The phrase "game-changing" is tossed around a lot when it comes to television shows, but no series — absolutely no series, definitely now and perhaps ever — does it better than "Scandal."
The analogy of moving the chess pieces around? Nope. Not good enough. "Scandal" is more like an Etch-A-Sketch — just when you think you've got a handle on the characters and the plots, Shonda Rhimes and her evil team of writers shakes everything up.
As Scott Foley, who plays Jake Ballard, so eloquently put it:
Let's go straight to how the winter finale ended and where some of the characters are, shall we?
Olivia: Everything she thought about her mother and father are totally upended.
Jake: Now in command of B-613, thanks to Fitz, in place of Liv's dad.
Jake: "I'm Command now, effective immediately." Holy Fitz #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) December 13, 2013
Quinn: Totally off the team and in some Bonnie and Clyde situation with Charlie.
James: Used Cyrus's desperation to stay together to get himself a new job as White House press secretary. Like husband like husband?
David: Got his hands on a recording of Sally confessing that she "committed a sin." Let's see if this turns out better than his attempt to uncover Defiance.
It's good to know David will have more to do than playing to Abby's whims. #Scandal— Mindy Haltiwanger (@westwingwolf) December 13, 2013
So, as we go into this looooong midseason break (the show returns Feb. 27), everything's been flipped upside down and sideways. The Gladiators are broken, Rowan is not (that) evil and not even in charge anymore, and the entire administration could be undone by a formerly disgraced U.S. Attorney!
Here are a few more of the biggest OMG moments in the winter finale:
Sally and Daniel's knockdown drag-out: Wow, brutal to watch, but it shows just when Sally broke down and stabbed her husband to death. Seeing the blood splatter on her face gave us chills.
"You have unleashed a snake in our garden." - Sally. That's what she, uh, he said? #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) December 13, 2013
Fitz and Rowan's face-off: Fitz manages to pull one over on Command and takes him hostage at the Pentagon. There, he taunts Rowan by saying he knows intimate details about Olivia. Meanwhile, Rowan gets him back by saying Fitz didn't earn his way to the top. "You disappoint me as a suitor for my daughter's hand," he snarls. Yikes.
Rowan to Fitz: "You haven't had to work for anything." Kind of true, really. Olivia's made it all happen for him #Scandal— Yahoo TV (@YahooTV) December 13, 2013
The gladiators rundown of just how evil Maya Pope is: Wow, we didn't think anybody could be worse than Rowan. We were wrong!
Mellie's insane Stepford First Lady act: Mellie has become way more sympathetic after the flashback where we saw she got raped by her father-in-law. But still, her sickly-sweet smile and fake sympathy for Sally, all in a bid to get her back in line, was just terrifying.
Quinn makes her (wrong) choice: To his credit (sort of), Charlie tells Quinn she's free to go if she wants. And in the middle of the night, she bolts. But when she goes back to the office to confront Huck, he basically disavows her.
Quinn goes back to Charlie and they make out. Hucking A.
Jake declares himself, then goes Command-o: "I loved you. Whatever happens next, I want you to know that I loved you. I love you," Jake tells Liv. Um, where are the men in real life who make these beautiful declarations? Ahem. Anyway, he bids Olivia farewell … just to take over B-613 to Rowan's shocked dismay. Let's hope he doesn't put Olivia in the hole until she falls in love with him.
David gets another tip: A woman with ties to the NSA (let's call her Edwarda Snowdenish) leaks a recording to him, of Sally confessing to Cyrus that she had "committed a sin." Oh, David … do you really want to go down this path again?
James pulls a Cyrus: A tearful, emotional Cy puts all of his feelings on the line to beg forgiveness from James. You know, that whole "for better or worse" stuff? James decides to stay with Cy, but adopts some of his husband's traits in the process — he asks to be named White House press secretary!
She's baaaaack! Mama Pope never made it to Hong Kong (and neither did her flight crew). Instead, she calls Liv and sweetly/scarily tells her, "Don't worry sweetheart, I'll see you real soon." Then, Maya tosses her burner phone into a trash can ... in front of the White House. Holy gladiators ... how is Olivia going to fix this one?!