New Show Recap: Scandal, 3×18, “The Price of Free and Fair Elections”

The season finale of Scandal was crammed full of action, wasn’t it? It easily could have been two or three shows, not just one. Well, that’s what happens when real life intervenes. Kerry Washington was pregnant, and Scandal had to shave off several episodes from the end of the season. A lot of events had to get moved up the timeline. And this is something I am willing to make excuses for. There are other things I can’t, though, and I’ll talk about them later. For now, though, onward with the review. Also, trigger warning for child death.

Let’s start with the bomb, shall we? Everyone makes it out of the church OK, or at least everyone who matters. Leo, that offspring of a honey badger/piranha marriage, sees the opportunity, and drags Sally out of the limo before she can leave the scene. He rips Sally’s jacket, musses her up, and sends her back in to help the survivors, which she does, like a boss. She does it so well, in fact, that it wins her the election, or that’s what it looks like. Fitz and team are devastated, and they have different reactions to this devastation. Fitz starts thinking about Vermont and Olivia; Cyrus Beene contemplates the costs of his job; and Liv tells Fitz about Mellie’s rape and that he needs to stay with her now that he knows. At this point, I’m starting to get a sick feeling in my stomach. The idea of a rape saving a marriage as a plot point does not sit well with me. Fitz tells Mellie he knows, and doesn’t make it about him, exactly, but the night is young.

Hi, I'm Andrew. Perhaps you know me as man who has no purpose in the show's plotline now." (Photo credit:: ABC TV)
“Hi, I’m Andrew. Perhaps you know me as man who has no purpose in the show’s plotline now.” (Photo credit: ABC TV)

Elsewhere, Rowan has a tender moment with Liv in the hospital, where he is recovering from being stabbed by Maya. He consoles her for losing the election and tells her he wants her to succeed because he loves her and she is his daughter, even if he loathes Fitz. But how, you might ask yourself, how would it be possible for this to happen?? How could Fitz win an election and be unhappy, while allowing Liv to succeed at her job? Oh Rowan, you naive dreamer.

Elsewhere, Harrison tries to persuade Adnan to let him go, which she does. (I’ll be honest, I had forgotten that he was in captivity.) He eventually returns with Abby to the OPA offices, only to find Huck and Quinn going at it in a conference room, where he has her bent over the table. Abby’s horrified reaction mirrors my own, except multiply mine by a million and include rocking back and forth while in the fetal position.

Charlie’s reaction to the new relationship shows he actually has some self-respect. He moves out and hands Quinn an envelope containing the location of Huck’s wife and child. She gives the envelope to Huck out of true lurrrrv. Sure enough, after some manpain (BTW, I added manpain to my spellcheck, and you should, too, because 2014 is the Year of Manpain on television), he gets in touch with them, and their lives get a lot, lot worse, even though they don’t know it yet.

Back to Fitz et al. They are preparing for a speech prior to the election, which they have already lost. Fitz plans to go out with a bang, giving an eloquent speech at the podium. However, he doesn’t get to, because Jerry, Fitz’s son, collapses on the dais and dies at the hospital shortly after of bacterial meningitis.

Jerry, whose death will make everyone feel guilty, except for Leo, since he got a 14-year-old laid before he died.  Yeah, I said it.  (Image Credit: ABC TV)
Jerry, whose death will make everyone feel guilty, except for Leo, since he got a 14-year-old laid before he died. Yeah, I said it. (Image Credit: ABC TV)

Rowan, who is in the hospital, drags himself over to tell the president how sorry he is, and tells him that Maya Pope is behind this and that the strain of bacterial meningitis that killed Jerry is a military one — i.e., he had to be infected deliberately. He makes the offer to kill Maya Pope if Fitz will make him command. Fitz, of course, says yes. Olivia comes  upon them and finds out that her mother did it. Fitz is quick to say he doesn’t blame her, but she gets it. They are finally done.

Later, Rowan tells Fitz that Maya is dead, which of course we believe because we see her body. In reality, though, she’s in the box. You know which one. He is Command again, and Jake is both wildly bitter and strangely liberated about this.

It is only when Rowan is back in OPA’s offices doing something that Harrison confronts him. Rowan must have killed Jerry, and Adnan, who is dead BTW. (RIP Adnan. You served no purpose.) It’s the only thing that makes sense. Rowan’s response is to gloat and then have Secret Service Agent Tom kill Harrison, or at least as good as kill him because he pointed a gun at someone at the end the season, so that means when we come back at the beginning next season, Harrison will be lying dead in the offices of OPA, his gingham shirt soaked with blood. Tom also killed Jerry, which makes Tom a lot less likeable to me. He always seemed to have some sort of decency, but boy was I wrong. I mistook his bland blondness for a lack of capacity to be truly intense about anything. He was bland, he was blond, I was blind.

Liv is finally broken. She asks Rowan if the offer to start a  new life elsewhere still stands. Rowan says, “Of course, Snookums!” And boom, Liv is on a plane and outta there, after being reproached by Abby for quitting, and agreeing to save Jake by taking him with her wherever it is she is going. Because of course, why do it alone, Olivia? You need a man to rescue.

Quinn watches sadly as her lover/torturer goes back to his wife. (Photo Credit: ABC TV)
Quinn watches sadly as her lover/torturer goes back to his wife. (Photo Credit: ABC TV)

And cue the credits. The season is over.

And I’m over. Scandal is not the show it used to be, and I don’t feel good about reviewing it anymore. I hate that Olivia has now been abused psychologically by Fitz and physically by Jake, and she still loves them both. I hate that she is such a dupe for her parents, especially her sadistic father. I hate that Shonda Rhymes has taken the first African American female character to star in a drama in decades and turned her into a Victim whose humiliations I could probably write an entire article about.

I hate that Mellie’s rape has turned into a device to make her more sympathetic, and to save her marriage. I hate that Quinn is in love with, and having twisted sex with, a man who extracted her teeth and tortured her a few weeks ago.  I hate that all of the female characters, save Sally Langston, have been victimized by men. They’ve been beaten, tortured, and choked.

Yeah, I guess you can pick apart my objections. “Abby left her abusive husband.” “That’s just Quinn and Huck’s thing.” “Maya is evil.” “Mellie’s rape makes for great drama.” “Nobody is nice on this show.” “It’s a soap that isn’t meant to be taken seriously.”

But that’s a lot of excuses, and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that, no matter how much I loved Scandal in earlier seasons.  As such, I run the risk of becoming one of those recappers who constantly criticizes everything, and I hate that kind of reviewer.

So thank you for reading my reviews. I will probably still watch Scandal, and I’ll definitely continue to read the P-Mag recaps of the show, and probably comment on them.

P.S. Fitz is a jerk.

 

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Moretta

Moretta will take that applause. Her Twitter is https://twitter.com/GobezMoretta.

4 thoughts on “New Show Recap: Scandal, 3×18, “The Price of Free and Fair Elections””

  1. Wait! I’m confused. I was with you through all your hating of the show (not necessarily agreeing but totally seeing your point and your right to be done with it) until the point where you said “I’ll probably still watch Scandal…” But you hate it? Now I’m confused! Well, I’ll miss your reviews at any rate. *sniffle*

    1. This show has enormous cultural significance. It has literally been 40 years since a black woman was the central/starring character of an hour-long network TV drama, so I will probably still watch it, despite the big problems I have with it.

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