Olivia Pope and Lonnie Mencken are meeting covertly as the series finale of SCANDAL begins. He can’t investigate B613, but he’s determined to get Olivia and her friends in front of a Senate Committee. But before doing that, he extracts a promise from Olivia — if Mellie remains President, gun control will be made a priority. And then Lonnie shoots himself in the head in order to get the Senate to pay attention.
Enter Samuel Reston, the Committee Chairman, who is working with David Rosen at the Department of Justice to try and figure out what’s been going on with B613. And it’s David’s participation in particular that worries both Cyrus and Jake. Before testifying, Olivia meets with her father, hoping to get him to support her plan to expose everything. But Rowan has no interest in stepping out of the shadows, so he leaves Olivia with information about a trust fund and some parting words before announcing his departure.
At the White House, Mellie invites Marcus over to lament about her impending impeachment and to confess that she just wants to be with him. Back at QPA, Quinn and the others are terrified that they may go to prison, although they’re prepared to go through with testifying. During a montage of QPA employees, Olivia, Mellie, Hollis Doyle and Fitz appearing in front of the Committee, the truth of Rashad’s deaths and many other assassinations come to light. In fact, every terrible sin comes out, and then David sends everyone off to possibly enjoy their final night of freedom. Quinn takes the advice to heart and she and her friends head to prison so that she can marry Charlie.
Jake confronts David as he heads home from work, threatening his life. But David isn’t a coward and he’s prepared to accept death and refuses to run. “What do you stand for? What do you care about? Who cares about you?” David taunts Jake, telling him that he’s “always someone’s bitch”. David offers Jake a chance to finally put on a White Hat and then walks away. Cyrus is furious when Jake tells him that he didn’t kill David. And while Jake admits he has no trouble being a killer, he dares Cyrus to do his own dirty work and leaves him.
At home, David excitedly tells Abby about how he stood up to Jake and then assures her he will never leave her. Their sweet moment is interrupted by Cyrus, who calls David over to confess to the hijacking. And while David believes he has won, Cyrus poisons him, watching as David struggles to live. When that takes too long, Cyrus grabs a pillow and suffocates him.
And that, SCANDAL fans, is the end of David Rosen – the first (and only) casualty of the series finale.
Olivia, Quinn, Abby and Huck have gathered at the morgue over David’s body and Abby tells them about Cyrus’ call to David. “Right now it’s time to do something. Act now, cry later,” Abby orders the others. And while Huck offers to kill Cyrus in retaliation, Olivia insists that they do things right. Quinn’s next stop is a visit to Rowan to ask him to take care of Robin, but he wishes her the best of luck and sends her on her way.
At home, Olivia tells Fitz that Cyrus has won because he has the Deputy Attorney General in his pocket. Fitz insists that she did the right thing, but Olivia tells him that she just dragged down everyone. “You followed me, you relied on me, you trusted me, when this entire time I was the problem,” she told him. “I’m going to jail tomorrow. This is, most likely, the very last time that you and I will ever be in the same room together alone. So we have a choice to make — we can keep talking, we can keep having feelings, or we could do something else.”
They chose “something else” and undress one another.
The next morning, as Rowan cleans out his office he pauses while listening to the news of David’s death. And Olivia gets a momentary reprieve when the Committee postpones their recommendation because they have a new witness: Rowan.
He tells the Committee that he built B613, but he did it for a need. While he talks up his level of power (“I am responsible for the fact that this nation still stands. I wake up everything morning and I make America great”), he demands recognition from Senator Reston and the other white men who didn’t realize their country had been run by a black man for thirty years. And in a stunning turn of events, we see that the Committee agrees with Rowan’s plan that Jake be the fall guy.
As Quinn celebrates their win while watching Jake be taken away on the news, Abby breaks down over David’s death. Olivia heads to a prison to visit Jake before he’s shipped off to a SuperMax prison. “I wanted to show up for you, one last time,” she tells him when he asks why she bothered to come. Olivia laments that she made Jake “step out of the sun” and apologizes for contributing to his downfall. Given Jake’s bleak future, the two have a surprisingly nice goodbye.
Sally leads us into the final SCANDAL chapter, announcing that Mellie’s presidency is safe now that B613 has been brought down. As Cyrus confronts Olivia in the Oval Office, she offers him a letter of resignation to sign. He laments about everything that’s brought him to this place and then signs the letter, leaving the Oval for the last time.
We end with Olivia and Mellie on the patio of the White House. Mellie wants the two women to work together to restore the public’s trust, but Olivia declines the offer. “I think I’ve spent more than enough time helping people clean up their messes,” Olivia says, insisting that Mellie doesn’t need her. “You’re going to be great. And I can’t wait to watch you do it.”
So what will Olivia do instead? “Whatever I want,” Olivia says happily.
As Olivia turns her back on the White House, we get a final montage: Charlie gets released from prison and is reunited with Quinn and baby Robin, Fitz unveils his portrait, Mellie signs an assault weapon’s pan while posing with Marcus, Jake fondly remembers being on the island with Olivia, Olivia dines with Rowan, and Abby and Huck stand before David’s grave. Later we see Fitz find Olivia on the street, greeting her warmly, with a possible future just sitting wide open in front of them.
And then there’s two young American-American girls visiting the National Portrait Gallery, standing in front of a portrait of Olivia Pope and smiling at their own possibilities.