WARNING: Major spoilers below!
Season 3 of Scandal kicked off Thursday night, and creator Shonda Rhimes did not disappoint, dropping bombshell after bombshell in the fast-paced episode featuring standout performances by Kerry Washington (Pope), Tony Goldwyn (President Fitz) and Bellamy Young (First Lady Mellie). And if you’re like everyone on Twitter, you simply … Can’t. Get. Enough. Seriously, is it next Thursday yet?
Until then, let’s relive the episode’s best scenes:
1. Olivia Goes Full Out Gladiator on Her Mystery Dad:
After our favorite fixer Pope’s secret is revealed (she’s having an affair with the president), Daddy Pope arrives. All we know is that he is the head of some top-secret killer spy division of the CIA called B613. And he’s angry enough to scream phrases like, “I am the Hell and the High Water,” to his quivery-lip daughter. He wants to send Liv across the world until the media calms down. But she won’t budge. (Like she’d ever leave Fitz!) Plus, she gives it right back to pops delivering one of her signature one-liners: “I’m never out of options.”
2. Cyrus Beene Creates a ‘Kill’ Folder
… on Olivia?! And we get a brief rundown on her past: grew up going to fancy boarding schools, moved out after her mom died and her dating history includes a number of flings with older, successful men. This scene also reminded us how much we missed Cyrus – shoutout to the fabulous Jeff Perry! – and his maniacal ways.
3. The President, His Mistress and the First Lady Together Again
We’re still recovering from the sheer brilliance of this scene (and Olivia’s white Burberry trench … it’s everything). Basically we feel like this:
So what went down? Olivia rings the emergency alarm and goes to a secret underground bunker to meet Fitz. And she invites Mellie. Mellie delivers one of her signature smackdowns. Fitz wants to come clean to Mellie’s dismay. They finally reach an agreement: Fitz and Mellie will address the press together as a unit and reveal he only slept with Olivia twice, once after the inauguration and once after the assassination attempt. And … how amazing were the performances? And the choice not to include music. Brilliant. It felt like we were right in the room with them.
4. Fitz and Olivia Embrace – a.k.a. The Hottest Hug in TV History
Our hearts literally stopped beating the second Foxy Fitz took off his suit jacket and started walking toward a very fragile looking Olivia. He touched her arm. She gasped. He pulled her close. She cried on his shoulder. Magic!
5. The Gladiators Go Behind Olivia’s Back
Enter the most quotable line from the episode, courtesy of Harrison Wright (played by Columbus Short): Are we gladiators or are we b––s? Pope’s team proves to be the former, leaking a video framing communications aide Janine Locke as the woman behind the President’s affair. The clip shows the 26-year-old White House employee calling Fitz hot in a drunken haze. The media buys it. Liv is safe, but furious with her team. Then bam – Janine’s the newest client of Pope & Associates!
6. Abby Debuts New Hair
Gladiators gone glam! That glossy, wavy blowout Abby’s (Darby Stanchfield) sporting is pretty major and totally turns David Rosen (Joshua Malina) into mush. PEOPLE.com Style Director Andrea Lavinthal says it best:
7. Fitz IS THE LEAK!
Did anyone else see that coming? Leave it to Mellie to crack the case wide open by confronting Fitz in the Oval Office. The estranged couple’s latest war of words marks one of the most poignant and emotional scenes (aside from the bunker) of all three seasons. Fitz explains he leaked Olivia’s name to the press via one of his bodyguards to free her from Mellie’s grasp. Now that it’s out, Olivia can be “free.”
8. The Top Secret Folder We Won’t Stop Obsessing Over For a Week
Talk about a cliffhanger. The episode ends with Rowan (Daddy Pope) having a secret meeting (yes, another secret meeting!) with Cyrus. A folder is presented containing the truth behind Operation Remington – the mission Fitz and Jake Ballard (who’s currently in the same B163 “box” Huck was held captive in) completed when they were Navy buds. Cyrus looks inside and the look of fear on his face says it all. Something went down. Something big.
What did you think of the Scandal premiere? What were your favorite moments? Tell us in the comments below!