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‘Scandal’ Season 3 Finale Review: ‘The Price of Free and Fair Election’

ABC/Ron Tom

Last night’s Scandal gave us the final installment of the season and has left most viewers wondering ‘what the hell happened’ for the next four months. As usual there were gasp-inducing moments, moments that were over the top, and quiet moments that were far too underused. Before I get into my feelings of this episode and how season three wrapped up, here are the highlights from “The Price of Fair and Free Election.

Sally and Andrew survive the boom

Jake gets to Fitz in the Oval in time to warn him of the bomb, and he evacuates the church in time. Praise Jesus, Sally is alive! Andrew is too by the way, but he’s still sporting a black eye from Fitz so he’s still in the doghouse. It’s important to note that Cyrus was going to come clean about his knowledge of the bomb right before Jake enters the Oval Office. So, turns out Cyrus is a monster, but not a multiple homicide kind of monster. Looks like either he does have a teeny tiny heart in there somewhere or James’ death has put him in touch with his human side or both.

But back to Sally. She appears to take over the lead in the election due to her take charge attitude and little prodding of, “Be Jesus. You go in there and be Jesus,” from Leo after the bombing.  These two need to stick around next season, because if Jake somehow has a storyline, Sally and Leo can damn sure find something to do in the White House.

Jerry coughs up blood and looks like an extra from Outbreak

During what appears to be Fitz’s last big political event during the campaign, Jerry starts sneezing and coughing up blood right on the middle of the stage and all over Mellie and Karen. It was crazy, but it was gasp-worthy when it turns out he dies from whatever this is, apparently bacterial meningitis. Wait, wut? Putting aside some major plot holes (my real life nursing knowledge is refraining from calling bullshit here), and just going with the story that’s told, how insane is it for Jerry to die, when his paternity was just settled days before??

Because even though this is the murder of the first couple’s son, it’s really about two parents who have to deal with losing a child. That’s gut-wrenching. So while people may hate on Fitz for his behavior a lot of the time, he and Mellie both earned the right to be assholes for a while next season.

The house in Vermont is now firewood kindling…or is it?

Because Fitz and everyone else knows he’s going to lose the election, he starts prepping to leave the office.  He brings up Vermont and babies and just general cuteness with Olivia, so of course there has to be a roadblock and she spills the all the tea about Big Jerry and Mellie. So the truth is finally out there for Fitz about his father raping his wife and his son’s paternity and his reaction was kind of perfection. He doesn’t tear into her for keeping this from him, he just holds her.  He realizes how this changed everything for his marriage and started the cascade of events of growing apart to wind up with the business partnership he and Mellie presently have.  He’s definitely not in love with her, but somewhere in the mess of his heart, he loves her because she’s family.

Now, back to Olivia. After talking with Huck about how Quinn found his family (via Charlie), Olivia gets the idea in her head that everyone would be better off if she disappeared because she “is the scandal.” Don’t know who this Olivia Pope is, but the real one, the one who would never run from a problem, let alone the love of her life, better get off Rowan’s plane and return in season four.

Here’s the kicker to Olivia picking up and leaving without a warning: Jake begs Olivia to take him with her, even after she declares her love for Fitz yet again. He wants to stand in the sun with her. He needs to get back on the short bus, is what he needs to do. How many times/ways/smoke signals does it take for Jake to understand that he’s second fiddle? More importantly, what self-respecting guy is more than happy to take the scraps of a woman’s heart? Also, WHY does Olivia have to save him? If he’s so damn great, why can’t he save her? Because basically, his unemployed, woman-choking behind just hitched a ride on her father’s jet with the hopes that the zip code cheating rule applies. One positive note, he does give David Rosen all the info about B613 so David can bring them down. Oh, ok. Thanks.

And for all those people cheering that Olivia made the right choice, double check her face in that last scene, because her expression is ‘What the hell did I just do?’ not  ‘I’m going a tropical vacation with my awesome boyfriend.’

Shout out to Abigail Whelan for calling Olivia out on her bullshit and sudden faith in her father. She basically said what every single viewer wanted to.

Rowan is actually the devil

“He took my child, so I took his.”

This is what Rowan offers Harrison as an explanation for having Jerry killed, by TOM nonetheless. (Tom has to die, there’s no question about this). Remember when Rowan (Scar) warned Olivia (Simba) to run away before Fitz (Mufasa) died? Yup. He got what he wanted: Olivia on a plane out of DC and Fitz dead inside over the loss of his son. Rowan has been planning this revenge from the moment Fitz described Olivia’s uterus.

Fitz was dead wrong for telling those tales, but Rowan’s reaction is equivalent to using a bazooka to kill a mosquito. More importantly, WHY does Olivia believe his change of heart without nary a question about his intentions? In the end, Rowan is back as Command. He’s tricked both Olivia and Fitz into thinking it was Mama Pope who killed Jerry, and wrangled Mama Pope back into the hole. Also, B613 still exists. Big. Freaking. Sigh.

Additional End of Season Musings

Well, we made it through season three. I wish I could say I loved the finale as much as some others did, but to be blunt, I’m just glad this season had to be cut short. As for the finale, I’ve seen some thoughts of ‘the circle is completed’ because we started out with Rowan manipulating Olivia in the beginning of the season and we ended with the same. To me, that means we literally are in the same spot we were at the beginning of the season, so what was the point of the finale? Or the season for that matter?

Other than grossing America out with the lasting image of Huck bending Quinn over a desk, because blood on the floor is an aphrodisiac….Speaking of Huck, I realize that he’s a murderer, but his heart to heart with Olivia does not negate my feelings over him choking her in the parking lot. I’ll never be ok with it. Double that for Jake because of his role in Olivia’s concussion and the choking incident.

In other thoughts, I knew as soon as I heard Olitz’s theme during their “One Minute” phone conversation that early in the episode, things were not going to end well for my Olitz heart. Then I heard Olivia say “I love you too,” and while I swooned, I knew Shonda Rhimes was about to run over Olitz with a Mack truck and then put them through a wood chipper. One small step forward for Olivia being openly honest about her feelings means 47 steps backwards for Olivia and Fitz’s relationship.  It’s soap rules 101.

I would have been more okay with Olivia pulling a Kelly Taylor and choosing to run away by herself to ponder her life choices than letting Jake tag along by default. I don’t understand the constant insertion of Jake into Olivia’s life during this episode and this season. I’ll accept them as couple as soon as the Easter Bunny drops Tom Mison off on my doorstep. Season two ended with Olivia leaving Fitz for her gladiators and look how well that worked out in season three. Season three ended with Olivia leaving Fitz to “save” him. So now I fear what means for season four.

Enough about my thoughts. What did you think?

(P.S. I need some time to gather alllll my thoughts about season three and what we hope will change in season four, but keep an eye for a feature from myself and Ryan in the next few weeks). In the meantime, hit the comments and let your feelings out.

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.

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  1. I don’t think Jake and Olivia should work together. There is nothing worse than your lover working with you, That’s IF they are going to be a couple in Season 4.

  2. Way surprised they had the bomb go off so soon into the episode – I thought it was going to be dragged out until the end. I’m just catching up on this now because after a few episodes of this season, I thought it was kind of dragging on, and other than the premiere, I wasn’t feeling it (but kept recording anyway). Now that I’ve caught up, I’m glad I did because the finale packed a punch, especially with the frantic pacing that I need out of a show like this (maybe I’m getting spoiled by House of Cards?)

    Loved the cinematic/directorial choices they made right after Jerry’s death – it really made it hit all harder. Also I really liked the subtle acting during the scene where Oliva and Fitz talk on the phone before he takes the stage. She says that she understands that Vermont is not happening anymore – even just the vocal inflections were so great and realistic (plus I thought it was cool how they used “The Light” by The Album Leaf during this scene to add to the mood).

    Hopefully they pick up season 4 where they left off here and get back to the fast-paced twists that keep you on edge – Season 2 was great in this regard.

  3. If Jake didn’t go with Olivia he would no longer have a storyline. Shonda is obsessed with SF. She originally tried to give him Steven’s role in season 1. ABC said NO. So then she brings him in during season 2 as a recurring character, then bumps him up to regular in season 3. Wouldn’t be suprised to find him in Harrison’s role in season 4.

    Other than ABC, nobody questions SR. The other writers seems to be a cheerleading squad (watch how they all behaved on the writers room). And ABC will only question her when she overspends on her budget, or looses them viewers/advertizing points.

    Bottom line SR has way too much rope.

  4. I agree why would Olivia leave with a man who has murdered her good friend husband and her God daughter’s father? This same man has choked her put her in the hospital giving her a concussion but by all means Shonda Rhimes has insist on inserting this man into Olivia’s life WHY? And why would any man want to tag along with a woman who has repeatedly told him she is in love with another man this reeks of desperation by a show runner to keep Jake Ballard relevant and to further the angst of the fans who want to see Olivia and Fitz together…The whole B613 storyline was/is ridiculous in conclusion this has been a terrible, terrible season. Scandal needs to get back to the writing of Season 1 and the first half of Season 2 , that was must watch tv, not this shock and OMG moments..

  5. The Scar, Simba, Mufusa analogy made no sense. Who are they from? A Disney movie?

  6. Excellent!!! Loved the Scar, Simba and Mufusa analogy!!!! Olivia telling Fitz about the rape was not her place. That was Mellie’s truth to tell.. not that she was going to ever tell it maybe she would drink out the truth, but Olivia should have kept her mouth closed.

  7. Call & Response:

    “Sally and Andrew survive the boom” — Sally lives! (Yea!!!!) Loved how Leo turns her into Joan of Arc with a 20 second wardrobe adjustment. Cyrus is a monster, but more on him later.

    “Jerry coughs up blood and looks like an extra from Outbreak” — Aw little Jerry, we hardly knew ya! And this is why he was expendable, not too mention the ability to course correct Fitz & Mellie. Who are we kidding. Not possible and who wants that anyway. And yes, the nurse in me cringed as well.

    “The house in Vermont is now firewood kindling…or is it? — Why? Why? Why? did Olivia feel the need to tell Fitz information that wasn’t hers to tell AND was not in her best interest. It’s like she intentionally stepped on her own dick! She doesn’t want Vermont but Vermont Fitz isn’t who she is in love with. It’s why she can’t stand in the sun with Jake and couldn’t marry Edison. She lives for the scandal. She is a gladiator and needs to be a gladiator. There is no Vermont and there never will be. Why does Jake accept being second fiddle? It’s because he is not a self-respecting guy. Spending years and years in a hole does that to a person, I think. Of course we saw her face, who didn’t? She’ll be back and maybe she’ll leave Jake behind, not too far behind I suspect. Agreed that a special thank you to Abby is in order.

    “Rowan is actually the devil” — Ok, so I definitely didn’t see that coming but I also wasn’t buying his sudden change of heart either. Rowan is, was and always should be Command. However, if someone was to ever finally get him I think Cyrus should be at the top of the list as a replacement.

    BEST QUOTE: “Were we ever people? Or did serving at the pleasure of the President just help us to shed our pesky skins and unmask us as the monsters we really are? — Cyrus

    BIG THOUGHT OF THE FINALE: when Mama Pope says to Olivia “That man hurt you. He uses you . And he will throw you away when he’s done with you. I just wanted to give you the chance to be free. To be happy.” The assumption is she is talking about Fitz. What if she is talking about Daddy Pope? Boo-ya!!!!

  8. Harrison! In all your shock, you forgot about Harrison! Did he die? My guess is yes.

    The beginning was choppy like there were missing scenes. Ex: Charlie and Quinn

    I didn’t guess anything right. It was full of shocking surprises all of which I liked. I mean, I didn’t like that the son died, but the additional angst it created to keep Olitz apart realistically was good. Olivia and Cyrus at the hospital was a great scene. The editing of the Fitz and Olivia scene when she heard her mother killed his son was perfect.

    The common denominator is Rowan… not Olivia. Why didn’t she see it? The scene in the hospital with Maya at Rowan’s hospital bed is why she didn’t see it, but it didn’t make any sense she was there once we found out Rowan killed little Gerry. That was the only WTF moment for me. Other than that, I loved the finale.

    I love #Olake even if it’s unpopular. Jake is damaged goods. He’s going to accept being second place until he realizes that Olivia needs to return to OPA. Jake wants away from B613 and he’s jobless anyways. He tries to go anywhere else, Rowan will track him down and enslave him into B613. Rowan is happy to have Jake keep his daughter away from Fitz.

    I’m just at a loss of how season 4 will go and not make Fitz into an irreversible scuz bag to me.

    I know what I would like. I’d like Olivia to return to OPA and get back to the original reason it exists. I’d like Jake to work there instead of Harrison while being in danger of being offed by Rowan. I’d like Andrew to be helping Mellie heal because Fitz refuses to heal without Olivia by his side. I’d like to see Cyrus try and redeem himself by trying to fix Fitz. Huck can go huck himself. Abby and David remain a couple with David wearing the white hat. Quinn? I’m not sure if I care.

    Non-storyline related: I’d like to see Kerry Washington and Jeff Perry win an Emmy.

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