Post Mortem: Scandal Team Teases Season 3's 'Dark As You Can Imagine' New Twist and More

Scandal Season 3 SpoilersABC’s Scandal started brewing again this Thursday night, and per its trademark style raised just as many intriguing questions as it exasperatingly answered.

To quickly recap: Olivia suffered a verbal beatdown at the hands of her father, B613 boss Rowan, before electing to not skip town but stay and manage her “First Mistress” infamy. The Gladiators lobbied to help, but Liv kept them at arm’s length, opting instead to “pull the fire alarm” to score facetime with Fitz… and Mellie. Over the course of a riveting, nine-minute sequence, Olivia laid out in detail a truthy fix, right down to Mellie’s lavender wardrobe — but the First Lady wasn’t having it.

Ultimately, they arrived at a compromise — Fitz bedded Liv only twice ever, at relatively appropriate times — but it was moot. Cyrus, with an assist from the Gladiators, framed a mild-mannered (if Fitz-lusting) White House aide as the mistress.

The hour closed with Charlie showing up in Cyrus’ bedroom to deliver him to Rowan, who shared with the Chief of Staff details on Operation Remington, a top-secret mission run by Fitz and Jake during their Navy days. Cy’s reaction, mouth agape. “Oh. My. God.”

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Scandal left you with questions and we sought out answers, when the cast and creatives assembled this week at a Saks event in New York City.

WHAT IS BEHIND OLIVIA’S GINORMOUS DADDY ISSUES? | I mean, no one talks like that to She Who Wears the White Hat… right? Flashbacks in next week’s episode “further inform and make you understand [Olivia and Rowan’s] relationship more,” Kerry Washington previews. “But it is also devastatingly confusing, because you just don’t comprehend how two people could have this dynamic.” P.S. TVLine hears that in addition to fleshing out Olivia’s history, these flashbacks may feature at least one other Gladiator.

CYRUS’ ‘KILL FILE’ WAS WRONG ABOUT OLIVIA’S FATHER — SO WHAT ABOUT THE REST? | Like, could her mother not be dead? Is Liv perhaps not an only child? “Whether or not anything on this show anybody ever takes at face value is the question,” exec producer Betsy Beers hedges. “Sometimes it is [true], sometimes it isn’t. But I ain’t saying!”

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HOW BIG IS THE OPERATION REMINGTON BOMBSHELL? (AND WHAT IS THE OPERATION REMINGTON BOMBSHELL?) | After all, as Beers notes, “It definitely takes a lot to drop Cyrus’ jaw!” Series creator Shonda Rhimes attests that when it comes to threatening Fitz’s future, Remington will make MistressGate look like very small potatoes. “It’s complex,” she says, adding: “You discover things on top of things on top of things that really go to the heart of who Olivia is as a person.” Wait, back up — an off-book military op carried out by Fitz and Jake years ago in Iran is ultimately about Olivia? Yup! As Scott Foley puts it, “If you think about the darkest thing you can imagine about Olivia, it’s probably that. That’s how dark Remington is.”
Scandal Season 3 SpoilersDO WE NEED TO STAGE A QUINNTERVENTION? | Or are we OK with Ms. Perkins suggesting the murder of another intern as an easy “fix” for everything? “She’s heading down a dark path,” affirms Katie Lowes. “The season finale [in which she “drilled” Billy Chambers] opened up a new side of her, giving her a sense of control she has never felt.” And yes, other such “Can’t we just kill another intern?” bon mots are coming. Laughs the actress, “Her altered mindset is apparent and running strong!”

ARE ABBY AND DAVID STILL… YOU KNOW…? | “You’re going to get pointed in a couple of directions” as to the on-and-off-again lovers’ current status, Joshua Malina says, “but it’s clear within the first few episodes that it ain’t over. It’s not entirely resolved.” Adds his leading lady Darby Stanchfield, “They get cooking with gas around Episode 3, 4, 5.”

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WAS PRESIDENT GRANT ALWAYS THE LEAK? | Or did Rhimes & Co. go back and forth over the summer on the source’s identity? Silly question; nothing is happenstance in Shondaland. “We knew who the leak was before we had the leak happen,” Rhimes assures with a smile.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR OLIVIA AND FITZ? | What’s the saying — “Twice bitten, thrice shy,” for the star-crossed couple? And could Remington’s “dark” truth turn out to be their ultimate ruining? In the wake of so much barely squelched rumor-mongering (and with Mellie on the highest alert), “They’ll have to define the new rules,” Washington says. “And as more information unravels, their relationship will continue to evolve.”

Review some of the premiere’s notable quotes below, then give it a grade! Also: Want more scoop on Scandal? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

I am the hell AND the high water…. TWICE AS GOOD as them to get HALF what they have…. I am a monster but I’m YOUR monster…. That’s what Mom used to tell me about YOU…. The PEOPLE elected you to be the president’s sidekick, not the LORD…. Sweet brown baby…. It CAN’T. BE. LIV…. It’s enough to play the ‘Ambitious Slut’ card…. I’m going to need you to refrain from calling me a ‘whore’…. That is me being in love with another woman…. If all we had to talk about was a blue dress with a stain and a cigar in interesting places, I wouldn’t give a damn…. There will be a window; climb through it…. Are we Gladiators, or are we bitches?…. I use the copious amounts of free time I have to THINK…. Step 1 was me coming to Blair House and laying my head in your lap…. The trunk was very comfortable, thank you…. Oh my God.