Scandal soared to the top of the pack in its sophomore season and finished the year as the number-one network drama in its timeslot. This success was thanks in large part to the show's extremely loyal following and formidable Twitter presence.
And, well, because the show is just that awesome.
To help pass the time until Scandal returns, let's revisit some of the best and worst moments of the season in Scandal's inaugural TV Fanatic Report Card...
Best Episode: Do we really have to choose the best? Can't we just say "all of them" and call it done? Well, we could. But where would be the fun in that?
Time and time again this season, Scandal kept us riveted and left us with our mouths hanging open that it's nearly impossible to choose a favorite. But the best episode of them all award goes to "Seven Fifty-Two," with "Blown Away" as a close runner-up. Both episodes gave Guillermo Diaz a chance to shine as they centered on tortured soul Huck, a character who quickly went from quirky computer nerd to fan favorite this season.
"Seven Fifty-Two" edges out "Blown Away" because of its ties to the revelations made in the third leg of the season. B613 was a trained group of super-spies. A group to which Charlie, Huck, and Jake all belonged. A group run by Olivia's father. But more importantly than that, the episode revealed just what Huck lost in becoming who he is. It allowed for poignant heart-to-hearts as each member of the team attempted to get through to Huck with Olivia ultimately being the one able to draw him out of his corner. Olivia's relationship with Huck is one of mutual acceptance despite their personal flaws and it's always a treat to watch them interact.
"Seven Fifty-Two" also gave Fitz a chance to explain why he drowned himself in the bottom of multiple bottles of scotch after learning about Defiance. After he'd played the pouting puppy card for several episodes, it was great to finally hear him articulate why, even if it was obvious to those of us watching.
Worst Episode: With a show like Scandal, where every episode is good, choosing the "worst" is really just choosing "not best." So that goes to "One For The Dog." After heading into the winter hiatus with "Blown Away," Scandal's January return was slow. Wordy. It tried to do too much. There was misdirect from Verna to point the finger at Hollis. There was Edison. Poor, no-chemistry Edison. There was Cyrus, Mellie, and Olivia trying to deal with the repercussions of Mellie forging the President's signature while he was in a coma and him suddenly waking up at the end. There was Huck being tortured and David getting him exonerated. It gave answers and bridged the gap between two parts of the season, but it was laborious. But hey, if that's the worst we can say about it, that's not terrible.
Best Character: Huck. Hands down. Huck. He's smart. He's broken. He's scary. He's funny at just the right moments. He's damaged and capable of doing great damage. None of the characters on Scandal, not even Olivia herself, is as fleshed out as this. He's the best.
Worst Character: Edison. He was never meant to be more than a plot device to come between Fitz and Olivia and that was not only apparent in the writing but also in the complete lack of chemistry between Edison and Olivia. Additionally, the casting was poor. Norm Lewis lacked any sort of charisma that made him believable as someone Olivia would love. Maybe if the casting had been different, this character wouldn't have been so insufferable. Many of us wanted to see Olivia happy and in a relationship with someone other than Fitz, but Edison as-is just wasn't it.
Best Relationship: Huckleberry Quinn! Sure, it's not a romantic relationship, but there's something about the two of them that works, even if she's becoming slightly deranged while attending classes at the Huck School of How To Be a Spy. From the very first episode of Scandal season 1, it was clear that Huck understood Quinn in a way no one else did. As their story unfolded and we learned how he was instrumental in ferrying her across the country and setting her up with her new life as Quinn Perkins, his kinship with her made more sense. Huck and Quinn have scrificed what none of the others have had to sacrifice. They've both given up their pasts, their families, their lives, in becoming part of Team Olivia, and while Huck may not have remembered his for a while, Quinnsay made a choice.
Watching him instruct her in the ways of the spy has only made this pair better and seeing Huck's breakdown over just how well she's taking to his training adds lots of things to be explored next season.
Worst Relationship: When they're good, they're hot. But when they're bad, they're completely volatile. Fitz and Olivia may be the central love story of this show, but there's often very little to love about their relationship. Sure, they have a smokin' sex life when they can steal moments in the Oval (or in closets or showers or hotel rooms) but there's something about the pair that seems to work only because the relationship is forbidden. If we take these two out of their current positions and plop them into suburbia, they wouldn't be the same at all.
Fitz is weak and cheating makes him feel powerful. Olivia always needs something to fix. They both feed off of the forbidden nature of their affair, and while they may be end game, he's still married. Given the way he crawled--literally--back to Mellie, we don't see signs of that changing. Sure, sure, he went back so that he could win re-election and remain President. Sure, it's only for four more years. But something says they won't exactly ride off into the sunset once his successor is inaugurated.
Hopes For Season 3: It's hard to say what to hope for when it comes to Scandal. So much to do with this show is already excellent and I have utmost faith in Shonda Rhimes to keep it that way. But still, if we're throwing out suggestions in hopes she may read them, here goes:
- I hope never to hear the word "Defiance" again. That story line, while central to many of the events of season 2, slowed the middle of the season down to turtle's pace. We still crossed the finish line, sure, but wow, Defiance was kind of clunky at times.
- Only good things for David Rosen! The man has suffered enough and definitely earned his white hat back. It will be interesting to see how he interacts with OPA now that he's back in the US District Attorney's office but knows the inner workings of what Olivia does as a fixer. Will he toe the line of the law, or will he understand that sometimes you have to work outside their confines in order to do the right thing?
- The fallout from Quinn's spy training is doing a number on Huck. Guillermo Diaz is such a talented actor that watching him continue to break down will be intriguing. We only hope the man will be able to get some help before he's too far down the spy-ral.
- Backstory on Abby and Harrison would be excellent. We know about Huck and Quinn and how they became Huck and Quinn. We have explanations for how Abby and Harrison came to work for Olivia, but it would be great to explore their lives outside the office a little more thoroughly. Except it sort of seems like they don't have lives outside the office? Oh well. Wishful thinking.
- How did Olivia become Olivia? The revelation that the head of B613 is her FATHER can only intimate good things for this hope coming to fruition.
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.