This Scandal review contains spoilers.
Scandal: Season 6, Episodes 15-16
I always thought the Scandal series would end at the same time as Fitz’s presidency. However, we have one last season with Rhimes’ gladiators. But with Quinn running OPA and Mellie running the country, it’s interesting to wonder what Scandal will look like through a lens that America has never been seen in: with the country’s first woman president.
When America wishes Mellie was really president…
Immediately after Mellie’s inauguration, we see the Oval Office being stripped of its masculine furniture and patriotic blues and replacing them with softer tones and portraits of women leaders. This is Mellie’s office now. This is her country.
From the start of the series it was clear that Mellie fancied herself in the White House as not just the president’s wife, but as if that were just a stepping stone for her real chance at the presidency. In the last two seasons, Mellie really has stepped up as a leader to where it became less about power and more about the people and what she could do for them and represent to them. She also talks about our current political climate in the real world and whether or not those things will be mirrored in the coming season.
When the tables are turned…
Both Bellamy Young and Shonda Rhimes recently brought up that many things needed to change in season 6 after our real-life presidential election. The things that Shonda Rhimes wrote for the show — the outrageous storylines and over the top corruption of our politics — were playing out to be too real. Rhimes made mention in an Entertainment Weekly interview that one of the main storylines of the season was the Russians hacking the election. However, that fantasy that she thought she could “revel” in turned out to be true. The direction the show was going in was hitting “too close to home.”
While Scandal avoided this exact storyline, this season was still the White House being controlled by “others,” partly by hacking or trying change the election outcome. From Abby to Mellie to Rowan and David, Peus and his mystery woman were these disdainful entities that thought they could run things and control anyone they encountered. And, for a majority of the season, it appeared that they were acting alone. However, last night’s episode revealed that there were multiple layers of command as the new OPA and the White House tried to figure out who was calling the shots.
Jackie O. no she didn’t…
Though I was surprised by the reveal that it was new vice president Luna Vargas who was behind her husband’s death, Peus’ takeover, and Mellie’s attempted assassination plot, it still seemed anticlimactic. Sure, I didn’t see it coming. But usually when a character turns out to be evil, I am in total disbelief and stunned by their masked cruelty and greed. However, even after Luna’s confession, I wasn’t completely floored. I wanted to see more gluttony, more animosity. I wanted more of a dramatic “Rowan” monologue confession or Jake’s coolness and indifference when he admits his guilt.
Luna compared herself to Jackie Kennedy, glamorizing her husband’s assassination and that if she had taken over the country after that, she would have been incredible. Clearly I underestimated Luna Vargas, just like everyone else. Her infatuation with power seemed to run deep, just like most of Shondaland’s Washington D.C.
Not having it…
Olivia was pissed when she discovered that her mother, Maya, wasn’t hired to kill Mellie, but instead to kill Luna. She had let herself down because she brought her into the White House. She made her VP.
Well, Jake and Olivia had a plan.
After Luna’s stark confession, Olivia quickly established her amount of control in the White House. After getting Luna to fully fess up to her husband’s assassination, Olivia gave her a choice.
Kill herself, or be shot by Jake.
Honestly, I thought for sure the pills were perhaps sleeping pills and that they were a test to show Luna that Olivia was in charge.
However, by the end of the episode it was clear that Luna was dead and that Cyrus would be nominated for Vice President.
The student becomes the teacher…
I suppose one could argue that Olivia has grown. That she has become more confident as a woman and has created an incredible career for herself. However, all I see is how she is turning into her father. How she is turning into Cyrus Beene. How she is turning into Fitz.
The only thing Olivia has learned is how to get what you want by any means possible. Yes, Luna is a murderer and was clearly more twisted than we thought. But, did that mean it was Olivia’s job to take her life? She had her in the palm of her hand…was it necessary that she kill her?
Even when she went to visit her dad, telling her he would not be in charge of B-613 but that she would be, it was as if Rowan was looking in a mirror of his past self. You could feel Rowan’s disappointment at Olivia’s unapologetic coolness. She was now demanding Sunday night dinners with her dad, but that if he crossed her, she would kill him.
Olivia may now be the most powerful leader in the world as chief of staff, but will anyone give her the wake up call she needs? Or, is it all downhill from here?
What to expect next season…
It was hard to say if Fitz and Olivia’s passionate kiss on the White House lawn was an official goodbye forever or another temporary goodbye as they have done in the past. The finality of it felt real as Fitz took off in his helicopter, but it is never really over with them. Tony Goldwyn (President Grant) will be returning next season, so it will be interesting to see his new role on the show. As he was tempted in the finale to head up B-613, he eventually resisted after a talk with Olivia. Maybe Olivia should have taken her own advice?
Perhaps this means that toxic relationship has come to an end?
It is hard to say what kind of presidency Mellie will have. However, I think we have come to know a more honest and trustworthy Mellie and I only think she will continue to grow. Will Marcus be at her side again? It may be unlikely. But, Marcus is not a character to be wasted so I hope for his return.
Cyrus, again, appears that he will fall back into his old ways of immorality and become Mellie’s Vice President. He is already aware of Luna’s murder by Olivia and is still willing to step in as VP. That’s all he wants in the end…after all. To still have that control. To still be on top.
Season 7 will be our last season with our gladiators. It has not been announced how many episodes the season will have, but hopefully Shonda Rhimes won’t be leaving any questions unanswered by the time we have to say goodbye.
Until next season!