The most intriguing thing about both seasons of Scandal is that everyone is a mess. Very few people have redeemable qualities, and most reveal a murky, sinister side more often than not. Last night’s finale was glorious, as the psychopathic, sycophantic, murderous, heart-attack-inducing personality disorders were on full display.
The gladiators know that Billy Chambers is the mole, and Huck admits that he “hired out” the job of killing Chambers to Charlie, back when Liv was trying to help Huck go on a murder detox. Charlie was about to take a table saw to his torso, but Chambers negotiated for his life by promising Charlie access to all of the vice-president’s secrets.
The Defiance team gets back together as Olivia, Mellie, Cyrus, and Hollis meet to discuss the problem of Billy Chambers over some Gettysburgers. Liv suggests that Defiance is the problem, not Chambers, and that they need to get the Cytron card back. Mellie storms out with Cyrus, upset about the idea of being humiliated by Fitz, and Cyrus assures her that Fitz wants her back. Meanwhile, Fitz is trying to convince Olivia to “fix” the American public into hating Mellie, since he wants Liv to be the new first lady; he tells Liv that fixing things is her superpower, and offers to demonstrate his superpower, which is unsolicited oral sex. Let’s get this straight once and for all: Performing oral sex on a woman is not a superpower — it is part of the deal. Fitz is such a selfish bastard he thinks the world should throw him a parade for being a considerate lover. For all that Olivia has done and continues do to for him — the gladiator, the woman who got you into office and keeps you in office despite your sociopathic need to annihilate everything dear to you, the woman who will craft a bullet-proof story to get you out of your terrible marriage, possibly at her own expense — he would need to lie face-down in her crotch for the remainder of his vital years to make me even think that he was worth a fraction of her time.
Across town, Command (Rowan) meets with Ballard and demands he set up a meeting with Olivia. Ballard questions the need for a meeting, and Command basically says he’ll know where they stand if Ballard doesn’t produce. When Command leaves, an icy-looking woman follows; she later tries to break down Olivia’s door to kill her, but Ballard saves the day by shooting her in the forehead. He gets Olivia safely to her office, reveals that he is part of the B613 unit, sings “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” and the next time we see him he’s being shoved into the same underground hole that turned Huck into a muttering, disaffected crazy person. Oh, Captain Ballard, I wanted better for you.
James is mad at Cyrus for freezing him out, and Cyrus is mad at Vice-President Langston for threatening to run against Fitz in the next election. Liv and the gladiators figure out that Chambers will need someone credible to unmask Defiance, since his name is mud in Washington, and they soon figure out that he is going to hit up Governor Reston. They are both murderers, so this is a union of shared principles. Reston assures Liv that he does not want to run for office, but he meets with Fitz, reveals that he knows everything about Defiance, and the only way he won’t break the story is if Fitz brings him onboard as vice-president under “the Unity Ticket.” Cyrus is meeting with Command while this is happening (who is trying to get him to release the Liv/Ballard sex tape), but when Liv calls to tell him about Reston, he finally has the heart attack we’ve all known he was bound to have at some point. Mellie visits Cyrus in the hospital after learning that her popularity with the public is waning, hoping to leave hand-in-hand with Fitz; he quickly recites Olivia’s plan to boot her out of the White House, leaving Mellie stunned and Cyrus impressed.
Chambers tries to convince David to hand over the Cytron card during a meeting, reminding David that Olivia ruined his life and turned him into a murderer as he reveals that he killed CIA director Osbourne, whistleblower Wendy and Molly; David forks over the Cytron card like a chump, and I throw a sneaker at my television. Liv uses Reston to find Chambers, sending Huck and Quinn over there when they finally lock onto his position. When Chambers comes home and sees them he bolts, but Huck drags him back and ties him up, only to freeze when it comes time to torture Chambers. Quinn becomes fully realized as a Baby Huck when she grabs the drill out of his hands, and, with blood spraying all over her face, demands Chambers tell her where she can find the Cytron card. She calls Abby to tell her where to get it, and when they put it into a computer, the gladiators realize that the card is empty. Abby digs around the office for the “real” card; she finds David’s book of codes indicating that he tried several before finding the right combination to the safe, and then sees a box marked “for Olivia.” When Huck and Quinn get back to the office, she excitedly talks about how torture “gave her a rush,” and a disappointed Huck, worried that she is too much like him, shuts the door in her face and slides down to the floor, replicating his catatonic state from two episodes ago.
Cyrus checks himself out of the hospital and heads over to see Liv; he’s pissed that someone tried to kill her, yet she still thinks dating Fitz is a good idea. In a fit of anger, he tells her that Fitz killed Judge Verna with his bare hands, that Fitz is a “red-handed, cold blooded killer,” not just the loving sexpot she’s been boning on the sly. He throws a match on all remaining bridges when he shows Fitz the Olivia/Ballard sex tape, prompting Fitz’s face to crumple like an old newspaper.
The Defiance crew meets again, this time trying to figure out what to do with David Rosen, only to find out he is in Cy’s office. When Cyrus goes to see him, David hands him the real Cytron card, and says he’ll “need something in return.” President Fitz makes David the US Attorney, and Cyrus smashes the Cytron card with a tiny bust of Abraham Lincoln. When Olivia opens the box David left for her, it contains a recording of the conversation David had with Billy confessing to the murder of three people, which Liv uses to have Chambers arrested, and a white fedora that makes her look like an updated Carmen Sandiego. She heads over to the Oval Office, where Fitz tells her he knows about her and Jake, and she tells Fitz she knows he murdered Judge Verna Thornton. She encourages him to start fresh with Mellie, and realizes that she can’t leave her team. Fitz sulks back to Mellie, resigned to his fate with her by his side for a second term.
Liv wakes up happy at home to the soundtrack of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” and gets ready for a run. The whole scene is in slow motion — her getting into the elevator, walking through her lobby — so I was sure she was going to get shot. Instead, she opens the door to a mob of reporters asking if it is true that she is having an affair with the president. Shocked, she scrambles to get back into the building, only to be pulled through the crowd and tossed into a limousine. Command is sitting across from her, and in a heart-stopping moment, she looks at him and says, “ … Dad?”
Come again? COMMAND of B613 is OLIVIA POPE’S FATHER. Do you realize how many questions this raises?
Did he leak the information that she was the president’s mistress?
Why did he try to have her murdered?
Did she know he was involved with B613 all along, and is that why she was so determined to help Huck? And so freaked out when Ballard told her he was a black ops agent for them?
Did he watch his daughter’s sex tape?!
What could that house have POSSIBLY been like growing up? Like, did they celebrate holidays or just retreat to their individual secret lairs after dinner and call it a day?
And, most important, does this mean we’re finally going to get some Olivia backstory next season?
Stitch That on a Pillow: Huck’s “If you want someone killed right, you have to do it yourself.”
Best Cyrus Joke: Dressing down VP Langston by questioning her loyalty and comparing her to the White House pet. “Sally you have two jobs — one is to not die, the other is to be loyal to the president. The only other creature in this White House with the same sweet deal is the president’s dog!
Best Heart Attack ack ack ack ack ack Scene Ever Filmed: Cyrus in the ambulance. He was on the phone with Liv and Fitz, thrashing wildly and threatening to shoot the EMT who finally took his phone away. A fighter to the bitter end.
How’s Your Blood Pressure, Cyrus?: “It’s bad, very bad, I can tell you that!”
Most Improved: David Rosen. I did not want to see him as a bad guy, so I’m glad they pulled him back from the dark side.
Monologue to End All Monologues: Fitz laying out the New Deal to Mellie in Cyrus’s hospital room. He put Mellie on blast, telling her she will leave the White House, he will speak of her glowingly as she tries to start her own political career, but that his relationship with Olivia will “spark a discussion about race” that would “blow the Republican party wide open”; if she doesn’t play along, he’ll just whisper “racist” and see how the chips fall. Mellie is my favorite, but it was nice to see her lose for a change.
Solid Breakup Advice After an Attempted Murder: “Fix your door, hire security, or break up with your boyfriend.” Captain Puppy Eyes Ballard, I hope you emerge from your hole-in-the-ground chrysalis soon, whether you think you’re a good guy or not.
Don’t Fade Away: Harrison was only on-camera a few times, mostly to glare and/or brood. I hope he is better utilized next season, when we find out about his story.
Salt in the Wound: When Fitz wants to turn off the Olivia/Ballard sex tape, Cyrus says, “Are you sure? It goes from room to room.”
This Is Not a Romance Novel: Cyrus brought the business when Olivia refused to stop seeing Fitz after her attempted murder, calling Cyrus “dramatic.” He was not having it. “I have lied for you, I have stolen, I have cheated, I have killed, I have almost died for you, but you two are so stupid you won’t even save your own lives.”
Reality Check: “Highly trained black ops assassins tried to kill you, and you have decided they were firing heart-shaped bullets made of bubbles and candy?” When Cyrus added “MFEO = Made for Each Other” I howled.
Winner and Still Champ-een: I may not have any confidence that she’ll stay away from Fitz, but I love that Liv left him on her own terms, and to put focus back on her gladiators while realizing how much she has put them through recently.
It has been a pleasure watching this show with you, and I absolutely cannot wait until it returns in the fall. You can find me on Twitter, @knottyyarn, if you want to primal scream about the show until then. Have a beautiful summer!