I think it’s safe to say that Scandal had a pretty great season this year. When you consider the fact that the ever-annoying Rowan Pope continues to suffocate the show with his repetitive tirades, that makes this even more of a towering achievement. The election storyline featuring Mellie and the rest of the cast was just so strong, it elevated everything else and almost returned the show to its glory days of season two (the less said about the atrocious third season, the better).
While I would have loved the show to end on a more powerful cliffhanger (think the epic jawdropper that bookended the season two finale), this was still a thematically engrossing conclusion with Olivia basically morphing into her father – the very man she despises. I particularly loved Kerry Washington’s final power strut intercut with all the ominous quotes Rowan sputtered at her over the years (special mention goes out to “twice as hard, half as good“). I could have done without yet ANOTHER reveal featuring Rowan having orchestrated everything (why not give Liv full agency over her decisions?), but a certain twist kept me suitably distracted…
I am of course referring to the glorious reveal of Cyrus as Frankie’s VP. I don’t know why I never saw this bombshell coming, but it makes perfect sense in retrospect. Cyrus had made it clear in the past that he’d always wanted to be President, and that he had to live vicariously through Fitz’s position. So having him actually run for office as VP is extremely fitting and believable (in the show’s whacky world at least). The mind boggles at the possibilities of Mellie/Jake versus Frankie/Cyrus. It actually feels like a brand new chapter in the Scandal story. Hopefully, Shonda won’t drag the show out longer and will announce season six as the show’s swan song. Fingers crossed.
– Jake killing Vanessa’s dad in the teaser was HARSH!
– Couldn’t the writers think of a less contrived way for Fitz to learn about Liv’s abortion? Am I supposed to believe the frickin’ PRESIDENT was walking through Abby’s office and just saw the papers lying on her desk? How stupid do these writers think we are?
– Loved Mellie exploding at Fitz in the empty stadium (first-rate performance by Bellamy Young). Plus it was so satisfying to hear her call him out for the crybaby that he is.
– How creepy is Tom and Cyrus’ relationship? Not only are they both cold-blooded killers, but there’s an unsettling father-son vibe to the way Cyrus holds him close.
– Was I supposed to feel worry for Jake when Rowan held a gun to his head? I’m so unattached to both characters at this point.
– I would be fine with David Rosen getting written off the show at this point; he’s served his purpose and has become particularly unlikable. Liz can stay.
– Where was Susan in this finale? She was a definite highlight of the season.
– Loved Liv and Jake both spouting off “dayum” as they victoriously marched off.
– Poor Tom. I can’t wait to see how he’ll get back at Cyrus. Perhaps Michael is not long for this world?
– Fitz was surprisingly mature in his handling of the abortion reveal. And he didn’t even let Liv know that he knew what she’d done.
– The way Liv ordered Jake around (just like her father) – priceless.
– How goosebump worthy was the musical score during those final five minutes? Stunning.
Sally: Behind me, the splendid Grant Arena. Named for the famous general, not the man-child that’s been soiling his pants at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the last eight years.
Cyrus: How would you like to be Frankie Vargas’ running mate? You said make it fast.
David: Vice President?
Cyrus: Vice President.
David: Of the United States of America?
Cyrus: Well, now I’m not so sure. You seem kind of slow.
David: What does the Dark Lord Master Cyrus Beene want in return for this?
Cyrus: I did dabble in darkness for the last decade or so. I’ll admit that.
Liz: I don’t believe in free, and I don’t believe in college. Everything should have a price, especially education, which is worthless.
Liz: You think you’re the only one who suffered in all that. I cried. Multiple times. Tears. In my eyes.
Liz: Well, I don’t want to, either, but this is where we are. We’re debasing ourselves. Let’s go all the way.
Mellie: You are standing up here thumping your chest, reeling off your stats, chiseling yourself onto Mount Rushmore. Like you didn’t stand on my back to get there… On Olivia’s back, on Cyrus’, and your daddy’s. I didn’t have $100 million trust fund, a political legacy. I didn’t go to the best boarding schools on the planet, and I am not a white man. I am here on my own. I got here on my own. I got here… because I managed to escape you. Like Liv managed to escape you. You talk about what a great president you are, and yet you whined and cried about how much you hate the job every chance you got. Do those people out there who love you know how many times you tried to walk off the gig? How privileged and entitled do you have to be to think of the most powerful office in the world as a prison? Unlike you, Fitz, I want this. Unlike you… I earned it. And unlike you… I will not squander it.
Cyrus: People were martyred. For Jesus! For political Jesus!
Fitz: You came by to tell me your ex-boyfriend’s gonna be on my ex-wife’s ticket, and you won’t sit with me?
Cyrus: What I need is a new Michael, if I could replace Michael with a new one.
Rowan: Those words are innocuous enough, but the stance, the tone I find alarming. Should I be alarmed?
Rowan: Advise him, Olivia. Advise him to plant his narrow ass in that chair. It may look like it’s my finger on the trigger. It might look I’m holding the gun. It’s an illusion. You have your finger on this trigger.
Liv: I have not gone through what I’ve gone through, worked twice as hard for half as much, only to end up living an unimpressive life! Mediocrity is not an option for me!
Jake: I’ve gone from being his bitch to yours.
Liv: Put the tie on.
Liv: He said, “One of us is getting back to the White House.” He’s right… Me.
It wasn’t perfect, but this was a powerful closer to a revitalized season of Scandal. Bring on season six (hopefully the show’s last).