'Scandal' Checklist: Papa Was a Rolling Stone

The price of a free and fair election is everything. This post contains every single spoiler in the Scandal season finale. 

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As every avid Scandal watcher knows, our beloved show is melodramatic, predictable and kind of not that good. But still, we watch, and each increasingly over-the-top episode tends to hit the same marks: The "OMG" moment, the monologue to end all monologues, and the super risky moment when Olivia Pope drinks a glass of wine in white silk pajamas — these are the things we've come to love about the show. Each Friday, we'll update our Scandal checklist and assess how ridiculous our Thursday night was. Spoilers ahead!

"The Price of a Free and Fair Election"

Shonda was in top form last night. 

OMG moment: Let's go through this character-by-character: Olivia told Fitz about Big Jerry, Little Jerry is Fitz's, Little Jerry is dead, Papa Pope ordered Tom to kill him, Harrison found out and is probably dead, and Huck found his family. And Olivia decided to leave all of that behind and take the private jet she declined in the season opener.

Personally, the biggest surprise of the episode was the brief moment in time when I felt bad for Fitz. When he found out about Mellie's rape he acted like a decent human being (though I would have preferred him saying "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I didn't know, I didn't know. You're so strong for keeping this, but I would have helped you through it. We could have gotten through it together," through tears, but you take what you can get). His son was murdered. He was this close to losing the election, divorcing Mellie and moving to stupid Vermont with Olivia. And now he has to be president for four years because all of America feels bad for him. The price of a free and fair election is everything. I almost regretted hating him so much.

But then, when he's crumpled on the floor and Mellie — the one who actually knew their son, and the one whose darkest secret was just revealed to her husband by his girlfriend — is holding him. What does he say? "Where's Olivia?"

Drinking red wine in white clothes: Mellie's hard alcohol consumption over the last three episodes completely eclipses the amount of wine Olivia has drunk the last three seasons.

Mellie being better than everyone else: Jerry's death was surprising, but it didn't have much emotional impact. Fitz's grief didn't matter because he didn't even really like his kids. (They've been MIA for most of three seasons). But then we see Mellie, sitting in his room, clutching his shirt, beating herself up for being a bad parent when she wasn't.

A reminder that Fitz is the worst character: "Where's Olivia?"

An over-the-top monologue: Olivia actually decided to leave, and when Jake tries to stop her, she finally exerts the control that made us like her so much season one:

This is not a pity party. This is me doing what I do best. I'm handling this, I'm fixing this. I have been over every option, I've looked at it from every angle, and I have hoped and prayed that I was wrong. I've tried to pretend that I didn't know what the answer is but I do, so now it's time for me to stand in my truth: it's me. I'm the thing that needs to be fixed. I'm the thing that needs to be handled. I'm the scandal. And the best way to deal with a scandal is to shut it down. 

Bad couple moment: Charlie and Quinn broke up, Huck told Quinn to never speak to him again, Papa Pope locked Mama Pope in the cage, Adnan is dead, Fitz is still awful despite a brief moment of redemption, and Olivia chose the physically abusive guy she's not really in love with over the emotionally abusive guy whose marriage was ruined by his rapist father. Not a good episode for romance.

Good couple moment: Jake's pretty happy Olivia took him with her.

A dumb plot line that won't go away: All of the dumb plots ended. The only question now is whether or not Harrison is dead. Since Columbus Short allegedly threatened to kill his wife and held a knife to her throat in real life, Harrison is probably dead.

Tweet that sums up the episode:

This is probably the most important tweet.

Just before Papa Pope points a gun at Harrison, he says "It's a shame, really, a waste of such a young, great talent. Oh, to be young, gifted and black." That's a reference to a Nina Simone song (dedicated to Lorraine Hansberry) but it's also a call back to what he says to Olivia in the season opener: you have to be twice as good to get half as far.

And that's all until season four!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.