ABC’s Scandal, one of Shonda Rhimes’s last network TV powerhouses before the megaproducer takes her talents to Netflix, contained multitudes. It was a groundbreaking series that paved the way for more nonwhite protagonists on network television; when it started in 2012, Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope was the only black woman leading a network drama since the 1970s. It was also truly, unapologetically batshit. The fourth season of Scandal saw the vice president order the kidnapping of Washington’s Olivia Pope, after which she was auctioned on the dark web—and that might not make the cut for the show’s 10 wildest moments (the VP also hijacked his own plane to frame the president; Olivia bombed a plane; a woman was stabbed with a dinosaur tooth—this is all true). That the show began with an affair between Pope and then-president Fitzgerald Grant feels downright quaint.
After seven seasons, Scandal finally wrapped up Thursday night with its finale, “Over a Cliff.” It might not match up to Peak Batshit Scandal, but there were two deaths, multiple steamy hookups, and a whole lot of political maneuvering to put the final pieces in place. To express my utter dumbfoundedness one more time, here are 23 of the most pressing questions I had while, in honor of Olivia Pope, drinking my weight in red wine.
1. Alright, so Olivia is meeting with special prosecutor Lonnie Mencken and OH MY GOD, WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
2. We’re barely a minute into Scandal and someone already shot themselves in the head? Please note that, frankly, this is not at all surprising.
3. So the real reason Lonnie killed himself was to ensure Olivia would get a closed-door Congress hearing about B613, the mysterious spy organization that she runs and which used to be managed by her father, Rowan. Look, I love elaborate spy conspiracy things as much as the next guy—and B613 has been a huge part of Scandal for years—but why couldn’t Rhimes workshop the name B613? It’s a bland name, no offense.
4. Doesn’t B613 sound like some kind of next-level vitamin supplement? “Dude, you didn’t put B613 in your smoothie? That stuff is so good for your skin!”
5. Rowan doesn’t approve of Olivia testifying (and admittedly, it’s kind of wild that Olivia’s sort of finally doing the right thing after she bombed a plane and murdered a person with a chair, among MANY OTHER atrocities). But the Pope father-daughter relationship is all sorts of messed up. Is it the worst parental relationship this side of the Lannisters on Game of Thrones?
At least Olivia never considered killing Rowan on the toilet—that we know of.
6. I mean, you basically ran the Spy Illuminati, and Olivia’s mother was a straight-up terrorist so … many things wrong?
7. Olivia is convincing her “gladiators” that testifying to the committee and very likely facing jail time is the best possible course of action. Quinn is, naturally, upset, since she’s got a baby. She interrupts Olivia’s generic “We’re doing the right thing” speech by shouting “SHUT UP!”
This is Olivia’s face in response, which, if there were any justice in this world, would be enough to secure Kerry Washington another Emmy nomination:
Did anyone else expect Olivia to just bash her with a chair right there and then? This is a finale!
8. As a courtesy, Olivia brings Quinn to prison to see her lover, Charlie, a former B613 spy himself. This is how they greet one another:
I legitimately thought to myself: ARE THEY GOING TO BONE IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS PRISON, IN FRONT OF OLIVIA POPE, GOD, AND EVERYONE?
9. They did not; in fact, they just got properly married. It was cute, in a Scandal kind of way. Their vows included the phrase “to help you hide the bodies, no questions asked.” … Aww?
10. How would Scandal describe the position of attorney general of the United States of America?
Sounds about right.
11. Vice President Cyrus wants Attorney General David killed so that he won’t be able to prosecute him or anyone else involved with B613. When Jake refuses, Cyrus takes matters into his own hands by inviting David to meet and discuss his surrender terms.
So, he’s going to kill David, right?
David, don’t accept the drink. You’re not that stupid, right?
WHY ARE YOU DRINKING THE DRINK FROM AN EVIL MAN? Cyrus literally just said, “I’m not a good person.”
HOW DID YOU NOT EXPECT TO BE POISONED LIKE THIS? This was all so preventable!
(RIP, David. I’m beginning to think you were tired of being the bitch of the United States of America and did this on purpose.)
16. Can you imagine how wild this would be in real life—if Mike Pence poisoned Jeff Sessions over some Illuminati cover-up? This sounds like an Infowars conspiracy come to life.
17. The committee decision on B613 is suspended because of David’s, um, “heart attack.” It’s also a weirdly good thing for Olivia’s team? Can they still get persecuted? The assistant AG is under Cyrus’s control so, is everyone going to avoid jail time because of another murder?!
18. Oh wait, what’s going on with Olivia and Fitz? Can we get one final Olitz hookup for the road?
Scandal … thank you.
19. So Rowan testifies and puts the B613 blame on Jake Ballard, who’s going to take the fall for everything and—wait, is that Perd Hapley from Parks and Recreation?
20. If you’ve seen actor Jay Jackson in anything, he’s likely been a newscaster—Scandal, Parks and Rec, Pretty Little Liars, Battleship, The Catch, Fast Five, Bones, Supergirl, the list goes on and on. But is he the same newscaster every time? Do all these shows and movies exist in the same universe? Is Jay Jackson the news-anchor version of Nick Fury?
Personally, I’m all for Leslie Knope, Olivia Pope, and Dominic Toretto being part of the same world. The existence of B613 might explain how Toretto’s gang of car drivers has such high security clearance.
21. Anyway, yes, Jake is going to go to prison and everyone else is … free to go?! This is absolutely bonkers.
It’s one thing to be exonerated for, say, laundering money—but this was a secret government agency that swung elections and killed both foreign and domestic leaders. And the committee is content to put the blame on one guy who isn’t even the organization’s ringleader?
22. Charlie is also released from prison and reunites with Quinn and their daughter. Unfortunately, I think they squished their daughter’s face?
23. Scandal ends with a montage of characters’ fates scored to a new Stevie Wonder song (really!). It appears Olivia and Fitz can live happily ever after—which probably means gallivanting to Vermont and having copious amounts of sex and wine.
And also, I guess, Olivia gets her own portrait at the White House?!
This is so epic and uncalled for, but I love it; it’s like the Beyoncé pregnancy Instagram of White House portraits. There is no more fitting image for Scandal to end on. With that, Scandal is over—and so is my bottle of ’94 du Bellay.