SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Over a Cliff,” the series finale of “Scandal.”
White hats, character deaths, Papa Pope monologues and a boatload of hootch, ABC’s “Scandal” wrapped its seven-season run Thursday night with an hour-long episode featuring the final showdown between the OPA associates and B613, with several callbacks to poignant moments throughout the show’s run.
“Over a Cliff” started off with a bang, literally, with Lonnie Mencken (Michael O’Neill) calling upon Olivia (Kerry Washington) for a late night meeting, in which he promised to get a senate committee hearing in exchange for her promise that gun control would skyrocket to the top of President Mellie Grant’s (Bellamy Young) agenda. With the promise secured, Lonnie then shot himself, setting the characters off on a whirlwind of testimonies and a high-stakes chase against Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) and Cyrus Bean (Jeff Perry).
To help the action along, the show relied on the return of Sally Langston (Kate Burton) and The Liberty Report, along with some special testimonies from recurring characters Tom Larsen (Brian Letscher) and Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry). Led by the show’s last white hat David Rosen (Joshua Malina), it seemed as though all the characters were poised to go to prison in order to put Cyrus and Jake in jail where they belonged, saving Mellie from impeachment and giving the power back to the people.
For Quinn (Katie Lowes), that meant giving up her daughter and begging Eli Pope (Joe Morton) for help in getting Charlie (Greg Newbern) out of prison so that their kid could have one parent — while Abby (Darby Stanchfield) was concerned about David leaving her once she was behind bars. Naturally, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) was only worried about having to speak in front of so many people at once, and seemed less concerned about a loss of freedom. In fact only Eli refused to testify, opting to blow dodge instead after one final monologue showdown with his daughter on a public bench — a small callback to Olivia’s first scene as a fixer in the show’s pilot.
The team’s power move seemed to work and the gladiators were ready to await the committee’s recommendation, even celebrating their “victory” with Quinn and Charlie (or Bernard, as viewers now know is his real name) finally saying their overdo nuptials.
That happiness wasn’t meant to last though, thanks to Cyrus and Jake’s doubling down on the whole scandal. Jake showed up to threaten Rosen to back down following the committee’s recommendation, but for once Rosen decided to have a backbone. In yet another of the night’s tense scenes he called Jake’s bluff, telling him to go ahead and shoot him in the front this time, rather than his back. In the moments that followed, Rosen convinced Jake to do the right thing and try the white hat on for once, allowing the character to live to see another day.
“I’m not your bitch, Jake Ballard. I’m not your bitch. I’m the bitch of the United States of America,” Rosen said.
Or, not. Because even though Jake backed down, once Cyrus found out the Rosen problem hadn’t been taken care of, he summoned Rosen himself for a “confession” that wound up being Rosen’s ultimate downfall.
“I’m not a good person, but there is a reason for everything I do. …It is always thought out, never executed out of spite or malice — never hasty,” Cyrus told Rosen as the lawyer began choking from the drink Cyrus handed to him. “I do what needs to be done. I do what other people can’t. I am relentless. I pursue the things I want, and I will not let anyone stand in my way and sometimes people get hurt. …I only chose away from the Oval. I can chase my dreams and you, David Rosen, you are in m way. No hard feelings.”
But because that monologue and the poisoning of the show’s last good guy wasn’t evil enough, Cyrus then picked up a pillow to finish off the job. Rosen’s official cause of death? A heart attack. And with that final drink it seemed as though the writing was on the wall for the OPA crew: they’d all go to jail, Mellie would be impeached, and Cyrus would fulfill his dreams of becoming POTUS.
It was a true moment of failure for Olivia, who reacted appropriately by making the most of her last night with Fitz (Tony Goldwin) in a scene that undoubtedly satiated Olitz fans everywhere. It was, after all, their last evening together before she went to jail for the rest of her life.
But what kind of ending would that be for the woman who helped change the face of politics in Washington? In a twist of fate Papa Pope finally decided to help his daughter one last time — appearing before the committee after all. It was there that he gave the monologue to end all monologues, effectively convincing them all to declare B613 a real thing and to throw Jake to the wolves as the face of it all.
Apparently you can take down command — if command wants to take down himself.
With Jake in jail, dreaming about standing in the sun with Olivia, that effectively ended the Olivia-Fitz-Ballard triangle for good, allowing Liv to finally go for Vermont with Fitz without anymore second-guessing. Of course, before she could officially do that, she also had to say farewell to her other great love affair — the Oval Office — and all that came with it.
The series ended with Liv out, Mellie in, and basically all of the characters standing in the sun after all. Abby and Huck honored the great man they lost in David, Liv and Eli had dinners with actual laughter (and an abundance of red wine), Quinn and Charlie got to play house with their daughter, and Fitz and Olivia were able to claim the relationship they always wanted.
As for that generation of young girls who were supposed to look up to Liv as the great white-hat leader? The show made sure to make that literal — ending the series on a shot of two little girls gazing up at her official portrait.
And just like that the series finale was handled.