TV Recaps

‘Scandal’ Season Finale Review: White Hat’s Back On

SCANDAL - "White Hat's Back On" - With the identity of the mole now closer than ever, Olivia and her team are in very real danger. Meanwhile, the latest White House scandal pushes Cyrus to his limits, on the Season Finale of "Scandal," THURSDAY, MAY 16 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Richard Cartwright) KERRY WASHINGTON

WOW. What a damn episode!!! Thursday night’s Season 2 finale of ABC’s Scandal was the epitome of a game changer. The episode “White Hat’s Back On” featured the resolution to a 10-episode story arc, as well as the season-long story arc resolving the Defiance, OH scandal.

Before I begin, let’s have a moment of silence for all Scandal fans who now have nothing to watch Thursday nights at 10 p.m. Now, let’s jump right into the Season 2 finale and all of the overwhelming feelings as a result.

Shonda Rhimes brought it. Actually, to limit her work to just “bringing it” would be an understatement. Not only did she just bring it, she dropped the mic and swaggered out of the room with this finale. The title of the episode, “White Hat’s On,” was an homage to the Season 2 premiere, “White Hat’s Off,” and represented the show coming full circle over the course of 22 episodes. Shonda brilliantly wrapped up several storylines, reset the show for Season 3 and left viewers once again with more questions going into the new season than we did coming in. I have a million questions that won’t be answered for four months (FOUR MONTHS!!!), including the big one – Where do Olivia and Fitz go from here?

Because of the amount of happenings in the episode, I decided to break down each comment on each character and/or storyline, giving my assessments and feedback on their actions and what should happen next.

David Rosen

This man deserves a bazillion apologies for every single gladiator attacking him for stealing back the Cytron card.  It turns out, Rosen is one of the good guys. Though he did steal the card, he kept the real one hidden and gave the mole, Billy Chambers, a fake one to throw him and Governor Reston off track. I don’t blame him for blackmailing the White House into naming him US Attorney for DC; after all, it was the White House and their alliance with Olivia that ruined David’s career in the first place. He’s always losing and for once, he gets to win.

Loved David leaving the box for Olivia, his “friend,” to find. Underneath the complexities of their cat and mouse relationship, he trusts her (and vice versa) to do the right thing.  It’s not always the legal route, but the ends justify the means.  Leaving Olivia the white hat was a total “awww” moment for me. Thank god he didn’t buy into Chamber’s brand of crazy. Shout out to Abby for not bitching as much as usual and getting the work done to find the box David left for Liv.

Billy Chambers and Governor Reston

Billy’s not just a liar, murderer and traitor, but he’s dumb as well. Forging an alliance with Governor Reston, who’s been hell bent on revenge since Fitz beat him in the presidential reelection, was as idiotic as it comes.

Reston would sell his mother to the devil if it meant beating Fitz He’d sell his mother if it meant beating Fitz this round. The governor’s attempt to convince Fitz to drop Vice President Langston and add him to form a “Unity Ticket” was a ballsy, yet ill-fated, move. Reston would have likely held onto the info about Defiance until the right time, forcing Fitz to resign and catapulting himself into power. Using Olivia to broker the “deal” between the two men gave Team Olitz just the right about of ammo they needed to bring down Chamber’s shady alliance.

If Billy thought Reston would be able to protect him in this attempt at extortion, he had another thing coming. Taking on Fitz is one thing, taking on Olivia Pope and Associates? No, sir. He lost in a big way; trussed up like a Hawaiian pig roast in duct tape with Huck and Baby Huck taking a power drill to his knees.

Billy’s attempt to “turn” David against Olivia and the other gladiators was a good effort. He made some valid points to David, especially regarding Olivia destroying his life. What Billy failed to realize is that while Olivia may wear a gray hat at times, there’s always a white one underneath. Olivia’s loyalty to her friends, even when they try to screw her over, is something Billy knows nothing about. Olivia was there for David when no one else was (a situation engineered by Billy by the way), and over the course of his time at OPA, he got to see who the real heroes were. Billy didn’t count on that and it bit him in the ass in the end.

Ironically, Billy didn’t even have the real card, so he wound up with holes in his knees for no reason. Dummy.

Super Spy Huck and Not-So-Baby-Spy Quinn

My love for Quinn has reached heights once thought near impossible. I wanted her dead and gone in the beginning of the season, but Huck taking her under his wing resulted in a change in my feelings for her. He turned her around and now I can’t see her any place else but OPA. Yes, it was disturbing watching the blood spray all over her face as she tortured Billy Chambers via the power drill, but it was also a fascinating to see how her character evolved over the course of the season. Quinn was a little too happy after torturing Billy, but everyone has their guilty pleasure on this show. She’s a big player at OPA now.

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Photo Credit: Robert Cartwright/ABC

Huck’s love for both his baby spy and Olivia is so damn endearing to me, I legitimately forget that he murdered people for a living.  Those are his girls.  Well, Liv is his person and Quinn is becoming his other work wife. He will do anything to protect Olivia and he’s the ONLY one she admits her fears too. Their relationship is always honest on a show that’s always gray.

Huck is an excellent spy teacher…a little too good. He was horrified to Quinn’s all-to-eager attitude to torture Billy. Huck’s fear that Quinn is turning into something he no longer recognizes will be an interesting thread to play up next season. He turned her into the woman, the agent of torture and espionage, that she’s becoming. What happens when the student surpasses the teacher? Could it happen next season?

Rowan

WHO IN THE HELL IS HE? That was a question Scandal fans asked themselves ever since he appeared in episode 217, “Snake in the Garden.” Over the course of the six episodes he appeared in, we learned he was the head of CIA Black Ops Team B-613, knew Cyrus, was involved in the mole scandal, as well as the man Jake reported to about Olivia. That’s what we did know. What we didn’t know, was that he is also Olivia Pope’s father! Talk about a season-ending cliffhanger!

Why, for the love of god, is he tormenting his daughter, her boyfriend, her creepy protector, and her best friend/sociopath with puppet master-like perfection? I suspect he was behind leaking Olivia’s identity as Fitz’ mistress to the press more than anyone else. I don’t know why he’s adamantly opposed to Olivia and Fitz being together, but someone has got to stop him come next season.

As punishment for Jake’s defiance, he threw him into the dungeon, just as he did to Huck. When Jack starts rocking in a corner and starts remembering traumatic events like Huck next season, you’ll know why. Rowan is shadier and more dangerous than Hollis, and that man blew up a building, killing several people, and bought an election.

If Olivia’s father is this vindictive, what crazy woman is her mother? It’s no wonder she swam so damn much as a child.

Olivia

Olivia can go ahead and save her money on whatever Father’s Day card she was going to purchase. Her father takes the cake (all of it) as the shittiest, most insane father ever.

Not only did her father set her up to be bedded by Jake; he did so with the intention of recording their sex tape to drive a wedge between her and her President boyfriend. Not to mention sending that lethal female B-613 agent to kidnap and/or murder her. What in the actual hell?!!!

I honestly don’t blame her for reaching for the brown liquor after that possible assassination attempt. I do have a bone to pick with her. It’s time she stop running from the love of her life because she’s afraid. Yes, it’s complicated and messy and scandalous and probably not the best romantic decision out there. In episode 213, she told Edison, “I don’t want normal, and easy, and simple. I want… I want painful, difficult, devastating, life-changing, extraordinary love.”

Photo Credit: Robert Cartwright/ABC

Her relationship with Fitz is complicated, and painful and messy, but underneath the bad, there’s a sweetness; two people so deep in love that is hurts them not to be together. Two people so in love, but unable to publicly be together because it’s inappropriate. That doesn’t make it right, but we can’t help who we fall in love with.

Their complicated, messy relationship is about to get a hell of a lot worse now that the cat’s out of the bag. She loves his Verna murdering self with everything in her body. Choosing her Gladiators and giving Fitz permission to run for President with Mellie at his side is noble (even admirable for Olivia), but it’s still a cop-out. I’m ok with her slowly making her way back to Fitz if it leads them finally able to be happy. Super couples are nothing without angst; without what is perceived to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome – it’s come they come together and kick their obstacles’ collective asses.

On a superficial note, Kerry Washington was flaw-free; rocking every single outfit as usual.

Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III

You found out your precious Olivia Pope doesn’t have the secrets of the universe tucked between her magical thighs.” – Mellie to Fitz in episode 217, “Snake in the Garden”

She’s got something alright, and Fitz used his superpower to learn some of those secret. Fitz’s superpower is definitely not of the political kind, but it’s certainly one that rolls off the tongue easily.

The only place they have left to christen in the White House is his bedroom and Rose Garden. I look forward to checking this off my list next season (you hear me, Shonda?). That man cannot keep his hands off Liv and I am 100% okay with this.  His verbal slaying of Mellie in Cyrus’ hospital room was EPIC, and even funnier when Fitz admits Liv came up with the idea. I almost saw a way for Shonda to write herself out of this corner for Liv and Fitz to be together, but it’s Shonda, so god only knows where this storyline is headed. I am not however, ok with him running back to Mellie’s lap when things stalled with Liv. He doesn’t love her, but he does needs someone to handle him, which is frustrating and understandable all at the same time.

Photo Credit: Robert Cartwright/ABC

Cyrus

Hands down, he had the best lines in this episode.  When he starts yelling, you know some shit is about to go down. From yelling at the VP for considering challenging Fitz in the primary – “Your job has only two requirements Sally. One is to not die, the other is to be loyal to the President. That’s it! Don’t die! Be loyal! The only other creature in this White House who has the same sweet deal is the President’s dog, Hank. Hank can do those two simple things! Why can’t you?!” – to continuing to scream about Reston from the ambulance after having a heart attack, I cracked up.

There was also this hilarious scene with Cyrus and Olivia:

Cyrus: Let me get this straight. Highly trained Black Ops assassins broke into your home and tried to kill you and instead of, oh, making a run toward reason, instead of the possibility of death making you decide that maybe it’s better to be single, you have decided that the killers were merely firing heart-shaped bullets made out of bubbles and candy to signify that you and your boyfriend Fitzy are MFEO, made for each other?

Olivia: Cyrus, you’re being dramatic.

Then Cyrus has to ruin my life by messing with Olivia and Fitz’s relationship. Cyrus is there for Fitz to “guide” him, but when push comes to shove, he will do what’s best to keep himself in the power position, hence him dropping Fitz’s Verna bomb on Liv and Liv’s sex tape on Fitz.  Did I mention he’s a major jack hole for those moves? Because he really, really is.

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Photo Credit: Richard Cartwright/ABC

Mellie

I have said before that Mellie loves Fitz in her own crazy town way, and I really truly believe this. She’s hurt that Fitz fell in love with the woman she allowed to keep him occupied during the campaign. She also thinks Fitz came running back to her because she’s #1 in his book and he loves her. No and no. Fitz is confused and lonely (and stupid for the moment). Long term, though, he needs her to play her part during the next campaign.  Well, at least he did until the press had a name for his mistress.  Will she behave from now on? Absolutely not, she’s Mellie.  More importantly, was she the one who leaked Liv’s name to the press as Fitz’s mistress? I don’t know. In her book, Fitz is back in her arms – legs, whatever – so why play that card now? That’s her ace in the hole for when things get REALLY bad. I mean, she didn’t even say Liv’s name when she had the chance on national television. On the other hand, she could just be rubbing Liv’s face in it to make her life a living hell. Strong possibility.

The Rest

Sally Langston’s attempt to make a boss move and snake the party nomination for the next election? Have a seat. She’s not done being a pain in the ass, but Billy’s resurgence in the news will certainly hinder any chance she had at undermining Fitz. I expect her to try to stir the pot next season, even if she has to use someone else to get what she wants.

Harrison was unusually quiet in the episode. I don’t like it. I need him to have a back story and more importantly, be Liv’s other protector next season.

Final Observations

It should be noted, before I get yelled at for abandoning my love for “Olitz,” let me say that I knew thse two couldn’t be together and be that happy for an extended period of time…yet. I know this because I watch soaps. Yes, soap operas, it’s not a four letter word. Scandal is the crème de la crème and prime example of a primetime soap drama firing on all cylinders. A primetime soap drama using well-established soap clichés and staples in a modern way to executive the best possible moments of story on television.

In soaps, happy couples are boring unless they’re fighting to be together, or fighting crime to save the world together; even then there needs to be conflict to keep them moving forward. Fitz and Olivia aren’t there yet. They’re not the President and First Lady – yet, but they’re so far from over you can already see the inappropriate sex somewhere in the White House next season.

My advice to those feeling as if all is lost is to be patient; this was just the latest in a series of battles in the war for Olivia and Fitz to be together. They’ll find their way back to each other and when they do, I need a delicious mocha baby to mark the reunion.  More importantly, will Shonda let them be in public and together or will she write them back into their secret affair mode? Major story either way. Is it September yet??

I eagerly await the Season 3 premiere but for now, though, I’m going to re-watch the Season 1 DVD, pre-order Season 2 and start the countdown on my iPhone for September.

Over the summer months, TVSource Magazine will publish some fun Scandal features, looking back on the best moments from season 2 including our favorite quotes, plot twists, WTF moments and the promotional campaign we hope to see for season 3.

About the author

Angela Romack

Angela Romack is writes what you’re thinking about when it comes to your favorite TV shows. If you don’t agree, that's fine. She's okay with being right. Follow her on Twitter at @AngelaMRomack.

  • JJ

    I don’t think Quinn will ever surpass Huck. He will probably reel her in before she really turns ino him. But, poor Huck. He has a long way to go to recover from is past.