Scandal 2×22 – White Hat’s Back On

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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.

Scandalous Bits

– 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.

Quipyness

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!
Olivia: Cyrus!
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

Conclusion
A perfect finale to an almost perfect season of Scandal. Utterly sensational.

Nad Rating
A+

12 comments

  1. White hat's back on!! In season 1, David used to entertain Olivia's requests cause he used to say that she wears the white hat – i.e. she does no evil and is always looking to save the world. Throughout season 2, that was not exactly true to say the least as we discover the more controversial things Liv has done. The finale was kind of the beginning of redemption for her. The gladiators need her – she needs to be good again, so white hat's back on. David sent it to her because that was the basis of their relationship when he wielded some form of power and there was some contrived UST between David and Olivia *shudder*.

    I'll say it again, this finale was PHENOMENAL. This season overall has been stellar. Shonda is a genius. So much to look forward to next season: the fallout from the reveal of Liv as Fitz's mistress, Fitz's campaign, Liv and daddy dearest, David's new position and how that plays into Olivia's world, Olivia being a gladiator and kicking butt again, Quinn slipping off the edge, Jake in the hole emerging having forgotten all about Liv (are they building for season 4 here?), giving harrison a storyline for a change.

    I'm so sad for Jake, who is strangely quite likable. I can't wait to learn more about Olivia's dad (amazing link to Alias btw – so true! And this is just as awesome somehow although nobody can really outdo Lena Olin). What kind of messed up relationship made this happen. I hated Fitz going to Mellie. His character has undergone a lot of destruction this season, and crawling back is not helping his likability. Stand up for what you believe in for once.

    AHHH SO MANY THOUGHTS. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.

  2. Ahhh I knew the White Hat was familiar. Funny how I'd forgotten all of that! Thank you πŸ™‚ It has quite the full-circle feel to it now.

    I'm glad you adored the finale too. I'm most excited about learning more about Rowan's twisted relationship/history with Liv. What kind of Dad asks one of his agents to sleep with his daughter? I have a feeling this arc is going to be superb (and highly unsettling).

    It's gonna be a long summer Tots!

  3. Well, OBVIOUSLY you were thrilled. Wish I could say the same but I cant. Parts of it were brilliant, David outsmarting all of them, Quinn becoming a mimi female Huck, Fitz presenting Melly with Olivias plan for thr future, Jake's saving O. From the assine. But Cyrus ruined everything, some friend he is to O. And Fitz, he blindsided both of them and now stupid Gotz is bavk with the viper, Melly. Im very disappointed, her saying dad didnt help any!

  4. I definitely wasn't as impressed with the hour as you, Nadim, but I agree on “Dad” being the craziest twist we've seen! I flashed back to a different Alias moment – in the pilot, when Sydney is shooting bad guys and Jack drives up to save her and she's all “Daddy?” Your reference is probably more apt. Rowan definitely seems more like an Irina than a Jack.

    I was so sure Olivia was going to be shot or something out on her run, the press onslaught caught me by surprise. As you say, it's not that shocking. I can't believe she wasn't prepared for her name to get out. I'm really interested to know who leaked it (it's not Mellie; she just got Fitz back and she's not dumb enough to jeopardize their bond again) and why. What skin does Rowan/B6-13 have in the game? Why do they care who the president sleeps with? Is it a personal thing?

    I really don't like Quinn turning into a torture monster. We've done it before with Huck and it's just too freaking depressing. Ugh. Not looking forward to that next season.

    Fitz going down on Liv in the kitchen was a different kind of jaw dropping moment. I just kept thinking 'Uh, can they do this on network TV?' Apparently so.

  5. Hahah Sunbunny I think we have FINALLY established that you and I will NEVER fully agree on Scandal. The episodes you love I don't, and vice versa! I guess we watch for completely different reasons! Thankfully we agree on that epic final twist πŸ™‚

  6. Chris and I had an epic run of disagreeing on every single episode of Castle, but it finally came to an end. I suspect we'll be back on the same page before long. πŸ™‚ I'm not sure anyone could possible disagree with you on “Dad?” being one of the absolute best moments of the season. πŸ™‚

  7. just started watching this show like a few weeks because i heard so much about and let me tell u its one of the best shows that ive ever seen

  8. I'm so glad you discovered it, it's my current favorite shows. Be sure NOT to read reviews of episodes you haven't seen yet. I spoil all the surprises and it's best to enjoy and THEN read.

  9. This episode was crazy fun, but some parts annoyed me. If you cut that final scene, it ended pretty much the same as last season, bar a few things. The other thing that annoyed me was Quinn. I actually liked her straight away. She was the fish out of water in the office, and the only relatable one when we were flung into the series. I'm not sure I like the idea of her going down this creepy, tortury path, but it could be interesting.

    As far as entertainment goes I think this was the best episode so far. I knew who the mole was before I got into the show cause I spotted it somewhere accidentally, spoilers are the worst, but I still got a kick out of all of the twists. I'm just glad David is on team white hat still, and not a manipulative backstabber.

    I'm not sure what Rowan being Liv's dad brings to the series, but I definitley didn't see it coming so it'll be fun to see where things go with that next season.

    I liked what you said about Mellie showing vulnerability. I know a lot of fans hate her, and she's been branded the bad guy, but I've felt for her all season. She always ends up on the wrong side of the fence no matter what she does, so I hope Fitz stops being a bossy chauvinist for a while and let her have a small period of peace.

    Great review, Nadim.

  10. What a nice surprise to see you here Panda. Great point about the similarities to season one's ending! I'm curious to see your thoughts on season three!

    And yes, I adore Mellie. She has some very interesting things in the following seasons so keep me updated!

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