This review’s going to be a little bit different. It will feature dual takes by Nad (who reviewed the show for six years), and Chris (who took over reviewing duties this season). We hope you enjoy it, and comment with your thoughts below!
Note: be sure to watch Nad’s quick video review of the series finale.
Chris: I have a strange love/hate relationship when it comes to series finales. They’re always packed with mixed emotions and expectations. So is it weird that I felt nothing as I watched Over a Cliff?
Nad: Not weird at all Chris. I hated this finale. It further cemented just how terrible Scandal had become in its final season. Let’s break it down!
The Big Death
Chris: It’s especially disturbing to feel detached from an episode that kills off a main character, but David’s death is extremely rushed, nonsensical and emotionless – three words that also perfectly describe this finale (and maybe the series?) as a whole.
Nad: Amen! I used to love David but I felt nothing here. Maybe it’s because they didn’t even give Abby the space to process his death? (And thus, we as viewers couldn’t process it properly either). I know there had to be a big death in the finale, but come on Shonda, at least give it the weight it deserves. I’d also like to point out that although Shonda apparently prides herself on big deaths, she never REALLY killed any of the core cast members. I would have loved to see her kill off Rowan or Huck or even Fitz (like she killed McDreamy on Grey’s). Scandal was never as game-changing in its narrative as it pretended to be.
Unsatisfying, Frustrating and Disrespectful
Chris: Then there’s Cyrus, Rowan, and Olivia. The only reason I stuck with Scandal until this torturous point was because the optimist in me believed there would be a fair and satisfying conclusion after seven years. It seems that Shonda was too ridiculously obsessed with these terrible characters and B613 to really put a shocking bookend on it all. First, Cyrus gets away completely unscathed (and no, a deleted death scene does not count). And what about Rowan and Olivia? They get to keep wandering the city, giving awfully long speeches and having cringeworthy family dinners? It’s a frustrating and incredibly disrespectful ending for longtime fans. Perhaps a two-hour finale would have helped explain some of the rushed creative decisions the writers had to cram, but only a tragic ending for the Popes and Cyrus would have left me completely fulfilled.
Nad: 100%. Let’s not forget that Cyrus had no more shades of grey this season. He became a PURE villain which was never the case. And if you’re just going to make him a full-baddie, at least give him his comeuppance. Shonda also manages to overlook Liv’s crimes (remember when she MURDERED Andrew?), but Rowan doesn’t suffer any consequences for all the horrifying acts that he’s done? Pathetic.
Chris: A finale is just as memorable as its final shot. While Over a Cliff doesn’t quite leave me with the bitter taste that the How I Met Your Mother finale left me with four years ago (almost to the date), I’m still remarkably underwhelmed by the visual of the girls looking up at a painting of Olivia Pope. Whether or not this is an indication that Liv became President of the United States (literally or figuratively), I’m more disturbed with the writers trying to position this character as a role model despite the despicable things she has done over the years. There’s no denying that Scandal has had a huge positive effect on young, black women all over the world, especially since the show debuted during a time when representation for diverse characters was scarce, but the impact would have been much more powerful if Olivia Pope was a character worth rooting for. I see the point you were going for, writers, but you failed miserably.
Nad: We’ll have to disagree here. Although you make valid points, I actually loved the scene of the two girls (some people are theorizing that they’re Liv and Fitz’s daughters) looking at the portrait. It’s true that Liv was not a great role model, but I still found it empowering, especially with the touch of her wearing her natural hair in the picture (which she barely did because she was never at ease with herself). Also on the bright side, Olitz got one little scene (the “hi”). I guess at this point, even Shonda was sick of this nauseating couple.
Chris: Ultimately, I think the show suffered from a huge identity crisis throughout its entire run, even at its best. It started out as a semi-serialized soapy drama before it ditched its standalone cases altogether and replaced them with political thrills. At times, it wanted to become the next Alias with its secret covert organizations and spy hijinks. It wanted to be politically resonant as it ripped stories from headlines and mimicked Washington’s real-life leaders. Scandal was so many things at once, it’s amazing it never even tried to be one simple thing: consistent.
Nad: Hilariously true Chris. There was a time when Scandal was my FAVORITE show on TV. Remember how spectacular season two was? It would consistently produce A+ episodes week after week, and then the show just went too bonkers for its own good. The fact that I stopped reviewing it in season seven spoke volumes; I was that turned off by its storytelling. What a pity.
– Lonnie killing himself in the opening teaser is one of the funniest rushed deaths in television history.
– Mellie did nothing this year. Seriously.
– At least we find out Charlie’s real name is Bernard. Yay, I guess?
– Rowan’s big monologue to the committee was way too heavy-handed and random. Also, it solved everything far too easily. Talk about contrivances.
– Fun callback: Fitz telling Olivia to take her clothes off is a reference to The Trail, the sixth episode of the very first season. Also, yes that’s the Olitz theme playing in the background.
– The Olivia/Jake dynamic never worked, so naturally their very last scene barely registered as the writers desperately tried to redeem Jake. Remember when he killed his wife not even two weeks ago?
Sally: We’ve got rats in our nation’s basements. Fear no more, Liberty lovers. Mama’s calling the exterminator. It’s killing time.
Huck: Do you, Quinn, take Bernard to be your lawfully-wedded husband?
Quinn: I do. And I promise to never hack you without cause, to help you hide the bodies, no questions asked, and to always have your six till the day I die for real.
Chris & Nad: A rushed, messy and deeply unsatisfying series finale on nearly every level. Goodbye, Scandal. We’re sorry to say that you won’t be missed.
Chris & Nad Rating