The Gladiators have left their arena.

On Thursday, ABC and Shonda Rhimes closed up Olivia Pope and Associates for good as Scandal wrapped its seven-season run with a series finale that explored the ramifications of going public with the existence of black-ops group B613 and the ultimate corruption that comes with the thirst for power and the Oval Office.

The series finale, fittingly called “Over a Cliff” and written by Rhimes, followed the Gladiators all standing in the light to tell the truth about what they’ve done over their years of back-room deals and misdeeds to protect the Republic (and their own inner-circle of power). As expected, the finale featured a couple of familiar faces, resolved the B613 case and left some things open for interpretation.

Ultimately, Attorney General David Rosen (Josh Malina) — aka the most innocent person in D.C. whose hat was the whitest among everyone on the show — would pay the price for everything and was killed off. In the end, it was Cyrus (Jeff Perry) — the vice president of the United States — who killed David as he proved yet again that he would do anything to make the Oval Office his own in a storyline that Scandal has followed since its start. The series has always explored how the Oval Office and lust for power corrupts those who come near it, and Cyrus killing David illustrated how far he would go to get the highest office in the country. As for Cyrus, Olivia demands his resignation and he willingly agrees as he acknowledges that the things that he has done in his lust for power are demons from which he can never escape.

“It’s always been my contention that the Oval Office, in our show, was a place that corrupted anybody who came near it and the closer you came, the more corrupt it made you and the more damaged it made you,” Rhimes told reporters, including THR, ahead of the finale. “Olivia started out as the character that we knew who has very much believed in how important this particular kind of power was and how molding it and being a part of it was — and we watched her, like everybody else, become absolutely corrupted by it, and make all the same mistakes that everybody else makes to get what she wants from it.”

That reveal capped a final season that focused largely on how Olivia (Kerry Washington), who assumed control of B613 in the season six finale, had to fight her way back into the light and stand in the sun of what’s right and, most importantly, who she really is at her core. Given the chance to flee by her father Rowan (Joe Morton), the one-time head of B613, Olivia opted instead to tell the truth and find her moral center again. Rowan, as it turns out, shockingly opted to do the same and testified that he created B613 and did so in a response to a need: because white men whose privilege left the Republic in a state of neglect. Rowan confesses to his work fixing elections, acts of terrorism and more — but he did so for a reason. “I am responsible for the fact that this nation still stands,” he testifies. “I wake up every morning and I make America great.” Rowan’s final monologue is a larger statement about race in America and that the white men who run the country were ultimately controlled by a black man. Rowan’s testimony brings Jake (Scott Foley) down as he takes the fall for B613.

(Excerpt) Read More in: The Hollywood Reporter

‘Scandal’ Series Finale: How Shonda Rhimes Wrapped the ABC Political Game-Changer

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