Papa Pope loses it, Olivia hunts for Quinn, and QPA is none the wiser to all the scandalous secrets.
The winter finale of Scandal, directed by none other than Kerry Washington, brought out all the stops as the gang searched for Quinn’s (Katie Lowes) whereabouts. Facing the reality that she may be dead, the team found themselves sorting through deceased persons and visiting the morgue on the off-chance that one of the bodies may be Quinn’s. Keeping her betrayal mum, Olivia (Kerry Washington) continued to remain in panic mode as the guilt of Quinn’s disappearance slowly ate away at her. The drama increased tenfold when Olivia discovered her father, Rowan (Joe Morton), was responsible for kidnapping Quinn.
This dramatic turn of events unfolded as a result of Olivia’s downward spiral in behavior and Rowan forcing her to face it. While the Popes faced off (with the help of Mama Pope), Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Mellie (Bellamy Young) found some common ground (despite Olivia’s advice not to), and began working together on policies. In the drama of it all, Cyrus (Jeff Perry) has begun to suspect Jake (Scott Foley) and his shady behavior and aware of this, Jake indirectly sends him a message to tread carefully.
In the final moments of the episode, Rowan and Olivia face off in an epic “I’m not bluffing” showdown as Rowan dangles Quinn’s fate in front of Olivia. Confident that Olivia is lying and truly does care for Quinn, Rowan threatens to kill Quinn while Olivia calls in the cavalry to deal with Rowan. Olivia’s sporadic and unusual behavior during this situation stems from the fact that Quinn possesses information about her betrayal. The madness ends on a cliffhanger as Rowan walks and gunshots ensue alongside Quinn’s screams. Olivia, appearing grief-stricken and shocked, must now deal with the possibility that Quinn’s potential death sits on her shoulders.
Scandal kept us on our toes with a cliffhanger winter finale! Now let’s meet our roundtable and see what they had to say about this episode!
MindSet Podcast (@MindSet_Pod) – Podcast focusing on social justice and black culture
Myoshi (@BeingMyoshi)- Writer, comedian, and traveler
Torri (@torrij89)- PA real estate agent, occasional photographer, and Shondaland fanatic since 2005
Keith (@keithlovemovies)- Creator of the originally named keithlovesmovies.com
Lucy (@lampareaux)– Account manager, life enthusiast, New Yorker
1. Throughout the episode, Olivia was having an internal struggle over Quinn’s disappearance. Do you think it’s justified for her to be worried given that basically, it’s her fault?
MindSet Podcast (@MindSet_Pod): Although Liv cares for Quinn, I think she’s more concerned with someone finding out why Quinn was taken and not so much that she’s missing. Liv is worried because she’s not controlling the narrative; she doesn’t know who has Quinn, what they might know about the assassination, and if they will expose her. Liv’s care for Quinn comes second to her protecting B6-13.
Myoshi (@BeingMyoshi): Of course, she should be worried! She’s been looking the whole team in the face knowing this pregnant woman, who is her friend, was taken.
Torri (@torrij89): I don’t think it’s fair to blame Olivia for Quinn’s disappearance. Quinn knows the kind of work she’s in, and that everything she does has consequences. Olivia’s internal struggle was so prevalent throughout the episode because she does care what happens to Quinn and the baby. Her hard exterior is what she needs to present in order to not seem weak to all the eyes that are on her, including Papa Pope’s.
Keith (@keithlovemovies): She is justified and this internal struggle meant that she hadn’t completely succumbed to the dark side as there was still some humanity in her.
Lucy (@lampareaux): Olivia is trying to be just like her father but at the end of the day she will always wear the white hat. She still has a soul and a heart. She’s conflicted about who she’s pretending to be and who she will always be. I think it’s justified for her to be worried, especially if Quinn knows the truth behind of the death of the President of Bashran.
2. What a twist, Rowan took Quinn! Did you see that coming or were you surprised?
Mindset Podcast: Not surprised, I keep telling y’all you can’t take Command! But I do wonder how he knew to take her. It’s too much of a coincidence that he picked Quinn the day after she confronted Liv. I think Jake is an informant- I don’t trust him!!
Myoshi: Yes, lol. He wants his bones back! Plus, I think he was testing Olivia to see if she is all the way gone or there’s a glimpse of her white hat left.
Torri: I called it last roundtable that it was Papa Pope! He’s proven time and time again that he will do anything for the good of “The Republic”, and to have control over Olivia’s life.
Keith: I did not see that twist coming but I’m not surprised. I thought Quinn staged her own kidnapping but I guess they might be working together to take Olivia down.
Lucy: Nope! In Scandal, you learn that every mystery always traces back to Command. Who killed Fitz’ son? Command. Who killed the President-Elect? Command. Who is behind Fitz coming back? Command. Who took Quinn? Hmm, let me guess.. Command. Papa Pope pulls strings, it’s the name of his game. No surprise there.
3. The tension between Jake and Cyrus was palpable this episode. What did you think of them taunting one another this episode?
Mindset Podcast: Jake needs to keep his mouth closed and stop goading Cyrus- doesn’t he know that Liv is Command? Jake is a habitual line stepper and Olivia is going to have to handle that because he still doesn’t respect her as Command. Not to mention that although we love Cyrus, he has ALWAYS been a monster. STOP POKING THE MONSTER!!
Myoshi: That was typical of them. They are both smart and know the dark world. I like how they can stand in a crowded room and speak threats in only their code.
Torri: There’s been bad blood with Jake and Cyrus since season 3 when Jake killed James. Both of these men have more than proven their willingness to go over the edge in any given situation, but Jake has always been more lethal. I don’t know that this nicer Cyrus can handle outsmarting Jake though.
Keith: There wasn’t much tension in the episode but Cyrus was definitely suspicious of what was going on. Jake was definitely taunting him later on and I think Cyrus knew it.
Lucy: Jake and Cyrus going against each is a character dynamic we have yet to see. They both never take no for an answer and have been pretty good at playing this political chess game. Cyrus still holds Jake accountable for the death of his husband so seeing their exchange is going to hold some juicy moments.
4. It wasn’t all about Olivia this episode. Fitz and Mellie have found some common ground in working together, thanks to Marcus. What did you think of this, yay or nay?
Mindset Podcast: I’m all for it, even though I think Fitz is going to use this as a way to get closer to Olivia again. Side note: I love the fictional legislation they’re passing! The missing girls act, criminal justice reform…can that happen in the real world, please? And at the end of it, Mellie still loves Marcus. So, here’s to hoping.
Myoshi: Yay, she needed to help him out. I was happy she didn’t stick to Liv’s plan to shut him out.
Torri: There’s no reason Mellie and Fitz can’t have a working relationship while co-parenting. Mellie never wanted to shut Fitz out completely anyway, that was Olivia’s doing to teach Fitz a lesson about overstepping his boundaries at the White House. I can’t see him making that mistake again.
Keith: Fitz and Mellie are good for each other and Marcus seems to have the ability to bring people together.
Lucy: It’s about time Fitz and Mellie do something together besides fight. Marcus being the person behind this reunion is very interesting. I still hope there’s a storyline where Mellie and Marcus end up together. Maybe Fitz will be the one we’ll have to thank for that.
5. Yikes, Olivia’s mom returns to Scandal! What did you think of Olivia going to her for help?
Mindset Podcast: I love their dynamic! It’s dark and twisted, but Mama Pope is still such black mother, and I think she loves Liv as much as a murderous sociopath could love anyone. Liv going to her for help was smart- Mama Pope knows Rowan (and Liv) better than anyone else.
Myoshi: I knew she was going to call her mom sooner or later. She always contacts her when she can’t handle her father. I loved Mama Pope’s cameo though!
Torri: I LOVE Mama Pope! She’s ruthless, strong-willed, crazy, and quick to the point. I just wish she were in more episodes throughout the series to help Olivia deal with her father.
Keith: Olivia must be desperate if she went to her mother for help. Her advice didn’t come as much of a surprise.
Lucy: I thought Mama Pope was dead, but apparently, she just hops from a different form of captivity to another. I would love to be a prisoner of the mansion she’s staying in. Olivia was right in going to her mom for help. Mama Pope is the one of the few if not the only that has been able to take on Rowan and come out alive. If Olivia needs help to fight her father, her mother is really the only person she can turn to.
6. The power struggle between Rowan and Olivia is INTENSE. What are your thoughts on their vicious rollercoaster of a relationship this season?
Mindset Podcast: I LOVED their standoff at the end! It was such a well-acted scene. Their power struggle won’t end until one of them dies. I don’t see Papa Pope ever accepting defeat, and Liv will not give up Command. We know that Rowan won’t kill Liv, but I don’t know if she has that same soft spot for him.
Myoshi: Typical daddy/daughter issues. That last scene really put it all on the table! He did groom her to eventually turn dark. The isolation, death of her mother, and dating older men every season lol. Maybe, he wanted to groom her to handle The White House, but it didn’t work out that way. He wants his Livvy back but she’s gone.
Torri: Pope vs Pope is the showdown I never knew I wanted. As Olivia said in this episode, he made her in his image and if he doesn’t like what he sees then it’s his fault. Papa Pope’s need to control Olivia’s every move is getting old, and I’m glad she’s attempting not to crack under the pressure of his ultimatums.
Keith: The contrast between where they were then to where they are now has been great to watch on screen, seeing Rowan brought to his knees by Olivia. That final scene was intense. Rowan and Joe Morton have been my favorite part of Scandal and this scene was just another reason why.
Lucy: Olivia needs to stop and just give Command back to Rowan. It’s where it belongs. I like Olivia and her father when they’re on good terms and I’m over Rowan orchestrating Olivia’s life. Scandal needs to end on a good note for these two.
7. OH. EM. GEE. That ending though! SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS! Did Rowan really kill Quinn?!
Mindset Podcast: Omg what a cliffhanger! On one hand I feel like he didn’t kill Quinn and he’s testing Liv, but on the other hand, this is Papa Pope- the OG triple OG! And you can’t take Command! He called Liv’s bluff, so now what? Even if he didn’t actually kill Quinn, he sees that Liv would let her die to keep her power. He underestimated Liv, and I can’t wait to see how this plays out when the show comes back! We’re on the edge of our seats.
Myoshi: I was so shook I forgot about HTGAWM coming up! A piece of me wants Quinn to be listening to see if Olivia is her real friend and walk out to tell Olivia off! I mean we heard the gun and Quinn scream. He asked Olivia did she want to see the body. I want him to be bluffing but we know Papa Pope don’t bluff so Quinn is dead.
Torri: This ending was crazy good! Kerry Washington is such a remarkable actress who I will truly miss watching every week as Olivia Pope. Kerry as Olivia’s breakdown in the last few minutes of the episode had me screaming at the TV for her to receive all the awards come award season! However, I don’t think Quinn is really dead. I think Papa Pope wanted to show a tied up Quinn how ruthless the new Olivia has become. Olivia’s speech about not caring if Quinn and the baby dies will be extremely damaging to Quinn and Olivia’s friendship. Thus giving Papa Pope the opportunity to take away another meaningful relationship in Olivia’s life.
Keith: Based on the fact I think they’re working together, I don’t think he killed Quinn but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
Lucy: No no and no! Rowan knew Olivia was bluffing! He couldn’t have killed Quinn! Maybe he gave her a hurt wound enough to knock her out but not kill her. There’s no way Olivia could let Quinn die. If Rowan really killed Quinn this show has been elevated to another level, but I don’t think Olivia has the heart to live with the blood of Quinn on her hands.
Final Verdict: The winter finale cliffhanger leaves us with tense speculation as to Quinn’s fate.
As we anxiously await for Scandal to return, the anxiety of whether or not Quinn is alive will eat away at us for the next two months. Whether or not Rowan actually killed her or if this is all a plot to get through to Olivia is a mystery we hope will be solved come January.
As the finale season progresses, Olivia’s ‘white-hat’ persona continues to diminish and falter as she turns over to the dark side with each episode. The glimmer of hope that the old Olivia may return is all but gone as the world around her crumbles. Not to mention, the intense familial struggle between Rowan and Olivia has increased and it will be interesting to see where it will all end in the final season of Scandal.
What will be the fate of our favorite Scandal characters? Time will tell, folks. But here’s to hoping the roller coaster comes to a smooth and happy stop by the time series finale approaches.