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Reason A murder and its gory aftermath.

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Look At The Big Brains On Scandal!

Just a heads up that this episode isn't exactly par for the course when it comes to pivotal moments.

Olivia thinks she has convinced Mellie that the right thing to do -- the only thing to do -- in the wake of Cyrus's being cleared of all charges and released from prison, is for Mellie to concede the Presidency. Mellie ultimately agrees to give up her dreams of leading the free world.

...Until, that is, Lizzie North waltzes in from God knows where and tells Mellie it's ridiculous for her to just give up, after all her hard work; instead, she should let the Electors decide who should be President. Liv is incensed, and starts actively working for Cyrus, while Lizzie campaigns for Mellie.

Liv and Lizzie trade blows in the media: Liv gets Widow Vargas to endorse Cyrus; Lizzie gets Michael, Cyrus's husband, to talk publicly about what a terrible person Cyrus is, as a husband and a human.

Mellie didn't know that Michael would be going on television, and when she meets with Lizzie to express her discomfort with those tactics, she discovers that Lizzie has been working with the shadowy cabal, Mr. Peus and Ms. Ruland, because they really, really want Mellie in the White House. So they've bribed or extorted or blackmailed enough Electors to make that happen, and they expect Mellie to continue to do their bidding once she's President.

Mellie is not interested in this arrangement, and orders them out of her office and her life, while Lizzie keeps insisting that they all just need to calm down and take a moment.

And then That Moment arrives. While Mellie is still trying to negotiate with people she thinks will listen to reason...

Previously.TV

...Ms. Ruland picks up a putter and brains Lizzie in the skull. And when I say "brains," I mean Lizzie's brains are all over the floor and her blood is spattered all over Mellie.

Previously.TV

It's not that shocking for Scandal to kill someone, even someone in the credits; I mean, look what happened to poor Frankie Vargas. And still, I wasn't ready for it, especially since Lizzie just appeared for the first time this season (which should have been a clue, in retrospect). Peus calmly informs Mellie that Ruland is now her Chief of Staff, and if Mellie doesn't do what they say, they'll kill her children next.

But this moment leads to two other moments in this episode. The first is that Fitz takes Rowan into protective custody and now, for the first time in the history of the show, everyone is on the same side, Avengers-style. They're all trying to take down Peus and Ruland, and I'm actually excited about a storyline on this show for the first time in a while. And the other moment is that Liv expresses her gratitude to Fitz for saving her father's life by kissing him...

Previously.TV

...and then leading him into a private office while Diana Ross's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" plays. I was the most anti-Olitz viewer out there, and even I was psyched to see that.

Well done, Shonda. You got me. Both were great moments; on any other episode, one of them would have been That Moment, but they can't compete with a major character's very unexpected, very bloody demise.

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