This episode felt like an early Thanksgiving dinner; I’m totally stuffed. I sampled all the juicy storylines and drank in the dialogue, and now I need to push away from the table, and lie down on the couch for awhile. As always, Shonda Rhimes delivered a jam-packed Winter Finale, and I should have worn the mental equivalent of stretchy pants to watch it.
We opened with Maya Pope out of the cage and Papa Pope MIA. Olivia has plans for them both: lock Mom up and charge her with murder, terrorism, and treason. As for Dad, “hunt him, find him, and kill him.” Wow. I guess that means Thanksgiving plans with the Popes are canceled this year.
Yeah, I think they definitely are, because Olivia tried to kill Rowan. She holds him at gunpoint, and has an epic Rowan-style monologue of her own, telling her dad that he “lives in the shadows, pulls puppet strings, and pretends the world won’t exist without [his] protection.” Rowan spat back that Olivia is “ungrateful,” and has “no comprehension of love.” Just as he’s about to say they’re the same kind of people, she pulls the trigger.
Sure. The gun is empty. So she didn’t kill him. Except… she kinda did. “Never in a million years” did he think she’d pull the trigger, and she did. Now Rowan may be alive physically, but I think she destroyed him emotionally. And I think Olivia died a little bit too. Because, woah she pulled the trigger! Even I didn’t think she could do it.
Plus, Olivia knows Rowan is right—she is a lot like him. Mama Pope confirmed it too. Olivia wears white and Rowan wears black, but they’re two sides of the same well-tailored coat. Both Olivia and Rowan pull puppet strings and manipulate the truth. Ultimately they’re both very lonely people, and they’re connected by that loneliness. At least, they were connected before Olivia tried to sever the connection with a bullet. I know she’s tough, but Olivia is going to need one helluva of a therapy session after this.
Or a Stevie Wonder dance session! Oh, how I loved this scene. The music (“Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing” by Stevie Wonder), Olivia smiling, Jake without pants, pizza waiting in the oven… it was perfect. My favorite part was that Olivia chose herself! Yes! She’s not choosing between Fitz or Jake, Vermont or the sun, she’s choosing the dance floor. And she’s okay dancing by herself. Good choice. I’ve been on Team Olivia for a long time, and I’m glad she finally came around.
I really enjoyed Olivia’s pep talk with Cyrus too. He resigned from the White House because Lizzie leaked pictures of Cyrus and Michael in flagrante delicto. Cyrus planned on moving to Europe, tail tucked between his legs, until Olivia paid him a visit. “When did you decide to let them ruin you?” she shouts at Cyrus. “Grow the hell up. The Cyrus I know doesn’t hide in his half-empty closet and wet his pants like a little bitch baby.” I know Olivia was working out her own family issues here, but I’m glad she snapped Cyrus out of his series-long stupor. Even if Fitz accepted his resignation, I did not.
Cyrus and Michael agree to marry for PR reasons, and Cyrus is back in the White House. Team Fitz is back together again, making plans and stronger than ever. We should feel a sense of calm now that the team is all back together again, right?
Wrong. Oh, so wrong. There is no calm in the West Wing when the Vice President and the head of the RNC are planning war with West Angola. Yes. That was a great twist. Remember the car bomb that almost killed Andrew Nichols? Well, he planned it. Andrew, Lizzie, Kubiak, Jeremy Winslow—they all want a war with West Angola, so they planned a hit on the VP to pin on the West Angolans. Why? Because Jeremy’s law firm handles the country’s American assets and they’ll all make bank if there’s war.
Except… Fitz doesn’t declare war. And the crew has to resort to Plan B—kidnapping Olivia. At her apartment. With an underwear-clad Jake in the next room. And I don’t know which makes me more upset—that she misses out on sexy piano fun time with Jake, or she misses out on that pizza waiting in the oven. And that red wine stain on the couch will never come out.
But this is getting ridiculous—can we all chip in and buy Olivia a security system for Christmas? At the very least, I’ll donate a deadbolt. The woman has to seriously upgrade her system.
So where does that leave us? Andrew’s team kidnapped Olivia and Jake is in hot (especially if he keeps his pants off) pursuit. Of course he’ll team up with Fitz and OPA to find Olivia, but who else will help the search? Maya Pope? Rowan Pope? Kubiak is dead, but I’m assuming his security firm is handling Olivia’s kidnapping, so she’s probably pretty securely held. They might need someone diabolical, like Mom or Dad to help.
Speaking of diabolical—how about those kill cards? We learned that B613 has plans if the organization were ever compromised. This includes killing all B613 agents, because they’re “loose ends.” So every B613 agent is now a target, and there’s actually a fun card deck so everyone can play along. We learn that Jake is the King of Clubs and Quinn is the Queen of Hearts. I bet Charlie is the Joker. Who do you think is the Ace of Diamonds—Rowan? Olivia?! Sure, she’s not a B613 agent but in Shondaland, it’s possible Olivia is the Ace of Diamonds.
Finally, we learn that there are some B613 files still floating around. Charlie admits to having some, and it seems like Huck left some at his family’s doorstep. Will Team Olivia use these files to lure Papa Pope back? Because you know he is coming back.
Well, actually we won’t know anything until January 29, 2015, when Scandal returns from its Winter Break. Honestly, after the craziness of tonight’s episode, I’m okay with that. Like I said earlier, this week fed us dozens of delicious snacks, and I’m truly stuffed. I gorged in Shondaland, and the break gives me time to digest and make room for Round Two.
“We’re both sleeping with the same man. That doesn’t make us friends, it makes us both at risk for the same STDs… When it comes to screwing someone, I’m not nearly as gentle as Andrew. From me, it will hurt.” —Mellie to Lizzie. Ooh, Mellie is a scorned lover, ya’ll! I cannot wait to see more showdowns like this next season.
“You have a PhD in his crazy. I want answers now.” “Girl, you need to move on.”—Olivia and Maya, and I also need to see more of Khandi Alexander next season.
?So, what did you guys think of the Scandal Winter Finale? Were you shocked that Andrew planned his own car bomb, or did you see it coming? Is Papa Pope gone for good, or will we see him again next year? Sound off below!
Emily Worden is a Boston-based freelance writer and author of Make. Sell. Repeat. The Ultimate Business Guide for Artists, Crafters, and Makers. You can follow her on Twitter.