Scandal just pulled a fast one on us in last night's finale. It was remarkably reminiscent of February's disappointing How To Get Away With Murder finale — and after that trainwreck, haven't we suffered enough?
Last night, we finally learned why Samantha (Zoe Perry) and Peus (David Warshofsky) wanted Mellie to be president, and why they orchestrated Frankie Vargas' (Richardo Chavira) death. It turns out that Luna Vargas (Tessie Santiago) never wanted her husband to be president, and she was willing to rig an election — and let her husband be murdered — to stop that from happening. Cyrus (Jeff Perry) gave her the idea, which makes a lot more sense, but in the end, it was all Luna's doing.
I'll admit, when the show revealed that Maya (Khandi Alexander) was trying to shoot the person behind Frankie's death, I got excited. There was a limited number of people on that stage, and it was fun, for a minute, to guess who Maya was aiming at. Of course, Cyrus would have been my first guess, but he was at home during the inauguration. Was it David (Joshua Malina)? That's a stretch, but he did bring someone a human head in a box last week. The scene was heavy foreshadowing for what was to come in the finale — the "bad guys" threatened to cut off Olivia's (Kerry Washington) head by sending Rowan (Joe Morton) the bricks. But in the end, the so-called white hats were just as bad as Samantha and Peus were.
But, of course, it wasn't David behind the attack, and it wasn't any of the other main characters, either. It was Luna, who's barely appeared on the show at all. It's a classic ShondaLand twist that calls to mind that HTGAWM reveal. When Laurel's dad was behind Wes' death on that show, the twist was met with a collective "huh?" At that point, Mr. Castillo didn't even have a first name, and he was so minor of a character that he'd been played by two different actors. Reveals like these two aren't satisfying twists for the viewers, because they don't make sense.
The fun of a thriller like Scandal is trying to guess what's going to happen next. But with twists like this, there's no payoff. There's no feasible way fans could have guessed Luna didn't want her husband to be president. We didn't know anything about her character, or the dynamics in their marriage and family life. Viewers would never think she'd want her husband dead, because we didn't know who she was. Yes, the left-field reveal is a twist, but it's a bad twist. It's not fun to play along when this is the ending — it just makes me angry for investing so much time in the show.
The Luna reveal isn't the only way Scandal has fallen off the path last night, and this season on the whole. Apparently, we're supposed to buy that Rowan would want Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) to be in charge of B613 after multiple seasons of calling him a child playing in a sandbox. And Olivia's transformation into the show's ultimate villain has been uncomfortable, to say the least — at this point, she might even be more evil than Cyrus.
There's also the many uncomfortable ways that Scandal has addressed suicide. And the fact that the only politicians who care about their children are the women — and when parents are murdered, their orphaned kids are never spoken of again. Although, personally, my biggest Scandal gripe is how the show continually fails the once-great Marcus (Cornelius Smith Jr.). We all knew Abby (Darby Stanchfield) would return to OPA — but we don't get at least one scene of Marcus "That's How I Gladiate" Walker rejoining the OPA ranks?
Yes, Scandal's had its small saving graces this season. Rowan reminding Fitz that his "sex scandal" will be his presidential legacy was perfection, as are any scenes of Olivia and Mellie (Bellamy Young) drinking together. But, overall, this show started going south a long time ago. And we still have another season of disappointment before it's over.
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