‘Scandal’ recap: The big explosion in the season finale isn’t in the church

04.17.14 5 years ago

Wow. I realize there are only so many ways to bring Fitz and Olivia together and then break them apart, but what's happened in this season finale… well, let's just say no more without saying spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. There's just no way to talk about what happened without them. And maybe with a drink. Just a thought. 

It seems Shonda Rhimes has decided to push the reset button for the entire series, because the one thing we could never see happening — Olivia walking away from OPA, and not with Fitz holding her hand so she can make jam in Vermont — has happened. We all knew that Papa Pope was up to no good, of course. I just had no idea how many chess moves ahead of everyone he really was. 

Initially, it seemed we were taking an entirely different left turn. While the bomb does go off, Jake realizes the futility in trusting Cyrus to do anything about it and alerts Fitz to the threat himself. Thus, evacuations happen and Sally is able to run through the rubble bandaging the injured and making fatuous statements about how the silly cameramen must leave her alone so she can tend to the wounded. It's an obvious photo op, but it's great TV, and in just one afternoon Sally moves into the winner's circle and Cyrus realizes he's scraped against a new bottom.

But there is a silver lining in Fitz possibly losing the election. On some level, it's what he's wanted all along — an opportunity to leave the political hot seat and run off with Olivia to be a mayor in rural Vermont while Olivia makes babies and jam. As surreal as the scene in which they talk about what used to be an apres-sex fantasy that has become shockingly plausible is, it's one that's still far off enough in the future they don't bother to poke holes in it. I don't see Olivia ever taking off her whites long enough to make jam. I mean, that stuff stains.

Where Olivia finally does feel the need to poke holes, however, is in Fitz's opinion of Mellie. If Olivia were the devil she believes herself to be, she'd keep Mellie's little secret about Big Jerry to herself. But the more Fitz dismisses Mellie as the cold-hearted opportunist who used him and never loved him, the harder it is for Olivia to keep her eye on the (questionable) prize. 

The scene between Fitz and Mellie is not entirely subtle, but it's one we need to see. “I fought him, I fought,” Mellie says as Fitz pulls her into an embrace. Of course, there's no chance he's leaving her now, not even for Olivia. As Olivia explains, “I wouldn't want you if you, knowing what you know, left her now.” So much for the jam. 

Olivia, who has become a surprisingly dutiful daughter, runs into Maya at her father's bedside where her mom delivers the news that she did everything she did… for her. It seems Mama and Papa Pope can agree on one thing — that darn Fitz isn't any good, and he was going to use up Olivia and toss her aside like a snotty Kleenex. This just seems like an opportunity for Olivia to yell and scream at her parents, but we'll find out it's really planting a seed. I'm still not sure if Papa Pope orchestrated it or if luck was just going his way.

I'm trying to figure out how the hell we're going to continue the show if Fitz really does lose the election (which seems all the more likely when never-say-quit types like Cyrus and Olivia sink into losers' funks) when Fitz gets up to give one of his last big speeches as president… and Jerry starts spitting blood as his eyes roll into the back of his head. Soon Jerry is dead from bacterial meningitis — and the election goes to Fitz.

In theory, the show almost seems back on track at this point. Fitz can pine for Olivia per usual, he's still President, and Mellie will have many, many more reasons to drink. But then, Olivia starts putting together the pieces — Maya blew up a church for her. We also learn that she's responsible for giving Jerry the strain of meningitis that killed him. Years ago, Maya blew up a plane, and the eye of the hurricane is always Olivia. When Jake goes to her apartment and sees her packing, he suspects it's all a big pity party. It might be, really. But Olivia has a point — she takes care of scandals, and right now, she's the problem that needs to be removed.

So yes, she's closing the office, getting on the plane her dad has chartered, and she's going off to stand in the sun somewhere. Oh, and Jake wants to tag along. She may love someone else, but he's going to be far, far away, so who cares? And I'm thinking, um, what happened to the show? Did ABC sell it to Travel Channel or something? 

But what Olivia and Jake don't fully realize is they're just chess pieces in Papa Pope's truly impressive long game. In the hospital, he convinced a grieving Fitz to reinstate him as Command so that he can find and kill Maya (which he doesn't, instead trapping her and sticking her in one of those lovely holes Huck used to live in). He gave Harrison pictures of a dead Adnan (whom he himself had killed, though he convinced Harrison it was Maya's doing) to get him to reveal where Maya's money was hidden. And yes, he, not Maya, was the one who killed Jerry with an eye to making a shaken Fitz hand back control of B613. 

Harrison figures this out, and unfortunately does so while talking to Papa Pope — so the last time we see Harrison as a B613 minion is about to put a bullet in his head. The last time we see Liv is on a plane, ignoring Mellie's phone calls on behalf of a deeply broken Fitz, promising Jake she's really and truly done with the White House.

The C-plot to this roller coaster might have been the focus of an entire episode under other circumstances, but Abby and Harrison walk in on Huck and Quinn having sex in the office, which leads to Charlie breaking up with Quinn, which leads to him giving her information that's sure to tear her and Huck apart — the location of his family. Quinn shares the file and, as expected, Huck loses his mind. At the end of the episode, though, he knocks on the door of his wife's house and we see her long, long look of shock — but it's still hard to read. This one is a shocker — but on the spectrum, it's pretty much a blip. Jake delivering a bunch of boxes full of daming information to David Rosen so he can nab Cyrus is more of a blip, but I can barely process it in light of Papa Pope's master play. 

I'm not sure Olivia and Jake will stand in the sun for very long (she may not be answering her cell phone, but she still has it), though I will say this — Rowan is just as bad as Huck warned Olivia he was, but man, is he good. 

What did you think of the season finale? Do you think Maya is worse than Rowan or vice versa? Do you think Olivia will be gone for long? 

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