Scandal has never been a show that leaves us with a satisfying season finale. While season 5’s finale wasn’t chalk full with the heart-stopping cliffhangers we’ve come to expect from showrunner Shonda Rhimes, it left a foreboding feeling that Scandal season 6 is about to get darker than ever.
Let’s take a look at where our favorite Scandal characters are as the series enters its summer hiatus and where they may end up in the upcoming season…
President Fitzgerald Grant
How shocking was it to find a very Fitz-Free finale? The latter half of the season for Fitz was really about his post-Olivia life and his reform to make the end of his final term as president his best. With Abby at his side this season, we have seen Fitz finally start to make some of his own decisions and become the president everyone always wanted him to be.
Fitz, however, did find out about Olivia’s secret abortion in the finale, but made the decision not to confront Olivia about it.
Next season will be big for Fitz as the presidential election goes on and his presidency comes to an end. Who knows if Scandal season 6 will end when Fitz leaves or if we will actually get to see his life after the White House? He told Abby where he considered going after his term, either back home to California or to his house in Vermont, where Liv and him had once planned to settle. Whether Liv is by his side or not, I can’t imagine Fitz anywhere other than Vermont.
The Republican candidate was finally chosen and Mellie triumphed. After a season of proving herself a strong potential presidential candidate with Olivia and the other gladiators at her side, her hard work finally paid off. Plus, this is what she has always wanted. Getting Fitz to the White House was phase one and now Mellie is ready for her phase two.
With Jake Ballard now her chosen (or rather, forced by Olivia) VP, Mellie is perhaps feeling more unstoppable than ever. The president/her ex-husband supports her and she’s got Olivia on her side… all the chips are falling into place in her Thoroughly Modern “Mellie” fantasy.
So, who could throw a hitch in her plan?
Marcus Walker spent season 5 trying to prove himself to the gladiators. However, Huck and Quinn worked hard to keep him at just enough of a distance to not completely corrupt him. By the end of season 5, he is truly a member of the gang and he doesn’t have to torture and murder to be one of them.
Marcus is a strong, steadfast character and has proven to be a rock not only for the team, but also for Mellie during her campaign. He continuously gave her the courage to fight for what she wanted and didn’t mind going against Olivia’s orders every once in a while. It became obvious that Marcus isn’t just someone to be pushed around; he is his own person and inspires the others around him. We saw it last season and we are finally seeing it again as he became Mellie’s voice of encouragement.
But are Mellie and Marcus something more?
In the episode before the finale, we saw an “almost kiss” between Mellie and Marcus. It had been building up ever since Mellie began truly listening and following his words while Olivia became more wrapped up in herself and her own agenda.
There is no way this new storyline will be dropped and is sure to cause some drama. But, who can’t admit that the Marcus/Mellie storyline has been one we’ve wanted to happen for a while. Finally, a couple on the show we don’t loathe.
Should we start shipping Marlie?
Jake’s character took a turn for the worst this season as Papa Pope hooked Jake back into this toxic life. We even got a look into Jake’s past to see how it was even possible for him to become so susceptible to Rowan’s ways and saw just how weak Jake really is. He almost appeared as a child when Olivia finally came to his rescue in the finale, an innocence and terror in his eyes when he pushed Rowan’s gun away and walked away from his “father.”
But, I think what Jake wanted most was to be with Liv. However, she shattered that dream quickly when he realized he was now Olivia’s “puppet” instead of Rowan’s, being forced into the Vice President position beside Mellie, something he never wanted. I thought at that moment, Jake would just leave. But Liv’s reigns are tighter than I thought on him and he may need the gladiator’s help bring Liv to her senses.
Next season, we will see Jake for the first time truly without Rowan’s control. While he may not completely be a free man, Scandal season 6 will be about a discovery of life without Papa Pope. Will Jake completely reform? Or will Liv drag him down in new turmoil and continue to feed the darkness that has plagued Jake his whole life.
Damnit, Liv. Just walk into the sun with him and call it good!
Rowan Eli Command Pope
Rowan is a man of many names and a man no one can really get rid of. Rowan plotted for the entire season to get control of the White House using Jake as his pawn. Jake murdered and strategized at the hands of Rowan, so he could fulfill the plan of becoming Edison’s vice president. However, when Edison saw Rowan’s true colors, he backed down and when Rowan tried to get Jake on the Vargas ticket, Cyrus used Liv to get out of that one.
So that was that! Papa Pope finally lost. All of this plans failed…
Or, did they?
When Rowan watched Mellie and Jake take the stage together, his pride was obvious towards Olivia’s own manipulations and conniving to get what she wanted. Even though his initial plan failed, Olivia following in her dad’s footsteps may have always been his ultimate plan.
So unfortunately, this probably means Rowan will be back next season. It may have seemed like Liv was done with her father and maybe this is true in a way, but only because Rowan finally got what he really wanted; for his daughter to do just as he wanted.
Rowan is nowhere near done trying to weave his way into the White House and while Liv thinks she defeated him, she may have really just let him in more than ever.
Frankie Vargas and Cyrus Beene
Cyrus really separated himself from Fitz this season as he focused on running the campaign for Democrat Frankie Vargas. Cyrus did his usual to take him under his wing; lied, plotted, murdered, lied some more. The man never changes.
Maybe it was his plan all along to become Frankie’s VP choice. At first I thought, Vargas actually is a decent human being. Maybe Cyrus really does care about the people, finally.
Cyrus is always in it for the power and when he saw Frankie Vargas for the first time, he didn’t think, “This man can run the country,” he thought, “This man can win,” and that’s all Cyrus wants. Fitz was never really going to let Cy back into the White House, not completely. So of course, he found another way.
Now, Frankie seems like a smart man. But, how smart can he be to believe everything out of Cyrus’ mouth? Next season will most likely be a year of continuing to watch Cyrus manipulate Frankie and control his presidential race. But the thing I think most Scandal fans are awaiting for is the battle between Cyrus and Olivia.
Liv shocked audiences when her increasingly toxic strive for power may have reached its boiling point after Cyrus basically proposed a challenge to see just who ends up in the White House.
We have always known Liv likes to be on top; to be the best at what she does. But, this season it turned from her sort of infectious confidence to more of a domineering, envy for power. Now Cyrus and Olivia aren’t just opponents, they are enemies. That final scene was the moment the race for the White House became no longer about Mellie and Frankie, but between Cyrus and Olivia.
I think the start of next season we will see more development of her power lust. But, I think we will see more people start to question her motives. Especially her gladiators. Sure, Huck and Quinn challenge her every once in a while, and Marcus is definitely not afraid to stand up to her. But, it may be more than just talking to her firmly or going around her to get things done. Some of her gladiators, her friends… may just have to leave Olivia behind once and for all.
What will Olivia do without people beside her to hold her up?
Scandal Season 6 Premiere Date
While there is no premiere date yet for Scandal season 6, TVLine is reporting that next year Scandal will only have 16 episodes as opposed to its 22 episode order. There is speculation that this is because of Kerry Washington’s pregnancy that they will have to adjust filming and therefore have a shorter season, maybe even premiering midseason. After Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington were on Jimmy Kimmel together last week discussing Washington’s pregnancy, Kimmel questioned if it will be worked into the storyline. Rhimes of course, didn’t confirm anything but it’s the least to say that an Olivia Pope pregnancy could certainly be a wake up call for Liv if she continues down her dangerous road to glory.
Scandal season 6 will be focused on the presidential election and Fitz’s final months in the White House. We can expect Shonda Rhimes will continue to make subtle (or not so subtle) comments on our own election as Mellie and Frankie fight for the presidency and Olivia and Cyrus fight to take the other down.
Let the race begin!