TV and Movies

That’s My Girl: Scandal Season 5 Finale Recap

Last night was the season 5 finale of Scandal, and it was different from others’ because it all ended up very calm. Which means a storm awaits when season 6 begins this fall. The theme, though, felt like “POWER.” Folks were trying to claim it and some lost and few won.

Last week, I wrote about why my Scandal recaps have been few and far between this last couple of months. Some of y’all continued to whine in spite of it. I AM SIDE-EYING YOU, FYI. Y’all don’t want a G to rest. But yesterday, I was home for the first Thursday in 5 weeks. That is why I was able to make this happen.

Antywho, let’s jump into the happenings of this episode.

Scandal Logo

Sorry Not Sorry – Jake and his Father-in-Law are in the old man’s study. Vanessa’s dad tells him he’s really excited to have him as part of his family, and that he’s like the son he never had. He takes a sip of his scotch and Jake from State Farm says he already has a father figure in Rowan Pope. Plus, Vanessa stands to inherit a shit ton of money once he’s dead. The old man clutches his chest, because he’s having a heart attack and Ballard tells him it’ll only be a while longer as he watches the man takes his last breath. GAHTDAMBIT, JAKE! You attack dog. Killing your Father-in-Law is a new low, except it isn’t because he didn’t marry for love.

Ella Wasn’t There – Michael has stolen Ella and Tom gives Cyrus the update that he’s even enrolled her in school. You would think Cyrus would seem a little bit more concerned but he isn’t. Probably because he knows good and damb well he is a shitty father to that child. Anyone else is an improvement, especially Michael, who really loves her.

Candidates – Both Mellie Grant and Frankie Vargas don’t have Vice-President candidates yet, and their parties’ national conventions are around the corner. Cyrus shows up at David Rosen’s office and says he wants him to be Vargas’ running mate. The smartly cautious Lemony Snicket says “What does the dark lord master Cyrus Beene want in exchange for this?” Good question. Cy surprises him by saying he wants nothing. Vargas IS as pure of a person and politician as they come and he (GASP) actually wants to make the country better. Like for real, not for play.

The Gladiators are trying to find Mellie’s VP and they land on Bill Wagner, a respected and well-liked congressman. He tells them that the only skeleton in his closet is that he used to sell cocaine in college, to put himself through school. I used to have a MySpace page with glitter wallpaper. We all have our shoddy pasts. Olivia an’ ‘em decide that he’s the best bet, as long as they make that thing go away so it never comes up. Their solution: force his dealing buddy to abandon his name, his life, and move to Albuquerque.

Quinn 1Quinn 2

But they don’t. Not yet.

Roachy Rowan – Edison rolls up to OPA offices with AOL mail on behalf of Jake. Ballard wants him to tell Liv that he wants out from being under Rowan’s thumb. When he delivers the message, Olivia is all “and so?” She is not moved. He leaves all miffed and Huck tells her to reconsider. He shows her the newspaper, where death of Vanessa’s very rich and very influential father was reported. Heart attack? YEAH OK. How about Command is stocking up money, in the form of Jake’s wife’s new inheritance of half a billy.

At the Vargas office, Cyrus walks in to see Rowan talking to Frankie. AW HELL. He’s trying to give the man $30 million to “support” his campaign. NOOOOO!!! He’s tryna make them his bitch. When Frankie walks out, Cy tells Papa Pope he gotta go because this ain’t where he’s about to do his dirty deeds at. HAHAHAHAHAH YEAH AIGHT. Rowan tells him he knows he was behind the shooting that convinced Frankie to run, sooo he better play ball or get the whistle blown. Oh and he wants Jake to be on Vargas’ ticket. Rowan Pope would blackmail a newborn baby with facts from their past life. He finds EVERY piece of dirt. That man is such a roach! So when Frankie asks Cy what he thinks about him making Jake his VP, all Mr. Beene can do is nod and say “It’s a good idea.”

Running David – Liz North is all geeked to hear that David is being considered for Vargas’ VP and she wants him to say yes, even though he’s hesitant and that’s a Democratic ticket. He’s also pissed at her for being the reason he lost a woman he really loved: Susan Ross. To cap it off, she then seduces David, whose pride should make him say no but he has little of that. Hot mess.

Abby’s Mistake – Abby walks into her office and finds Fitz in there holding a folder. He turns to her and it is the one with Olivia’s medical records. The one she was going to use to make Mellie drop out instead of Susan, but chose not to. The one that has information about the abortion Olivia had. Fitz is mad hurt and storms out, wondering why nobody told him before that she aborted his baby. And I’m wondering why Abby had that file just laying around. Shouldn’t you lock it up? Shouldn’t you take it out of the White House? Whappened to diligence??

Get Your Daddy – Cyrus is pissed, storming into Liv’s apartment because her dad is now all up in the campaign he is supposed to be running. This campaign was supposed to be Him vs. Liv, not them versus Papa Pope.

Cyrus Campaign

She tells him that he’s not an angel himself. He got innocent people killed to even make Vargas run. Cy says: “HE IS POLITICAL JESUS” so if people are martyred for him, that’s ok. For once in his life, Cyrus actually believes in someone’s goodness, which makes him excuse his badness in such an earnest way. Liv is all “Nah, son. I’m fresh outta ways to help.” How do you conquer Rowan? Seriously. How? The guy got more lives than Garfield.

Mellie’s Read – The RNC is coming up and Fitz will actually take the stage to endorse Mellie. It’s too bad that the speech he wrote is all about HIM and all he’s accomplished as president. Melody is not here for it and she calls him to the carpet. He asks “You’re treating me like a first time, unpopular mayor of Cincinnati.” Sooooo like Jerry Springer? That pisses her off and she takes the opportunity to read him for filth, especially since he looks at his presidency like it’s some sort of nuisance or cage.

“I did not have a trust fund. I did not go to the best boarding schools. I am not a white man. Unlike you, Fitz, I want this. Unlike you, I earned it. And unlike you, I will not squander it. This stage is MINE.”

stage is mine

GO IN, THEN!!! Fitzgerald Grant shouldn’t have edges anymore, as much as he gets told about himself.

No Stealing – Jake is walking to his car in a garage when Liv walks up on him while rocking this AMAZING black double-breasted coat with a cobalt collar. Ugh it was so dope. She got his message and she wants to help and she’s sorry that she said those things to him in the church. He was not trying to hear her sorry. He just wants to know what her plan is and she says she has none. But does he trust her? He says yes.

Papa Pope probably knows Liv is meeting up with Jake. HE KNOWS EVERYTHING. And when she gets back to OPA, he tells her this. You do not steal from someone who knows everything. You cannot steal Jake from the back door. You gotta walk through the front door and TAKE him. And how does she do that? Huck tells her she has to BECOME Command. Uh oh.

Right then, news comes out talking about Bill Wagner’s past as a coke dealer. WHO TOLD??? Also, does that mean the other guy can move back from ABQ now? I’m just asking…

Sorry for 2004 – Olivia has a plan. She goes to the White House and says she wants to see Fitz. Abby thinks she will be rejected from getting into the Oval Office and she is wrong. He opens the door for Liv and slams it in Abby’s face, like she’s Roscoe from Martin. Liv has something to run by him for his approval: Jake Ballard as Mellie Grant’s VP. “You came here to tell me your ex-boyfriend is going to be on my ex-wife’s ticket.” This web is more tangled than Charlotte’s.

Mellie’s read got through to Fitz, it seems. Even though he now knows about her abortion, he didn’t bring it up. Instead he apologized to her for not listening, instead. Like an apology for not hearing her pain that night when she lashed out at him. That is the most mature thing he’s done recently. Putting himself aside to just be present and take accountability. It endeared me to him a little. And he tells her that he will be changing his speech for the RNC. When Liv asks him why, he simply said “because she asked me to” and nothing more, that was the most selfless thing he’s done recently too. Our little weak ass Fitz is growing up and taking responsibility. Aaawwww. Ain’t he ca-yute when he don’t be on boolsheet?

Oh and shoutout to anyone who understands why I called this part “Sorry for 2004.”

Tom and Cyrus – They’re like Tom & Jerry. Except they don’t try to kill each other. Yet. Tom and his strong legs (hey boo) walk into Cyrus’ bedroom. They talk about Michael and Tom offers to kill him if Cy wants. What about Ella? Well, Tom’s soft spot happens to be babies and he is willing to help Cy raise her. Cyrus is like “Wait. You like to kill people AND you can love my Ella? AM I IN LOVE? YES I AM! LET’S CUDDLE!” I like the Cyrus and Tom pairing. That is a goon ass couple right there. They prolly have all types of tender and loving sex, doe.

Pope vs. Pope – Olivia walks into her father’s house and finds Jake sitting in the living room, with Rowan behind him. She tells him: “Jake, get up. We’re leaving” like she’s there to pick up her kindergartner. She says she wants him to be on Mellie’s ticket and Rowan is basically wondering what type of dumb shit she’s up to. After some pregnant pauses, Jake gets up and Papa Pope points a gun at his head. “Olivia. Advise him to plant his narrow ass in that chair.” But why his ass gotta be narrow? LMAO! He’s such a Black ass daddy. Liv tells her daddy to shoot, maintaining strong eye contact with him as Jake tries to get both of them to calm down. Liv grabs his hand, holds it and gently pulls him with her. She says “He won’t hurt you. You’re his son.” And she was right. The gun doesn’t go off. He instead growls at them and tells bofadem to get the hell out before he changes his mind.

Damn Scandal

THAT is how you become Command. GET IT, LIV.


Power – The public announcement that Jake Ballard will be Mellie Grant’s running mate drops, and Cyrus Beene celebrates. Are they going with David? NOPE. He tells Liz they called him and said they’re going another direction. HA! He can’t ever win too much. At the convention center, Tom walks up to Cyrus, who abruptly breaks up with him. He says “We are over. I’m getting back with Michael” and the man is stunned. You see the heartbreak in his eyes. Beene didn’t even try to temper it. He just dropped the mic on Tom’s heart as Michael and Ella show up there.

Backstage, Jake hasn’t put on his tie yet and Olivia tells him to get dressed. He says he doesn’t want to because he doesn’t wanna become VP. Now that he’s free from Rowan, he wants the freedom to do whatever he wants. And that is to buy a cute house, become a high school baseball coach and build an ordinary life with Olivia. “Come on, Liv. Dare to be normal.”

Did everyone lose their minds? Cyrus heartlessly breaks up w/ a lethal assassin. Jake talmbout he wanna buy a condo and shit. NAH, SON.


Liv 1 Liv 2

“I have not gone through what I’ve gone through, worked twice as hard for half as much only to live this umimpressive life. Mediocrity is NOT an option for me. And I don’t want that and neither should you.”

Jake has a lightbulb moment and says “I’ve gone from being his bitch to yours.” Yeah, pretty much. Glad you know that. He puts his tie on and they both head to the wings ready for him to take the stage. I notice that his tie, which is blue/red stripes mirrors Olivia’s blazer, which is this red and black plaid. He is truly her bitch. Mellie in her power red and Jake take the stage.

Abby shows up and tells the Gladiators that Frankie Vargas just announced his running mate.

Olivia calls Cyrus, pissed that he used her. She says he can take him down by telling folks about Harrisburg, but he counters with “Andrew Nichols.” WELPPPP. Dirt knows dirt. He says “One of us is getting back to the White House.” TRUEEE. He hangs up. People cheer as Cyrus Beene is announced as the Democratic candidate for Vice-President. Michael and Ella are there to give him a kiss. Ah, I see.

Rowan Pope watches this on his couch and says “That’s my girl” as he takes a sip of his red wine.

Thats My Girl Rowan

Rowan Pope is as proud as he’s ever been of Olivia, because now, she is truly his daughter. Olivia Pope has transformed and this season 5 has shown it. She fought it all her life but she truly IS Command. No longer is she even pretending that she has a white hat. In her clothes and in her actions, she has shed the white and now lives in full color.

As much as Olivia has tried to distance herself from her father. What happened is she stopped trying. She is who she is. So Rowan Pope is sitting on his couch looking like Olivia just won her first Spades game. All proud and shit. “THAT’S MY BABY.” That is all he’s ever wanted for her: to assume and use the power he knows she can have. Lil birdie is ready to fly out the nest and be a goon in her own right. His goal was for his baby to be the Heir to his Goon Throne. He will still kill anyone for his goal. I mean, we saw him kill a teenager so killing some old rich dude that his toy soldier is now related to made no damb difference to him. Anyone he needs to use to get what he wants is disposable. They are collateral to the greater good of his greater bad.

NOW she has accepted it. That is why he is proud. Her speech on how mediocrity is not an option is directly from his playbook. IT AIN’T AN OPTION FOR ME EITHER, LIV!

Mediocrity Scandal

Everyone else? They’re just pawns on the chess board. Jake never has a real choice. Fitz is a puppet. Liv and Rowan run EVERYTHING.

Season 6 will be the fight to the White House between Cyrus and Liv and that is going to be ugly.

Shonda Rhimes and her team of writers have helped write out some of this election season. We can only hope that someone gets OUR Hollis Doyle out the paint.

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  1. CourtneyH
    May 13, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for the recap Luvvie!

    I’ve been a bit disappointed in Scandal because they stopped showing Liv as the “fixer”. They stopped showing her strength and started focusing so much on her weakness. And then comes the finale, and it comes together for me as well. These last 2 seasons have truly been building years. This was all about Olivia, her backstory, her motivation, and her drive. In the past, she fought against who she was, and she has finally accepted it. Now we move forward in the land of acceptance. I am excited to see what that looks like.

  2. KimF
    May 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I don’t know about Liv being command because Rowan played her from the beginning. The plan was always to have Jake as Mellie’s running mate. Rowan knew exactly what would happen when he told Cyrus and it all went down as he planned. Liv isn’t controlling any of this. Rowan wants Liv back in the White House and he’s making it happen.

    • milaxx
      May 13, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      I think Rowan’s end game was to have Jake in the white house. He don’t care how that happens. It could have been Edison, Vargas or Mellie.

  3. Kierah
    May 13, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Why Jake from State Farm gotta go all limp tho? He’s a trained assassin that can’t kill one person?! He has seriously lost a step.
    Abby’s “confidential” files are as fraudulent as the locks to OIivia’s apartment. Fitz found the folder but it could have been the cleaning lady or some random aide.

  4. May 13, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I am glad you are home and actually had a moment to take a breath

    I can now watch the last 5 weeks of scandal

    no joke i read your recap before I watch the show because: YOU


  5. notconvincedgranny
    May 13, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    Sheet, no castor oil for me – my edges are in witness protection, ducking and dodging like Ali so the the Popes don’t find ’em and vaporize ’em.

  6. Angela
    May 13, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I heart you and this recap.

    There was a whole lot of goonery in this episode, but as someone famous has said – “what’s a goon to a goblin?” Papa Pope is still that goblin, and he’s acknowledged that he ain’t the only playa worth a damb in the game. First Jon Snow dropping the mic and now this! What a TV week!

  7. milaxx
    May 13, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Glad to know I wasn’t the only one that caught that continuity error. IIRC part of why Fitz’s dad arranged for him to meet Mellie was because her family was old Southern money and the the Grants were new money.

    Overall I liked this season. I’m excited to have season 6 return with a bang!

  8. nichole
    May 14, 2016 at 12:39 am

    Power is the name of the game.

    It’s a drug. Rowan had it as Command and didn’t like losing it to Jake. Jake had it but found it difficult to hold on to. Fitz pretends to have it but it’s only in title especially based on how Mellie read him. Mellie wants it and feels she deserves it. Cyrus has always wanted it but didn’t think he could have it because of being gay (I remember that from I think it was Season 2 or 3).

    But this show is about Olivia Pope. She’s been a powerful fixer that everyone comes to her when they are in a pickle. She was integral in getting Fitz into office. Remember Defiance. But it was as his not so first lady that I believe she really tasted the power of the office. I remember when she was directing Fitz in everything he needed to do and he was lapping it up without putting up any fight. Plus, there was the shot of her standing int a white jacket and black (or grey) pants on the seal in the oval. Ah, it’s the power.

    She beat Andrew. If only he knew that by kidnapping her it was going to stir that Pope blood in her veins, unleashing the need for more. Now she has another candidate for prez, and her ex-boo thang for VP going up against her former college professor/mentor/partner in Defiance/client/adversary?

    She took the elder wand (Harry Potter reference) from Command which makes her Command. Yes, Season 6 is going to be a doozy. Mediocrity be damned.

  9. SIPort
    May 14, 2016 at 1:17 am

    All the goons came out to play: Jake, Rowan, Cyrus and Olivia.

    The scene with Mellie /Fitz was fantastic.
    The scene where Olivia ‘freed’ Jake was fabulous.
    I am not of the belief that Jake/Rowan were working together. For Rowan, that test was for OLIVIA. He had to bring Olivia completely over to the dark side, and only by having her ‘defeat’ him, is how it would happen. To give in to her thirst for power, even if she pretended it was for another reason.

    I don’t care what anyone says: Rowan Pope did not lose last night. He didn’t lose at all.
    He is in Command, no matter who wins. Period.
    The only odd thing is that I think Tom actually developed feelings for Cyrus, but I will never believe that he wasn’t a Rowan Plant from day one, which means that Rowan controls the Democratic Party ticket too. Cyrus must be a beast in the sack to get all these young boys to lose their minds.

    Cyrus pulled a Dick Cheney!
    I can’t believe that we didn’t see it coming, but it was damn brilliant.
    And, the ticket took care of all the M’s:
    Male – Cyrus, Vargas
    Married – Cyrus, Vargas
    Military – Vargas
    A well-established REPUBLICAN running with DEMOCRAT.
    A REPUBLICAN, whose marriage and ‘ family’ was only possible because of DEMOCRATS?
    A Gay, MARRIED Republican with an adopted Black child whose hair looks as good as Ella’s does?
    Cyrus – still part of the Original Goon Squad.

    I have loved Cyrus’ marriage from the beginning. Folks get wrapped up in them being two men. If Michael were Michelle –everything would be clear.
    Sweet young thing, getting the come up with a rich, powerful man, becoming a step-parent to a young child. Being the good Trophy Husband, taking care of house and home. Everything is clear. I love it.

    Glad you reviewed the finale, Luvvie.

    See you next season.

    • Psych
      May 14, 2016 at 6:16 pm

      Yes.. Olivia lacked 2 ingredients

      Ability and confidence of Beating Command.
      Now she has both.

      Power is a dilemma because now that she has won ONE battle ,… she will do anything to SUSTAIN the momentum. This is where she fully transforms into a blood sucking demon (as Rowan)

  10. SIPort
    May 14, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Been rewatching Scandal’s finale.

    I think I love it more everytime I watch it. Maybe, because I’m a political junkie, but the ending was absolutely brilliant. Cyrus pulling the Dick Cheney was a Boss Goon Move, that completely fit with previous parts of the show. Goes back to Olivia, when she had that Governor who seemed to be asexual – cause he didn’t have anyone in his life, and she asked if he was gay.

    ” Are you gay? Gay, I can work with. America understands gay. Give me 10 years, and I will make a Gay President. ”

    Coupled with that moment of naked truth between James and Cyrus about Defiance, where Cyrus tells him that he had the brains, and the ambition, and the determination to become President, but he liked to sleep with men.

    Combine those two moments and we get to where we are now in the show, and the Vargas/Cyrus ticket is SOOO plausible and makes so much sense to go up against Mellie/Jake.

    Rowan Pope-Black Lucifer -sitting there, on his couch, sipping wine, saying ‘ That’s My Girl’.

    That was everything

    • Psych
      May 14, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Cyrus is cold-blooded enough to finish off little Verggie when the time comes.

  11. John
    May 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I didn’t watch it and your review was perfect! Heck your review may have been better than the actual show!

  12. Nappyasiwannabe (Aisha)
    May 15, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Sorry for 2004…that was a Ruben Studdard song right??

    Glad you got to review the finale. I’ve missed your take on this show!

  13. Alexandria
    May 15, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    You probably know this already, but you are an amaaazing writer and a joy to ‘listen’ to. It’s like you are my favorite cousin and Im listening to you recap this on the phone for me. I know it’s a lot of work for you but please keep it going. There’s no one like you!

    Thank you, girl!

  14. Bebe
    May 17, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Great review, made me feel I actually watched the show

  15. MissTish
    January 26, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I wish Olivia would get back to “fixing”, but considering the political coup we just lived through, I can’t wait to see this season!

  16. Mandy
    February 4, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I have two episodes of the new season waiting for me on my DVR, and I wanted to watch the last season’s finale to remember what happened- do you know Xfinity wants to charge me $2.99 to watch it? oh hell no! Your recap was awesome- I’m ready to dive in!
    Too bad Shonda doesn’t write real life- How did Hollis Doyle end up in the White House?

  17. […] admirer of Rhimes’ work. The author caught the show creator’s attention with her quippy TGIT recaps of Scandal episodes on her personal blog, which resulted in a budding friendship between the […]