[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday's Season 2 finale of Scandal. Read at your own risk!]
The same week another network had a mother of a reveal, ABC's Scandal shocked viewers with a patriarchal reveal no one saw coming. Fine, some fan sites may have suspected, but the final line of the Season 2 finale was such a surprising twist, not even members of the cast knew about it in advance — except one.
In the finale, OPA is finally able to put Defiance to rest with the help of David Rosen (Josh Malina), who turns the evidence, aka the Cytron card, over to Cyrus (Jeff Perry) and is given a sweet promotion to USDA. Unfortunately, there's one last scandal to be had before ABC's political fixer drama signed off for another season.
As Olivia (Kerry Washington) — reeling from walking away from Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) once again, but relishing the end of the election-rigging Defiance — heads out for a run, she's faced with dozens of news reporters all barraging her with questions about being POTUS' mistress. Ruh-roh. But that's not all. Olivia then comes face-to-face with Rowan (Joe Morton), the head of B613, whom she also happens to call Dad.
During Thursday's "An Evening with Scandal" event at The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the cast shared that no one knew the truth about Rowan's identity until the actual table read for the finale except for Morton, who was clued in from the beginning — something that became hilarious to Washington after the fact. "I grew up in a household where Joe Morton is a great American hero," Washington says. "He's the first guest star that we've had that I literally called home about. Every week I would say to Joe, 'Oh, I really hope we have some scenes together, and he would smile and go, 'Do we? Do you think we do?'"
Catching up with Rhimes after the event, she remained coy on what the father-daughter relationship would look like next season, especially since it seemed like B613 was trying to kill Olivia. "At the very least, Rowan was trying to get Jake [Scott Foley] to have sex with her and then make a tape of it, which seems creepy on many levels, right?" Rhimes told reporters. "I don't know if they were trying to kill her. That's up to interpretation."
When initially spit-balling the idea of the ABC series, Rhimes had toyed with having the president be Olivia's father. Having him be the leader of a CIA Black Ops division that tortures and kills people was an entirely different direction Rhimes didn't consider until later. When Scandal was picked up for an additional nine episodes this season, Rhimes thought it was the perfect window of opportunity to finally meet Olivia's father, whose connection to B613 and what that means for how Huck (Guillermo Diaz) was able to defect without retaliation is likely on the table for discussion next year.
Viewers won't have to wait long to find out what dear old dad is really like since the writers are discussing not doing a time jump in the Season 3 premiere. "Starting maybe 25 minutes after we leave the last season," Rhimes says. "I felt like it's not fair to drop that kind of bomb and then be like, 'Now we're going to jump ahead in time!' Also, I was really adamant about the fact that if we were going to end the season with the idea that Liv has been somehow outed by some unknown force and we meet her dad, we couldn't then just say we're going to jump ahead and cheat the audience of what all that meant. We had to have a solution to that and we had to own that story."
Dealing with daddy is the least of Olivia's worries after once again calling things off with Fitz, who has gone crawling back to Mellie (Bellamy Young). Defending her decision to break up Olitz once again, Rhimes reveals that they actually shot an additional scene that was cut from the episode in which Olivia and Fitz ended up in bed together again, showing that they were going to carry on their secret relationship. "It was charming, adorable and really, really sexy and I love the scene and maybe one day someone will get to see it, but the problem with it was that Olivia put the white hat back on and emotionally you had felt like she had found her inner core after losing it so badly. It felt like a cheat; that we were cheating her out of trying to do something good."
Rhimes also notes that there was also a third ending that would've closed the season after Olivia put the white hat back on. "It was one of three ways to end the show and I knew that wasn't going to be able to last if we were going to end the show emotionally where it needed to end." Still, "there's no forever in Shondaland," Rhimes notes, giving hope to Olitz fans.
Unfortunately, this means Fitz will be by Mellie's side for the foreseeable future, but Rhimes cautions not to look at it from a romantic angle. "She took him back in the end, but that was a little bit like a boy coming home to his mama, wasn't it? It wasn't a romantic coming home. That's going to be a very interesting dynamic when we come back next season," she says, adding that Mellie's political aspirations have not dissipated. The question remains whether Mellie was the one who outed Olivia as the First Mistress. "There's a lot of people that you could assume it is," Rhimes adds. "There's a search to be had."
What did you think of the Scandal finale? Who do you think outed Olivia as Fitz's mistress? Hit the comments with your thoughts!