Even when Olivia is taking her father’s advice and gunning for power, it’s all being done according to his plan.
Tonight’s season finale ends with the Republican National Convention and Mellie announcing a vice presidential candidate she had no say in and no idea of the behind-the-scenes motivations for getting him there. Not a great way to start a potential presidency.
And on the Democrat side, Frankie Vargas has his running mate, too — Cyrus, ready to get back in the White House. As he tells Olivia, by the end of this election, one of them will be in the Oval. And Jake, it seems, has traded one Pope captor for another.
As the episode begins, the words on everybody’s lips are “vice president” — as in, who will Mellie Grant and Frankie Vargas pick as their running mates? Cyrus goes to David Rosen’s office (didn’t Fitz demand his resignation last week over the dropped sugar investigation? Apparently he still has his job, so I digress) and asks if he’d be Vargas’ VP. Over at OPA, it’s down to three options that all hit the three M’s — Male, Married, and Military — but one guy, Wagner, stands out as the best of the bunch, except for the fact that he and a buddy sold cocaine in college. Quinn and Huck find that former pal and tell him he’s moving out of town under a new name. No, he doesn’t have a choice. Bye, friend!
Edison passes Jake’s SOS message to Olivia, and initially she won’t do anything, fearing that if she does try to help him escape, her father will kill him. And Rowan’s already making more moves on Jake’s behalf, offering to throw a cool $30 million — that’d be Vanessa’s father’s money, no doubt — behind Vargas’ campaign, but he’d have to add Jake as VP. If not, Rowan tells Cyrus privately, he’ll tell Vargas who really organized that shooting in Harrisburg.
NEXT: Fitz learns what’s in Olivia’s medical records[pagebreak]
While everyone is looking forward to the next president, Fitz is looking forward to his last days in the Oval Office. In five months, he tells Abby, he’ll be out — speaking about the White House like it’s a prison. But he’s still there for now, and comes across Olivia’s medical records when he pays a visit to Abby’s office. (Why were those just lying around?) Which means Fitz now knows about Olivia’s abortion.
An appeal from Cyrus gets Liv to change her mind about helping Jake, and she meets him in a parking garage to say that a) she only said the things she said at the church to keep her father from killing him and b) she’ll help him get out but doesn’t have a plan yet and needs her to trust him. Ballard’s all in: “Do whatever you have to do. Just get me out.”
So she figures out a way — first, by torpedoing the VP pick she chose for Mellie by leaking the news about the cocaine, then going to the White House and telling Fitz that Jake will be her new running mate .(Does Mellie get no say in this? Seriously?) She goes to leave after breaking the news, but he asks her to stay: “You came by to tell me your ex-boyfirend is gonna be on my ex-wife’s ticket, and you won’t sit with me?”
They do sit together for a moment, and he says he misses them sitting and talking together. Before she leaves, he tells her this: “I support your choice, Liv. Not that you need it.” He’s talking about her VP pick, sure, but obviously about the abortion, as well.
NEXT: Operation: Rescue Jake[pagebreak]
From there, Liv has to collect Mellie’s new VP. She goes to her father’s house (“through the front door, like a gangster” — Huck wisdom) and simply says Jake is coming with her. Rowan puts a gun to Jake’s head and threatens that she’s the one in control of whether he pulls the trigger, but she calls his bluff and figures, correctly, that he won’t kill his beloved “son.” He puts the gun down, and they walk out of the house.
Backstage at the convention, Olivia is getting Jake ready to go out on stage, but he tells her he wants off the ticket — and he wants his own version of making jam in Vermont instead. He found a little house in the suburbs, he wants to coach little league, and he wants to do it all with her. “Dare to be normal!” he says.
But that kind of life is not an Olivia Pope life. She repeats her father’s words about having to work twice as hard for half as much, and she doesn’t want “an unimpressive life” — and that Jake shouldn’t, either. He realizes she wasn’t trying to save him so much as save Mellie’s campaign. One Pope was running his life; now another is. As he puts it, “I’ve gone from being his bitch to yours.” But when she orders him to put on a tie, he does and goes out on stage as Mellie’s her running mate.
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That, of course, leaves Vargas without a VP. Cyrus knows just the guy — and it’s not David Rosen. It was never going to be David Rosen. It’s Cyrus himself standing on stage, his family and Frankie’s beside them.
And Papa Pope is watching from home, seeing everything unfold as he apparently knew it would. He pours a glass of wine, watching the red, white, and blue balloons fall on TV at the convention. He toasts Olivia, either for seizing power as he told her to or for doing it in the way he planned, or maybe a little of both: “That’s my girl.”
What did you think of where things left off, Scandal fans? Leave your thoughts on the finale and season below, and cast your votes for Mellie Grant or Frankie Vargas in the comments below.