The two-part Scandal season finale finally answered the question, who was behind Frankie Vargas’ assassination and plotting to assassinate Mellie?
At the end of last week’s episode, Jake Ballard identified Olivia Pope’s mother, Maya Pope, as the mastermind who was pulling Peus and Sarah’s strings. This week, Jake arrests and interrogates her, and Maya appears to be as certifiable as ever. She’s ranting and raving at the top of her lungs about black women being the mule of the world (she ain’t lyin’), calling out white women with cornrows and singing Negro spirituals.
Through it all, Maya maintains that she isn’t in town to assassinate Mellie. She’s there to protect Olivia. But who would believe the international terrorist who broke Eli’s heart and abandoned Olivia? Eli and Olivia, for starters. Maybe it’s the look in Maya’s eyes as Olivia is choking the life out of her that finally convinces Liv she’s telling the truth. Fortunately, Jake is nearby to prevent Olivia from adding “murdered my own mother” to her résumé.
With no clarity about who’s trying to assassinate Mellie, Olivia urges Mellie to modify the swearing-in ceremony for her own safety, but Mellie has no intention of depriving all the women, traveling from near and far to see the first female president sworn in, of their moment.
With Mellie’s line drawn firmly in the sand, Olivia has got to figure out a way to foil the assassination plot. It’s an all-hands-on-deck effort. Quinn Perkins, who’s now running Olivia Pope & Associates, even lets Abby Whelan come and help. They learn that Maya isn’t paying the assassin; she is the assassin.
Olivia decides to release Maya and follow her to the person who’s paying her—a plan that is quickly foiled when Maya cuts the microchip out of her neck in a diner bathroom and they lose her. An amateur Instagram stalker in a Ford Festiva could trail someone better than these guys and their fancy microchips.
Nonetheless, it’s Inauguration Day; Jake has secured the event as best one can, and Mellie and her vice president, Luna Vargas, Frankie’s widow, are prepared to proceed. To no one’s surprise, Maya overtakes one of the snipers and aims his gun toward Mellie, but Maya calls Olivia to ask her to get her “big bubble head” out of the way. As it turns out, Maya’s not aiming for Mellie, but Eli shoots her before we can decipher her real target.
Back at OPA, Charlie and Olivia examine the inauguration seating chart and realize that Maya had been aiming at Luna, not Mellie. Olivia confronts Luna, and Luna calmly confesses that she was involved in Frankie’s assassination and that there’s nothing Olivia can do about it because if she hurts Luna, she’ll hurt Mellie’s presidency. There’s an evil twinkle in her eye as she transforms from Luna Vargas into Lunatic Vargas right before our eyes.
Now it’s the night of the inauguration, and Olivia asks Jake to be her date—not to the ball, but to Luna’s forced suicide. They call Luna to her office and let her know that she can either get shot in the head or take two suicide pills—her choice. The funniest moment is when Luna suggests that they wouldn’t kill a vice president, and Olivia says, “Raise your hand if you’ve killed a vice president before,” and both Jake and Olivia raise their hands.
Before Lunatic takes the pill, she confesses that she had Frankie assassinated because she thought his legacy would accomplish more than his life. She gives some speech about how much Jackie Kennedy, with blood splattered on her Chanel suit, would have accomplished if she had become president. Nice speech. Good night.
With forced suicide checked off her list, Olivia swings by the Oval Office and hands Mellie an executive order to sign that she tells her will provide defense funding, but in actuality, it will reinstate B613, which Olivia will now run. Deceive the president. Check. As her father has warned, Olivia is not the symptom, she’s the disease. She’s no longer the prey, she’s the predator.
In her final act of the night, Olivia sits on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a bottle of red wine and Cyrus Beene joins her, just as they planned in one of the first episodes of this season. Olivia tells Cyrus that Luna was behind Frankie’s assassination, and Cyrus understands Luna’s motivation a little too quickly, speaking about how much Jackie Kennedy, with blood splattered on her Chanel suit, would have accompli—it’s the exact-same speech Lunatic gave!
It’s all coming together now: It was Cyrus who planted the seed in Luna’s head that Frankie needed to die, which got the whole ball rolling so that he could work his way back into the White House. Despite this discovery, Olivia agrees to nominate him as Mellie’s vice president. Cyrus asks Olivia how it feels to be the most powerful person in the world, and Olivia coolly replies, “Right ... it feels right.”
Not only has Olivia lit the white hat on fire; she’s probably bathed in its ashes.
Also in this episode, Fitz Grant boards Marine One and heads off into the sunset, presumably toward Vermont, but not before he and Olivia share some intimate moments over their theme song, “The Light.” She kisses him before he boards the aircraft and says, “It’s been an honor, Mr. President,” which reminds us that this whole ride began when Olivia came aboard Fitz’s presidential campaign six seasons ago. But you know Fitz isn’t going too far away, especially since Eli was almost able to convince him to stay and run B613 before Olivia talked him out of it so she could have it for herself.
Oh, did I mention that Quinn is pregnant with Charlie’s baby? Yeah, and given their proclivity for slitting throats, how is she going to run OPA, raise a child and prevent the child from turning into a psycho killer? Ah, the struggles of a working mom. She asks Abby to take over OPA, but Abby refuses her offer. Instead, she agrees to work for Quinn and help her get through it all.
With Mellie and Olivia (or Olivia and Mellie) in the White House, and Quinn and Abby trying to hold down OPA with a baby in tow, it looks like season 7 is set to explore gender politics in the workplace.
What did you think of the finale? What are your predictions for season 7, the series’ final season?