Most TV shows end their seasons with a bang, but I can’t remember any returning television series starting with one, at least not one so masterfully achieved. On October 3rd, Scandal’s long-awaited (at least by me) season 3 debut exceeded all my expectations. Spoiler alert: Don’t read further, blah, blah, blah.

If you have continued to read I’m assuming that you have watched it, so I don’t need to tell you what happened. Let me tell you, instead, what I learned from it:

1. Olivia Pope showed us that it’s normal to feel like a mumbling teenager in front of  daddy, even if you’re over 30.  If she wasn’t before, she’s definitely my hero now.

2. Fitz is not a wimp! (as I previously wrote at the end of season 2). He put his head on Mellie’s lap as part of a grand scheme to get rid of her and be with his true love! Aww…

3. When Rowan tells Olivia that she aimed too low, that she could have aimed for Chief of Staff or Secretary of State, but instead she aimed for First Lady, I realized that I might be a woman, but I’m a male chauvinist pig. I always thought that Olivia couldn’t aim any higher than the President of the U.S.. Turns out her dad—even though he’s wrong about Olivia’s motivation for sleeping with Fritz— is right.

4. Scandal, as is true of other Shonda Rhimes shows, has strived to be post-racial.  Rowan puts the issue of race front and center when he reminds Olivia that she has to be “twice as good as them to get half of what they have.”  His words also serve as reminders to the audience of what his generation experienced, of what African-Americans and other minorities must teach their children in order to motivate them to succeed, and of the fact that we are still far from being post-racial.

5. So far I’ve written 4 points and 3 of them are about Rowan Pope. That must be because he’s the most lovable hateful TV character to surface in recent years. To be honest, I think that might have to do with the fact that I love Joe Morton. There’s something about his face that just makes me want to hug him, except, of course, when he’s yelling at Olivia and calling her mediocre. I am sure that there will be plenty of other reasons for me to thoroughly dislike him. But in any case, it seems that  The Brother From Another Planet has found his place in Scandal.

6. If this 3rd season continues with the same pace and script quality, Scandal will be well positioned to join the list of best TV shows of all time, despite its soap-operish bent and pop culture roots or, perhaps, because of them.

However, I still have one criticism about the show (if I hold back from bringing up the Billy Chambers rant issue from my previous post).

They really have to stop saying “gladiators,” bitches.