Scandal season finale recap: The Scarlet 'O'

Olivia is visited by a figure from her past; David Rosen makes a choice that changes history
Ep. 22 | Aired May 16, 2013

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT BABY HUCK Original Huck starts to suspect that he's created a monster way too late to do anything about it. And then he chooses to invite Baby Huck (aka Quinn) to his scheduled torture session with Billy Chambers. Olivia is confused about this decision too.

Richard Cartwright/ABC

ROWAN IS OLIVIA POPE'S DAD?! And you all were on to it from the beginning!

Scandalites, the white hat may be back on, but the game has changed, and no one came out of this finale unaltered. Was there ever any doubt that this episode wouldn't deliver? It was at turns tense, scary, off-the-wall nuts, funny, and sentimental. Shonda, we are but your humble servants sitting here waiting with bated breath for what your crazy, brilliant brain cooks up next for Scandal.

Scandal Season 2 has chronicled everyone's fall from grace. Well, every character who presumably could have a fall from grace (sorry, Charlie). The finale's title calls back to this season's premiere, "White Hat's Off," when Olivia had to betray the law and her moral code to help protect Quinn. And throughout the season we've gone deeper and deeper into the original sin of Scandal -- Defiance. Tonight's episode was all about who could still be saved, and who is lost forever. And in some ways it all comes down to Olivia. She holds the key to everyone's salvation and must selflessly give herself over to The Greater Good so that everyone else can be saved. She's a martyr, choosing her Gladiators over her love. It's tempting to say that Olivia chose the Gladiators over her happiness, but that doesn't sound particularly true. She had two paths, and the fact that she didn't choose the man this time doesn't mean that she's put happiness aside. But her choice is the safer, more controlled path.

So, though it's bittersweet to begin the final recap of Season 2, let's dig in.

Last week we left our Gladiators after they'd just discovered that Billy Chambers was the mole. We pick up with them in what seems like the same moment. They're still reeling from the revelation and trying to piece things together. Quinn reminded us that she hasn't forgotten that he stabbed her intrepid reporter boyfriend in the neck with a pair of scissors. And Huck reminded Olivia that he hired out to have Billy taken care of. But clearly Charlie didn't go through with it. In a flashback we find out that Billy promised access to the VP's passwords and secrets and basically used everything in his arsenal to have his life spared. ("I know where a hell of a lot of bodies are buried.") There are a lot of last-minute "saves" by these clandestine mercenaries. I hope people wait to pay after they have proof of death, as gross as I feel for saying that. Of course Huck reappropriates a folksy cliché for this kind of moment: "It's true what they say. If you want someone killed right, you've got to kill them yourself."

So, it's code red. The remaining members of Defiance (may Verna rest in peace) all gather for a pow-wow in the White House kitchen to figure out WTF they're going to do about this missing Cytron card. It's less of a discussion and more of a shouting match while they wait for...someone.  Turns out, it's motherf---ing President Fitzgerald Grant. He is in so deep.

NEXT: It's Cyrus's turn to go to the hospital...

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