by Julian Spivey
We got a lot of great finality in the “Scandal” series finale “Over a Cliff.” We got one last shocking death, one last epic Rowan (Joe Morton) speech that ultimately saved our main cast from a “Seinfeld” ending where everybody ends up in prison, one last Olitz love scene, and one last Stevie Wonder track. I don’t know that I’d go so far as to say the “Scandal” finale was perfect – it likely wasn’t the season’s best episode either – but, as far as wrapping things up in a bow it was nice and neat.
At the beginning of the finale it appears that all our “heroes” – which I’ve put in quotations because you could argue this show has no heroes, except for maybe Attorney General David Rosen (Joshua Malina) – are seemingly all off to prison for testifying on the nefarious B613 and all their criminal activity along the way.
The only way for “bad guys” Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) and Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) to escape surefire arrest is to kill Rosen. Ballard has threatened Rosen’s life many times, but always spared him. It seemed Rosen’s luck would finally run out in the finale. I’ve probably thought once or twice a season over the last few years that Rosen would eventually be killed off. But, Rosen doesn’t kowtow to Ballard like he has all the times before. He stands up to him. And, it works. Ballard lets him live.
Cyrus, never one to do the dirty work himself, is the one to do the dirty deed with a poisoned drink (the way a man of Cyrus’ stature would knock off a foe), which is the most shocking part of the death.
“Scandal” and its creator/finale scribe Shonda Rhimes has always had a bleak streak. There has always been talk of “wearing the white hat” and “being Gladiators” by Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her gang and frankly I got sick of hearing about it because as previously mentioned the show has rid itself of all heroes one character at a time. But, never Rosen. And that’s precisely why he had to die. In the world of “Scandal” you must have at least some villain in you to thrive and survive. It’s a quality to the show I’ve often grappled with over its hit-or-miss run but has made for certain interesting moments in its characters. It’s almost as if Rhimes thought to herself, “what if I made a show where everyone eventually becomes an anti-hero.”
Our cast seems screwed when Rosen is killed – the official cause of death listed as heart attack – with the assistant AG being in Cyrus’ pocket. But, then Rowan comes and saves the day with another one of his epic speeches (which truly have become the highlights of the show and have given Morton ample time to show off his award-winning acting abilities). This speech saves the day, when his arrogance and far-fetched “I’ve run the world” probably should have come off as an unbelievable act of a father attempting to spare his daughter. Oh well. It’s just fictional television.
In the end its Ballard and Cyrus that fall with Ballard being arrested as leader of B613 and Cyrus being forced to resign as Vice President of the United States.
Quinn (Katie Lowes) exclaims that the “good guys win,” to which Abby, who was in love with Rosen, responded, “the good guy’s dead.” It was the most striking line of the episode for me as it truly captured the entire feel of what the series became. Good doesn’t do much winning in the world of politics.
The series is left with a bit of an open-ending with Olivia eschewing the world of politics and claiming she’s going to do whatever she wants. As she triumphantly walks away from all the monuments of D.C. she’s approached by black, official looking vehicles with Fitz stepping out and the two possibly living happily ever after.
Olivia Pope leaves television as one of its most important characters (it’s easy to forget that when the show began just seven years ago it was the first lead African-American female role on a network TV drama in decades) but ultimately a conflicted one – it didn’t always sit well with me that she turned into an anti-hero as the show went along. But, the same could be said for the series as a whole.
by Julian Spivey
Based on the success of the “Will & Grace” revival NBC announced today that it plans to revive its smash ‘90s sitcom “Friends” just as soon as it can locate Emmy-nominated actor Matthew Perry.
The show has already procured Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer for the high-profile comedy revival – some came into NBC’s New York City headquarters at 30 Rock willingly and some against their will. Reportedly Schwimmer had to be tranquilized. But, the network has been unable to find Perry, who reportedly went into hiding sometime in 2017 after CBS canceled his most recent television series “The Odd Couple.”
An anonymous source at 30 Rock – which is totally newsman Brian Williams (who just hangs out in the hallways) – has said that “Friends” will go into production on an eleventh season early this summer whether or not the network and producers can locate Perry’s whereabouts for a proposed premiere in the fall on Thursday nights directly after the second-season premiere of the “Will & Grace” revival. The source has said that the series has contacted “Beverly Hills, 90210” star Luke Perry (no relation) about portraying the character of Chandler Bing if the actor cannot be found in time. The network believes that fans will hardly notice.
“Friends” is one of the most popular sitcoms in television history, airing on NBC from 1994 until 2004, with its series finale drawing a whopping 52.5 million viewers, the fourth most-watched series finale of all-time. A television series drawing 52.5 million viewers for a single episode isn’t even possible in 2018 as fewer than 52 million Americans own televisions in the age of cord cutting.
Matthew Perry if you happen to be reading this you have been requested to meet NBC executives at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York, as soon as possible. They have given their word that Jimmy Fallon will not tousle your hair.