Explosive is a word often associated with Scandal , but this week’s episode is so much more. “A Door Marked Exit” was the perfect depiction of our dreams realized. The winter finale was everything we expect from this juggernaut. Do yourself a favor and be prepared to fall in love.
- Director: Tom Verica
- Writer: Zahir McGhee
- Cast: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley, Kate Burton, Dan Bucatinsky, George Newbern, Khandi Alexander, Jack Coleman, Paul Adelstein, Joe Morton
Episode Title: “A Door Marked Exit”
As the truth continues to unfold consequences wreak havoc on everyone.
- Cold: The brilliance of the cold open: The fight between the Langstons that ended Daniel’s life was pure beauty. Even if you watched Grey’s Anatomy, the quickness with which the altercation swam before us might have made you rewind to see if you missed something. The way the scene was cut, jumping from shots of Sally to David, with the narrative not matching the visual mirrored the way Daniel’s words fractured Sally, melting her very being. Daniel’s classic mistake, turning his back on his enemy, was as foolhardy as Sally’s decision to call Cyrus before her campaign manager. Paul Adelstein was barely on camera yet his scenes still made an impact. The NSA tape of Sally’s incriminating phone call brought into David’s office makes it seem improbable that the Vice President would be able to continue her run for. However, the attitude Leo took at the end of the night leaves hope that this won’t be the last time we see him.
- Good Intentions: Two of the most important men in Olivia’s life had a huge pissing contest. It’s not Fitz’s fault that his attempt to help Liv actually got in the way. In a world this fast paced it’s easy to make a mistake relying on the previous second’s information. At least it bore Rowan/Eli’s setting straight of the President. On a night when many people listened to illuminating speeches, his was the best. The vitriol with which Rowan/Eli spit his words at Fitz stung because they rang true. Even though Fitz managed to best Command in the end, the words left a stain on everyone’s memory. Could the animalistic desire and draw that Fitz shares with Olivia be based on his childhood desire to escape his father’s grasp? Absolutely. Does that in any way help solve the will-they-won’t-they, or tee up a win for Team Jake? Not even a little bit.
- The Devil Came In: If you ever wanted to know what rules the bowels of hell, we have an image for you. The devil came in, and he’s a two-headed beast with Mellie and Cyrus’s faces. Like Kingmaker before it, we were gifted the best moniker to christen the ever vigilant Team of Fitz. To drive that home the two proved how seamlessly they support one another. When Cyrus was too busy feeling guilty and wrestling with the loss of his husband, Mellie stepped in to delicately put the screws to the grieving and guilt-ridden Vice President. She even left a floral reminder of Sally’s blood. The desperation in Cyrus’s final appeal to his husband and the deal they brokered in bed was enchanting. For better or worse, James has always known the animal he married was uncontrollable. Unlike the other marriage belonging to the two-headed beast, James and Cyrus’s was rooted in love. The future will be about whether or not that’s still true.
- Gladiator: Try to remember that Quinn was once just a girl whose boyfriend wouldn’t return her phone calls. Now, recall watching her pull that tracking chip out of her gums and flushing it with the rest of the incriminating evidence that could have seen her tortured and/or killed. Quinn’s come a long way, and her prodigious skill in this arena has been exaggerated by no one. The problem is trying to guess where her allegiances will lie. We know she loves Olivia and the Gladiators, but Huck was her person—her only person. His dismissal may mean nothing as far as Liv is concerned, but Quinn might not be able to retake her post wholeheartedly with Huck’s rejection hanging over her. We’d worry about her falling in with B6-13, but with certain new developments, she’d be safer than before. There’s a possibility she could fall down a whole with Charlie, or worse, turn double agent. It’s anyone’s guess.
- The Blindside: Normally, the predictability of Maya’s evading capture would have marred the night, but being blindsided by Jake’s appointment as the new head of B6-13 was a well-placed distraction. There was little warning. No one expected Rowan/Eli’s taunting, and Jake’s goodbye kiss to amount to this kind of upheaval. How Olivia and Jake will proceed is the thing on everyone’s mind. Though there was a tone of finality in their conversation, it would be ridiculous to believe that door is actually closed. Of course not to be outdone, Maya’s reappearance in front of the White House was breathtaking – fake as the image behind her may have looked. This woman got Rowan/Eli to kill 329 people for the hell of it, was buried under a jail for 22 years, and managed to activate her contacts in Mongolia to get her back in the States before anyone even knew she was missing. She’ll be a volatile point of contention in the New Year.
- Snapshot: This week was so filled with intrigue that the writers barely had time to give a small semblance of pure happiness. Luckily, a brief exchange between the loving Abby and David Rosen is all it took. We could go on about the legality of him turning over information to his girlfriend on demand, or whether he should be emailing things to her when he does so. Like anyone else with eyes, we’d rather swoon over how he knows it really wasn’t worth the smile. Or how the smile and glance they shared as he quickly conceded was more fortifying than anyone could have hoped.
- “You love that she is a door marked exit. You love that she is your way out. Because if you are with Olivia Pope you don’t have to fulfill your father’s dream of being President. If you are with Olivia you no longer have to be your father’s son. An apple never falls far from the tree; you are always going to be Senator Grant’s disappointing boy Fitz. She is always going to be the formidable Olivia Pope. Don’t use the person that I made to make you into a man. You’re a boy.”—Rowan/Eli
- “And I’m still the same man that you married, you just maybe never noticed the 666 on my forehead before?”—Cyrus
“A Door Marked Exit” was the promise the first half of season three whispered in viewers’ ears. “Hold on,” it said softly, “there’s more ahead.” And now look where they’ve left us. Olivia Pope, master fixer and mistress, is the daughter of a former CIA king, and a wanted terrorist for hire. Quinn exists in purgatory while Harrison lies in wait for Adnan Salif to strike. Jake is now the head of B6-13—whether his soul will be destroyed by the duty like Rowan/Eli is yet to be seen. Cyrus is destroyed, Mellie barrels on as usual, Abby and David are the hope, and the face of the future is a mystery. February 27 can’t come fast enough.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.
What did you think of this episode?