Scandal season premiere recap: 'Are We Gladiators, or Are We Bitches?'

Olivia deals with her daddy issues as we find out who leaked her affair with Fitz
Ep. 01 | Aired Oct 3, 2013

HARRISON MAXIMUS With Olivia spiraling into crisis, someone needs to lead the Gladiators. Harrison takes it upon himself to borrow the White Hat from Liv's closet.

Eric McCandless/ABC

So what does work for Mellie? Well, she's fine telling the world that her husband cheated on her... twice (although it's closer to twice per episode at this point): once on Inauguration Night and once after the assassination attempt. "It's still the truth, just not the whole truth," Olivia says, sounding ever-so-lawyerly.

Now the moment we've been waiting for: Mellie has left the bunker. Fitz approaches Olivia. "Don't," she begs. And he won't; he just embraces her. Our Olitz moment is over. Was it enough, Gladiators? Is it ever?

We return to the Oval Office for another scotch summit with Sally -- although this time Fitz is drinking alone. Even so, I've already come to like VP Langston more in this episode than I have the entire series. Is Shonda humanizing her with the talk of her personal life and her unusual empathy for the president? Whatever she's selling, Fitz is buying it too, urging her to capitalize on his indiscretion and place herself as the moral center of the Republican Party. Oh, that she can do.

Meanwhile, Mellie is not down with this whole "honesty" campaign she's been signed up for, and she takes her issue straight to Cyrus (who refers to her as "one-third of some secret, unholy political trinity"). She has a plan of her own -- but it has to come from the outside. Cut to Pope & Associates, where Harrison is pushing a non-Olivia-approved plan. The others are wary of his unsanctioned mystery DVD, but he asks: "Are we Gladiators, or are we bitches?" That's rhetorical, right? That mystery DVD is then handed -- through a black town car window, natch -- to one Cyrus Beene.

NEXT: Cyrus finds his sacrificial lamb, and it's not Liv

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