It’s the last episode of Scandal ever. Forever, ever! And we kick off with Olivia Pope meeting up with Lonnie Mencken trying to figure out what to do about Jake and Cyrus. Mencken says he’ll help her if she can promise that Mellie makes gun control a priority. Olivia agrees and Lonnie kills himself. That latter part wasn’t part of Olivia’s plan, but that is how Mencken is helping (and keeping himself from being implicated). His death will get Olivia her Senate hearing.
Cyrus and Jake are backed into a corner and Olivia sees this as her chance to start over. Eli Pope begs to differ. He thinks Olivia should “stop being a slave, trying to fix massa’s problems,” and skip town. He set up a nice offshore bank account for her so she can disappear if she wants to, but the old Liv is back so you know she won’t be going anywhere. Meanwhile, Papa Pope is about to pay everyone dust because he refuses to get caught up in Olivia’s whistleblowing shenanigans. But at the same time, you know he’s not going to leave without knowing Olivia’s fate first.
The gladiators are terrified about testify about all the terrible things that have been done as part of B613 because it could potentially mean prison time. Mellie is terrified about testifying too because she could still get impeached and forced to step down. Meanwhile, Charlie is still locked up and doesn’t even know they’re doing this. However, when it’s time for the deposition, they spill all the tea about everything from Frankie Vargas to President Rashad, but they frame it as Jake and Cyrus being the masterminds. After the hearing, Rosen tells them that they should say their goodbyes now before the committee makes its recommendations because again, prison could be a reality. The first order of business is going to visit Charlie in prison. They inform him what’s going on, and Charlie and Quinn finally get their wedding.
Jake confronts Rosen in a dark parking lot and threatens to kill him unless he does the “smart” thing, but Rosen is finally about that life. As Jake touches the gun in his waistband, Rosen stretches his arms out to the side and says he’s not giving in to him so he might as well do what he has to do. He basically reads Jake for filth and his thesis is, “I am not your bitch, but you belong to Cyrus.” That last part is true. We all know Cyrus gave the order to kill Rosen and Jake attempted to do what he was told, but Rosen got all up in his head so the murder is off, for now.
Cyrus is livid and hurls all the usual insults at Jake, but Jake is finally tired of being a lap dog and tells him that he could have killed Rosen if he wanted to because he’s cold-blooded like that and killing is what he does. But Cyrus is the one who’s always barking orders and never actually getting in the midst of the action. That’s all it takes to put the battery in Cyrus’ back. In fact, Cyrus interrupts Abby and Rosen’s cuddle time in bed with a text telling Rosen that he wants to strike a deal.
Rosen, the only truly clean individual in this entire universe, is naive enough to think that Cyrus is really about to lay down and take his punishment. So, they meet up at Cyrus’ office, Cyrus hands him a drink, and…you know where this is going, right? Rosen drinks the poison and the Cyrus smothers him with a pillow as he already lay choking from the poison.
Why no one realized this was a trap is beyond any of us, because Cyrus would literally do something like this. We know this. They should have known this, but that’s what it is. So let’s pour one out for Rosen.
Now we find Abby, Olivia, Quinn and Huck standing over Rosen’s body in the morgue. The coroner said it was a heart attack, but they know what’s up. Abby refuses to cry because she wants to act now and grieve later. Huck offers to take care of it but Olivia tells him not to because they’re the good guys now.
“We’re the only white hats left,” she offers.
Quinn goes to Papa Pope for help and he tells her like he told Olivia that they are on their own. He’s retired from the mess and dasit.
Olivia laments to Fitz that they’ve lost. The thing is, with Rosen dead, that means there’s the deputy AG left. Cyrus still has the deputy AG in pocket so he’s going to win. Fitz is hopeful that things will work out, but Olivia has a meltdown because she hasn’t fixed anything and she dragged her people down (she actually did fix something, she got them to tell the truth, which set them free as the cliche goes). She points out that this is most likely the last time they’ll ever be in the same room together alone since she’s probably going to jail and that they can either keep talking about impending doom or do something else.
You already know they chose something else.
The next morning, Fitz gets news that the committee postponed the recommendations because they have a new witness. Turns out it’s Eli Pope. He was moved by news of Rosen’s death. He obviously knew what’s up and again, Rosen was the one person who didn’t deserve what he got. The committee thinks Eli is just a paleontologist so they’re not taking him seriously at all. They’re not even trying to hide their smirks and are especially amused when he tells them that he created B613. He goes into his most epic rant ever by telling them that he created B613 in response to them, “White men who were masters of the universe who left the world to rot.” He goes in about their privilege and how they have this power but act like petulant children so he had to come in and save them, and the world, from themselves. Then he flips it by telling them that they bare the responsibility for all that B613 hath wrought. He also lowkey makes them realize that they got played by a black man.
“I am responsible for the fact that this nation still stands. I wake up every morning and I make America great again, this is my legacy!” is the exact quote to cap our last Rowan special. Now he has their attention, they hang on to every word he says.
He manages to control the hell out of them, because that’s what he does, and says he can give them command, but he’s not going down for it, and that’s what it is. Rowan Pope saves the day.
Finally, Jake gets arrested. Quinn rejoices with Abby and Huck because “the good guys win.” Abby finally breaks down because “the good guy is dead,” which is true.
Olivia visits Jake in prison before he gets transferred and offers a teary apology for forcing him to step out of the sun. He tells her not to be sorry, that he loved her and that she should never be sorry for that. Jake thanks her for showing up for him and they exchange their final goodbyes.
Sally Langston delivers news that the shadow government has been put to bed and that Mellie Grant is back on track.
Cyrus pays Olivia a visit and Olivia is not with the small talk. She just wants him to hand in his resignation letter. Cyrus starts talking about how he can’t escape the darkness and ends up signing the resignation letter and that’s that. Cyrus, the one who should actually be in jail, get to roam free. Yes, Cyrus has to live with the “darkness,” but it just doesn’t seem right that Cyrus gets to be free while Jake rots in jail.
Mellie then asks Olivia how they can restore the public’s faith in govt institutions and makes it clear that she needs Olivia by her side, but Liv is done. Liv tells Mellie that she has always known how to run the country in the way it needs to be run, and she will be great. Mellie asks what Olivia is going to do and her reply is, “Whatever I want.”
Translation: Olivia Pope is free.
The final episode winds down with a montage of Mellie in the Oval Office with Marcus by her side as an aide, press secretary or maybe even VP and it looks like she signed a new bill, perhaps for gun control. Abby and Huck visit Rosen’s grave, Charlie, Quinn and their baby are back together as a happy family, and Jake is in his cell fantasizing about being back in the sun with Olivia. Finally, Olivia goes to see Fitz and they deliver their classic Olitz-style, “Hi,” because you know Vermont is in their future.
And the last thing we see is two little black girls at the National Museum of African American History and Culture staring at a portrait of Olivia Pope, the woman who brought down the republic in order to help it rebuild.
But like, what about Huck’s ending? Is he back at Best Buy? Is Eli back in Zanzibar, his happy place? Hello? It’s like, the entire series did all this build up only for us to still have questions.
How’s that for anticlimactic?