Scandal is a roller-coaster ride of a show, constantly pushing the envelope and shocking fans with its twisty turns. But Season 4 has been frustrating with its lack of interaction between most of the main characters, sinister newer characters, emphasis on B613, and more. Scandal seemed to lose its heart (i.e. Fitz and Olivia and Jake, David and Abby, Cyrus and his late husband) this season, but the crazy, chaotic final wrapped up the troubled story lines that bogged down the show this year, and ends Scandal with hope for a somewhat fresh coarse in Season 5.
Season 4 of Scandal was operatic in its highs and lows as series creator Shonda Rhimes continues to refine and redefine her characters, any preconceived notions about their races or sexual preferences, and their realities. There was Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) being held hostage, her latest fling being an assassin, First Lady Mellie’s (Bellamy Young) campaign for Senate, the President Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) wearing his heart on his sleeve (or trigger finger) and starting a war out of love, the White House wedding of Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) and a male hooker, the death then resurrection of Jake Ballard (Scott Foley), and any appearance by sadistic Papa Eli Pope (who, as played by Joe Morton, makes Darth Vader look like Father of the Year material).
The ride was positively crazy this season, but also somewhat disjointed. Olivia’s kidnapping produced some great acting by Washington, but dragged on far too long. The final episode was a microcosm of this season’s craziness. It was also deeply sickening on so many levels.
The bad points this season were related to the whiplash chaos and unconscionable actions of Olivia’s father, B613 and the people who locked her up. Those plot aspects were troubling, messy and bloody, including the incredible low bar in the last episode of [Spoiler alert] Mellie being involved with the grisly shooting of all 12 jurors sequestered on a bus (with the deed done by Huck) to ensure her Senate victory. The ghastly scene was even more disturbing that the one a few episodes before when Olivia found a former Russian agent and her grandchildren dead at her father’s instigation.
A good point in the last episode (and most of this season) was the interaction between Mellie and Fitz. There were scenes of togetherness, support for each other, understanding and – boom – raw hatred.
Another high point is Morton, who is very good at being bad. He no longer tries to play daddy to Olivia and instead tries to play puppeteer, moving men into her bed, threatening the lives of any one she cares about, and everyone being blackmailed in some way for his agenda.
So how did it end, and how will it start next fall? Jake told Olivia “Goodbye,” having finished his mission to protect her and acknowledging he loves her, but she loves the President. Cyrus and Mellie have been thrown out of the White House or as the President put it, “his house,” for their parts in helping Papa Pope. Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes) is threatening to kill Huck for assassinating the jurors. Eli Pope is in jail (like Al Capone, they could not pin the violence on him but got him for financial dealings). Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi) has moved into Cyrus’ old office. At the end, Olivia and Fitz were on the balcony of the White House, presumably about to go inside. So ends another crazy, trouble-filled year of the Scandal rollercoaster ride, with fresh hope for next season to start another twisted chapter.
Opinion by Dyanne Weiss
Scandal Season 4, all episodes
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