TV Recaps

‘Scandal’ Winter Finale Recap: ‘Where the Sun Don’t Shine’


This is it. This is what I was rooting for: a strong winter finale to keep me wanting to watch this show. I’m finally seeing Cyrus get his groove back, Rowan start to go down the rabbit hole, Olivia actually choose herself (sorta), and Jake remaining Jake. Of course, the last two minutes throw everything else out of the window, but here’s what I took away from “Where the Sun Don’t Shine.”

Olivia Pope, the Fed Up, Tired, and Over the Edge Only Child

Olivia Pope is not here for her parents any-more. With her declaration of “Charge her and lock her up. As for my father, hunt him, find him, and kill him,” she just made her Christmas shopping list two people shorter. More importantly, she’s not joking about finding and killing Rowan. Her shouting at Maya to demand any information about his whereabouts if futile because Maya could give not one single eff with “Girl, you need to move on. All you two do is talk about each other. You’re just like him.” That’s COLD. Like of all people in the entire world, you compare your daughter to her child-murdering father. Also, Olivia’s tears do not work on Maya (That’s strong mom game tho). Maya isn’t giving boo up unless it helps her. Period.

Kill Cards

Rowan has sent out literal kill cards for all members of B613 (It’s like he read my recaps), so everyone from Jake, to Quinn, to Olivia for knowing as much as they do are fair game. Two outta three of those people I named are expendable. I’ll leave you to figure it out. Anyway, Jake kills the first guy who came after him and alerts everyone to the new plan. He then spends the rest of the episode being a day late and a dollar short chasing Rowan around Washington DC. I think what irritates me most about Jake is his smugness that he’s the best spy in the game. Sir, you rolled SWAT team-like into an empty safehouse certain that Rowan was there…and he wasn’t. Go sit down.

Quinn, for some reason, alerts Charlie that he’s also a target. They end up back in bed in a very random scene, but she finds her own kill card in Charlie’s pocket. Not that pocket, his legit jacket pocket. Get your minds out of the gutters, guys. They go at each other a la Mr. and Mrs. Smith, with “Endless Love,” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie playing in the background.

Back to Rowan, at this point, I don’t actually believe that Rowan would shoot his own daughter, but his deteriorating mental status when he surprises Olivia at her apartment does cause me to reconsider my position. That scene, Rowan and Olivia at her dining room table, was stressful. The unnerving music in the background, Olivia’s frank fear when he pulls the gun, and Rowan’s borderline foaming-at-the-mouth had me wondering who was gonna up with lead in them. She grabs the gun and realizes that she could end it. In that split second, she could exact revenge on him for killing Harrison, Jerry, hurting Fitz, her god-awful childhood, her inability to love or trust anyone and she does it. She pulls the trigger…to an empty chamber. It’s just another test she failed in Rowan’s eyes.  Guuuuuuurl, you just shot your father. Drop your shit, and run because if you thought he was angry before, he’s meth-level strength angry now.

Cyrus Vogues it up Nekkid

Elizabeth figures out that Olivia didn’t fix the bug on her phone, and that it was Cyrus who was spying on her, which ends well for Cyrus because his nekkid behind ends up on every single news outlet within the hour. Olivia Pope, the fixer, steps in and takes on the growing crisis at the White House. Important to note that she steps in as a fixer and Abby remains the voice of the White House. Anyway, with Fitz’s blessing Olivia comes up with a marriage contract for Cyrus and his ho, now future house-husband. Michael is all in, because who wouldn’t be all in for $1 million dollars a year for 3 years??? But Cyrus refuses to sign outta deference to the love of his life, James – the one he once almost had executed, but that’s water under James’ grave.

Cyrus realizes that he has to resign to save the White House from this growing scandal, and in a pretty heart hurting scene, Fitz finally accepts his resignation and responds with “Thank you for your service, Cy, the pleasure was all mine.”  Gah. It felt like my bromance was breaking up forever. Not ok. Jeff Perry says a thousand things during his changing facial expression here. Olivia finds a defeated, lost Cyrus packing up his house and delivers a season-long reading in the making:

When did you decide to let them ruin you? So your life’s unfair? So what. That’s how it is. So they’re mean-girling you in the press? They’re calling you names? They hurt your little soft spots deep inside. Well SO WHAT. That’s how it is. So you lost someone you’ve loved. You’ve lost the one person who felt like family. Well guess what, GROW THE HELL UP BECAUSE THAT IS HOW IT IS. The Cyrus Beene I know doesn’t hide in his half empty closet and wet his pants like a little BITCH BABY. The Cyrus I know is a patriot. He bites the bullet and he does what it takes to serve the public at all costs. So I want to know, RIGHT now, IN THIS moment, WHO YOU ARE because the pathetic shell of a person I’m looking at right now doesn’t deserve to stand on the Presidential seal in the oval office, LET ALONE tell the President what to do. Who are you Cy? WHO ARE YOU CY? WHO ARE YOU CY? WHO ARE YOU? Oh yes, so you’re not a bitch baby? THEN SHOW ME. PROVE IT TO ME. RIGHT NOW. SHOW ME WHO YOU ARE CYRUS BEENE.”

Don’t get me wrong, this is season one Olivia right here and I loved it, but I don’t like that it took 8 episodes of dumbing down Cyrus Beene, a political shark, to get here. I hope his resettling back into his office means, he’s really back. And I can’t wait to watch his new “War of the Roses” marriage in the spring.

Also, this monologue right here is Olivia Pope talking to herself about her own life. She survived her name leaking, the backlash, learning her father is monster, and is now throwing herself back into work. This is read Cyrus should have given her 10 episodes ago, but se la vie. Did you notice Olivia holding back and not joining Cy, Fitz, and Abby in the Oval to celebrate Cy’s return? Times are changing. Is Olivia not in the inner circle anymore by choice or as a consequence of her leaving? I see her as realizing that she has to live with these consequences and understanding that she needs to do her now. She needs to focus on Olivia Pope.

Olivia Pulls a Kelly Taylor (Like I asked for last week)

Jake shows up to tell Olivia that he almost had Rowan, not knowing that he’s already scared the ever-loving shit outta her. She refuses to discuss Rowan, and in a verrrry manic-sounding voice, starts talking about food, booze, ANYTHING but Rowan. She starts dancing around to Stevie’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” because let’s not forget that Rowan left this a-mazing record collection on her dining room table (Hi, Meredith and Cristina). Olivia is adorable dancing, but there’s something off with her because she has to go to that safe place of not acknowledging that she’s broken yet again by her father.  In other news, praise Jesus for Olivia literally saying, “I’m not choosing. I’m not choosing ‘Jake.’ I’m not choosing ‘Fitz.’ I choose me. I’m choosing ‘Olivia. Right now Olivia is dancing…I’m fine dancing alone.’” It’s an actual Kelly Taylor moment. And then she follows it up with enticing Jake to have sex on her piano. In all honesty, that didn’t bother me. It’s par for course in the Jake and Olivia relationship. Jake doesn’t push her to examine her feelings, he never has, and he just goes with whatever rules Olivia enacts to be around her. He knows that she’s not all in with him, and chooses to follow her lead every single time. So if Olivia wants to bang him on the piano because that’s what she needs to stay distracted, I say it’s better than doing a line of blow. Side note: I would argue that Fitz does push Olivia to examine her feelings, look at the bunker kiss a few weeks ago. He knows she’s torn and Olivia is more than irritated that he knows her that well, which is why she’s avoiding him.

While Super Spy Mcfly is focused on getting pillows and blankets for impending piano sex, Olivia is snatched up out of her apartment annnnnd he hears/notices nothing. So, Jake doesn’t find Rowan and doesn’t hear Olivia being kidnapped. Seems about right.


West Angola Commercial Organization, a subsidiary of the West Angolan government and the vessel by which Andrew (with Elizabeth) is trying to take down Fitz and start a war for the Republican party. I legit think the Republican party just wants to take down Fitz and they found a way in with Andrew, but this is personal for him. This is payback for Fitz (via Olivia) forcing him to give up Mellie, while still continuing to see Olivia and probably the punch to his kisser too. Remember when Olivia told Andrew that politicians always choose power over love? Look at Andrew’s words of “What’s the one thing in the world you can’t live without? The one thing you would do everything in your power to get back.” What do you think he’s forcing Fitz to do right here? War or the safety of love of your life? Hello, rock. Hello, hard place. I think Andrew fails to realize, however, that unlike Rowan, he’s not untouchable.

Shoutout to Mellie for not throwing a temper tantrum, but calmly telling Elizabeth that both of them sleeping with Andrew “…doesn’t make us friends, it just makes us both at risk for the same STDs.” Also, did you hear her throw her hat into the ring for the next presidential election? Because she kinda did.

Honorable Mentions

Shoutout Charlie for saving a couple of those boxes of files so Huck could finally prove to his ex, Kim, that he’s actually a spy and not just crazy. Also, David Rosen got Pope-d and Olivia wasn’t even in the room. Abby revealed her sleepover with Leo during his on-the-record questioning of her, with the first few chords of “Endless Love” starting to play in the background. I died laughing. He just loses in the courtroom, in his office, in the bedroom. Everywhere. He loses everywhere.

This is my favorite episode of the front nine, and maybe a couple of seasons. While there was some random Charlie and Quinn, this episode didn’t really have a weak link. It was solid from start to finish. Storylines that were running on the dull side (see: the pictures of Olivia, Cyrus being dumb) and the triangle are starting to pay off. Well at least the picture and Cyrus are. Who knows if Olivia choosing herself means anything if she’s stuck in a hole in outer Mongolia. It’s not perfect, but it’s solid and I’ll take that. It sets up so many different options for the future, and I like that OPA and the White House are connected because of Olivia, but she’s not running the show this time. I was even okay with no real Olivia and Fitz scenes, let them work on themselves first before figuring out their future. Of course, all bets are off with Olivia missing. If it turns into another pissing match between the guys, I need Olivia to rescue herself or have Abby help her. Because it’s time to turn the corner on this triangle. Also, well done on Tony directing, he always brings out everyone’s best.

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. And yet the recaps still haven’t improved and been without bias? You would think you would learn to actually recap the show by now then.

    LMFAO. Sure, it was, darling. :)

  2. I agree with you re: Jake’s character not standing on his own. He’s becoming more of a third wheel than part of a triangle.

    I think that this triangle is a stalling tactic on the part of the writers who seem unable to write Olivia and Fitz together. After all we’ve had 3 seasons ending with Fitz trying leave Mellie and Olivia basically sabotaging him/them. If Olivia is going to choose herself then she needs to not choose Fitz or Jake (and I’m a huge Fitz and Olivia fan). Some recappers are referencing Kelly Taylor on 90201 when she chose herself. That’s how you do it. Not by stringing two men along and then dancing maniacally in your living room to a soundtrack.

  3. I have a real problem with the character of Jake because they tied him to the show with this triangle. Had he been able to stand on his own as a legit super spy without Olivia, I could enjoy him.

    I do think Olivia is in a bad place (not just the kidnapping part), but I’m not sure if the point of her non-choice is actually a choice in itself, implying that Olivia is paralyzed and will never able to choose love in her life. On the other hand, is it a coping mechanism she’s using to buy more time to actually make a decision? Who knows. I agree that the triangle is wearing very thin on me and really hope the back 13 finally pushes past it.

  4. Thanks :)

  5. I’ve been recapping this show from the moment we decided to cover it. So, the recap you previously enjoyed? That was mine too. Thanks for liking it. I didn’t two weeks ago because I was on vacation, not sanctioned, as you’re incorrectly implying.

  6. Wait. We talking about bubbles being burst? I guess you felt that way two weeks ago when you weren’t the recapper and last week came back with some ~woe is me~ type of opening. Clearly your team and sponsors didn’t appreciate you as much as you thought. I simply was just wondering if the previous recapper was coming back, a new one or you were sticking around. Especially since I thoroughly enjoyed the last person’s Scandal recap. No need to get your panties in a twist, darling.

  7. I enjoy your recaps. They’re objective, insightful and funny.

  8. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I’m sticking around. In other news, you are under no obligation to read anything I write, but thanks for the click anyway. Our team and sponsors appreciate it.

  9. When the winter break ends, does that mean we’ll get a new Scandal recapper, too?

  10. I’m still confused by “Olivia choosing herself” because didn’t she say that she wanted Vermont with Fitz and to stand in the sun with Jake. Isn’t that not choosing? I’m so over the so-called triangle. It’s not much of a triangle when Jake says that he loves you and you don’t say it back. And why is Jake still on the show. I don’t feel like he’s really served much purpose since the start of season 3.

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