Scandal-The Price of Free and Fair Election-Tony Goldwyn, Scott Foley, and Kerry Washington

Scandal’s season finale shocked us to our core. “The Price of Free and Fair Election” was riddled with surprises. And there was also a lot more loss than we were expecting. Shonda Rhimes sure knows how to end a year with a bang.

The Players:

  • Director: Tom Verica
  • Writer: Shonda Rhimes and Mark Wilding
  • Cast: Kerry Washington, Guillermo Diaz, Columbus Short, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Bellamy Young, Joshua Malina, Scott Foley, Jon Tenney, Dylan Minette, Madelien Carol, Mackenzie Astin, Jasika Nicole, Kate Burton, George Newbern, Khandi Alexander, Nazanin Boniadi, Brian Letchester, Paul Adlestein, Joe Morton

Episode Title: “The Price of Free and Fair Election”

Election Day comes with more than one bombshell.

The Good:

  • Paying the Price: So the bomb went off as the church was clearing, thanks to Jake’s last second run to the Oval Office. Cyrus’s plan to allow the competition to be blown away made Sally’s perfect opportunity possible. Tending to wounds, promising vengeance, and leading prayer all but won the election for her until the President’s eldest son’s surprising death the night before the election. Jerry’s onstage collapse from bacterial meningitis netted Fitz the necessary votes to stay in the White House. On the heels of this and revealing Mellie’s rape to Fitz, Olivia decided to leave OPA and Washington D.C.
  • The Hell and The High Water: A murderer, a liar and a criminal; Abby knows the makings of Olivia’s father so well. Everything he wanted since this season’s inception and his loss of B6-13 was realized in a neat and tidy manner. At first Fitz’s almost assured loss of the presidency had us thinking Olivia’s parents were working together. Maya bragging about purposefully leaving Rowan alive and bombing the church to free Olivia was a tad suspect. Until of course Jerry’s death and its swift consequences. Rowan knew Fitz would want justice for his son—or rather, “a head on a platter,”—considering his actions were to get his own brand of justice for his daughter. Since Rowan presumably killed the only person that figured out his involvement, it’ll take a while for this to hit the fan. More than likely it’ll be a major issue next season. Tangling with Rowan could be problematic; we could feel ourselves being raked over those same coals again.
  • That First Thing: Olivia blamed her bailing on being the eye of the storm. Believing her mother killed her lover’s son, knowing her father’s capabilities and aware that being the President’s mistress will always create drama, Olivia fled the capital. For us, the reason Olivia left was that tremendous scene she shared with Cyrus. Those moments trying to determine exactly when they became the kinds of monsters the accessed political advantage before feeling tragedy were compelling. Cyrus’ words on whether serving at the pleasure of the President allowed them to be their naturally monstrous selves were some of the best of the night. Watching them revel in the look on Fitz’s face as he carried Jerry held the same weight as the fractured scene where Olivia learns of Maya’s supposed role in the loss. After that, along with the truth of Mellie’s rape and its healing possibilities, led to her running off with Jake.
  • Something New: Finding Huck’s family was the last thing we expected from the finale. Charlie was right—Quinn and Huck’s passionate affair and predilection for public copulation was abruptly halted by Charlie’s breakup parting gift. Quinn could have left the envelope closed, but like Olivia, once opened she knew that the only chance Huck has to heal hinges on reconciling with his family. At least that’s what we assume because after Quinn shows Huck his family’s house, we don’t see her again. Knowing that Rowan is back at the head of B6-13 gave us pause, but we’re hoping the temptation to restart Huck and Quinn’s coupling is too great to put Quinn in any lasting harm.  In his final scene of the finale, Huck knocked on a door answered by his shell shocked wife. It’s hard to believe that after so many years apart, Huck’s wife will immediately jump back into his arms. But in this scandalous world you can’t count out any possibility.

The Bad:

  • Young, Black and Gifted: Harrison is more than likely dead. Some may say it’s for the best. A character without a real role on the show and an actor with his own real life scandal is eradicated in one maneuver. We’d rather mourn his lost potential—everyone gets to be something on this show, look at Abby. Her relationship is the series’ bright spot, and her blistering condemnation of Olivia’s resignation was made stronger by seeing her turn her back on the head gladiator. Even her boyfriend David gets to be something; always fighting to keep the white hats on his passion for truth prompted Jake to leave him with enough files to burn B6-13 to the ground. This is the kind of importance Harrison was never given. Instead he was shot by Tom, Secret Service agent and B6-13 plant, unless there’s some surprise awaiting us. Harrison’s legacy is paltry; though he spelled out for us how Rowan manipulated everything in his final moments, his death will forever mark Tom a villain. Up until now Tom’s role in B6-13 had us thinking of him more as a Jake than a Rowan. Killing Jerry, Adnan, and Harrison makes him a minion of Command, something he’ll never escape again.

Overall:

As “The Price of Free and Fair Election” ended perfectly scored with The Temptations “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” the big question is what will bring Jake and Olivia back? There is no show without the fixer, the handler, the great Olivia Pope. When she returns will she be with Jake? He left knowing she still loved Fitz and that might not change. Though leaving Fitz the day after his son died, warring with finally being elected the right way for the wrong reason, makes the possibility of rekindling that love hazy. And with the truth about Mellie’s past out, his marriage could always use the absence and the grief to reform their bonds. When she returns will there be an OPA? Abby’s angry, Harrison is probably pushing up daises, and Quinn is somewhere dealing with Huck meeting his family. With Rowan still at large and Maya locked away in his hidey-hole, there’s always potential for more parental drama. Next fall we’re looking for an explosive season, not just an amazing finale.

Rating: 9.5/10

Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of this season finale?