If season three of Scandal has suffered from any lulls, they have been few and far between. And when this show is really on point, the dialogue itself is so arresting and intense, you could almost liken it to a live performance.
The mid-season finale wasted no time, opening up with a brilliantly edited scene of the final moments between Vice President Sally Langston and her husband Daniel Douglass. (May he rest in peace.) Only Langston could invoke the scriptures as she launched into an epic tirade that eventually culminated in her husband’s murder. And whom does she call, face dripping with the blood of another? The only person you can call when you kill your husband and your political future is in jeopardy: Cyrus Beene.
The moments between Cyrus and Sally were nothing short of heart-stopping, as they frantically hired folks (including Quinn, still working with Charlie in B6-13) to clean up the mess, and as Sally confessed her sins to Cyrus—ultimately taking no responsibility. She blamed a phantom evil, saying over and over again, “The devil came in, the devil came in…” We thought Cyrus had seen it all, but the sight of Daniel Douglass—recent lover to his own husband—stabbed to death on the living room floor was too much and he immediately excused himself and ended up with his head over a toilet. It was all very graphic, to say the least.
Of course, Cyrus (using Christianity and the promise of absolution from God) persuaded Sally to cover up the murder and pass it off as a heart attack—such a scandal would be no good for Fitz’s re-election campaign, and with Sally indebted to him she would not be able to run for president herself. Thus, with the death of Douglass he got rid of his husband’s lover (of sorts) and his political opposition in one fell swoop … or with multiple stab wounds in the back.
Olivia Pope and the Gladiators spent the episode chasing after Olivia’s mom, who has more aliases than probably anyone, ever. Her full story has not been unveiled, but Olivia learned that she was a fraud from the beginning, and that her father had been unaware of her life as a spy. In the end, Olivia discovers that her mother was in fact responsible for the Remington plane going down, having told Papa Pope that a bomb was on board, when there was no bomb. Thus, part of Papa Pope’s coldness toward, well, everything, stems from his embarrassment and regret over the tragedy in which over 300 people lost their lives because his wife had duped him.
In an episode like this, it’s difficult to pick the best scene, but it was probably the moment we’d all been waiting for—when Olivia’s boyfriend (of sorts), the president of the United States, came face to face with Olivia’s father—a man well above the president’s pay grade. Words cannot describe the exchange between these two, but here’s an attempt. Fitz started out by trying his best to play a bad boy, but in the end Papa Pope pretty much emotionally destroyed him, whilst being chained to a chair. “Boy” was the word of the moment, as Olivia’s father broke down Fitz’s nature down to the very bone—he was nothing but a product of his father, his father’s weak, eternally disappointing son, a spoiled little Republican boy who worked for nothing and was, therefore, unhappy with everything. Olivia was his out, his way out of this boring life that he’d never worked for and that made him a boy … versus Eli Pope, man. It was beyond epic, and the slight racial undertones via the repetition of the word “boy” coming from Eli was brilliant. Viewers everywhere surely let out a shudder as he completed his rant by practically spitting out these final words at Fitz:
“You disappoint me as suitor for my daughter.”
In reality, every scene after this just could not compare. Still, when the series returns after winter break, viewers will be looking for answers to a lot of questions: What is Olivia’s mother doing in D.C., and is she really, truly the bad guy in all of this? Once Cyrus appoints James to White House Press Secretary, what kind of drama will James start stirring up? Will Sally Langston do the unthinkable and still run for the presidency while in mourning/after murdering her husband? Will we ever see Quinn as a Gladiator again? And, perhaps most importantly, what kind of world will Scandal be with Jake running B6-13 and Papa Pope out of a job?
Favorite Quote of the Episode: “You are my original sin!” (Sally Langston)