After seven seasons of crazy political twists and turns, the finale of Shonda Rhimes' hit series Scandal came to an end last night. Embracing the hashtag "#TheFinalScandal," many “gladiators” (Scandal super-fans) tuned in and shared their thoughts, reactions and sentiments on the show's conclusion.
With over 120 episodes leaving you on the edge of your seat, the show had a reputation of evoking almost every emotion possible. And in this final season and episode, the writers held nothing back. However, before we get to the spoilers, let’s take a walk down memory lane.
The hit series made its debut in early April 2012, starring Kerry Washington as D.C. fixer, Olivia Pope. Originally inspired by real-life crisis manager Judy Smith, the show portrayed how amidst some of the craziest scandals on the hill, a political powerhouse seeks the help of her “Gladiators” from Olivia Pope and Associates (OPA), Pope's crisis management firm.
However, things took a turn when discovering the torrid love affair between President Fitzgerald Grant III (Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia. Transitioning between the past and present, the two indulged in stolen moments, mimicking the dynamic of the on-again-off-again relationship unbeknownst to even their closest associates and members of administration. Nevertheless, the show sparked originality displaying a strong and chic female lead who fixed the lives of others, yet struggled to put hers together.
Making history as the first African-American female lead in a network drama since Teresa Graves as an undercover cop in Get Christie Love! in 1974, the series was an instant hit.
Known or being ahead of her time, Rhimes introduced a diverse cast of characters. As the show grew more popular and mainstream, episodes started addressing topics such as same-sex marriage, sexual assault, equal pay, #BringBackOurGirls, abortion, police brutality, women’s rights, race and interracial relationships.
With new seasons also came new characters such as Jake Ballard (Scott Foley), Charlie (George Newbern), and Marcus Walker (Cornelius Smith Jr.), taking gladiators through more twists and turns on the Scandal rollercoaster. The show became even more fast-paced and scandalous in revealing campaign secrets, trouble in paradise and the secret spy organization B613, which also introduced a new wave of problems to Washington. Not to mention, Pope-isms like pairing red wine and popcorn popularized.
As a show birthed during the Obama Administration, viewers quickly recognized the parallels in characters such as Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry) and Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) and even Fitzgerald Grant III while transitioning into the Trump era. Although similar, the show was known for unintentionally predicting outcomes but also creating a few of its own, including the monumental Presidential win of Mellie Grant as the first female president.
Characters such as Olivia's mother, Maya Lewis (Khandi Alexander), and father, “Papa Pope" (Joe Morton), were also introduced and became known for their exceptional monologues and one-liners. Although the two gave a new meaning to the phrase “dysfunctional family,” Olivia's parents provided an realistic view of race, power dynamics and politics.
“Over A Cliff”
In the show's end, the final episode titled “Over A Cliff” was everything it needed to be: open for interpretation, shocking, liberating and a fresh start. Leading up to the finale, season seven manifested some of the show's most memorable phrases such as “standing in the sun” while wearing the metaphorical “white hat” — a moment gladiators have been waiting for.
Although not dodging their typical trouble, there was a sense of maturity that grew within each character. No longer were these novice fixers bending the American judicial system to work in their favor, they were now noble professionals wanting to right their wrongs — for the most part. Still, nothing could quite prepare us gladiators for the conclusion of the show and final bow from the characters.
The episode surprised many with its reach and unpredictable finish. Ending with two deaths, a wedding, one person behind bars, a read of the century and a new character with blood on their hands, to say the finale was shocking is an understatement. Read some of the best tweets from finale night below.
This was the first time that I saw this type of black woman on TV... the career, the independence, the power, the lifestyle, the intelligence, the privilege....— Candice Brew (@CandiceBrew) April 20, 2018
And it was so important.
Tonight we say goodbye to a fantastic story by wonderful storytellers. Brava to you, @ShondaRhimes @TomVerica and @KerryWashington, plus the stellar cast + crew of SCANDAL. You made us laugh. You made us cry. You made us think. You made us proud. #GladiAva #ScandalFinale pic.twitter.com/ZKvpzoWCTa— Ava DuVernay (@ava) April 20, 2018