‘Scandal’ season three: A fixer’s primer

Spoiler Alert: This story talks about what happened on the last season of “Scandal” and speculates about what’s in store.

Scandal,” the show about Olivia Pope and her team of “gladiators in suits” returns Thursday, almost five months after the show’s mind-blowing season two finale.

Tonight’s episode is titled “It’s Handled.” It’s unclear what — or who — will be handled, but remember, this is Shonda Rhimes’s world and we’re just living in it.

In the meantime, we’re fixers right? So, let’s talk about who needs the most fixing.

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington)

The season two finale was filled with twists and turns, but none were more shocking than the show’s heartstopping final moments in which we learned that Olivia’s affair with the president has been revealed and that Rowan, the mysterious man who had been ordering Jake to get close to Olivia is ... her dad. So, at the very least, we know that Olivia’s own father ordered Jake to sleep with her. (Gross). But his motives could prove even more sinister. In an interview with Essence, actor Joe Morton acknowledged that his character may have attempted to have Olivia killed. “Rowan is the sort of man who’s about getting the job done and protecting the Republic above all else,” Morton told the magazine.

Jake Ballard (Scott Foley)

Sigh. Captain Jake Ballard looks like he’s a good guy after all. Olivia’s one-time love interest saved her life, but now he’s in a very bad place, one that our gladiator friend, Huck, knows all too well. The good news is that we haven’t seen the last of Jake — Scott Foley signed on as a series regular for season three. No word on whether he’ll emerge from the hole with a homeless Huck-era beard. (In an interview with Vulture, Guillermo Diaz, the actor who plays Huck, seemed to think that was a pretty awesome idea.)

Fitz (Tony Goldwyn)

Fitz may have gone crawling back to his First Lady, but have we seen the last of Fitz and Olivia? Not likely. “Fitz has not given up. He won’t,” Goldwyn recently told Vulture. “He’d rather die than lose Olivia, I really believe that.” We at least know that Olivia and Fitz come face to face in tonight’s premiere. The teaser for the episode has our star-crossed lovers meeting in a top-secret location and exchanging familiar dialogue. Olivia: “We need to talk about how to fix this. We need to make a plan.” EW.com has an extended clip of the teaser, in which the two consult a rather unlikely ally.

Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes)

Quinn has taken to Huck’s tutelage quite well — so well, in fact, that Huck, the guy who taught her how to hack into computer systems and wield power drills, looks a little frightened of her lately. “There are still so many stories to be told that are going to blow your mind,” Lowes said Wednesday on HuffPost Live. Asked about a possible love interest for her character, Lowes acknowledged that Quinn has had bad luck in the love department, but stayed pretty mum about whether we’ll see her in a relationship this season.“I think the more interesting thing is where the drill moment left off at the season finale, where that’s gonna go from here,” Lowes said.

The third season of ”Scandal” starts Thursday at 10 p.m. ET. Hope you have your popcorn, wine and (of course) your white hat at the ready.

Bethonie Butler is a producer and a reporter on The Post’s engagement team. She oversees online comments and has also contributed to The Style Blog and She The People.
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