So, finally, I got around to watching the final episode of Scandal. What can I say? A seven-year relationship is ending. I’ve been in the denial stage for a couple of weeks. But I’ve worked through it and have managed to put together one last recap. A eulogy, of sorts.
Ugh. This is tougher than I expected. TV show years are kind of like dog years, so Scandal lived to a ripe old age. That doesn’t make this any easier, though.
So, one more time, a visit to Scandaland –
Nice knowin’ ya, Lonnie. Liv meets up with Lonnie in a deserted warehouse. He tells her he’s not going to investigate the whole B613 thing; he’s too compromised to allow it. Liv, obviously disappointed and ticked off, turns to go. Then he asks her if she wants a Senate hearing. That gets her to pause. He says he wants one thing in return: that Mellie will make gun control a priority if she’s still president when this is all over. Liv agrees. That settled, Lonnie takes out a gun. Liv looks a bit nervous, but it’s clear quickly what his intentions are. He says he’s making sure she gets the hearing she wants, then puts the gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger.
That does the trick. Before long, the media is buzzing with the news of the formerly secret government spy agency B613.
It sends the bad guys scrambling. Cy meets with Jake and tells him not only have they lost an ally in the AG’s office in Lonnie, but now they’re going to have to go up against David Rosen again. He’d recused himself from the hijacking case, but not this one, so he’ll be taking over.
For his part, David is briefing the Gladiators about what’s next for them. They’ve all agreed to testify and spill their guts about B613 and the various misdeeds they’ve committed in its service. That list of naughty things is, of course, quite extensive and graphic for some of them. Huck asks what could happen to them if they’re forced to confess to some of the really bad stuff they’ve done. David looks uneasy, and the scene is cut before we hear his reply.
Park bench meeting. Liv meets Pa on a park bench. One last sort of covert meeting in public to discuss a touchy but weighty matter for these two. I’m going to miss these little get-togethers. Liv says she needs help exposing B613, but Pa doesn’t want to hear it. He gives her an envelope with information on a trust fund, keys to a safe deposit box, and the deed to his house. He’s leaving before this whole thing blows up. Liv says that this is her chance to come clean and start over, but Pa says it’s not about her; it’s about them, the DC machine. She’s still working for them, but she doesn’t realize that they don’t care about her. Liv insists that she’s fighting the good fight, and when she’s done, the secrets will all be out, and B613 will be no more. That makes it all worth it. The country will be better off. Pa looks doubtful as he gets up and walks away.
How many times now is it, over the run of the show, that Pa has threatened to disappear for good? And yet, he’s still here for the final episode!
There are more hints of a happy ending for Melcus. Marcus drops in on Mel, who is day drinking in the Oval. Just like Fitz used to do! Those two have more in common than they’d be comfortable admitting. Mel is depressed about the impending hearings, which she’s afraid are going to end with her impeachment. Marcus tries to reassure her. And they kiss.
Angst at QPA. At QPA, the Gladiators are pretty depressed themselves, wondering about their own fates. Quinn frets that she’ll miss her daughter growing up. Abby is afraid that David will tire of visiting her in prison sooner or later and dump her. As for Huck, he’s not thinking that far in advance. He’s sweating bullets over the prospect of having to talk in front of fifteen people.
The gang’s all here. And that arrives the next day as the hearings begin. All our favorites are on hand along with Liv and the Gladiators, including not only Fitz, but also Hollis Doyle! Long, long time no see, someone who used to be a major character and then slipped from view entirely! He’s just as loud and crass and obnoxious as ever. Also back is Tom, former Secret Service agent and brutal B613 enforcer and plaything of Cyrus. He gets one final shot at Cy by incriminating him in the Frankie Vargas killing. Liv admits to ordering the assassination of Rashad, as Command of B613. Everyone who testifies is in agreement that Cy engineered the Air Force 2 hacking. It’s basically a bloodletting of all kinds of the nefariousness we’ve seen on this show for seven seasons. Not all of it, since there isn’t time for that in just an hour episode, but lots of it.
After that fun is over, David meets with the gang again. He tells them that the committee will be giving him its recommendations, but prison is looking likely for some or all of them, and they should get their affairs in order immediately. Afterward, Liv takes him aside and asks him for a favor.
Finally, it’s official! The next scene is in prison, but not for the Gladiators. Not yet, anyway. The gang has brought Quinn to see Charlie. He’s looking pretty good, considering when we last saw him he was in the midst of being ‘persuaded’ to talk, and his face looked like a plate of raw hamburger. He’s shocked to see them, and even more shocked when Quinn tells him how they all testified before the Senate about B613. Quinn’s all giddy that this whole meeting could be arranged and asks Charlie to marry her. Now.
This adorable pair of homicidal spies was just minutes away from tying the knot when Quinn got kidnapped, and they haven’t had much of a chance since then. But Liv and the Gladiators have come prepared for the occasion, with flowers and rings. Huck, who says he registered online and is qualified, officiates the ceremony. The bride and groom are overjoyed to finally make their relationship legal. It also spurs Charlie to come clean and admit that he’s been going by a fake name all this time. His real name is Bernard Gusky. Quinn is stunned by this revelation, but, of course, her real name’s not Quinn, either, so they’re even in the fake names department. The difference is, Charlie knew about Quinn’s phony name, and this info is news to her. But in any case, she’s too happy to care. She shrugs it off, Huck continues with the ceremony, and what is sure to be a weirdly dysfunctional and nontraditional, but undeniably endlessly interesting marriage, is coronated. Congrats, you two! But I still feel kind of sorry for Robin.
Another evil parking garage. David is walking to his car, only to find Jake waiting there. Of course, they’re in a parking garage and no one else is around. With all the bad things that take place in parking garages in so many shows, one can’t help but think that the crime rate could be vastly reduced by having those things monitored 24/7. They’re forever hosting scenes like this one.
Jake is there for exactly the reason David suspects: to threaten David into dropping the whole B613 matter. When David hesitates to immediately give in to his request, Jake starts to draw his gun. But David refuses to be bullied and stands his ground. Literally. He puts down his case and raises his arms and says he’s not backing down. He’s not running, so Jake won’t get the chance to shoot him in the back, like he did to James. This is a nice callback to the Season 3 scene where Jake, working for B613, shot James, Cy’s husband, in front of a terrified David. And yes, it was in the back. Jake doesn’t appreciate being reminded and menacingly shoves the gun in David’s face.
But David stands his ground and has his say, despite Jake’s deadly reputation. He says he’s not Jake’s bitch; he’s the attorney general, the bitch of the United States of America. Jake says he sounds ridiculous, and David says that makes sense to him. Jake has never stood for anything in his life, so someone speaking with conviction would naturally sound ridiculous to him.
What does he stand for? Who cares about him? If something happened to him, who would care? There are people who love me, David says, they would miss me. No one would miss you. You’re just Cy’s bitch. So go ahead, do what you were told to do.
Then David adds that he can be Cy’s bitch, or he can, for the first time in his life, do the right thing and not follow orders, just because.
It’s a bold challenge, and Jake doesn’t look comfortable with it. He’s still holding the gun in David’s face but is frozen. David stands with the barrel near his nose for several tense seconds, and then says he’s leaving. He bends down, picks up his case, and starts walking away. He’s obviously still expecting to maybe get that bullet in the back, but when he turns around after a few steps, Jake is gone.
Creepy Jake, one more time. That leads Jake to go to Cy’s office. He walks in and tells Cy that he’s going home. Cy brushes that off and asks if he took care of the David Rosen problem. Jake starts to go, and Cy grabs his arm, which Jake, of course, doesn’t appreciate. But Cy is starting to realize that Jake would really just walk out on this whole thing and gets a desperate look in his eye.
He says that if David is still AG tomorrow when the committee gives its recommendations, he and Jake are finished. But Jake doesn’t seem to care. He says that he’s not going to kill David for Cy. It’s not that he has anything against killing in general, he says, turning on the creepy Jake persona he can flip like a switch. No, he’s a killer. He’s just not going to carry out this particular killing. It’s Cy, he adds, who’s not a killer. Cy is good at getting others to do his dirty work but has always preferred not to get his hands dirty himself. He likes to give orders but isn’t fond of putting the work in.
When Jake is done insulting a stunned Cy, he pauses to lean over and get in his face. He tells Cy, in a menacingly low and evil tone, never to question him, then repeats that he’s going home. He leaves Cy behind, looking shaken and scared.
Nice knowin’ ya, Davey. Later, David is lying in bed with Abby, telling her how great it felt to stand up to Jake. She, though, is distracted, worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow. She thinks she’s going to prison, and voices her fears about him dealing with carrying on a relationship with a federal inmate. He assures her that whatever happens, he’ll never leave her. Then his phone rings. It’s Cy, wanting to deal.
The meeting with Jake seems to have scared Cy into giving up. David goes to Cy’s house, where he has a full confession prepared. He’ll confess to setting up the AF2 hacking and trying to frame Mel for it. Cy seems very calm and resigned to facing his fate. He asks David to have a drink with him. As he pours and hands David a glass, Cy says he’s not a good person, but there are reasons for everything he does. He’s always had a dream of attaining the presidency, he says, and right now, that dream is within his grasp. The problem is, David is standing in his way. At that moment, David, who has sipped from his glass, starts coughing.
Need I even mention, at this point, how stupid it was for David to go to Cy’s house in the middle of the night alone? It’s hard to believe, knowing these people as well as he does, that he’d ever do it. He should have called a colleague or asked Abby to go with him. For that matter, why didn’t Abby say something? Neither of these savvy people knew what a horrible idea it was for David to go by himself to meet with a cornered and desperate Cy? This show has sometimes required some heavy lifting to suspend disbelief, but this, in the final episode, is an extreme example. Just, wow.
And it leads to the death, in the final episode, of perhaps the show’s last truly white hat character. As David starts coughing and sweating, Cy tells him it’s nothing personal, it’s just that he’s in his way. Cy stands back while David struggles for breath. It isn’t pretty, as David chokes and falls to the floor, contorting while trying to breathe. Cy continues to watch, but as David struggles on and refuses to stop fighting, Cy knows he’ll have to get his hands dirty. He picks up a pillow and holds it over David’s face. After a few moments, David finally gives up and goes limp. Cy sits back, seeming both relieved and horrified with what he’s done.
Giving up? Later, Abby is at the morgue to identify David’s body. He reportedly had a heart attack. Liv and the Gladiators are also there, and they’re looking grim. Abby tells them that Cy called David to his house, and it was a trap. Quinn says the bad guys have won, but Abby says they can’t get emotional; there’s time for that later. Right now, they have to do something. Huck says he’ll take care of it, but Liv knows what that means and says no. There will be no more killing. They don’t deal with problems that way anymore. They have to think of something else.
No one seems to have much idea what that is. Quinn tries going to see Pa and asking him for help, but he shuts her down quickly. If he helps her, he says, it will be traced back to him, and he’ll take the fall for it. She says she’s probably going to prison, and does he want Robin to grow up without her parents? He just says he’s not responsible for that. He wishes her luck, and she reluctantly leaves.
Liv is spending her probable last night of freedom with Fitz. He tells her they have to fight this, but Liv has basically given up. Cy has won, and they’re all going to prison. She blames herself for the whole thing, saying she’s been the problem all along. He protests, but she just says that she’s going to prison tomorrow, so tonight is the last night they’ll ever have alone together. Does he want to spend it arguing? He gives in and tells her to take her clothes off, and they start making out.
Pa is in his studio, finishing up the last of his packing. He hears a news report of how AG Rosen suffered a fatal heart attack at VP Beene’s house. He looks pensive, but it’s hard to read his reaction.
Final reckoning. Really. Final. We find out the next morning. Liv wakes up alone in bed. She finds Fitz in the living room, on the phone. He seems surprised by what he hears. When he hangs up, he tells her the committee has postponed giving its recommendations, which it was supposed to do first thing this morning. There’s a new witness.
That turns out to be Pa, who is testifying, he specifically points out, as Command of B613. So, in Scandalspeak, he’s testifying as Rowan, Command of a super secret government spy organization, and not Eli, meek paleontologist. He says he started B613 because of the failings of people like those on the committee he was testifying before, the white men who have always been in charge.
Then Pa Pope, who has never shied away from delivering a scenery-chewing speech on this show, gives his final effort. He says the responsibility for the perpetuation of B613 falls on them; they made it possible through their clueless privilege. Pa says it wasn’t they who made America great, it was him. He’s kept the country safe from behind the scenes; he just never got any credit for it. The white men who run things would never acknowledge that a black man has been running the country for the past thirty years. Their pride and privilege wouldn’t allow it.
That last bit is basically a way for Pa to get himself off the hook. The committee needs to deliver the public some sort of villain after all this, he tells them. They need to hand over Command, but not necessarily him, insinuating that a white guy might be a wiser choice.
And so it went. The scene cuts from Pa to a news report showing the FBI raiding Jake’s house and marching him out in handcuffs. Jake was once, briefly, Command, and he’s done some very bad things, and he’s a white guy, so that combination of things is enough to make him take the blame for everything.
With Jake under arrest, the mood at QPA is one of elation. While Jake will go to prison, Quinn, who an hour ago thought she was going to miss her child growing up, will get to stay home with her kid and new husband. Abby is happy for her, but says that while they might claim the good guys won, the only true ‘good guy’, David, is gone. She’s put off mourning her BF for the sake of the task at hand, but it looks like she’s now ready.
One last bit of creepiness. Jake is sitting in his cell when Liv shows up. She wants to see him one last time. She wonders, if she had never made him leave the island, who he would he be now. She apologizes for making him ‘step out of the sun’, but he tells her not to be sorry. He doesn’t seem to hold this against her, but he’s stoic, as usual. That low-key creepy Jake is ever-present. He doesn’t even seem to mind that he’s headed for a maximum security lock-up in Illinois, for life. He says some nonsense about how they can’t cage him, and he’ll always be free, yadda yadda. He thanks Liv for showing up for him. She says goodbye.
Getting off pretty easy. As for Cy, Liv is waiting when he walks into the Oval. He’s surprised to see her, as he had an appointment with Mel, but Liv says Mel is busy, and she’s here in her place. She hands Cy a resignation letter; his, to be exact. He’s resigning from the vice presidency, immediately. She tells him he can fight it and debase himself, or he can sign it and try to move on and get some peace of mind. It’s his choice. But he has to make it, now. Cy looks trapped. He blubbers a bit about all the plans he had for himself and even offers Liv a drink, at one point (and even he has to laugh a bit over that, knowing how absurd it sounds). Eventually, though, he faces the inevitable, takes the letter, and signs.
BFFs? With that, the mopping up is done. Almost. Liv sits with Mel on a White House balcony. After all that craziness, Mel asks what’s next. What’s next for her administration? What can she do to assure the public everything is back to normal, and she deserves their trust? Whatever that is, Mel says, she’s hoping Liv will be by her side to carry it out. But, surprisingly, Liv turns her down. She says she’s spent enough of her life cleaning up other people’s messes. She wants to do something else. Mel is disappointed. She envisioned the two of them moving on together. She tells Liv she needs her, but Liv says she doesn’t. Mel should be her own woman and run things her own way, and she’ll be great at it. Mel asks what Liv will do. Liv answers, “Whatever I want.”
One last thing… Then there’s a jump ahead in time. Charlie (Bernard?) is released from prison and is greeted by his wife and daughter. There’s a moment of adorableness as the couple hugs and kisses their baby and each other. Mel is seen signing a gun control bill, which makes good on Liv’s promise to Lonnie. At the signing, Mel poses for photos with Marcus. It clearly looks like they’re a couple, though it’s not spelled out. Liv is shown having dinner with Pa. It’s a typical Pope dinner with great food and wine, and father and daughter seem to be getting along quite well. Abby and Huck somberly visit David’s grave. Jake lies in his prison cell, dreaming of his time ‘in the sun’, on the island with Liv.
Then the scene switches to Liv strutting around DC in a fabulous white coat. A car pulls up next to her. Fitz gets out, and they make some small talk, and it looks like Olitz is very much on. Again, the extent of the relationship isn’t spelled out, but after all they’ve been through, Liv and Fitz clearly still want to be together, and it looks like they will be.
The timeline in this flash-forward montage is a little fuzzy. Charlie would have been released from prison pretty quickly after Pa’s testimony, but in the bill signing scene, there’s a quick shot of the bill which says Gun Control Act of 2021, so that’s three years in the future. The scene with Liv and Fitz looks, like Charlie’s scene, to be jumping forward almost no time at all. It seems implied that Olitz is a couple, in some capacity, as soon as Liv turned down a job with Mel. Do they end up in Vermont making jam? That isn’t stated, but it’s always possible. That would be a weekend thing, though, the jam-making. I don’t see Liv stepping away from the action for very long at any given time.
One real last thing… Throughout the episode, there were various shots of a mother and her two young daughters (who are series creator/producer/writer Shonda Rhimes’ own daughters, apparently) walking through a museum of portraits of presidents and Washington luminaries. They’re seen looking at the various portraits, including those of Fitz and Mellie. In the final shot of the episode, and series, the girls stop in front of a lovely portrait of none other than Olivia Pope. The implication seems to be that this is taking place at some point in the future, and Liv has been elected president. There are also portraits of those besides presidents, first ladies and such, but it seemed to me to be implying that Liv is a future president. The scene is also evocative of the recent photo of a young girl gawking at Michelle Obama’s official portrait. The two girls in this scene aren’t open-mouthed gazing at Liv, fortunately, as that would have been too cheesy, but the scene is clearly meant to recall that classic, candid photo.
So, that’s how it ends. Olitz seemed to be the end game on this show from S1, and it looks like it was. But it wasn’t heavy-handed in this episode; it wasn’t even explicitly spelled out, which was a nice touch. It looks as though Mel and Marcus found their way back to each other and lived happily ever after. Or at least the Scandal equivalent. The Gladiators are off the hook for their misdeeds and can go back to being fixers. It will take Abby a little time to find a new normal life. RIP, David. You’ve been with us since the very first episode, seven years ago. You deserved better.
Jake, of course, took the biggest hit of anyone. Whatever you think of him, having to rot away in a federal lock-up forever, while everyone else in this saga is allowed to get on with their lives, just ain’t fair. He’s paying the price for everyone, including Cy, who should definitely be in the cell right next to him.
Cy got a reasonable comeuppance, though. For someone as ambitious as he’s always been, to work for so many years and get that close to achieving his dream, only to see it all come to naught after all that time, must be excruciating. Living out the rest of his days, and he was still pretty young by political standards, still very much viable in the political arena, in total anonymity, will be torture for him. Maybe not as unpleasant as what Jake will endure, but a nasty fate, nonetheless.
What else is there left to say? This show has been around since the spring of 2012. I’ve been with it since episode 01.01, right up to 07.18. It’s hard to say goodbye to Scandal and these characters. I’m ok right now, but come the fall, I’ll probably start getting a craving only Olivia Pope and the gang can satisfy. It’s not going to be pretty. Are there are any ex-Scandal support groups out there?
Thanks to all those who kept up with these recaps. It’s been fun. Don’t know if any more recapping is in my future. Shows as recappable as this one don’t come along every year, after all.
So long, Gladiators!