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‘Scandal’ series finale could’ve been explosive

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After seven years which saw the show’s many peaks and falls, “Scandal” premiered its series finale, titled “Over a Cliff,” on April 19 on ABC.

As one would expect from a successful long-running show that it’d be explosive, nostalgic and provide closure, this finale unfortunately felt underwhelming. Warning: spoilers!

Led by main character Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington), showrunner Shonda Rhimes was the creative mind behind this political thriller TV show which premiered back in 2012.

In its seventh and final season, Pope was the Chief of Staff of newly-appointed President Melody “Mellie” Grant (Bellamy Young) and was Command of B613, a secret and dark organization which ran under the White House.

The show’s final few episodes dealt with Vice President Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) wanting to have President Grant impeached so he can take the Oval Office for himself, by framing her for hijacking Air Force Two on which he was a passenger on, several episodes ago. He also enlisted NSA Director and B613 associate Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) in his nefarious plan.

What made “Scandal” an intriguing show was that there were no genuinely good or bad characters, its cast instead embracing their complexities.

For instance, while Pope was often championed as a fierce and empowering African-American woman who exuded confidence and style, she also literally beat and killed a wheelchair-bound man with a chair (giving its fifth season’s episode name: “Thwack!”) and even almost poisoning Beene with a drink.

The show also constantly made use of murder, manipulation, coercion, blackmail and ransom in its storylines so that characters can get their ways and move forward.

Hence, for the finale, seeing the majority of the characters get a happy ending just felt off.

In “Over a Cliff,” Pope had decided that telling the truth will, almost sounding cliched, set her and her team free, even literally outing B613’s existence to the world on record.

This shocked virtually everyone and Cyrus, desperate for his plan to usurp the Oval, decided to have Ballard kill David Rosen (Joshua Malina), the U.S. Attorney General.

During an intense scene where Rosen ran into a gun-wielding Ballard in a dark parking lot, Rosen surprisingly stood up for himself and refused to be the victim, even insulting Ballard by perceiving him as always doing things on behalf of his superiors like a trained dog.

The finale earned its first frustrating scene where Rosen later naively met with Cyrus who pretended he’d negotiate for a plea deal, only for Rosen to accept an apparently-poisoned alcoholic beverage from him. His death, rather unnecessary and predictable, also felt rushed as the finale quickly moved on other scenes, not giving the character much closure, especially since he’d been on the show since the first season.

Second was when after Pope and her team were finally free and won’t be punished for their crimes (which seemed too good to be true), Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes) excitedly said that “[We] The good guys won.”

As a loyal “Scandal” viewer, seeing her and Pope’s team as purely good guys was questionable, given their criminal and unethical pasts.

Thirdly, a defeated and alcoholic Cyrus eventually agreed to sign his resignation papers and simply walked out of the Oval, which felt unfair since he rightly deserved far worse punishment for all his despicable actions in the show. Instead, Ballard took the fall for all of Cyrus’ misdeeds and was jailed.

Finally, the show was often remembered for Pope and former President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant III’s (Tony Goldwyn) star-crossed romance since its 2012 debut, and both characters have long considered to relocate to Vermont, literally make jam and live the rest of their lives together happily.

But in the finale, we’re never given a single glimpse of that hopeful-sounding future and it ended still in Washington DC, not Vermont.

With Fitz constantly referencing Vermont, and Pope even entertaining that idea several times throughout the show, one would assume the finale would end with them finally living that fantasy out for real.

But it never happened.

But judging from how Pope confidently walked past the White House, the Washington Memorial and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, before meeting Fitz in the show’s final three minutes, it seemed that Shonda Rhimes and Pope’s character both did their best to conclude “Scandal” in a satisfactory manner.

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