Scandal

Scandal 5×17 – Thwack!

"Never cross me again."

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How I wish this was the season finale.

Can you imagine if this (surprisingly terrific) season of Scandal had ended with this episode? Liv committing ACTUAL murder followed by that bone-chilling sequence in which her dad welcomed her to the dark side, juxtaposed with the flashback of her iconic escape last season? I’m actually worried the eventual season finale a few episodes down the line won’t be able to top this thematically-rich and admittedly insane conclusion.

Shonda Rhimes took a huge risk here, and I applaud her for it. I know there’s a lot of online backlash over the fact that she had Olivia actually take a life, but I’m so impressed by the show for its willingness to go through with this brave move. It makes sense in the context of the show’s world; Olivia is still enormously traumatized from her horrific kidnapping, and she was pushed over the edge by Andrew as her entire world came crashing down (particularly after Abby betrayed her). When Fitz murdered Verna in cold blood in season two, that act was somewhat glossed over and forgotten; I’m certain this won’t happen with Liv, and I am beyond curious to see how the hell Shonda plans on making our heroine sympathetic after this. I genuinely can’t remember the last time a series had its lead commit such a downright evil act. Incredible!

And then there’s Abby, who was so disgusted and insulted by the thought of going back to work for Liv, that she finally became the “monster” she always wanted to be by throwing Liv and Mellie under the bus to protect her President. Her actions ultimately culminated in Liv snapping and committing murder, so the aftermath of this development should be brutal. It’s worth repeating that whenever Darby Stanchfield gets more to do, I’m a happy guy!.

There’s no going back from this. Yup, Scandal is back on top!

Scandalous Bits

– Seeing the gang meet to discuss and find a solution reminded me of the good old Defiance days.

– Liv and Quinn finally discovered that Huck was the one who gave Andrew that stroke.

– Very unsettling moment with Andrew taking Mellie’s hand and guiding it towards his you-know-what.

– So Liv kind of fell in love with Fitz all over again when she discovered that he wanted to take the blame for everything. You could just feel it in Kerry’s delivery of that monologue (found below).

– The look on Liv’s face when she realized Abby had screwed them over – priceless.

– I just loved the claustrophobic editing as Andrew harassed Liv with all those vulgar insults and she kept flashing back to her ordeal. Tony Goldwyn (who plays Fitz) directed this episode, and he did a stellar job ratcheting up the tension until Liv finally exploded and viciously beat Andrew with that chair over and over again.

– The shot of Liv’s blood-spattered face? So very haunting.

– Although it’s a minor development, I’m excited to see Alex Vargas reveal the Tom affair to Cyrus’ hooker hubby.

– I’m wondering what Marcus’ suspicions of the machinations going on at OPA will amount to. And do I care?

– That final shot with the camera panning away from the house reminded me of Charmed. Each of that show’s season finales would end with the camera panning away from the doorstep in a similar manner.

– Love the title of the episode. So appropriate.

Quipyness

Olivia: I assure you, Andrew. It is not the way, because this time, you’re not just up against Fitz and Cyrus and Mellie. You are up against me, the bitch you left for dead.

Olivia: If we kill Andrew, we are no better than he is.
Elizabeth: Oh, great. So we’ll all go to jail, but at least we’ll be better people.

Olivia: I am not you, Dad. In my world, if someone’s in your way, you outthink them. You don’t end them.

Marcus: Where have you been? I’ve been trying to reach you.
Olivia: Spotty cell service.
Marcus: I don’t even know why I asked.

Olivia: It’s not weak.
Abby: Liv, he’s giving up.
Olivia: He’s being the President, finally. Finally, he’s being the man we sold to the American people, and that’s… Abby, he’s doing what a leader is supposed to do. He’s taking responsibility. He is taking the blame. He’s taking the hit for the team. Mellie, Cyrus, me… His team. The body count that has piled up in pursuit of his Oval? That’s on him. It may have been our hands… Mellie’s, Cyrus’, or mine… But it was for him. Every bullet we took was for him. Every time we nailed ourselves to a cross, it was so he wouldn’t bleed. This is on him. A leader owns what happened on his watch. A leader stands up and takes responsibility. That is not weak. That’s integrity. That’s presidential.

Olivia: You will rebound so fast in this town.
Abby: Rebound to what? I’m a big dog, Liv. The biggest. A White House Monster. I chew them up, I spit them out, I own that place. What’s the point of being a monster if you’ve got no teeth?
Olivia: (chuckles) You were never a monster. You’re Abby… and you can always come back and work for me. That would be fun, right?
Abby: Yeah, right.

Olivia: Let’s discuss your best outcome here and how I can help you achieve it.
Andrew: You talk this much in bed? You this… chatty on your hands and knees? That big mouth of yours work as hard as it does right now? Tell me. I’m curious.
Olivia: You think you can take Mellie down without me burning everything to the ground?

Andrew: I know you, too. Underneath those expensive clothes… you’re just another cheap slut who thinks she’s something better than that. Always surprised me how much you went for. $2 billion, was it? Wonder what I’d get now I auctioned you again, put you back on the open market. I mean, now that you’re not the president’s side piece, now that you’re just a novelty act. What do you think you’d go for? What’s an aging porn star go for? The kind that work the strip clubs in Reno, Atlantic City… The ones available for private meetings. What do they go for? $500? $1,500? Somewhere in that range? You’re done. Over. You go down with Mellie. Back to paying off knocked-up hookers for low-level politicos. You’ve got nothing to offer me. I already got everything I wanted. Everything I needed and deserved… revenge. I got revenge.
Olivia: You think you get revenge?! (She attacks him) You don’t… get revenge! That’s mine! (She smashes him with a chair repeatedly) That’s mine! Mine!

Conclusion
It might hold the most controversial development Scandal’s ever done, but I absolutely loved this game-changing hour.

Nad Rating
A

3 comments

  1. The twist of Olivia fatally beating Andrew with a chair was a surprising, powerful moment. But I fear it only further damages the Olivia character just when I thought she was slowly getting back to her former pre-Season 3 self.

  2. Terrific review, Nad. This is definitely the most shocking twist I've seen all year! And while I was still a bit confused as whether I love or hate this Olivia development, you certainly convinced me that it's a brilliant move. After all, we've certainly NEVER seen a TV lead suddenly become a villain and that's just downright fascinating.

    I wish this was the season finale!! Can you imagine finishing off the season like this and heading into next year with THAT cliffhanger! Amazing.

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