"You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have!" Rowan (Joe Morton) to Olivia (Kerry Washington) in "Scandal" Season 3 Premiere "It's Handled"

“You have to be twice as good as them to get half of what they have!” Rowan (Joe Morton) to Olivia (Kerry Washington) in “Scandal” Season 3 Premiere “It’s Handled”

*ABC’s explosive drama “Scandal” returned to the 10 p.m. hour Thursday with a series-high 10.5 million viewers, plus lots of questions answered (Who leaked Olivia’s name to the press?) and some burning questions asked (What’s in the folder about Fitz and Jake’s military history that made Cyrus freak out?).

[Caution! Spoilers ahead.]

The show picked up 22 minutes after Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was outed as President Fitzgerald Grant’s (Tony Goldwyn) mistress — and after viewers learned that B613 head Rowan (Joe Morton) is her daddy.

One of the shows standout scenes came early in the episode in a tense verbal exchange between Rowan and Olivia in an airport hangar. Pops yells at her for being so “mediocre,” and not aiming any higher than wanting to be a “first lady.” Then, he said a phrase that has been echoed in many an African American home through the centuries. Without mentioning race, Rowan leans in and reminds the cowering Olivia what he told her as a child – she had to be “twice as good as them to get half of what they have.”

Pops plan to fix her mess is to pay off her employees and put her on a plane to some faraway island with a new identity and a Swiss bank account. There, she’ll wait for eight months, then he’ll ship her off to Brussels or Johannesburg.

Of course, she gets off the plane – and season 3 is off and running. [Watch below.]

What did you think of Thursday’s season premiere?