Scandal Season 5, Episode 21 Recap: That's My Girl

Photo: ABC/Byron Cohen.
We've come to accept something from a Shonda Rhimes finale — death. And tonight, she didn't disappoint. The season five finale of Scandal opened with Jake (Scott Foley) murdering his new father-in-law on Rowan's (Joe Morton) orders. The show then promptly moved on to figure out the Vice-Presidential picks for the two remaining candidates — Mellie (Bellamy Young) and Joe Vargas (Ricardo Chavira).
Cyrus' (Jeff Perry) first pick for Vargas' running mate? David (Joshua Malina). It's amazing how David went from almost getting fired to being offered the position of veep in just one episode. Rowan has other plans, however. He suggests Jake as the VP, and Cyrus, ever-addicted to power, agrees. If only he really admitted to innocent-out-of-touch Vargas that Jake is the man who murdered his ex-husband.
David did have a great response though — "What does the Dark Lord Master, Cyrus Bean, want?" He would have made an entertaining and sassy VP for sure.
As the two soon-to-be candidates figure out their future business partners, President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) plans his own future, dreaming of Vermont. Yes, he's once again dreaming of Liv (Kerry Washington) as if they haven't already failed. There's nothing like abandoned medical records to replace dreams of Vermont with heartbreak. The truth is out about Liv's abortion, so what is Fitz going to do now?
Somehow, at least temporarily, it makes Fitz more likable than ever. He's finally trying to think about someone else...kind of. He acts as entitled while trying to claim that his speech all about him is to benefit Mellie. (Although, I will give him full credit for being self-aware and making fun of the fact that his ex-wife is running for President and her campaign manager is his ex-mistress).
Thank goodness for Mellie Grant. I fully believe she is the most beloved character on the show, and it's primarily because of monologues like this where she calls out not only other characters but society in general. She's yelling both at Fitz and every man that ever got in her way when she says, "I am not a white man, and I am here on my own."
Mellie handles Fitz, but now Liv needs to find a way to handle Rowan. Jake is Rowan's only pawn, so as Queen, she decides to take his pawn. She announces Jake as Mellie's running mate. She walks into Rowan's house and claims Jake is hers. In the process she points out Rowan's two weaknesses — the man he calls his "son" (Jake) and Liv.
(Which raises an important question: What kind of politics does Jake have that he can be the first VP pick for both the Republican and Democratic nominees?)
Not only did Liv stand up to her dad, but she went to ask Fitz for permission. Fitz summed it up perfectly: "You came by to tell me your ex-boyfriend is going to be on my ex-wife's ticket." Yes, she did. Fitz not only agreed, but had a moment where he realized something we all realized about him seasons ago — he doesn't listen or think about other people. After five seasons, we finally have some character development. So much so that he told Liv, "I support your choice." He supports her in picking Jake as VP and in having an abortion. This TV abortion has continued to be handled respectfully and in a non-dramatic fashion.
Turns out the person who Liv should have asked if Jake would make a good VP was Jake himself. He doesn't want it. He wants a simple, normal life with Liv. For some reason, none of the men in Liv's life realize she doesn't want normalcy. She wants the spotlight, she wants power. Finally, Jake realizes Liv is the new Command. But he was wrong. She's not the new Command, she is still being shaped by Command — Rowan got Liv exactly where he wanted her to be. Exactly where he wanted both of his "children" to be: The White House.
Who is in her way? Cyrus. Apparently, political parties do not exist on this show. Cyrus Bean was the Republican Chief of Staff this term — only a couple of months ago, in fact, and now he's running as the Democratic Vice President. Cheers to the independent vote? Let's hope all the closed primaries are over.
Honestly, the finale wasn't as shocking as we expected. I kept waiting for another shocker, another death — a reason to scream at the TV or cry. I didn't get that. I do have some questions though: Will Liv take the VP position? What is Tom, a psychopathic killer, going to do now that Cyrus broke his heart? And finally, will anyone ever finally get rid of Rowan and realize the "Command" he has on them?

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