For a show that can feel sometimes like it’s slipping past its prime, Scandal’s season 4 finale restored my faith a bit. It did precisely what a finale should: Brought some things together (well, for now), and blew almost everything else to smithereens. Let’s just say, the world we’ll meet in Season 5, Episode 1 will look quite different than it did at the beginning of this episode—the kaleidoscope pieces have shifted into a totally different formation.
First, to wrap up all that Foxtail business: We start back in Springfield, where Rowan is meeting with Mellie. He hands her a folder about “a cause” that’s important to him, which holds not only a stack of photos of Mellie getting it on with Andrew (that feels like years ago), but also a file on Operation Remington—which I sort of forgot Mellie never learned about. In return, he asks her for a “list,” and Mellie, thinking she’s saving her husband (as well as herself), complies.
After a session of the B613 grand jury trial, Huck frantically races to Olivia. “Something happened,” he says, in his creepy wide-eyed Huck way. We cut to a crime scene, where David Rosen steps, puking, off of a parked charter bus. (Gut reaction told me Rosen was poisoned and was dying, but thank heavens that wasn’t the case.) In a scene stolen straight from a gory episode of CSI, it turns out the bus is full of freshly murdered American citizens, also known as the grand jurors on the B613 trial. Remember the list Rowan (alias: Damascus) asked Mellie to get? Well, in what will become Mellie’s own personal Operation Remington, that list held the jurors names. Mellie and Cyrus talk about what happened, and when Mellie mentions Remington, Cyrus clams up. “I’ll take care of it,” he says. “Don’t tell Fitz.”
Back at OPA, this grand jury murder is the last straw for David Rosen. “Everyone who was in that courtroom is dead now, except for me and you,” he says to Jake, as the rest of the gang looks on. “While I live for justice, I don’t want to die for it.” He quits the case.
Her take-down-daddy plans foiled again, Olivia is having a bit of a breakdown. She’s “sick of fighting and losing,” and she doesn’t want to be Rowan’s prisoner any longer. Once and for all, she must beat him, so she goes to see the one person who came the closest: Mama.
She was never going to win Mother of the Year, but Maya Pope isn’t at her most maternal during Olivia’s visit. “You’re so vain,” she tells Olivia. Liv, Maya says, creates problems just so she can get the satisfaction of solving them, of feeling powerful and important. “This uppity fantasy world you decided to be a part of is not real, boo,” she says. “You need to come on back down to this planet where the world doesn’t revolve around you.” It was a sort of harsh (though sort of true) takedown, but just as Olivia is about to leave, Mama throws her a bone. “Nobody even knows there’s an enemy to be taken down,” she says. And then everything makes sense: Of course Rowan’s would-be enemies all over the world (and in the country) aren’t going after him: His identity has been just as concealed, if not more, than the existence of B613 itself.
So what does the brilliant Olivia Pope do with this information? She goes straight to the head of the CIA—who plays dumb, but clearly knows about B613. Olivia is smarter than this: If shutting down B613 were as easy as tattling on Rowan to the CIA Director, wouldn’t someone have done it already? Olivia’s powers of intimidation have been running on empty lately, and this was no exception. After a consultation with Cyrus, who convinces her it’s pointless to try to shut down the 30-year-old, agency-spanning B613, CIA lady has Olivia and Jake arrested. But don’t worry, Kerry Washington looks flawless in a low bun and olive-gray prison garb.
In a happier place, Mellie and Fitz are having a celebratory party in the White House, toasting to her campaign’s success. Fitz makes a sweet, loving speech to his wife: “As a team, we’ve never been stronger.” He calls her his best friend, calls her inspiring, says this past year has been “a revelation.” Earlier, he and Liv seemed to have a goodbye phone call, as Liv wished Fitz luck with Mellie’s campaign, and for a minute, it looked like things were going to go back to normal. Of course, that didn’t last long.
David Rosen asks Cyrus to fire him. How many times has this happened? How many times will it take for Rosen to realize he can never walk free after all the messes he’s seen? Cyrus tells Rosen he knows his pressure point: It’s Abby, who Cyrus can easily have killed, because he is literally evil incarnate. If he and Papa Pope ever did a Captain Planet, “By the power of our rings combined,” type thing, the earth just might explode from pure demonry. As Cyrus tells Abby: “I can’t have a soul. If I had one, I’d never accomplish a thing.” Yep, that about sums it up.
His hand forced, Rosen visits Liv and Jake in their respective jail cells and forces them to sign an affidavit withdrawing their statements against B613. We learn that Olivia’s middle name is Carolyn, unless we already knew that, and we learn Jake has a mom he loves, whose safety he can be threatened with. Oh, and one more thing? Maya Pope’s getting out of jail.
NEXT: Rowan Pope meets his end