a puddle of blood surrounds her.

This lands her in a one-room makeshift hospital in a warehouse guarded by top security guys and with one doctor. Rowan brings her pictures of Olivia and she realizes that he’s in none of
them with her. She’s upset that their Father-Daughter relationship is also in shambles but she’s not winning any “Best Mom EVER” awards anytime soon either. Mama Pope wants to see her
daughter, and she kills the doctor, escapes and ends up in front of Olivia’s building. Her “Hey Livvie” changed Liv’s life immediately.

Just when we thought Rowan Pope was the Grand Goon, here comes Maya, eating her own wrist. The fact that Olivia could even be REMOTELY well-adjusted is nothing short of a miracle.

Episode 9

Quinn’s Torture – After finding out that Quinn made her first kill and it was a security guard who happened to be someone they needed to speak with about Operation Remington, Huck
goes to Quinn’s house and tortured his mentee. Baby Huck’s life was spared from being whiskeyed (killed) only because of their relationship. However, she still felt the pain as he
pulled out some of her teeth in a “you went to far and I must let you have it” way.

Charlie rescues her when Huck goes out to deal with Mama Pope’s presence and Quinn ends up in Wonderland in front of Command. She wants the tape of her killing the security guard in
exchange for information on OPA.

Elsewhere, VP Sally Langston stabs and kills her husband, Daniel Douglas, for sleeping with James. Her first call is to Cyrus and she says “I’ve committed a sin.” Ummm AND A CRIME!

Episode 10

You Are a Boy – Rowan Pope should win an Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Shorty and Kids Choice Award for the straight READ he gave President Fitz while being detained by him. The “You are a
boy” lecture might go down as one of the best monologues in TV history and I was here for ALL of it.

“You’re given the world and you can’t appreciate it because you haven’t had to work for anything!… You are always going to be Senator Grant’s disappointing BOY, Fitz! SHE is always going to be the formidable Olivia Pope! Don’t use the person that I made to make YOU into a man. YOU are a BOY.”


The season’s winter finale ends with Jake taking over as Command, Mama Pope showing up in front of the White House with a cryptic “see you soon” to Olivia, and Quinn is truly no longer a
Gladiator, finding comfort in the arms of Huck’s archnemesis, Charlie.

Olivia finds out that she was wrong all along for thinking her father was the main evil in her DNA but it’s really her mother. Well, both her parents are Satan’s assistants but her mother is
his right hand (wo)man.

There’s so many loose ends left untied by Scandal’s season 3 winter finale that I wished the premiere on February 27 could be 2 hours. But Shonda Rhimes and team know how to tie
things up nicely while creating new questions so I’m sure by the end of episode 11, we’ll have new things to lose sleep over.

Get ready to be slayed, Gladiators! Thursday is right around the corner!

Scandal” airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.

For more from Luvvie Ajayi, visit and follow her on Twitter at @Luvvie.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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