A few weeks ago, we looked around and realized that HuffPost didn't have anybody recapping "Scandal." We are here to rectify that horrible error, just as the third season enters its wild and crazy homestretch. Today, we're chatting about last night's UNBELIEVABLY INSANE season finale, "The Price of Free and Fair Elections." Click here to read our thoughts on last week's episode. Also, duh, don't read this if you don't want the plot spoiled!
I must say, despite all of the twists and turns in "The Price of Free and Fair Elections" — despite the bomb scare and the murder and the betrayal and that plane—this season finale didn't quite do it for me. There were some thematic things that really clicked, and some twists that took my breath away, but I found the episode to be an appropriately disappointing end to a disappointing season.
For me, the letdown of the hour could be summed up in its final image, with Olivia and Jake on that plane. In its last few episodes, "Scandal" has been uncharacteristically introspective about the violent battering its characters' souls have taken, and one of the best parts of the finale was that brief scene with Liv and Cyrus in the hospital, when she asked him, "When did we stop becoming people?" They are definitely monsters in their way, and Liv's desire to shed what must be the most disastrous, cynical and unlucky life in human history is palpable, understandable and well-played. She has rarely been more flatly sympathetic than when she is grappling with how much humanity she has left in
But what does the show do with Olivia? It puts her on that plane, knowing she and Jake will have to come back, knowing that there is no way she's actually quitting, knowing that she's just going to get sucked back in. You could say that this is part of Liv's tragedy, but really it just feels lazy, the work of writers who haven't quite figured out how to answer any of the questions they've asked, or who lack the guts to truly shake up the show's plotting. So we get an ending that, while it has a certain dramatic heft, is nevertheless very weak tea.
The rest of "The Price" was similarly underwhelming, which is a strange feeling to have about such an an action-packed hour. Time and again, radical change was abandoned in favor of more of the same. The bomb from the last episode turns out to be a red herring; nobody is hurt. Fitz wins the election. Liv refuses to break away from a man who has done her no good. Papa Pope is as evil as ever, though his method of revenge on Fitz was a new depth of monstrosity. RIP Jerry! (Oh, and while we're at it, in what world would Papa Pope acknowledge to poor civilian Harrison that, a) he is Command once more and that, b) he murdered the president's kid?!) Mama Pope is once again exactly where she was at the beginning of the season, though it seems like she could have been working with Rowan the whole time. Harrison is still an idiot. Some of these twists, like the killing of Jerry, were more shocking than others, but they didn't add much forward momentum to the show's long-term arc. We CAN be certain that they will just drive everyone deeper into a dark spiral of misery, revenge and depression, so that should be good for about 5 or 6 episodes next season.
Of course, for comic relief, there's always the show's biggest moron: Quinn. Let's all be happy that the most disgusting affair of the century has been exposed—99 cheers for Abby's reaction!—and let's gloat over the never-ending stupidity of a person who is TOLD POINT BLANK that a certain set of information will ruin the life of the man she loves, and then promptly tells that man that information! Maybe I'm so crabby about this episode because Quinn didn't wind up in a grave at the end of it.
Oh, and my season-long theory—that Kerry Washington's pregnancy would be written into the show—has proven to be completely and utterly off-base. It serves me right for thinking that all of that bump-oflauge would have to pay off at the end!
I hope you liked this season finale more than I did, and can tell me all the ways I'm wrong about the episode. And I would really, really, really love to know what you thought of Liv's decision to tell Fitz about Mellie. Last but not least, these chats have been the most fun anyone has ever had in human history, and that is all down to you.
WHY ISN'T IT SEASON 4 YET?????
I honestly can't say that I disagree with you. While I thought "The Price of Free and Fair Elections" was full of mind blowing twists and turns and shocking developments, it felt like the writers crammed too many things that could've been addressed in other episodes into the last one.
I will say I was impressed with how the whole bomb thing was handled. Shonda definitely had everyone thinking hundreds of people were gonna die in that church -- and I love how she completely turned it around and used it as a way to show Sally was still a threat. But let's be honest, we all knew Fitz was gonna have to win the presidency. Otherwise, the show doesn't work.
That brings me to the disappointments. I completely agree with you, the whole Jake and Olivia getting on a plane and riding (er, flying) off into the sunset seems like a total waste of a plot and laziness on the writers' parts. We know that's going to last all of two seconds, so why just let them run away and even pretend like that's possible when we know it's not?
The other disappointing thing about this episode was we basically slaved through five episodes just for things to get right back to where they were. It seemed like a lot of unnecessary emotional turmoil to go through to ultimately end up in the same place we started. Papa Pope is command, once again -- although, I must say his whole elaborate plan to help Liv bring down B613 only to prove Jake was incompetent as command, get back into the president's good graces while simultaneously killing his son and ultimately reinstating himself and B613 was ingenious, -- Mama Pope is back in prison, Fitz is president and blah blah blah.
While I loved Cy and Olivia's introspective scene, I was saddened to see it washed away by Olivia's rash decision to run away and Cy ultimately getting exactly what he wanted, four more years to be evil and monstrous. I'm interested to see where the whole David Rosen having all the B613 documents thing goes and how that will come into play next season.
Olivia telling Fitz about Mellie pissed me off, quite frankly. It was not her business to tell. Although, Mellie is too smart of a woman to tell Liv that and expect her to keep it a secret. But I feel like Shonda contradicted the point she made a few weeks ago about Liv being "the help." Olivia still has some control over that relationship -- which became painfully honest when Fitz asked for her after thinking about his dead son, rapist of a father and four more years in a place that has essentially robbed him of his happiness -- and it was a bit frustrating to watch that.
Finally, the whole Huckleberry Quinn stuff was disgusting and also seemed pretty pointless. I was extremely disappointed that Charlie didn't just kill Quinn. And I thought it was absurd that Huck just all of a sudden just faced with the prospect of being with his family again all of a sudden. We're talking about a deranged man that can hack into secret government systems and track down terrorists in a matter of seconds but he didn't know where his family was, and Charlie all of a sudden shoves it in his face to ruin his relationship with Quinn? It just seemed like another example of a plot development that essentially invalidated all the smart nuances and developments in past episodes and ultimately turned out to be rather lackluster.
The one thing I did find remarkable in the finale is how Tom is the ultimate sneak of a secret agent and just when you thought he was a fade into the background kind of character, he turns out to be a super important part of the plot. RIP Fitz IV.
These "Scandal" chats have been way to much fun. I'm not sure what is going to keep me going until September.