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Scandal S03E18: "The Price of a Free and Fair Election"


I would like to take a moment to personally thank Kerry Washington for getting pregnant. First, it forced Scandal to come up with as many weird camera angles, blockings, and prop maneuvers as was humanly possible to keep her expansion off-screen. Second, and more importantly, it's probably for the best that Scandal's third season only ran for 18 episodes as opposed to the typical 22 to 24. Because you guys, it's been a huge mess—and the finale was absolutely no different.  

Now, you could smartly say, "Oh but Cory, if this season had been longer, the show would've had more time to develop certain storylines or character arcs and not just smash things together on a semi-regular basis!" That's true. But I'm not sure any additional episodes would've made this run of episodes any better, because the problems go beyond the hodgepodge plotting. The primary issue ultimately tracks back to Scandal's decision to jump, both feet, into B613, terrorism, and by the end of "The Price of a Free and Fair Election," the poisoning of a member of the Grant family. In public. On the day before a presidential election. 

I don't know if Shonda Rhimes simply burned through 24** on Netflix in preparation for the upcoming Live Another Day, or started digging around too much on that Deep Web everyone's talking about on House of Cards, but with the B613 hysteria and the Pope family circus sucking up so much of air, Scandal was oftentimes too worried about the BIG STAKES to do any of the slightly more personal work it managed to pull off in Seasons 1 and 2. 

**It's no accident that the finale's opening scene, with the split screen of the bomb ticking down as people sat patiently waiting for Fitz at the church, looked as if it was pulled directly from 24, right? I'm just going to imagine that moment as Shonda's acknowledgement that what she really wanted to do was a half-cocked Jack Bauer story. 


As a result, "The Price of a Free and Fair Election"—like so much of the season's back half—was stuffed full of moments intended to shock us, or make us feel every single FEEL there is. The problem is that very little of it actually registered. When your show is built on hyperbolic events and emotions, there's always going to come a time where it's simply too much. Frankly, I didn't suspect that Scandal would reach that point so soon. Sure, the bomb plot caused a couple of "shocking moments" and further hammered home the idea that Cyrus is willing to do anything to keep Fitz in office, even as he constantly notes (like he did in this episode) that he's a monster and whatever else. And the public murder of Fitz's son was somewhat successful, because it allowed the show to give the evil villainy reigns back to Eli and the immortal Joe Morton. But it also means that we're probably on the hook for at least another round of B613, big-time spy games, and the kind of truly silly, empty stuff that defined the show in Season 3. 

The really odd thing is that Scandal had a story engine front and center, primed and ready for quality drama: the election. You guys, election stories on TV are awesome! If the show wanted to borrow something from 24, why didn't it do a more real-time run through election night as the votes started to come in? Wouldn't that've given Scandal a chance to dig a little deeper into the personal melodrama that really makes its stories and characters sing? It's kind of gross and disappointing that Fitz and Mellie's conversation about her rape—which was tremendously acted by both Tony Goldwyn and Bellamy Young—had such a small part in this episode. The re-election itself was, hilariously, and afterthought. While I understand that, in some ways, that was the point—that these people were yet again so willing to bend for whatever was necessary to achieve victory, and then immediately forced to face how empty and costly that victory was—I can't help but imagine how a better version of "The Price of a Free and Fair Election" might have handled what was already compelling in its own right. And without three additional layers of espionage and bombs and murder layered on top.


I really don't care whether this show is believable, or some representation of the real world. But when it starts throwing in so many things that I at least start to consider how dumb it can be, there's a problem. Author and film critic Mark Harris tweeted that this episode "was like an efficient summary of a five-hour episode," and that's so true. Remember when a bomb went off before the title card? Or when Sally Langston survived that bombing and went back into the rubble to help survivors, seemingly locking up the presidency? By the time Olivia and Jake were on Daddy Pope's top-secret jet to a New Life, those early moments felt like they'd occurred three episodes ago. 

Of course, it doesn't help that every single one of Scandal's characters is horrible and kind of not worth caring about at all. Now, I can understand that the show wants to be about how these supposedly great people so regularly promise or expect one thing of themselves and others and always fail. However, when this finale made it to the 109th time that Fitz and Olivia discussed how something wasn't going to happen "right now," I started to wonder why we should invest in them. Do we hope that the 110th time is going to be the one where Fitz and Olivia can be together for real? Or are we supposed to marvel and be sad at how they continue to think they can make it work, only to fail? I think Scandal wants to have it both ways, and to have us answer "yes" to both of those questions. It's not working.


There's no doubt that Scandal is immensely watchable and entertaining. Even the poorly constructed episodes, like this one, are fun to sit through because of the world and characters that Shonda Rhimes has brought to life. However, there were times in Season 2 when the show was more than that—and on its way to becoming something really fascinating. This season, the show's compulsions got the better of it more often than not. The results were, while still watchable, extremely convoluted and less impactful than they could have been. Nevertheless, there's so much talent here, both in front of the camera and behind it. Here's hoping that Scandal can let its star have a baby and find a way to clear the table for a stronger Season 4.



NOTES

– R.I.P., Jerry Grant Jr., you were so supremely memorable that I had to Google "Scandal Fitz Son" to get your first name.

– The less that's said about Quinn and Huck, the better—though I appreciate that the writers used Abby, who's probably the closest thing they have to a human being, to acknowledge how icky the pairing truly is. 

– On that note, I'm curious to know whether people want to see Huck reunite with his original family. I'm already dreading his former wife and kid being pulled into a terrible hostage situation. Is it for the best to just leave that be?

– The fact that we didn't see Harrison's body, and that we didn't even even get to see him executed, clearly means that he's alive. Eli seemed to have taken an interest in the young man, so don't be surprised if he pops up playing for the other team next season. 

– Despite the fact that this season went off the rails, we should stop and acknowledge all the amazing guest stars Scandal hosted over the course of these 18 episodes. Check out this murderer's (sometimes literally) row: Lisa Kudrow (remember that?), Jon Tenney, Nazanin Boniadi, Paul Adelstein, and of course, Khandi Alexander and Joe Morton. Kate Burton is still technically a guest as well. At least the show does a good job of crafting juicy, speech-y roles for quality actors. 


What'd you think of the finale? Did you think this season was as messy as I did?


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 5/12/2016

Season 5 : Episode 21

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Okay, so we're three years in, the President's survived a bullet in the head, and we've four more years. I think by the end of this second term, the seven years of Tribulation will have passed, Fitz will have been imbued by Satan and will have become the Anti-Christ. Only thing missing is the Rapture, but maybe we'll see that in another flashback, eh?
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Season 3 of Scandal is a joke. It is season 2 rehashed with some, very little added footage. I am curious how much they saved on their budget? Hopefully enough for an explosive season 4.
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Cory, my guess is that you were not a English major. If you were, you probably earned a fair share of Cs and Ds, whether they were recorded as such or not. When it comes to character analysis, I'd say a D seems like a fair grade. Of course, this isn't a course in English or American literature--and there are no Hamlets or Lady Macbeths or Addie Bundrens in Scandal, but if one cannot distinguish between a moral person, an immoral person, and an amoral person (which is elementary), one cannot be a good judge of character, in either sense of the word.

Being flippant is by no means the same thing as being astute. Lest you think I am being rather harsh with you, I should point out that most of the comments below have earned solid Fs.

Incidentally, with regard to Shonda's characters, it appears that you have arrived at quite a few conclusions and pronouncements based upon what you would like to be true (perhaps because those conclusions and pronouncements fit into a comfortable paradigm for you) rather than what the evidence suggests.

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Also Cyrus' remembrance of James was beautiful and tear-jerking- It's a shame we never care even a fraction as much about Olivia and Fitz. Also sidenote Scott Foley is not ugly.

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I very much agree. The only storyline I cared about all season was the reveal of Mellie's rape and ultimately it was such a letdown. Huck and Quinn was the grossest thing I've ever seen. It's not just that it was completely disgusting on a visceral level, but belongs on a different show. Quinn in general needs to be killed off- least likable person on the show and not in a love-to-hate way.

Overall, too many plots vying for the A spot. Need more ENJOYABLE B and C plots that don't go completely off the rails, which is going to be tough now that James isn't around to say things like "I want a baby, Cy! A fat one!"
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As patchy as this season has been I have to applaud the people that decide the background music.

Some favourite standouts of mine was when one of the characters was getting double crossed & Backstabbers was in the background to the use of Gladys Knights you're the best thing that ever happened to me when Cyrus was remembering the life he had with his husband was great

I also liked Papa was a rolling stone was a perfect choice for when they were outlining how Olivia's dad had orchestrated the assassination of the first son.

There have been others but they don't spring to mind right now.
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Watching this season I kept thinking,"when will she fix someone? When will someone need her help outside the Fitz and the white house". I did think the season was good but no where near the first two. Shonda She got like this with greys. Hopefully she gets it together. Take down b613. And end that story line. And get back to what the show was . if it stays like this I don't know if I'll be back for a season 5
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After a while the only storyline I cared about was Mama Pope "I don't make bombs, I make money" ... So you can imagine my disappointment to see her at the bottom of a hole by end of the finale. Khandi Alexander was truly a gift this season. She is to Scandal what Katherine is to TVD.

And why does everyone just say Shonda, Shonda, to giving credit to the shows creative direction im pretty sure its a collective effort, i know shes the showrunner but she's not the only one writing episodes.
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I think this season was definitely not the same caliber of the first two. My husband and I didn't watch it from the beginning, but thanks to Netflix, we were able to get caught up in no time. The episodes were so good that you couldn't wait until the next one. This season wasn't like that, and it could have partially been because I had to wait a week in between, so I forgot what happened. I did not like the B613 storyline at all. I hated what Quinn became and her eventual relationship with Huck. Huck is a rather disgusting character and I have grown tired of his character. Shonda Rhimes has a habit of killing off characters you like and keeping the ones you don't...wish she would kill off Huck at this point. With the material of this show, I don't see how it could go much further. It's obvious that he was going to be reelected...otherwise they wouldn't have a show. Then there is the whole, Olivia and Jake flying off into their new life, but Olivia takes her cell phone with her. If you are that desperate to fly away from your life and your problems, ditch the cell phone, or change your number!
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Well, I guess story wise we are almost back to where we were at the beginning of the third season:


PPapa Pope runs B613 and he has Mama Pope in a hole. Fitz is President, Mellie First Lady, Cyrus is still there (minus a husband), all the guys from OPA will be around (I expect Harrison to be alive), David wears the whitest hat and Olivia is hanging around with some guy (jake). All in all those are rediciolous storylines that I'm not really invested in any more.

This once great show has turned into one of the silliest shows on TV. I guess Scandal is a show that shows us the possible negative effects serialized TV can have on a series. It seems that if you try too hard and your storylines get to convoluted and you depart to far from what is the show's heart, you can really ruin a show. Instead of all this insane stuff I would have rather the show stayed with the more procedural approach of the first season.
Usually I am a fan of serialized TV, but this, it seems to me, is not the way to do it. If Shonda Rimes wants a lesson in great serialized TV drama, maybe she should watch the third season of Person of Interest. That is pretty much the perfect example of how you move a show seamlessly from procedure-oriented stories in season 1 to mythology-oriented multilayered storytelling and in the wake improve the show.

The only bit that still has me watching is Huck and Quinn doing it in the OPA conference room because some blood on the floor got them hot. Quinn sort of is the Root of Scandal, even though the actress is no Amy Acker.
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I agree 100% the show has turn into nothing but shock and awe moments but no real storytelling. In what world would Olivia knowing let a man who has killed her best friend husband and father to her god daughter tag along with her? How Scandal has gloss over Domestic violence is even more disgusting , let's let Olivia leave with a man who has choked her and put her in the hospital giving her a concussion, yeah that makes plenty of sense. The rewriting of history of this show is what made this show jump the shark for me, the writing of Mellie's rape then suicide, why couldn't Mellie Grant be the bad azz woman who she started out to be? Why did Shonda Rhimes feel the need to garner sympathy for a character for what the shock of it all? So much went wrong with this season it was so disappointing on so many levels. Terrible, terrible season!
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I loved the finale. Of course the Prez wasn't going to be in the church, and Cyrus was willing to let all those people die to get rid of Sally. Wish he had just told everyone she killed her husband, but with him being an accomplice and all, that wasn't going to happen. Sally stealing the TV coverage from the Prez was great ( like that would ever happen either.)

I love Olivia but she should really just tell Fitz to get off her and suck it up and be a hubby to Mellie, even if she is a passive agressive bitch

I think we didn't see more election results because it wasn't about the process. It was about wanting something so bad you think you would do anything to get it, but when you have it you wonder if the price you payed was too high. I won't be surprised if Fitz's second term isn't fraught with him making rash decisions that may well be hazardous to the country.

I adore Joe Morten, his speeches are some of the best on TV. I don't think he gives one damn about Olivia, he did all of it to get B613 back and to get Mrs. in his little torture chamber. He was the one who lost her and it's been eating at him ever since.

I hope Jake and Olivia find their place to stand in the sun, then come back and kick some ass together on the same side.

P.S. What goodies do you think David will find in all those B613 files?



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Ok guys.... here is the thing: i have all Scandal episodes DVRed. My question is: Is it a show worth watching? I know this is a Scandal post so probably I will get loads of "yea its great, watch it" "its a must see" etc etc etc but be honest if you could go back would have even started? Thanks in advance! ;)
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I wouldn't have wasted my time with season 3. Total season 2 rehash.
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As of season 2 I use Scandal simply when I have nothing else to watch... when I have plowed through all my other beloved shows I catch up with this one... it lost its grip on me mid season 2... to watch or not to watch - its totally up to how much time you have to spend on this show... not sure if that helps
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Thanks EllieHell... did help! I'm quite busy with my beloved shows as well (guess we all here are tbh lol) so not really looking forward to start one that is not worth it..... I was debating actually to start one of these:

-Banshee
-The Americans
-Revolution
-Revenge
-Scandal

So thats my struggle atm....
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Revenge is something I have followed since Day 1... if you like the book "The Count of Monte Cristo" then you will like Revenge because its pretty much based on that book... poor girl seek revenge on rich people for crime against her family... only reason I watch that show is because its a girl against power of Hamptons haha its a lot of mental warfare... very little actual action...

I can not help you on the other ones... I still haven't started watching Revolution myself although I have all episodes on queue. My friends are raving about Revolution so I might give it a chance soon.
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Cool EllieHell! Very helpful and yes I do love TCoMC.... such great book! I keep getting mixed emotions from Revenge fans tho.... Its def on my queue here!
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You totally should watch Banshee and The Americans before you watch Scandal. Those are WAY better imho.
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Thanks xubxerox. I am hearing great things of Banshee and will probably be watching really soon!
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Agree with many things you have said Cory. This show used to be a lot smarter. I totally called Papa Pope's involvement as soon as the secret service agent tapped Jerry on the back. Only question, did Papa Pope stab himself too?

Olivia is supposed to be so smart and she leaves with Jake? Can't she be without a man for 5 flippin minutes?

Perhaps this show just needs a shorter season. It was excellent in its first season and that was what 8 episodes?
I will check out season 4 but if it's the same soap opera it has become forget it. Hoping for the best though, this had become a favourite show :(
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are they ever going to reveal fitz killed a supreme court justice geez
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If so, I really hope for some perspective about it. All of these people are murderers and some, like Olivia, are complicit with murderers (Hollis Doyle). Let's remember that Fitz killed a supreme court justice that was complicit with fixing an election in order to secure that supreme court spot and who was a MURDERER (killed the press secretary and mother of two small children) and an ATTEMPTED MURDERER of Fitz! Murder is clearly wrong, but it appears on this show that it simply means "nobody's perfect." I laughed at that joke by Cyrus and it appears that I am jaded by these characters because in some instances I am rooting for some of these murderers. In any event, given what Verna did to Fitz and had the nerve to threaten to do on her deathbed with only a day or two left to live, I might have killed the witch too!!
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This season was a disaster. It's hard to remember the good parts because the bad parts were so bad. I hope they improve the writing, it's to see a show that was so good get this bad so quickly.
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I've actually enjoyed the season (love soap operas...) but the finale was messy. Just too much going on and none of it really sank in. I agree they should've focused on the election. The end result was anti-climatic.

And Quinn and Huck are just gross. They need to end that storyline.


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every single one of Scandal's characters is horrible and kind of not worth caring about at all. ....true to that....I personally hate Huck, quin & Harrison....I love Jake and the white hat guy..... also I love tom ....he is everybody's bitch....

if the series ended here and doesn't get renewed..... I wouldn't cry about it....

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"I love Tom... He is everybody's bitch..." LMFAO so true! He doesn't care whoever is writing him a check
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Just pretend it ended here and don't watch Season 4 .... Because it will get renewed.
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That's the plan
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I just don't get all the clamoring about this being a bad show from what I suspect is an entire generation raised on reality tv and vampire shows. SMDH

I think it's fair to say that Papa Pope has stolen the show and I enjoyed that immensely. I am not pleased that they have strayed so far from the helping people angle but I like parts of what's going on now. I'm pretty sure the only thing I agree with the masses about is how weird/wrong/gross Huck and Quinn are. Quinn should have been killed a long time ago.

I have lost interest in Olivia and Fitz....been a while since I cared about them but I appreciate the new drama surrounding them since the son was killed. When it comes out that Olivia's dad and not her mom was responsible, (which you know will get out because no one on this show can keep a damn secret) that'sjust going to wedge them further apart.

I thought the season being abbreviated had more to do with the seeming erratic nature of the show than anything else. Overall it's not my favorite season but I think claiming that it jumped the shark is way not called for.
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Reality shows? Please. I despise reality shows.
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So, basically Olivia's father caused all this chaos because he felt the "President took his daughter" and this was the only way to get her on the plane. I love Scandal so them jumping the shark doesn't too much bother me.
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WTF, you should probably watch it again. Your summarization is so off.
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Many good points in the review. I especially agree that there was just too much going on in this episode.
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oh and on second thought harrison figures it out but not olivia!!!
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I knew that she wasn't thinking clearly about her father when I saw that she was glad that he survived. That guy needs to die. She's the only one who doesn't see it.

It bugs me more than Fitz didn't get it. Sure, you can argue that grief made him irrational or something, but it should at least have occurred to him that he might be giving his son's murderer exactly what he was hoping to get when he murdered him.
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"that", not "than". It bugs me *that* Fitz didn't get it.
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seriously!!! seriously!!! a potential bomb like mellie's rape gets just a mention!!! hello, writers,whats wrong with you guys???
oh i and so agree that the camera angles worked wonders to hide olivia's baby tummy, good work camera people and really thee were some ingenious ways to hide that.... kudos..........
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Cory, the show is based on Judith Smith, Washington fixer. I don't for one minute think Shonda Rhimes is "trying" to mimic 24 or House of Cards, she is creative and intelligent enough to stand on her own. I stumbled upon you "critique" by accident. I often wonder what you and people like you would be doing if you didn't criticize?
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Watch House of Cards and then get back to me. The whole Plubius thing with Cyrus's husband...the way they did the text messages on the screen...that is taken right from House of Cards.

And sorry, but as good as this show is (was), it will never be as good as 24. That show kept you on your seat the whole time, and thinks to the variety of terrorist threats to the United States, they never ran out of material. This show can't possibly last more than a couple more seasons, if that. We are only at the end of season 3 and his first term is already over. She might should have let it last a while longer.
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Well, that's his job, so...

And if you're wondering why he didn't write a glowing review instead of something more critical, all you have to do is scroll through the comments here to see that he's not the only one with a critical opinion. Sometimes a good show falls short.
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As much as I loved this show, I have to agree to most of Cory's criticism.

And yes the cameras would quite well in concealing her pregnancy. At least they did not write her pregnancy into it, it would be easier especially for a crazy show like this one.

However I disagree with one point.

every single one of Scandal's characters is horrible and kind of not worth caring about at all.

There are still a few of them that I cared about !

Its great to see Lisa Kudrow in a drama role. I do not think I ever see her in anything except comedy.
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You read my mind Cory! Here's hoping for a better season 4.
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And

" R.I.P., Jerry Grant Jr., you were so supremely memorable that I had to Google "Scandal Fitz Son" to get your first name."

LOL!!!!!

That line.. made the episode worth it! :)
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It's funny, I had the exact same 24/House of Cards feel, except the action wasn't nearly as intense as 24 and the dialogue not nearly to the level of House of Cards. This season of Scandal really has been the longest shark jump eve.

"It's kind of gross and disappointing that Fitz and Mellie's conversation about her rape had such a small part in this episode."

I think it's even worse than that. I'm less interested about how small the part was and more concerned about the part itself. The reveal of Mellie's rape served only one purpose: as a barrier to keep Fitz and Olivia apart. Are you freakin' kidding me? Gross and disappointing...? Try about appalling and disgusting. I stopped feeling sorry for these two LONG ago. That they're still trying to portray these two as some sort of tragic and modern day Romeo and Juliette is ridiculous. "We can go to Vermont now". Really Fitz, we're just supposed to forget about the dozen times this season alone where you've treated Olivia like a piece of trash that by anybody but the most insecure would have been a deal breaker?

Millie's rape and subsequent death of Jerry Jr is supposed to be representative of the best thing to ever happen to Olivia which allows her to accept that she and Fitz aren't going to happen and to move on with her life. {head shake}

"I really don't care whether this show is believable, or some representation of the real world."

That's a good thing, cause Scandal pulled away from the believable station LOOOOOOG ago. Which is too bad. It really had the potential to be more than the day time soap with comic book villains it's become. Gone are the days of good people finding themselves in bad situations and need OPA's gladiators to help them out of a jam. "Gladiators", that concept is a hilarious afterthought now. These people aren't gladiators, they're the emperor sitting in the stands giving the thumbs down to order somebody dead.

"The fact that we didn't see Harrison's body, and that we didn't even even get to see him executed, clearly means that he's alive."

This was the easiest to see coming...and most ironic. While Harrison might be one of the few decent characters on the show, Columbus Short (allegedly) isn't. Whether we see Harrison again will depend on the outcome of Columbus and his domestic violence charges. Public reaction as more and more details come out about the death threats against his wife will dictate whether the trigger was pulled off screen or not.
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The reveal of Mellie's rape served only one purpose: as a barrier to keep Fitz and Olivia apart. Are you freakin' kidding me? Gross and disappointing...?

Totally agree. As soon as Olivia started talking I was like "ugh, clearly you don't REALLY want to be with this man, and that's fine. You shouldn't, but why is NOW the moment you tell him? The moment when he's going on and on about his future with you." Ugh they just made it feel like a cock block, and not a serious, traumatizing issue that Fitz should have been aware of. Why didn't she tell him when Milly started walking around drunk everywhere? Fitz could have vented about Milly possibly destroying the candidacy or something and then Olivia could have said, she has a reason for her behavior and come clean. It shouldn't have been about their relationship at all.
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As the episode progressed, it was clear that Liv had decided that she was going to leave it all behind and the easiest way for her to ensure that Fitz not try and stop her is to put him in a situation where leaving his wife is no longer an option. The best way for her to do that...come clean about the rape. Another manipulative ploy by a terrible terrible person.

I've got zero expectations that Liv won't sink to any level to serve her own interests. That's fine, she's deplorable. What I find insulting is how the rape was played for the rest of the show. As if it were some massive life hurdle that even these two people couldn't hurdle to further their epic love story {gag!}.

Liv never told Fitz about it before because it wouldn't have furthered her agenda, she still wanted him (for whatever reason). But now that she's ready to make a break, she dropped the bomb and tied him to Millie so she could make a clean escape.

Disgusting!
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I know. The whole thing was just really upsetting. I liked the scene of Fitz walking into the room and comforting Milly though, I liked that no words were needed, but Milly deserved more than that and I think another scene should have been added. Also, the fact that his son's death won him the election and the first thing Fitz said to Milly was "Where's Olivia?" just made me want to gag. I know there's a lot of complicated feelings here, but is he really incapable of mourning with the mother who bore him that child? Ugh
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Oh ya, I caught that, "Where's Olivia?" comment. It just further cemented that ever time Fitz opens his mouth he confirms that he's the worst husband/boyfriend EVER! I'd love to actually re-watch edited episodes where the only things left were scenes between Fitz & Millie and Fitz & Liv and show it for all the dummies (yeah, I said it) that swoon for these two jackasses to live happily ever after. There are few characters I can think of who speaks to and treats the women in their lives as badly. He's not quite to Christian Troy levels...but he's not far off.

Speaking of speaking to, you're right about another scene being required. It's nice that no words were needed for the truth about them knowing to come out, but I'm thinking that not long after that, Fitz probably should have started with an apology for, just a few weeks ago, telling Millie that she's the reason their marriage is broken and that the only reason he got together with Liv is because she's a cold shrew who wouldn't touch him forcing him into the arms of another woman for the affection she wouldn't give him. "Yeah...umm...sorry about that. In retrospect, not knowing then what I know now, I could have been wrong about that. Soooo...err...we good?"
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Ditto, Cory. Ditto.
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– R.I.P., Jerry Grant Jr., you were so supremely memorable that I had to Google "Scandal Fitz Son" to get your first name.

This is even funnier because he has the same name as every other male in that family.

Cory, we've disagreed before over certain criticisms of shows that seem a bit nit-picky in my personal opinion, but I definitely agree with you 100% here. This show is ridiculous, and that's part of its charm, but at times it seems that it tries so hard to hit the next ridiculous thing that it forgets to actually develop the characters that the last ridiculous thing was supposed to impact. That said, I watch it for the ridiculousness, and that still shows up in spades, so moot point really.

Also, Joe Morton should get an emmy for his guest performance this season. His over-the-top, insane, overly preachy speeches were the highlight of pretty much every episode the latter half of Season 3.
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Yep. Pretty much how I feel.
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i mostly disagree. i think most of the season has been pretty good. One of my favorites is the Mellie plotline. The only thing that felt weird to me was huck and quin's storyline. So mostly, it has not just been entertaining, but truly good imo. Sure it's messy. Hasn't it always been?
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Huck and Quinn was the weirdest thing all season. But it was also the most entertaining, in a LOLWTF kind of way.
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This season has definitely been eventful and entertaining but I have to agree. I feel like Scandal fell victim to its hype and success much like Glee did in season 2 and felt the need to be "big" and "buzzy" and at the expense of that, it cost them a lot of quality. When your show starts turning out "big events" and twists in every episode there comes a time when you just grow numb to it. Yes Fitz's son dying was shocking and that Rowan was responsible threw me for a bit of a loop but so much has been thrown at the audience on a weekly basis, it's gotten to the point where I just took those developments as *shrug--Scandal* What made Scandal great in season 2 was all the personal development, so when big events and twists happened like Fitz being shot or killing Verna, they actually had weight and impact. How can we describe Quinn and Huck beyond "horrible" now? They're just hollow bodies that do bad things at this point.
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Once again, totally disagree. You waste a lot of time reviewing shows you really just whinge about Cory.
"immensely watchable and entertaining", that's all I'm taking from this. Really, we all know this show is so over-the-top-ridiculous - why we watch it - so why complain about just that?

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You waste a lot of time reading reviews that you disagree with!

And there's a difference between criticism and complaint. The show has, at times, been watchable, entertaining, AND smart, thrilling, etc. without selling out the characters. It didn't do that this season. So it was still entertaining, just not as good.
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For some reason it's mostly your reviews Cory (Dexter, ahem)...lol...nah j/k!
But really though, your reply now made more sense. Maybe I didn't read THAT between the lines? I really just read a lot of complaints is all...might be wrong...
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Season 3 wasn't as good as Season 2. The only bright spots were Sally Langston and my WhatsApp status “Yum yum, crispy piggy, yum yum!”
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THE BEST MOMENT
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Khandi Alexander GREAT! Love her. Sorry, I'm a ScanDal-nerd-fan-addic-and whats not!
the first season was fantastic, the second good, the third oke, but still a fan.
hopefully the 4th season will be as good as the first (I hope).
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OMG!!!What was that? That Finale was trash and utter rubbish. Now all of a sudden, Jake is running off with Olivia as a good guy? This show is ridiculous and they have lost the plot. I completely agree with Cory on this review.
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And I bet you can't wait for season 4
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I totally agree with this review. Its still very entertaining but it went off the rails in its backhalf. I liked this show because its initial opening concept was Olivia Pope's organization were trying to wear the white hats. They were crusaders for lost causes and people who were being steamrolled by 'the system'. Olivia had natural instincts for good characters and who was telling the truth. There was great drama in her instincts simply being proven wrong I liked all these characters...nay I loved most of them. Now they are all unlikeable in some way. They are all caked in mud and have no core belief that drives them. The Camelot days of OPA are over. Olivia no longer has super powers. We know way too much about B613 for it to feel like an underlying threat. The last half of the season has been jerking us around with good guys becoming bad guys but are secretly really still good guys. And bad guys being maybe not so bad after all...unless maybe they really still are. And while they had a very well played farewell, they killed off the best dramatically conceived gay couple in the history of network television. The death was so arbitrary it was practically decided by a coin toss.
What it does boil down to is I don't care about anyone anymore and at one point I cared about all of them. Let the characters be what they are supposed to be and stop jerking us around. Have the courage of conviction to run with the original concept.
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Yes I'm still confused on why they felt the need to kill off James and I very much believe it was for that "oh shit!" moment
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Welcome to the real world... it's as grey as Game of Thrones. The greyness being the one reason it is not for immature audiences. Scandal has much improved from it's Camelot days.
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I love Scandal and the whole nine but DO NOT compare the grayness of characters and such from Scandal to that of Game of Thrones
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LOL...sorry, but to compare the "greyness" of the characters from Scandal and Game of Thrones is akin to comparing a Toyota Corolla to the latest Ferrari because they both have 4 wheels and a motor.

Both may not be for immature audiences, but IMO for wildly different reasons.
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While I agree about 50% with your review of the season and finale, I am also a huge fan. I did however expect a little more from the finale, but having said that I disagree with you regarding the whole season being a disaster. I watched most of the episodes biting my nails or with my mouth hanging wide open in shock. I think Shonda did an amazing job keeping us on the edge of our seats all season. Of course I am also a huge fan of her writing and believe she is a genius. As to whether some of the scenes were right out of 24 I can't say, I never watched the show. All I can say is I believe the storyline as well as the characters are believable and interesting to watch. I think Kerry Washington has done an amazing job of bringing Olivia Pope alive for all of us. Alas here's and Fitz's love story is a tragic one and it breaks our hearts once they inch 2 steps closer to Vermont and take 10 steps back, but is that not what any good love story is made of? I for one will wait with anticipation for season 4 and see what roller coaster Shonda Rhimes will take us on next, even if everyone's not on board with Scandal I am a die hard gladiator forever
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I'm a huge fan too, and I'd say I watched on the edge of my seat quite a bit too. But that didn't necessarily make it good, ya know?
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I was on the edge of my seat, too, but only because I was about to jump up and punch my TV.
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You both enjoyed it immensely
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I didn't get it. Are we supposed to come back next year? Was this a season finale? Was this a series finale? Was this just a last episode because the writers run out of hallucinogens?
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I agree this totally this episode could have been a series finale but do not worry. There were more Oliver Pope scandals as the show is renewed for next season. I would not be surprised if it was delay though as Kerry is having a baby.
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Season 4 first few episodes have already bern filmed and it doesn't take a whole summer to have a baby...she is due the last week of April.
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Yes but she probably want to take it slow the first few months. I am just saying but different folks different strokes.
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100% wholeheartedly DISAGREE!!! Shonda is brilliant and this was the best season!!!! You can now leave your Gladiator cape and key by the door on your way out!!! You are no longer fit to use them LOL!!!!
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I was really disappointed with this episode. There was no good cliffhanger (seriously, no one cares if Harrison dies) and the last one was way more WTF! Too bad!
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You can only speak for yourself. YOU don't care if Harrison dies. I like WTF because there are so many possibilities. AND I am sure you will be watching Season 4.
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I never said I was gonna stop watching the show and of course I can only speak for myself, it's a figure or speech ^^. The season was amazing but this episode lacked WTF cliffhanger moments in my opinion and I thought the last episode with Eli being stabbed and the bomb or the last season finale with the journalists harassing Olivia about her affair were much better. This episode was messy, it looks like Kerry's pregnancy made them push the forward button and had them rush and put everything in this one. The first half was great with the bomb, Sally going up in the polls, Jerry dying but it was like 20 minutes of the episode, after that it was pretty messy and rushed for me.
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Cory, you are so right about this season! I thought the first season was convoluted and rushed, with the president getting shot...in the head(!). Then, in season two he survives...and kills a Supreme Court justice(!). At that point, I wondered what Olivia sees in him and why she loves him so much, and why there really isn't even one character with any significant redeeming qualities. They are all unlikable, really, and if it weren't for Olivia's wardrobe, I don't think I'd be rooting for her.


But this season took the cake. So exhausting! And when does this president actually work? How is he the "leader of the free world," as we keep being reminded, but all the crises he's dealing with have to do with his personal life? I have so many questions regarding the plot that I'd be typing all night if I added them here. As it is, I've already said a lot. Sorry, but trying to talk about this stuff with more rabid "gladiator" family and friends is like throwing yourself to the wolves. After this finale, I need to vent.


A lot of times I say I'm not going to watch anymore, but then I do, only to go away saying, "Oh, come on!" I can't explain that other than, as you point out, the acting is great, and the actors themselves seem sincere and likable--and, as an African-American woman, I want to support this show. But I'm also starting to see Olivia in a negative way because of that: this strong, smart black woman continues to allow herself to be "the other woman," to a white conservative president, and she's now regularly being called "whore" and willing to do amoral things for her amoral lover(s). Throw in the unbearable torture scenes, the dizzying B613 plot, the confusing "bad-dad/good-mom"..."bad-mom/good-dad" storyline, the muddled terrorism angle (Why are Mya Pope and her colleagues terrorists? What do they want?), the lightning-speed dialogue and fast walking, and this season jumped the shark during every episode. I think maybe that's why I couldn't stop watching, because I wanted to see just how crazy it would get.


While you refer to "24," I'm often reminded of "Homeland" when watching "Scandal." That show also has a tendency to blow through storylines. However, the structure of that show seems to be more defined and believable. There are good guys and bad guys, and the protagonist, Carrie, although terribly flawed, shows a strength of character and earnestness that makes us root for her. I thought Shonda Rhimes was influenced by this show this season. Frankly, both shows could take some pointers from a show such as "Mad Men," which kind of does a slow burn all season but leads to an enthralling finale. I'm not going to give up on "Scandal" just yet. But I'm hoping it's better next year.
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And you cam't wait for Season 4 to start.
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Maybe I am pessmeistic person by nature. I kind of believe most of the world's (not just US) politics are dark if not darker than potray on shows like this and House of Cards
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Holy shit, I forgot that Fitz was shot in the head.
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Okay, so we're three years in, the President's survived a bullet in the head, and we've four more years. I think by the end of this second term, the seven years of Tribulation will have passed, Fitz will have been imbued by Satan and will have become the Anti-Christ. Only thing missing is the Rapture, but maybe we'll see that in another flashback, eh?
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Sorry about the one paragraph, but the spaces in between wouldn't take.
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Cory, you are so right about this season! I thought the first season was convoluted and rushed, with the president getting shot...in the head(!). Then, in season two he survives...and kills a Supreme Court justice(!). At that point, I wondered what Olivia sees in him and why she loves him so much, and why there really isn't even one character with any significant redeeming qualities. They are all unlikable, really, and if it weren't for Olivia's wardrobe, I don't think I'd be rooting for her.


But this season took the cake. So exhausting! And when does this president actually work? How is he the "leader of the free world," as we keep being reminded, but all the crises he's dealing with have to do with his personal life? I have so many questions regarding the plot that I'd be typing all night if I added them here. As it is, I've already said a lot. Sorry, but trying to talk about this stuff with more rabid "gladiator" family and friends is like throwing yourself to the wolves. After this finale, I need to vent.


A lot of times I say I'm not going to watch anymore, but then I do, only to go away saying, "Oh, come on!" I can't explain that other than, as you point out, the acting is great, and the actors themselves seem sincere and likable--and, as an African-American woman, I want to support this show. But I'm also starting to see Olivia in a negative way because of that: this strong, smart black woman continues to allow herself to be "the other woman," to a white conservative president, and she's now regularly being called "whore" and willing to do amoral things for her amoral lover(s). Throw in the unbearable torture scenes, the dizzying B613 plot, the confusing "bad-dad/good-mom"..."bad-mom/good-dad" storyline, the muddled terrorism angle (Why are Mya Pope and her colleagues terrorists? What do they want?), the lightning-speed dialogue and fast walking, and this season jumped the shark during every episode. I think maybe that's why I couldn't stop watching, because I wanted to see just how crazy it would get.


While you refer to "24," I'm often reminded of "Homeland" when watching "Scandal." That show also has a tendency to blow through storylines. However, the structure of that show seems to be more defined and believable. There are good guys and bad guys, and the protagonist, Carrie, although terribly flawed, shows a strength of character and earnestness that makes us root for her. I thought Shonda Rhimes was influenced by this show this season. Frankly, both shows could take some pointers from a show such as "Mad Men," which kind of does a slow burn all season but leads to an enthralling finale. I'm not going to give up on "Scandal" just yet. But I'm hoping it's better next year.
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Cory, you are so right about this season! I thought the first season was convoluted and rushed, with the president getting shot...in the head(!). Then, in season two he survives...and kills a Supreme Court justice(!). At that point, I wondered what Olivia sees in him and why she loves him so much, and why there really isn't even one character with any significant redeeming qualities. They are all unlikable, really, and if it weren't for Olivia's wardrobe, I don't think I'd be rooting for her.

But this season took the cake. So exhausting! And when does this president actually work? How is he the "leader of the free world," as we keep being reminded, but all the crises he's dealing with have to do with his personal life? I have so many questions regarding the plot that I'd be typing all night if I added them here. As it is, I've already said a lot. Sorry, but trying to talk about this stuff with more rabid "gladiator" family and friends is like throwing yourself to the wolves. After this finale, I need to vent.

A lot of times I say I'm not going to watch anymore, but then I do, only to go away saying, "Oh, come on!" I can't explain that other than, as you point out, the acting is great, and the actors themselves seem sincere and likable--and, as an African-American woman, I want to support this show. But I'm also starting to see Olivia in a negative way because of that: this strong, smart black woman continues to allow herself to be "the other woman," to a white conservative president, and she's now regularly being called "whore" and willing to do amoral things for her amoral lover(s). Throw in the unbearable torture scenes, the dizzying B613 plot, the confusing "bad-dad/good-mom"..."bad-mom/good-dad" storyline, the muddled terrorism angle (Why are Mya Pope and her colleagues terrorists? What do they want?), the lightning-speed dialogue and fast walking, and this season jumped the shark during every episode. I think maybe that's why I couldn't stop watching, because I wanted to see just how crazy it would get.

While you refer to "24," I'm often reminded of "Homeland" when watching "Scandal." That show also has a tendency to blow through storylines. However, the structure of that show seems to be more defined and believable. There are good guys and bad guys, and the protagonist, Carrie, although terribly flawed, shows a strength of character and earnestness that makes us root for her. I thought Shonda Rhimes was influenced by this show this season. Frankly, both shows could take some pointers from a show such as "Mad Men," which kind of does a slow burn all season but leads to an enthralling finale. I'm not going to give up on "Scandal" just yet. But I'm hoping it's better next year.
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I enjoyed reading your post. This season was underwhelming to say the least.
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And you will probably rewatch it on Netflix to be underwhelmed....again. I think you were overwhelmed as most were but you like blow smoke up this Cory person.
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Yeah you really do know how I feel.
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I personally thought it was the best episode of the season.
Some surprises, some not-so-surprises, but overall they did an excellent job of ending on an extremely high note to a season that struggled at various points throughout.

They definitely removed all doubts about the worthiness of the show and I doubt they will lose many if any viewers between seasons.

However, the very end was rather 24-esque and you just know some type of crazy disaster will be necessary to pull Olivia (don't call her Jack Bauer, but you know you want to) Pope out of the sunlight and back into the darkness.

That and, was that explosion weak, or what? All that build-up over the sophisticated bomb and it looked like a controlled TNT detonation. They missed an opportunity there to give the show some much-needed grit to balance what was a lot of fluff this season.
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I, for one, do not share your vitriolic critic of the finale. It was one of the best episodes !
I was getting frustrated with Scandal, "when is someone going to shout at this jerk president that his wife was raped" ??? So, that's done. Quinn and Huck, check. Charlie leaving (at last !), check. Rosen getting answers, check. Olivia going south with Jake, check.
I'm ok with Daddy back in Command. B613 is going DOWN. And i don't want Jake in it when it happens.
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Overall it was underwhelming with how much it was hyped. The most surprising event was little Jerry's death but minutes later everyone knew that Rowan was behind it all. If anything, I'd say Harrison's "big reveal" that he figured it out at the end was one of the worst scenes. If they left us with the smallest sliver of doubt it would have been much better.
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This was a good Season Finale. Great Entertainment. One of the best shows on television. Some people just have to loosen up and stop being so Pessimistic about everything in their lives. Just Enjoy the show.
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This was a weird episode. Like the reviewer said I really didn't care about what happened at all to anyone. I was really hoping the show would take a huge risk and blow up the entire Grant family and Cyrus and kill them all off and start with a clean slate next season.

I like Maya as a villain but not happy that they will likely recycle the plot of her escaping B613 and doing another terrorist attack.

I feel like there wasn't enough change this season and we are kind of back where we started. Papa Pope is back at B613, Maya is behind bars at B613, Huck is back to being super messed up, Olivia and Jake will clearly return and OPA will start up again, Fitz is president, Cyrus is still an unredeemable monster, Mellie is still pretty much Mellie, Sally presumably is out of the picture. I don't know just was hoping for a little more this episode.
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Harrison status is probably dependent on how the domestic abuse charges against him go.
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