It was back to business as usual with Scandal on Thursday (April 20), which means it was chock-full of intrigue, chessboard-like maneuvering, and, of course, one big OMG moment that left everyone's jaw on the floor and set Twitter on fire. Spoiler alert — if you haven't watched "Trojan Horse" in its entirety, stop reading. Trust us.
So, pour one out for Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi). She was kind of the worst, but every good drama needs people you love to hate and she was one of the best for that. What makes her death one of the best Scandal has done is how shocking it was. Shonda Rhimes has killed a lot of people on this show, but only a handful of them really send you reeling — this was one of those times.
The setup here is that it's time for the electoral college representatives to vote for president. It's back to a two-person race now that Cyrus (Jeff Perry) has been cleared in Vargas' (Ricardo Chavira) assassination. At first, Mellie (Bellamy Young) looks like a shoo-in, because even if he's cleared, Cyrus isn't going to wash the stink of "maybe killed the president" and "you've all seen my mugshot" off overnight. Also, Cyrus' head is still spinning from everything that has happened, so he's not sure he is equipped (or even wants) to be president.
It also helps that Mellie's mysterious benefactors, Peus (David Warshofsky) and Rueland (Zoe Perry), have "persuaded" the electors to put their woman of choice in the Oval Office. But here's where the stuff gets crazy.
Peus, Rueland, and Elizabeth go to see Mellie to explain how she's going to do what they want her to do, since they got her elected. Except Elizabeth isn't there as an ally, she's there as an example. Rueland straight-up beats her to death with a fireplace poker in Mellie's office in order to properly convey to Mellie (and us viewers!) that they are not messing around.
Honestly, up until this moment, we weren't really that intrigued by this mystery organization that so desperately wants President Grant 2.0. Assassinating Frankie Vargas was harsh and sad, but it didn't have the same visceral, immediate effect as Elizabeth's death does. Bellamy Young's performance doesn't hurt — a blood-splattered Mellie tries desperately to keep her wits about her as Peus and Rueland threaten her children's lives. Then, she has to call Olivia (Kerry Washington) and Jake (Scott Foley) for help with the dead woman leaking brains on all over her rug.
Bravo, Scandal. Now that is the way you kill someone off. Unfortunately, the end of the episode can't quite measure up to mid-point shocker.
At first, things look promising, with Olivia seemingly going to prison after the FBI gets information linking an account in her name to Tom Larsen (Brian Letscher), who is still a person of interest in Vargas' murder. That would have been kind of cool, especially since Olivia is down to play along because it'll A) give Cyrus the presidency, which is rightfully his now, and B) keep her father safe from Peus and Rueland.
But stupid Fitz has to intervene and muck things all up by "arresting" Papa Pope (Joe Morton) in order to keep him safe and clear Olivia's name. Oh, and he tells his Olivia-placeholder girlfriend, Angela (Saycon Sengbloh), who was the one going after Liv, that she can either resign or transfer to Omaha, NE. Real mature, dude.
It all adds up to the band getting back together to take Peus, Rueland, and their mystery organization down in these final few episodes of the season. That's great, but the deus Fitz machina stepping in to save the day, which leads to an Olitz reunion and sexy time, kind of makes us want heave.
Sorry, but Fitz is not the right guy for Olivia. Their relationship is toxic and if the 100th episode alternate timeline taught us anything, it's that Olitz really isn't going to work long-term.
But this is Scandal and apparently Olivia must be in and out of Fitz's bed at least once a season. C'est la vie.
Odds & Ends
Once again, Jeff Perry earned his paycheck. Watching him go from despondent bathrobe Cyrus to thundering President Beene was terrific, as was this speech he gave at the press conference announcing he wants to be president: "Nobody deserves to be president, certainly not the people who most often try to be president. Except for Frankie. He was different. The people saw it. It's why he won and maybe it's why we lost him. In his absence, I offer you something far more meager. My flaws and my service. Frankie Vargas loved this country. He embodied the best of our values — diversity, humility, kindness. Unworthy as I am, his hopes have become my compass and that's why I'm here — to make you a promise. If chosen to serve as your president, I will strive to honor Frankie's legacy, to become worthy of the office that was rightfully his."
If anyone is holding out hope that Elizabeth is still alive, well...the brains on the floor should clue you in, but de Rossi also has a statement to make about her departure from the show: "I am incredibly grateful for my time here at Scandal! I will miss playing Elizabeth North, but I've made the decision to focus on a business opportunity. Shonda, Betsy, and the cast have been incredibly supportive of my decision. I will always love my Scandal family. I'll be watching!"
Rhimes adds, "I have been a fan of Portia's for years and it was an honor to have her join our Scandal family. Portia infused Liz North with a smart, powerful, vulnerable soul while also making the humor sing — and that brought all of us in the writers room a lot of joy. If I could keep her forever, I would — but kidnapping is illegal. Besides, I am incredibly impressed with the vision she has for her creative future. I wish her all the best."
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