“Scandal” Review: A House of Lies [Season 3, Episode 2]

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If you’re still laid out from last night’s episode of “Scandal,” you’re not alone.  Shonda Rhimes has finally given primetime television an intelligent and truly powerful Black villain in the form of Rowan Pope (Joe Morton).  In a series of flashbacks, viewers learned the true nature of Rowan and Liv’s highly dysfunctional relationship, with some truly jaw dropping moments.

RELATED: Could Olivia Pope’s Mother Be White? “Scandal” Star Joe Morton Answers [EXCLUSIVE]

Here are three things you need to know about this ruthless H.N.I.C.:

1.  Rowan is a pathological liar

Poor Liv.  All those Sunday dinners with her seemingly mild-mannered paleontologist father, only to find out he’s running the country’s most powerful black ops agency.  Rowan’s cover was perfect, right down to his cashmere sweaters and absent minded professor act rambling about dinosaur bones.

2.  Rowan is the consummate manipulator

Rowan is a man who gets what he wants, when he wants, and bargaining human lives is merely a means to an end.  When Liv takes on the White House to defend Jeannette, Rowan uses Jake as bait to force his daughter to step down.  We also learn that Rowan was behind Liv breaking up with ex-fiance Edison five years ago.

RELATED: “Scandal” Review: Daddy Knows Best [Season 3, Episode 1] 

3.  Rowan gives zero f*cks about Olivia

What’s most frightening about Rowan is his need to control every aspect of his daughter’s life. Forget love and trust, Rowan is all about power and submission. When Liv confronts her father about what he really does for a living, he coldly tells her: “You don’t know me like that.”  Rowan makes it crystal clear that he has zero tolerance for Liv’s questions or judgment, and laid down the Pope Directive:

“Olivia, I’m your father so I’m going to tell you how to behave in my presence.  You cannot ask questions that you cannot handle the answers to.  You do not make judgments about things you cannot imagine.  You don’t know me that way. You don’t ever want to know me that way.  But if you push, you will know me well and that would break my heart, because I’m enjoying these Sunday dinners that you make me pay for. Now you are on my dime so pick up the menu, order your meal and tell me about your day.”   

A surprise guest appearance by Norm Lewis, helped us to close the door on the doomed Edison/Liv pairing and create further tension with Liv and Huck, now that he knows Liv’s father is the head of B613.

Can Rowan and Olivia repair their fractured relationship, now that he’s released Jake from the hole? Tune in next week!

Final Grade: B+ 

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