There are no words to describe the brilliance. I literally gasped out loud as Scandal‘s jaw-dropping finale came to a close, cementing this season as one of my all-time favorite television creations. There are no words (see what I did there, Shonda-style).
Warning: If you haven’t seen this episode, I forbid you from reading any further. I don’t usually remind readers to watch out for spoilers in my reviews (that’s a given) but you’d be doing yourself the biggest disservice on earth if you read any further before watching this mindblowing finale.
Let’s start at the very end: Olivia puts on her iPod and struts out of her home, determined to start a new, Fitz-free chapter of her life. As she makes her way out of her building (in slow motion), she’s greeted by a hoard of reporters as we discover that her identity as the mistress has finally been leaked to the press (by Mellie? Rowan? A third party?). Of course that’s not the big twist, since Liv’s name was bound to get out eventually. No, the real shocker came as Olivia was rushed into a limo to be greeted by Rowan, the head (?) of B6-13. Until that point, I was wary of the man’s involvement in the second half of the season. But with one little word, Shonda Rhimes managed to completely flip the show on its head with a development so astounding, that I’m shocked I never even considered it… Rowan is Liv’s father! WOW! With one word (“Dad?”), the second half of Scandal‘s sophomore year (which I found to be great but not as breathtaking as the first half) suddenly escalated to a whole new level of brilliance. Shonda essentially rectified the arc’s glaring flaw (a lame shadowy villain) with a genius turn that made everything before it worthwhile. Absolutely extraordinary.
Now that I’ve picked my jaw up from the floor, we can discuss Olivia and Fitz. Naturally, Cyrus found himself caught in the middle, and resorted to the one thing he does best: unleash chaos in every direction. Two bombshells were subsequently dropped: Fitz found out about Olivia and Jake (through “reality-TV” no less) while Olivia finally learned of Fitz’s murder of poor Verna Thornton. I’m beyond pleased that the show’s core couple were kept apart for reasons that had been planted throughout the season, and not through a contrived development thrust in at the last second. It feels like the organic way to go, because we obviously won’t be seeing Liv as The First Lady of the United States before the series finale (if ever). The notion that she simply can’t leave her gladiators behind they’ve crossed a line they need to be brought back from, was a wonderful direction to take her in. Liv has indeed caused a lot of turmoil in her wake (with the gang in tow), and it’s time she takes responsibility and faces up to those sins. This woman is far from a hero, but at least now she’s willing to confront her demons head-on.
How great was David this week? I’m thankful he wasn’t revealed to be a supervillain, but simply one step ahead of everybody else in his quest to reclaim his position of power. The sequence with Abby’s epiphany as we flashed back to the different parts of David’s plan was superb, and it was immensely satisfying to see him screw over Chambers and get crowned District Attorney by Fitz.
When Scandal first began, I found Quinn to be a horrible, useless character that added absolutely nothing to the show. Today, I’m more than happy to bite my tongue because she’s evolved into a hugely enjoyable character in her own right. It was admittedly insane (and intriguing) to watch her transform into a full-on psycho as she DRILLED into Chambers while her face got splattered with blood. And that gleeful smile on her face? Suffice to say, we’re now dealing with Huck 2.0 ladies and gentleman, and it’s outstanding.
I must also mention Fitz’s downright brilliant speech to Mellie in which he disclosed the plan to make Olivia his wife while sparking a nationwide debate about “race”. It brought out a very sinister side in Fitz as he threatened to call Mellie a racist and derail her political career. I love how Scandal exists in such a grey area, as I found myself completely rooting for Mellie to screw him over. I don’t think we’ve ever seen her this vulnerable, and she’s bound to come back guns-a-blazing next season. Bring on the beast as far as I’m concerned.
– My heart got all tingly inside when The Roundtable of Evil met up again. Of course this time, Fitz took Verna’s place.
– The Prez going down on Olivia in The White House. Damn this show likes being controversial.
– Fitz comparing Sally to Hank the dog was probably his funniest speech of the year. Pure comedic gold.
– Awesome continuity: the return of Governor Reston.
– Is anyone really surprised that Cyrus had a heart attack? With all his screaming and stress, it was far from unexpected.
– Cyrus telling the agent to shoot the paramedic in the ambulance cracked me up.
– It was actually quite touching to see James hug Cyrus in the hospital bed.
– Chambers gave a pretty impressive speech to Rosen about Olivia breaking and fixing people’s lives. He made her sound like an unmitigated villain.
– Epic moment with Jake saving Olivia and shooting the B6-13 assassin. I also quite liked Liv telling Jake to close his eyes before kissing him goodbye.
– Cyrus and Olivia’s confrontation was both funny (heart-shaped bullets) and dramatic (the Verna reveal). Simply a masterclass in writing and acting.
– I seriously got goosebumps during the David sequence. I love watching long-term plots fall into place. The highlight was David trying ALL those combinations with his tiny notebook.
– Why did Liv put on a white hat? What am I missing? I can’t seem to remember.
– I have to say it, what does Harrison add to the show? Because seriously.
– The final montage showed us Fitz crying into Mellie’s lap, Cyrus shattering the Cytron card, and Jake being dumped in that famous hole. Damn.
– Did someone else order the hit on Liv? I find it hard to believe that her own dad did.
– Who else flashed back to the Alias season one cliffhanger at the end Shonda is a big fan of that show (which is my all-time favorite) so I’d like to think it somewhat inspired her.
Huck: It’s true that they say: if you want somebody killed right, you gotta kill them yourself.
Abby: Somebody stitch that on a pillow.
Olivia: Not everyone’s here yet.
Hollis: What the heck are we waiting for, old Verna to show? Last time I checked that little piggie was dead as a slab of bacon God rest her soul.
Cyrus: Your job has only two requirements Sally: one is to not die and the other is be loyal to the President. That’s it: don’t die, be loyal! The only other creature in this house who has the same sweet deal is the President’s dog, Hank! Hank can do those two simple things. Why can’t you?
Olivia: I worry about me too.
Cyrus: Let me get this straight. Highly trained Black Ops assassins broke into your home and tried to kill you. And instead of that making you run towards reason, instead of the possibility of death, making you decide maybe it’s better to be single, you have decided that the killers were merely firing heart-shaped bullets made of bubbles and candy, that signify that your and your boyfriend Fitzy are MFEO – made for each other?
Olivia: Cyrus you’re being dramatic.
Cyrus: Really? Really? I’m being dramatic? I have moved heaven and earth to save you from yourselves. I have lied for you, I have stolen for you, I have cheated for you, I have killed for you, I have almost died for you. And you, you two, are so stupid and romantic and high on your own doomed love Romeo & Juliet dear-diary nonsense that you won’t even save your own lives. But I’m being dramatic. Romeo and Juliet were teenagers and they died! I’ve had enough!
Cyrus: He killed Verna Thornton Liv! Killed her – dead! With his own two hands!
Olivia: (to Fitz) I can’t leave them. They need me. I’m their Gladiator.
Must Download Tune
Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder
A perfect finale to an almost perfect season of Scandal. Utterly sensational.