Scandal's Fall Finale: Let's Review Just a Few of the Things That've Happened So Far This Season

By Cory Barker

Dec 13, 2013

Scandal S03E10: A Door Marked Exit

Hey there Gladiators, B613ers, and Devil Incarnates. It's been a long while since we last checked in with Scandal, the show that proves that once you believe that a cast of characters can't possibly reveal themselves to be worse human beings, you're wrong. The fall finale, the last episode for a looooong time, revealed some key information about Olivia's mother, allowed the POTUS to halfassedly interrogate the leader of a covert organization above his pay grade, and gave Jake a big-boy promotion to the top of B613. Oh, and Cyrus spent most of the hour trying to convince himself and others that he's (and let me put my Chris Traeger voice on for this) literally the devil. I haven't seen someone push the "I'm the devil" issue so hard since Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate. Which is fitting, because Jeff Perry was chewing so much scenery in "A Door Marked Exit" that I was prepared for him to starting ranting about how God was a tight-ass and a sadist.

Not to be outdone by Perry, Joe Morton decided it was fine time for him to start destroying every living, breathing thing in his warpath. I'm actually really glad that the monologue Morton gave while Eli destroyed Fitz for, frankly, the petulant child he actually is, happened this week because that means it's eligible for best-of-the-year conversation. Scandal is an absolutely ridiculous show, as much of this season has proven, but it's so easy to go with it when actors like Perry and Morton are birthing such next-level spit-fire on the screen.  

It's weird, though, because in the time since we stopped reviewing the show on a weekly basis, it's as if Scandal just stopped being Scandal. It's, like, boring now, right? In case you're not caught up (or you only watch shows that we review because you're awesome), here are some of the generally innocuous, zzz-inducing moments from Season 3's first 10 episodes:

– The investigation into Operation Remington eventually revealed that Fitz, on orders from Eli and B613, shot down a commuter plane full of civilians because of a possible bomb threat. I don't know what's more insane, that the sitting president of the United States murdered a Supreme Court Justice in an intimate setting, that he previously took down an aircraft in an operation that killed hundreds, or that Fitz was hanging out in Iceland before he got the call to take down the plane. Can you imagine the trouble that he got into in ICELAND? What do you even do to get in trouble in Iceland?

– Though Eli delivered the order to bring down the plane, he did so in an earnest attempt to stop what he thought was a bomb onboard. The really bad news? The intel came from Olivia's traitorous mother, who Eli subsequently had locked up for 22 years. And only on Scandal is the father who's carried out a half-million black ops and attempted to take out those around his daughter kind of the good guy in a marriage. But again, in case you were concerned that Olivia's mother seemed too much like a helpless victim, the show made sure to underscore that she, like everyone else on this show, is a generally awful human being. 

– Speaking of awful human beings: Quinn is the world's most boring budding psycho-assassin. It's still a little unclear to me if she and Charlie are naive enough to assume that their romance can last, or if he's just running an op on her, but she's basically a B613 agent now. Oh how far she's come. 

– Ugggggh Mellie was raped by Fitz's father, in the show's attempts to REALLY emphasize that she'll smile and do anything for her husband's (and her own) career. One of my favorite aspects of this half season is that it consistently underscored that Mellie is often the show's most interesting character and sometimes, the one who seems the most human. You can get doe-eyed about Fitz and Olivia all you want, but I want them to be together just so Mellie can have her own thing. 

– Cyrus is the devil. In hopes of derailing VP Langston's not-so-secret, third-party bid for presidential candidacy, Cyrus and Mellie concocted a scheme that involved seducing Langston's husband (hey, if you need a dude to play a closeted gay man involved in politics, Jack Coleman is that dude) to lure him out of the closet. Unfortunately, that scheme used James as the bait, which created a spiral of terrible events that ultimately led to Sally stabbing her husband in the back, literally, and Cyrus soaking himself in booze at 7am. He was so desperate to keep Fitz in the driver's seat for the upcoming election that he used HIS OWN HUSBAND as a sexual decoy, then looked at the pictures, then got jealous, then kind of caused an innocent, naive woman to kill her spouse. THEN he had to cover that up. We haven't even gotten to real election yet. The Fitzgerald administration has killed more people than some very serious diseases. 

– Huck, who's now generally less insane than he was when Olivia found him, tortured Quinn—and all he could talk about during the proceedings was how cool it was to torture a friend. I mean, I agree, but try not to be so enthusiastic about it, right?

– Harrison grew a beard. Kind of. 

See, nothing to even shake a stick at! Scandal could probably do better. The show isn't going to be back on the air until almost March, but that won't stop us from speculating about where the story goes from here. Or at least it won't stop ME from speculating. Here are some important questions: 

– How will Jake's new gig at the top of B613 go over? I'm guessing somewhere between "very poorly" and "hilariously, disastrously bad." 

– How will Eli deal with his newfound free time, having been ex-communicated from B613? Surely he handles that masterfully, right? No hard feelings, I'm sure. He'll probably just catch up on his Netflix queue. (Okay, now I'm imaging Joe Morton yelling a three-minute screed at his computer screen about how he makes hard choices so that unknowing simple folk can enjoy old episodes of Bones on Netflix.)

– Is Olivia's mother back in D.C. for nefarious reasons? Well, let me rephrase that because everyone on this show is always doing things for nefarious reasons. Is Olivia's mother back in D.C. to directly harm Olivia or Eli?

– Will Harrison continue growing out his beard? Seriously though, I'd really appreciate it if the show committed to giving him something concrete and interesting to do. It keeps dancing around the issue without fully getting there. 

How are you liking Scandal's third season so far? What do you think will happen when the show returns in March?

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  • opinicus Dec 27, 2013

    The show is absolutely first class but will you all please stop trying to like or sympathise with the characters. There is no "good" character at all.
    In the snake pit of Washington DC, there are only successful vipers and dead vipers. The joy of the show is to see how low everyone will go

    We have POTUS - murderer, VPOTUS - murderer and hypocrite, Chief of Staff - murderer, election rigger, pimped out his own husband, a brain dead narcissist, Supreme Court Justice - attempted murderer and election rigger, Quinn, Huck, Jake, Charlie - murder and state sponsored torture, Papa Pope - State sponsored torture and State sponsored murder, Mama Pope - international terrorist, Olivia Pope - election rigger and happy to have the benefit of murder, torture and unconstitutional surveillance as required for her day job. Lastly a First Lady whose amoral single mindedness of purpose makes Lady Macbeth look like Mother Theresa on cannabis. Even the insipid underdog characters like David Rosen have a moral ambiguity and professional pragmatism that would see them evil, if they weren't so weak willed.

    Anyone who has stopped watching because the show "lacks reality" has a fairly jaundiced view of American politics and government - unless they turned off in the first 30 secs.

    The programme is a Nietzschean Nightmare and I can't wait for March to see who finishes on top of the dungheap and how they do it.

  • erhabori Dec 18, 2013

    So...I thought the whole point of B613 is that it was above the paygrade of the President? Like, administrations come and go but B613 remains. But apparantly, replaceing the leader of B613 and installing your own man is super easy?

  • kennfree Dec 15, 2013

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that Fitz is a murderer. Everyone seem to be forgetting that Cyrus is a murderer. Everyone seems to be forgetting that Olivia along with Cyrus and Mellie rigged a national election to make Fitz President. And these are the heroes of this show.

  • panteha Mar 03, 2014

    aaaaaaaahhhh come onnnnnn, no one said they are heros at all but without them there is no is sally btw but her craziness is making the show , they are all big part of the show of what it is for rigging the election come on that happens for real all over the world for real, in america in australia and thats just 2 countries on top of my head... so just throwing it in shouldnt be an issue.

  • panteha Dec 15, 2013

    yes they are... BUT, we still love them they make the show...but somehow im not sure if cyrus could get in to trouble for what sally did...
    if you want to think of it in reality how many innocent people die in the hands of our army they say it was an ACCIDENT... and they get away with it...
    what about george bush re election it shouldve been al gores but we all know what happened there dont we..
    but this is just a show and a great show very entertaining one too...
    dont take them too seriously :)))

  • kennfree Dec 19, 2013

    In the second season, the President murdered the Supreme Court Justice in her hospital bed.

  • panteha Dec 19, 2013

    yes he did...just odd how dying people starting to have conscious right before they die she thought heck im dying but lets ruin the rest...AGAIN just a great show not real and very entertaining one :)))

  • kennfree Dec 19, 2013

    In the first season, Cyrus hired the hit man that killed the girl who had said she was having an affair with the President.

  • panteha Dec 19, 2013

    im sure that wasnt cyrus that was the idiot that work for sally...she was his girlfriend pregnant with his child but he wanted her to tell the press that she was having an affair with the president and having his child and she did but once she couldnt lie anymore he had her killed...or was it cyrus??????/ maybe i shold watch it again :)))

  • kennfree Dec 25, 2013

    At the end of one of the episodes, the hit man comes to Cyrus while he is working in the garden. Cyrus asks if the girl was taken care of and the hit man (Charlie?) says yes she had been. Like I said, it is hard to empathize with characters who have no compunction about killing others who get in their way be they a President, a Vice-President or Chief-of-Staff. And anyone who can feel sorry for Olivia's father after the despicable things he has done (always for the greater good, right?), well where do you go from there?

  • crazedtvhead91 Dec 15, 2013

    Oh and my thoughts on Jake being the new head of B613

  • flintslady Dec 19, 2013

    LOL. #teamjake4life

  • crazedtvhead91 Dec 15, 2013

    What am I going to do until March??? Ugh.
    This mid-season finale was kinda tame though I still loved it. I feel like what they did was reset things as a prelude to next year. What with that guy looking for Harrison, Whatever the hell is going on with Quinn, Jake being head of b613, Huck being Huck, and David Rosen possibly finding proof that Sally killed her husband(uhoh, are about we about to have another david Rosen problem?)

  • stanking Dec 14, 2013

    Mellie is the devil. I hate to disagree with Cory, whom I highly esteem, but she is not the most human of them all. She is the devil. Yes, she was raped by Fitz's pa (I agree, Cory, ugggggh!), but she snapped back from that way too quickly for a human being. She has consistently crossed any line because she doesn't recognize any of them. Cyrus wept and begged, Rowan ranted, Huck creeped, but it was Mellie's quiet, "sympathetic" counsel of Sally in her grief that was the most disturbing. The only thing that saves us from the immediate apocalypse is that Mellie doesn't think much beyond the current situation, and occasionally she trips herself up. if she could think chess moves ahead like Cyrus, Olivia, or even Fitz, we'd all be doomed. Mellie is the devil.

  • flintslady Dec 19, 2013

    I used to hate Mellie, but now I've come to realize that she is the only character on the show who does things and acts the way she acts for plausible reasons.

    I thought having Fitz's father rape her was a bit manipulative on the part of the writers, but I loved seeing how Mellie was back in the day. It cemented in my mind that it was not her upbringing, debutante balls, or the Ivy league education that defined her, it wasn't the conservative blue blood running through her veins or her desire to get to the white house; meeting and marrying Fitz is what turned her into the cold, calculating, bitter/angry shrew that she is.

    The man is like a plague infecting everyone he touches and effectively destroying them while he emerges pretty much unscathed. While almost everyone on this show has more than a little horrible in them, if when this show concludes Fitz gets any kind of a happy ending (outside of a rub and tug) I will RIOT.

  • erhabori Dec 18, 2013

    Riiight. She didn't break down long enough after being raped, what a horrible person. What has she done actually? Killed anyone? Nope. Got Fitz elected. Yes, but so did the saintly Olivia. Manipulated? Of course. But what has she actually done worse than any other character that she is so hated? Her husband is terrible to her and she still tried to make nice with the women he's sleeping with in order to get him reelected...and everyone blames her for being a bitch? She gave up quite a lot to help Fitz. Did it also help her out? Yes, but in the flashbacks you can see she genuinely cared for him. I don't understand why she is so hated and Olivia is so loved.

  • stanking Dec 18, 2013

    Hey, don't put words in my mouth. I didn't say Mellie is horrible because she didn't suffer after the rape. I didn't say she's done worse than everyone else. And I didn't say Olivia is saintly. (I threw up my hands after "Vermont" - she's a hot mess.)

    What makes Mellie stand out to me is not so much what she's done but how she reacts to her experiences. There's no sense of remorse, no accountability, no awareness of lines of right and wrong there. She is COMPLETELY amoral. Far more dangerous than being immoral. What makes her upset is when she's not given what she believes is her due, or when what she does isn't effective. Never that what she does might be "wrong".

    Cyrus helped Sally into murder, and Fitz committed it outright. Huck has killed many. Even Quinn has killed. Rowan has masterminded quite a few, and we're only beginning to learn about Maya's resume. But Cyrus is horrified. Sally is in shock. Fitz is stoic but attracted to the Door Marked Exit because he's not happy with his entire existence. Huck is beyond damaged, and nobody's defending Rowan and Maya at this point. You saw Quinn's reaction. Even look at what Vera's sins did to her. But Mellie's reaction to her actions? To her, it's all grist for the mill. I don't think it's all for love of Fitz either; I think she loves the White House more at this point. It's certainly not her kids. I'm not sure she ever loved Fitz so much as she loved the idea of being married to POWER. Point is, there's no person inside her; she's just a machine full of avarice and lust for influence.

  • Phoenix415 Dec 14, 2013

    I agree... I just really want Mellie to realize that she and Fitz are over. Until now, Cyrus has been saying things to her like "if you're a political animal, then I'm a political monster." The only thing holding her back is her hope that Fitz will love her again. But with Cyrus' decline, and a new love interest for Mellie on the horizon, I definitely want to see the Mellie that's being repressed under fake smiles, tailored suits, and perfectly quoiffed hair. I want to see the woman who got raped, who gave up her own life, career, and chance at a love life for a man who cheated on her. I want to see Mellie get her own revenge- and possibly become president?! For all those who say Fitz is the underestimated one on this show, they must never have seen Mellie.

  • RobinRyschlic Dec 14, 2013

    This show was always over-the-top but after the last couple of episodes it just went downhill and became ridiculous. Not even a spark of realism is present. Olivia being the child of a terrorist and a leader of a secret government organisation. Her mother fleeing after 22 years of imprisonment and still behaving normal? Huck spend less time in a dark hole and became totally crazy. Fitz not having control over B613.

    This show is a joke. It started out with caricaturing politics and relationships in politics. It ended now with a war between three organisations, Gladiators, Government and B613, and it is not even attempting to make the war relatable or a bit more realistic. Last episode was just too much. It's the worst Homeland episodes combined with My Pretty Little Liars set on drugs. Good riddance, show.

  • Chrispin1 Dec 15, 2013

    Because rigging an election is the height of realism. -.-

  • gzeigler3 Dec 14, 2013


  • davidsu1675 Dec 14, 2013

    I may be in the minority but I find 'ol Eli's little speech to Fitz totally pathetic. Let's see, he married a terrorist, he had 300 innocent people's blood on his hands, he hid a citizen away for 22 years just like a dictator would do. In truth, he's the head of world's largest terrorist organization (which B613 certainly is) for 22 years and unscrupulous power of matters such as killing people. The ability to play God does not make him more of "a man" than Fitz. At least Fitz was elected by someone. He had to earn that.

    This is America not North Korea or Cuba. That character is a total joke for an otherwise exciting show.

  • flintslady Dec 19, 2013

    Really? Cause I though it was pretty amazing and extremely accurate. Eli definitely has problems no one can argue with that, and with what we know of him over the last 2 seasons has done a helluva lotta harm along with any good he has done. But aside from that, he did create Olivia, and while in the larger scheme of things that may not seem so relevant, to Fitz that pretty much is everything. Aside from the empathy that Olivia is able to feel towards her friends and family and clients, she is a lot like her father. And I would suspect that the cold and controlling way that he treated her as he grew up had a lot to do with what her mother made him do.

    More on Eli:

    Fitz took an order and killed 300 people. It hasn't seemed to effect him at all. Even after thinking that he had killed her mother, his response was to take Olivia out to some house in Vermont and bang.

    It would seem on the other hand that Eli was destroyed. He cried. He hugged Olivia and then he sent her away. Perhaps he threw himself into his work. Maybe he became extremely cold and all super villainy to make sure that he was never fooled that way again. It seems like a plausible reason to why he and Olivia barely spoke for the next 8 -10 years.

    Everything we need to know about Eli we learned in that room:

    1. He is proud of Olivia
    2. He doesn't believe that Fitz deserves her.
    3. He is an angry, volatile and vengeful man
    4. He is ashamed of blowing up that plane

    Likewise we learned a lot about Fitz as well (granted it was stuff we already knew)

    1. He does not have the proper amount of respect for Olivia
    2. He has no idea what it is to be a man
    3. He has low self esteem
    4. He wants to be happy.

    In my mind Eli won that showdown hard. But of course Fitz came back with the knockout by replacing him with Jake. What is a man with no job going to do when that job was all he had? My guess is Eli dies semi heroically next half trying to save Olivia or maybe Fitz from bad mamma Pope.

    Whew (that was a lot longer than I intended).

  • VAMPWOLFFAN Dec 15, 2013

    Defiance... he worked to get his job, send his daughter to school, etc. THAT is what he was saying made him a man... not money that was handed down to him. Fitz does seem to always whine about things.. Not in a baby way but, he was going to give up running for President because he was scared he couldn't win. He didn't want to run for President at all but his dad made him... smh. I like Fitz but sometimes I wonder about him...

  • davidsu1675 Dec 15, 2013

    Fitz is your typical guy who doesn't want to work too hard to get what he wants. The hesitations to run, and etc. make sense in that light. And sometimes he gets blindsided by crazy love. Doesn't that sound like a normal guy? On the other hand, nothing normal about Rowan. As I mentioned the character is just too unreal to be meaningful. But as another poster puts it, the only constructive thing he did was when he and his terrorist wife made Olivia. Everything else was destruction.

  • VAMPWOLFFAN Dec 16, 2013

    I think that maybe he didn't kill (mama pope) because she WAS Olivia's mom. I think the other things that he's done... He feels that they are a necessary evil due to help people sleep at night. If there WERE a bomb on the plane.. I could see him having to blow it up. I can see where that would justify killing and still leave a bad taste in his mouth. So he may not WANT to do something but will make the tough decisions. That could ALSO be why he didn't want B613 to have families. And his dislike of killing could have made throwing people (Huck/Jake) in the hole more preferable. I'm trying to think... I don't think that he has really killed anyone that didn't need to be killed, has he? (Yes, I try to look for the good in everyone LOL)

  • Phoenix415 Dec 14, 2013

    Lol except that Fitz wasn't really elected... Defiance, anyone?

  • stanking Dec 14, 2013

    No, I found his rant sad as well. And he didn't build anything. He destroyed. He hasn't built anything since he contributed to Olivia's conception. What is relaxing to note is that Fitz wasn't intimidated by any of it and was laying the groundwork to remove Rowan (Eli? which is it?) and kept his cool during the encounter.

  • davidsu1675 Dec 14, 2013

    Yep. I liked Fitz's demeanor. He knew he got Rowan.

  • othsmallsuplost Dec 14, 2013

    Eli's "you're a boy" monologue to Fitz was just brilliant and amazingly written and it's impressive to see the arrested defenseless guy stand up this way to his president. Olivia's "Arrest her" order to him confirmed that he actually is a boy and always takes orders from her, I had never realised that before. Other than that, the finale was good but not as epic as last week's ep :(

  • othsmallsuplost Dec 14, 2013

    Oh and isn't it kinda sad how Abbie gets literally anything she wants from her boyfriend in the blink of an eye?? Isn't he supposed to work for justice?

  • beditor Dec 14, 2013

    I think the description of this show as OMGTV is pretty accurate. Yes it is totally unrealistic - but then again can you say "Coven." I find it highly enjoyable, well-written and acted and a real roller coaster ride. Put me firmly in the Gladiators column - it is one of the few shows I make every effort to watch in its time slot rather than DVRing it.

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