This Thursday on Scandal, the oftentimes bananapants ABC drama wrapped the first half of Season 3 with an hour that, of course, uncorked new twists. But it also offered an admittedly satisfying sense of closure. And that was in part by design, seeing as the show is entering an 11-week break, due to this year’s split-season scheduling.
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“I think that there was an intention to give people satisfaction, some sort of resolution in some areas, because that’s also the fun of watching the show,” executive producer Betsy Beers tells TVLine. “One of the things that [series creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and the writers are very committed to on Scandal is resolving certain things, in a somewhat timely fashion. But then you have that great moment at the end [with Maya], which is just killer. I knew it was coming, and I was still surprised when I saw it!”
Indeed, cheeky Mama Pope has not only slithered back into the States but rang Olivia from just outside the White House lawn. Does that mean she is set to meddle in her daughter’s life when Season 3 resumes on Feb. 27? TVLine spoke with Beers about that hot topic and the finale’s other wild wrinkles.
A GLADIATOR NO MORE? | Even though Quinn kinda-sorta tried to do right by OPA, it was too little, too late — at least in the opinion of Huck, who stripped her of her gladiator title. But was that a formal firing, rubber-stamped by Olivia? “The only thing that I took away from that was that this is Huck’s position,” Beers answers. “Huck feels like he’s speaking for the office, but whether or not he is, is another question.” Regardless, Quinn was last seen retreating into Charlie’s arms, seemingly with no hidden agenda. Could those two crazy kids be the real deal? “One of the delightful, and slightly terrifying, things for me in the past few episodes has been the relationship that’s developed between Charlie and Quinn,” Beers shares. “The things in her that horrify Huck, he supports and nurtures, because he sees her in a very different way. Their scenes together are incredibly entertaining.”
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DEAD RECKONING | One fall finale storyline that, relative to Scandal‘s usual zag-don’t-zig storytelling, traveled an almost linear route was Cyrus’ “handling” of Sally’s heat-of-the-moment murder of husband Daniel, enlisting Charlie to clean things up and stage it as a heart attack — in part to assuage his own sense of guilt, but also in trade for Sally bailing on her White House bid. There was no Sally framing anyone for the murder, no scandalous immediate repercussions, save for a random NSA wonk’s surveillance of the veep’s “I have committed a sin” phone call, which corroborated James’ speculation to David that someone snuffed the Second Husband. Teases Beers, “It’s going to be interesting to see how much the fat lady sung on that one….”
OH, ‘BOY’ | In the hour’s tour de force exchange, a detained Rowan refuses to let any shackles hold back his opinion of Fitz, launching into a two-and-a-half minute monologue that dressed down POTUS in epic fashion, positing that the rich “boy” sees his daughter as “a door marked exit” (aka the episode’s title), a way to bail on the course set by Big Jerry. In fact, so damning was the dissection, was there any concern about emasculating Fitz too much in viewers’ eyes? “I don’t think that we worry so much about that,” says Beers. “The most important thing, I think, for the writers is to make sure that the characters feel like they’re speaking their own truth. And sometimes, that involves taking relatively hard positions.” Plus, Beers notes, Fitz got his own licks in. “It was this battle between two men who, in different ways, love the same woman, and both men, to me, went pretty deep. And though it was a bunch of devastating things for Rowan to say, somehow or another, it almost energizes Fitz.”
SPY GAME OVER? | Rowan’s thus out and Jake is in as Command, with Fitz’s blessing. Does that mean the B6-13 threat is quelled, at least for now? “I hope not, just because I love everything to do with B6-13,” Beers offers. “As a fan, I found the interaction of these guys — including Huck and Jake’s relationship, especially in these last few episodes — to be fascinating.” Perhaps more pressing is how Liv might react to learning that Jake left her, while still loving her, to supervise such a shady sect of spooks. “I imagine she would have some incredibly complicated combo plate of reactions,” Beers says with a chuckle, “because she had such an interesting relationship with Jake.”
THE PARENTS’ TRAP | And then there’s the final scene, where Maya — believed to be “in the wind” after killing her plane’s crew and rerouting the flight to Mongolia — calls to check in on Olivia, failing to mention that she’s already back in D.C. Will Mama Pope try to remain a presence in her daughter’s life, even though Liv now knows she duped Rowan/Eli into having the bomb-free Global World airplane shot down? Similarly, will we still see Rowan, even though his number’s up at B6-13? Can he and Liv maybe find a “normal” relationship with one another, now that the twisted truth behind Maya’s duplicity is out there? Beers declines to address the status of either Khandi Alexander or Joe Morton “because I know some of the things that are coming up, and they’re really good. So, I’m just going to clam up!”