We Really Should Have Seen That Scandal Death Coming

Photo: Richard Cartwright/ABC.
This post contains spoilers about last night's episode of Scandal. Seriously, stop reading if you don't want to know about a major character's death!
Last night, Scandal returned to its Shondaland roots by killing off a surprising character. For some reason, Huck (Guillermo Diaz) has recovered just fine from what seemed like a sure death. But Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi) wasn't as lucky — poor Liz was mercilessly bludgeoned in an incredibly gory scene.
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Yes, it's sad — Liz was an awesome Scandal character. She was a no-nonsense, strong woman who wasn't afraid to get what she wanted. And she was smarter than pretty much every other Republican in the Scandal-verse, other than (maybe) Mellie (Bellamy Young). But there hasn't been much of a place for her in the new world order.
Liz was planning to be Mellie's chief of staff, but it's barely been mentioned this season. Olivia (Kerry Washington), as Mellie's campaign manager, was surprised (and angry) to hear that Mellie had been in touch with her at all. Liz had an important role during the episodes about the campaign trail, but she's been in the background as of late. This season's storyline can easily move forward without her.
But aside from that, Liz's impending death in last night's episode was so obvious it bordered on camp (until we saw her brain all over the carpet). The shadowy Ms. Ruland (Zoe Perry) was hovering behind Liz with a giant weapon for what felt like forever. Click through for a frame-by-frame analysis of the minutes leading up to Liz's demise.
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Screenshot via Scandal/ABC.
T minus 1 minute and 41 seconds until Liz's death

When I watched this episode live, I thought Ruland whacked Liz with a fireplace poker. That doesn't make sense, given the fact there doesn't appear to be a fireplace in Mellie's office, but I was not alone in thinking that.

Watching the scene again, though, it's clear the foreshadowing of Liz's death started as soon as Mellie walked into the room. She expected to find Liz, but instead Peus (David Warshofsky) and Ruland were there, too. And the first we see of them is Ruland playing with this golf set, foreshadowing what's to come. (Side note: If Mellie has a mini golf set in her office, she's definitely ready to be president.)
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Screenshot via Scandal/ABC.
T minus 22 seconds until Liz's death

Here's Ruland picking up the golf club. Even if you, like me, didn't connect that to the brief shot of Peus a minute earlier, you've got to be wondering why she's hovering behind Liz with a random weapon. That can't be good.
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Screenshot via Scandal/ABC.
T minus 20 seconds until Liz's death

Okay, now Ruland's tending to an imaginary spot on the carpet with the club. There's obviously something bad about to happen. The weapon has no place in this scene!

Clearly, someone in this room is about to be bludgeoned. Ruland's not going to hurt Peus — he's her boss. And he's all the way across the room from her. So there's Liz and Mellie. The whole point of this mysterious group seems to be forcing Mellie into the White House, so they have no reason to kill her. That leaves Liz, who we already know is fairly expendable this season.
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Screenshot via Scandal/ABC.
T minus two seconds until Liz's death

Ruland is making eye contact with Peus, implicitly asking if now's the right time to strike.
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Screenshot via Scandal/ABC.
RIP Liz.
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