The big cliffhanger going into Scandal's fall finale is who kidnapped Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes). It wasn't that she went underground trying to take down Olivia (Kerry Washington), but someone actually snatched her on the way to her wedding. Well, Thursday's (Nov. 16) episode wastes no time in revealing the kidnapper and it's...underwhelming.
It turns out that Rowan (Joe Morton) took Quinn, because he's a toddler who wants his toy back. No, seriously, he wants Olivia to give him back his dinosaur bones, so he took Quinn hostage until she does. Olivia correctly laughs in his face at the notion that he'll kill a pregnant woman just to get his dinosaur back, but Jake (Scott Foley) cautions Liv not to underestimate what Rowan will do.
I gotta say, this was a highly disappointing turn of events. It's as though after the initial reveal back in the Season 2 finale that Rowan is Olivia's father, he's a well they continually go back to as one of the big bads. Think about it -- how many times have we seen him "revealed" as the man behind the curtain? It's not even a surprise anymore, let alone a shocking OMG twist. It's just lazy writing at this point.
It gets even lazier when Olivia goes to see her mother, Maya (Khandi Alexander). Once again, Liv's crazy mom is there to advise her against her father. I can hardly wait until the episode where Rowan and Maya face off in their annual scenery-chewing competition.
The only interesting part of the whole scenario is that Maya rightly calls her daughter out on a small part of her wanting to let her father kill Quinn because that would solve all of Olivia's problems. Maya's right, Olivia knows that Quinn dying would make her life a whole lot easier. The problem is, Liv doesn't want Quinn or her unborn Godchild to die, but she also can't let Rowan get that kind of power over her again, even if right now it's only about dinosaur bones.
As Olivia struggles with what to do about her father, Jake advises her to kill Rowan because it's the only way out of this. He's not wrong. Plus, Papa Pope wore out his welcome a couple seasons ago, so it's not even a huge loss.
Olivia decides that Jake is right, or at least she thinks she can bluff her father into thinking she's going to kill him. So she goes to Rowan and puts in a kill order right in front of him. Rowan is convinced she'll choose Quinn, but Olivia rails against him about how she doesn't have some soft, chewy center because he made her in his image. If Quinn dies, she dies. No big deal for Olivia, as long as Rowan doesn't get to win.
So Rowan seemingly calls her bluff, marching off to kill Quinn. He fires a shot, Quinn screams, he fires another shot and there's silence. Olivia privately freaks out, but manages to pull herself together when Rowan returns, asking her if she wants to see the body.
And that's the cliffhanger. The problem is, no one in their right mind thinks Scandal just killed a nine-months-pregnant Quinn. Olivia would never, ever forgive him and since the only constant about Rowan is that he wants Olivia to love him and include him in her life, there's no way he really did it. This whole storyline just is not that interesting. I expect more from the Scandal writers at this point.
What is far, far more interesting than Olivia's mama-papa drama is the fact that her secretary, Lucy (Caroline Day), meets with Curtis Pryce (Jay Hernandez), claiming to have information about President Rashad's (Faran Tahir) assassination, which is shocking enough by itself – because where did this Lucy person come from and why is she ratting out Olivia? – but it's even more surprising when she kills Pryce and then calls Jake to tell him "it's done." Whaaaa?
His death is set up to look like some kind of accident, with his car being found by the Potomac River full of alcohol bottles and cans and Pryce nowhere to be seen. It lets Jake send a not-so-subtle message to Cyrus (Jeff Perry) about how, basically, snitches get stitches. It's a message to not dig too deep into why the QPA team thought Fenton (Dean Norris) was behind Quinn's kidnapping (and also Rashad's assassination) – because remember, Olivia and Jake planted that evidence.
So the real cliffhangers are actually what Cyrus is going to do this season to mess with B-613 and where the heck Lucy came from to help Jake carry out missions? I want to see more of her in the back half of the season.
Overall, not the show's sharpest midseason finale. It was probably meant to be all shocking and OMG, but the time has long since past that viewers are going to think the show killed off a pregnant series regular. Nope.
Odds & Ends
There's a small side plot of Marcus (Cornelius Smith Jr.) coming to Mellie (Bellamy Young) to convince her to work with Fitz's (Tony Goldwyn) foundation on its criminal justice reform platform. But all it succeeds in doing is making sure that Marcus and Fitz are going to be on screen for the back half of the season, it's also not terribly interesting.
There was also no Fenton on screen this week. After nearly being murdered by Charlie (George Newbern), he's off recuperating in his cabin in Montana. Totally understandable, but also the show suffers from lack of Fenton-Cyrus action.
Props must be given to Washington for her reactions to the gunshots in Rowan's house. Her shock and horror, then revulsion, then trying to choke down vomit while pulling herself together in time for her father to walk back in the room was outstanding. Brava, Kerry.
At one point, Olivia says to Jake, "Maybe we're the monsters." Um, maybe? You're getting awfully monstrous this season, Liv. The fact that you just played chicken with your pregnant friend's life ought to tell you something about the dark road you're headed down.