Spoiler alerts: Let’s dissect last night’s awesome Scandal finale. Episode 18 was ‘The Price of Free and Fair Election’ and the price was terrible and costly. Aired Thursday, April 17, 2014.
First, we can all exhale after wondering whether Rowan (Daddy Pope) had survived the shanking Maya (Momma Pope) had given him at the end of last week’s episode. Momma Pope tells Liv that if she had truly wanted Daddy Pope dead, he would be, and sashays out of the hospital room. Liv and Daddy Pope have an actual father/daughter talk with Daddy Pope showing more tenderness than he has in all three seasons.
Just when it looks like Cyrus is about to have a change of heart, Jake makes sure the news gets out that there is a bomb set to go off in the church. Alas, the bomb goes off anyway just as they are finishing the process of evacuation. Unbelievably, evil Vice President (VP) Sally escapes unharmed. She is about to be whisked away in her waiting limousine when public relations guru Leo convinces her that they must take advantage of this opportunity (televised of course) to show that she would put her own safety at risk to help her fellow Americans.
Taking cunning to a new level, Leo begins smearing ashes all over VP Sally’s face and makes sure the camera sees VP Sally tending to the wounded strewn willy nilly in the church parking lot. She Florence Nightingales her way gingerly through the crowd, making sure to assist the victims with the most blood splash for the benefit of the TV cameras. When the network cameras switch from President (Pres.) Fitz’s speech to focus on VP Sally, Liv fears all hope for them to win the election is lost.
But the camp refuses to give in and vows to fight to the end. So the whole family shows a united front and is there to back Fitz as he makes his biggest campaign speech yet. While he is speaking Mellie screams out behind him. Their son Fitz IV is going into convulsions with blood coming from his mouth and nose. Pres. Fitz dashes from the podium and in what has got to be one of the top three most poignant moments in the show, cradles his son like a baby and carries him down the stairs. The pained look on his face was pricelessly real.
To everyone’s surprise, especially the viewers, the son dies. We did not expect this at all. Many Scandal groups on Facebook and Twitter had been debating all week about who would die. Would it be VP Sally, Harrison, Quinn, or Leo? No one ever dreamed that it would be a child. Shonda Rhimes, master of plot twists and turns, had stunned us again.
Suddenly it was Cyrus and Liv sitting in the hospital waiting room. They discussed how the death of Pres. Fitz’s son could turn the tide and win the election with a sympathy vote. They chatted a few minutes about what monsters they must be to even be thinking about political strategy when Pres. Fitz had just suffered the death of his son. But they brace themselves and convince Fitz that he can win. Before they leave the hospital Fitz gets word that his son’s death was no accident and that a vial (supposedly under lock and key) of the particular strain of meningitis that his son died from had been reported stolen.
Everyone immediately knows that it had to be Maya (Momma Pope), and the search is on. Daddy Pope limps down the hospital hallway and gives his condolences to Fitz. He says that all differences aside, he is a father too. He says he knows Fitz wants Momma Pope’s head on a platter and he is just the man to bring that platter to Fitz. Then it’s revelation time. Fitz tells Liv none of this (politics) matters. He just wants them to move to Vermont and have babies. Liv tells him that Mellie needs him because Fitz’s father raped Mellie. And that as much as she loves him, if he left Mellie at her most vulnerable, he wouldn't be the man Liv loves. Fitz is shocked. First his son dies and now this. How much more can one man take even if it is a finale?
Fitz opens the door and for the first time ever we see him touch Mellie with pure compassion. He is so sorry for what his father did, as Mellie finally is able to stop crying in a drink, and lean her head on Fitz’s shoulder for a good cry on him. This is the second of the most poignant moments in the season. She assures Fitz that she’d tried to fight off her father-in-law, but that she’d done a DNA test to be sure and their dead son was Fitz’s.
In the third of our most poignant moments, Fitz is alone in the oval office. He, the most powerful man in the free world, walks in, shuts the door and drops. He is not felled by an assassin’s bullet, but the crushing weights of his son’s death and the betrayal of his wife’s rape by his own daddy drop him to his knees. He is alone on the floor of the oval office weeping as one without hope. Fitz more than earned an Emmy in this episode alone.
Momma Pope is captured, handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a car, but she is smiling. Somehow Harrison realizes that things aren’t making sense and traces the missing vial of bacteria back to Daddy Pope. He confronts him while we are still fighting to digest this news. Momma Pope has always been presented as the anti-Christ and Daddy Pope was seen as the only prayer to hold back her evil reign of terror. In an instant everything we think we know about human nature is turned upside down. It turns out Daddy Pope orchestrated the death of Fitz’s son.
His justification was that he’d promised Liv that he would never harm a hair on her beloved Fitz’s head. And he didn’t, he just took out the son. Poppa Pope has checked himself out of the hospital, against his doctor’s orders, and, surprise, is now back in command of B6-13. He cajoles Liv to go away with Jake and remove herself from the dirtiness of this business. Poor Live is just demoralized. She feels everything is her fault and everyone she loves gets hurt. She says, “I am the Scandal.”
Cliffhangers: (see video recaps here)
The season ended with Liv and Jake flying off on Daddy Pope’s private plane. Will they be back? Fitz calls Liv, she looks at the phone, and then hits ignore.
Mellie was raped by her father-in-law and had an affair with Fitz’s old friend VP candidate Andrew. Sure the test said the baby belongs to Fitz. But why did we see a big envelope of money changing hands at the DNA laboratory last episode? What are they hiding and what did they change?
Years ago Huck’s family was lost when B613 threw him in the hole. Quinn and Charlie find out where the family is and Quinn shows Huck the house. Huck knocks on the door and his wife opens it. The scene cuts away just as recognition is dawning in her eyes. It’s interesting that the wife is being brought back in just as Quinn and Huck are tearing everyone’s eyes out with their animalistic mating rituals. Is a love triangle in the future?
When Harrison learns that Daddy Pope is behind the murder of Fitz’s son, his first inclination is to tell Liv. Daddy Pope can’t allow that and the last thing we see is him turning towards Harrison raising a gun.
And finally we see Daddy Pope looking down into the dreaded hole. Momma Pope, weave still glamorously layered in place, looks up with a coy smile through the bars as Daddy Pope closes the top down on her. What is with this smile again? When we first met Momma Pope she was chewing her own wrists to the bone in order to escape. Now she’s sitting in the hole smiling like she is at a tea party. Something is amiss.