Gladiators, signing off.
Seven seasons later and Scandal has finally come to an end. This week’s series finale more or less tied up all the loose ends for most of the characters on Scandal–keywords, most of them. We last left QPA and co. deciding to go all in to save the Republic and it’s future, even if it meant incriminating themselves in the process. Olivia (Kerry Washington) meets with Lonnie (Michael O’Neill) who is ready to give her a Senate hearing in exchange for Mellie (Bellamy Young) putting gun control at the top of her priorities. Once Liv agrees, Lonnie shoots and kills himself. This opens up an investigation that puts David Rosen (Joshua Malina) back in charge–finally. Once B6-13 is exposed, Cyrus (Jeff Perry) and Jake (Scott Foley) will be indicted, however, this potentially means jail time for the rest of them as well.
Thus begins the Senate Committee hearing where literally everyone comes forward to give their testimonies–including an epic monologue by Papa Pope (Joe Morton) himself. Following the testimony, Rosen insists that everyone gear up for a brutal verdict. There is a light-hearted moment in all of this when Quinn (Katie Lowes) decides to propose to and marry Charlie (George Newbern) before she is potentially locked up indefinitely. Snagging Huck (Guillermo Diaz) as the wedding officiate and a jailhouse wedding later, Quinn and Charlie are officially married, FINALLY! However, things take a drastic turn when Rosen bumps into Jake who seems extremely eager to murder him as he demands Rosen to stop the investigation. Rosen walks away unharmed–but not for long.
After Jake tells Cyrus he wasn’t able to murder Rosen, Cyrus takes it upon himself to complete the task after Jake challenges him. Cyrus asks Rosen to come in to speak with him as he wants to make a deal–with the devil that is. He poisons David and kills him in a matter of seconds, taking away one of Scandal’s beloved characters and the love of Abby’s (Darby Stanchfield) life. While the group grapples with Rosen’s death, Liv and Fitz have what they believe to be their last night together. And all the while they learn that the Committee’s decision is postponed because they have a new witness–Papa Pope. And in one fell swoop, Rowan takes down Jake who is taken into custody and prevents the group from going to jail.
By the next day, Cyrus resigns as Vice President, Liv decides to walk away from this life forever, Fitz and Liv end up together, and Mellie handles gun control. Oh, and Jake is in jail daydreaming about Liv. The series finale ends with a shot on a portrait of Liv hanging in the hall of Presidential portraits as two young, black girls look upon it and don an inspired smile.
Sigh, Scandal is over forever! But before we fall into our Scandal blues, let’s discuss the ins and outs of the series finale with our Scandal roundtable!
Mindset Podcast (@Mindset_Pod)- Podcast focusing on social justice and black culture
Dorothy (@DorothyJGentry)– Educator, journalist, Jeremiah’s mom
Julia (@DrJuliaPRS)– Plastic surgeon, food lover, movie connoisseur, music junkie, mother of cats, and child of God
Torri (@torrij89)– PA real estate agent, occasional photographer, and Shondaland fanatic since 2005
Lucy (@lampareaux)– Account manager, life enthusiast, New Yorker
1. O.M.G, What. a. series. finale. What was your favorite moment from the final episode of Scandal ever?
Mindset Podcast (@Mindset_Pod): I can’t believe it’s over!!! My favorite moment of this episode and possibly of the whole series was HANDS DOWN Papa Pope’s (excuse me, Rowan’s) LAST EVER MONOLOGUE!! Like can we let that sink in for a second?? We will never hear another impassioned, thorough, complete READ from Command! He called out white male privilege AND told them that they would NEVER let it be known that a black man ran s*** without their knowledge…and he was RIGHT. They played right into his hands and I LIVED.
Dorothy (@DorothyJGentry): My fave moment was when Quinn told Liv to shut up. I was like, lol, don’t get hit, Quinn. I also enjoyed Papa Pope expounding on the history of slavery and modern-day slavery, etc. Very enlightening and so Papa Pope-ish.
Julia (@DrJuliaPRS): I liked Papa Pope’s speeches. I was sooo hoping he’d have a final sermon to give before the conclusion of this show!
Torri (@torrij89): What a series finale indeed! I was holding back tears the entire episode! My favorite moment from the finale had to be Papa Pope’s testimony at the committee meeting where he confessed to being Command of B613. That speech was powerful enough to get everyone else’s confessions redacted. Loved that Papa Pope came through, in the end, to save Olivia and her crew from possible jail time; proving that everyone can have a change of heart.
Lucy (@lampareaux): Everyday I wake up thinking America will be less racist than yesterday and every now and then something proves me wrong. My favorite moment was Rowan’s speech to the special committee. The fact that he honed in on the underlying fact that America would prefer to let a black man go free than to admit he’s been the one calling all the shots. What a shame! That scene was so electrifying it left chills on my arm. Rowan’s monologues were always so thought-provoking. For his last monologue on Scandal that was the best closing speech ever.
2. Sadly, we lost David Rosen before the series finale came to an end–but not before his “I’m not your bitch scene”. What was going through your mind and did you see it coming?
Mindset Podcast: I haaate that David died for no reason! As soon as he walked into Cyrus’ office, I knew it was the end. Unfortunately, I think Cyrus killed David just to prove to Jake, and maybe to himself that he could be a killer. Clearly, that plan backfired, we saw his regret immediately. I hate that it took David’s’ death for Cyrus to find his conscience.
Dorothy: I was like, “No he didn’t call Jake a b****. Don’t he know what happened to the last person that called him a b****?” SMH. I kept going back and forth – he’s going to kill him, no he’s not, yes he is. Then I said, you know what, he’s probably going to take this moment and just move on because it helped him come to the realization that he WAS always someone’s b…”
Julia: *Sigh*. When he got out of bed to respond to Cyrus’ text, I knew it was over. Jake didn’t kill him, and then basically dared Cyrus to get his hands dirty. I just….it wasn’t necessary.
Torri: I really hated that David Rosen had to die. I thought that Jake was going to be the one to take him out when he snuck up on David in that parking lot because that scene was eerily similar to the scene from season 3 when Jake killed James. The fact that Cyrus is the one who murdered David made it worse to me because Cyrus only did it after Jake called him out for never killing on his own, but having others do his dirty work for him. David thought of Cyrus as a friend so he unwillingly walked right into that trap. It sucks that David and Abby won’t get their happy ending, but this is Shondaland after all.
Lucy: Yes! David has always stood for the Republic and he’s rarely ever been swayed to think differently. I would’ve been disappointed had he not stood up for himself. It’s heartbreaking to see that good guys like Rosen end up dead but it’s hopeful to know that they’re still out there. Their legacy will bring justice to the world. I’m so sad to see Abby alone she deserved someone like David, but alas not all endings are happy.
3. If you could change one thing about the way the series ended, what would it be and why?
Mindset Podcast: David would be alive. He would’ve seen that trap coming a mile away, and he would’ve just stayed in bed with Abby. Also, this is random but I would’ve loved to see Harrison! (I guess he really did die after all lol.)
Dorothy: Make it better. It was very anti-climatic and left a dozen untied storylines. I needed to see a REAL Liv and Fitz reunion; Why in the world would you kill David? That had no bearing on anything. Cyrus just signed a confession and walked away and that’s it? What about Fitz going to see his boy Jake, whom he brought to town in the first place because of Liv. No closure there. So Huck just never go see his son again? Again, no closure or mention of a dozen other dangling story lines. I would change all of that and give the Gladiators, the faithful viewers some closure. It just wasn’t there last night. At all.
Julia: David Rosen didn’t need to die. Cyrus should have gotten more of an ending than he did. Cyrus has done MORE dirt!!!!!! All he did was resign?!?!? Bruh…
Torri: If I could change one thing about the ending it would be that Cyrus and Jake would both be in jail for their sins. Making Cyrus resign from his position as VP and basically getting off scot-free was not enough of a punishment for all of his years of being a monster. Him killing David Rosen should have been enough of a reason for him to rot in prison for the rest of his life.
Lucy: Cyrus deserved to be in jail way more than even Jake did. Regardless of Jake’s continuous murder spree, Cyrus schemed for the Presidency so many times it was outrageous. He’s the one who truly betrayed the Republic. Couldn’t he just wait his turn? Gosh!
4. Charlie and Quinn getting married was such a pleasant surprise! Did you like the way they tied the knot?
Mindset Podcast: I loved it!! It was SUCH a Quinn and Charlie thing to do, and considering that Quinn was literally kidnapped on her wedding day, I’m glad they got to have their moment.
Dorothy: Yeah, it was cute. I’m still trying to figure out how Huck became a preacher. But, um, ok. LOL on “Charlie’s” real name.
Julia: Yeah, that was cute! We needed that since David/Red would no longer be. *sigh*
Torri: Towards the end of this series I wasn’t even rooting for Quinn to survive, let alone be happy. But I am glad to see that her and Charlie AKA Bernard got to finally have their wedding. Their assassin wedding vows were the icing on the cake.
Lucy: No! Quinn needed to end up with Huck. Yes, I’m still holding on to the chemistry they had for each other maybe 3 seasons ago. Quinn and Charlie always looked sappy to me. They did the absolute most, meanwhile, Huck and Quinn’s chemistry was underlying and subtle. Welp! It is what it is, guess a hit man and a hit woman are meant for each other. The marrying in prison scene just seemed a bit cheap.
5. It feels like everyone ended up where they were meant to be: Cyrus resigned, Jake in jail, Mellie thriving in office, and Olitz together. Did you like where everyone’s stories led them?
Mindset Podcast: Overall, I’m satisfied with how everything ended. None of them really “deserve” a happy ending, so to me it’s not really fair that Jake is taking the fall for everything. I grew to intensely dislike Jake, but I do think he got the short end of the stick. Ultimately, the Gladiators (and Fitz & Mellie) told the truth and now they have a clean slate. I think they’ll wear the white hat from now on.
Dorothy: No. See my answers to Question 3. How are Liv and Fitz saying “hi” to each other at the end mean they are together again? I need it clear. I have a dozen questions and the show felt flat to me. The finale was hyped but it did not deliver, in my opinion.
Julia: No, everyone did NOT end up where they needed to be. Cyrus was still alive. That’s not how it’s supposed to work in Shondaland! Jake…I feel like he wanted seclusion and went to jail willingly, but he could very well only be there by choice. He could get out if he wanted to.
Torri: I mostly liked where everyone’s stories ended but they didn’t give much thought to some key characters. Where did Huck’s story end? I’m sure he still couldn’t have Javi and his ex-wife back in is life but what happens to the rest of his story? Abby lost David, the love of her life. What will she do to move on? Also, is QPA still up and running?
Lucy: Yes, with the exception of Cyrus and Jake. I think those roles should’ve been reversed. I also think Abby should’ve ended up with someone considering everything she’s gone through. I loved the fact that Mellie and Marcus ended up together. A black First man of the Oval Office? Who would’ve thought of that?! Like Mellie said they’ll actually have to make it a job now and it’ll be for a black man, hahaha!
6. The finale ended with a fierce portrait of Liv hanging in the hall of Presidential portraits. How did you feel about that? Yay or nay?
Mindset Podcast: I loved it! Although I don’t quite understand why she got a portrait there…what’s more important is the representation! Seeing those two black girls look up to this incredible portrait of a powerful black woman was just incredible. It was clearly a nod to the portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama and I am here for it! There was also powerful imagery in the portrait itself, seeing the words “We the People” on her portrait just symbolized how important black women are to this country, it meant so much to see us highlighted in that way.
Dorothy: Absolutely GORGEOUS portrait. Rocking and stunning. But I don’t know what it meant. Was that to infer she became President? I was confused as to why it was there and what it meant. Again, just seemed more part of the randomness of this final episode. Too much left hanging and not explained.
Julia: I mean, it was a nice portrait, but why does she have a portrait?!? She wasn’t POTUS. I was confused by that.
Torri: That portrait was everything! I’m still very confused about its meaning and how it came to be in the Presidential portraits gallery, but it was absolutely gorgeous! Loved the “We the People” incorporated along the side as well.
Lucy: I would’ve liked an explanation as to why Olivia’s picture was in the Hall of portraits. Totally get the black female representation message, but I needed someone explaining she was the one who exposed B613. I feel like a press release or maybe the child reading a biography of Olivia could’ve helped bridge the gap. Liv worked so often behind the scenes that we need to someone to say why her portrait was hanging there.
7. What will you miss the most about Scandal now that it’s over?
Mindset Podcast: Man. I’m going to miss Olivia Pope. I’m going to miss that confident, flawed, complicated, beautiful character, portrayed by a black woman. In the beginning of the series, I wanted Olivia to take down B6-13. When she went dark, I wanted her to be the best Command she could be. Good or bad, white hat or not, I just wanted Liv to be the best at whatever path she chose for herself. For me, the show was never about #TeamFitz or #TeamJake, Liv has always been the star. I’m going to miss seeing Kerry Washington light up the screen every Thursday!
Dorothy: Papa Pope and Mama Pope. They were bona fide scene stealers.
Julia: The walk with them bad purses and coats!!! That walk was FIERCE!!! #losemybreath
Torri: I think what I’ll miss the most about Scandal ending is the messages it carried week by week. I’ve been watching this show for 6 years and it’s ending feels like a chapter of my life coming to an end. Olivia Pope is a once in a lifetime kind of character whose complexities show the audience that even the strongest of woman make mistakes and are human. But most all I’ll miss this show as a whole. I’ll be a gladiator for the rest of my days and am forever grateful to Shonda Rhimes and the whole cast for giving us 7 seasons of greatness.
Lucy: The wine and popcorn! Thursday night was the best night to snuggle in and watch a black woman whoop politics into shape and handle things like no other. Olivia inspired me in so many ways and gave me the representation I didn’t see as a child. I’m completely in love with the fact that this show was created. It has given hope to black woman everywhere and the themes they touched on during the season finale were absolutely necessary. Scandal will always remain in my heart.
Final Verdict: All good things must come to an end
And just like that Scandal has come to an epic conclusion. In just one hour, emotions are tossed around as the gang tries to take down Cyrus and nearly ends up in jail themselves. A lot of loose ends are tied up in the series finale, however, many aspects are left unanswered and incomplete. Fans aren’t too pleased that Cyrus’ punishment only resulted in him resigning while Jake was sent to jail. And the death of Rosen leaves many of us to wonder, why him and why now? Even the final shot of Liv’s portrait had fans wondering how and why her portrait ended up there. However, with some of these plot holes, the Scandal series finale gives us a lot to be thankful for. The journey each character took is an integral part of the series and for the most part, a lot of the characters did end up where we would expect them to–Olitz together and Mellie kicking ass in office.
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The series finale brings everything to a head as everyone comes together, like the true gladiators they are, to take down one common enemy that has always existed–Cyrus. And while his punishment is certainly not just and he should be in jail, perhaps the punishment of loneliness and isolation is enough for the man who always craves the spotlight. Shonda Rhimes gives us a lot to think about with the end of Scandal and ends on an inspiring note through Papa Pope’s monologue and Liv’s fierce portrait. The gladiators will surely be missed but the lessons of gender and race equality will always resonate with fans, thanks to Scandal’s brave and courageous story-telling. The series finale is a reminder of everything Scandal stands for and has always stood for–never be afraid to take a stand and speak out, because you are a gladiator. Thank you Shondaland, we will forever be grateful to you for Scandal.