That was one weird episode of Scandal.
I know this is going to be an extremely unpopular opinion (judging by all the critical acclaim this episode has received) but I did not enjoy this hour.
After a phenomenal run of thrilling, action-packed episodes that completely restored my faith in its abilities, Scandal decided to tackle a ripped-from-the-headlines case that wasn’t nearly as suspenseful or engrossing. I get why many were so moved by this episode, but it did absolutely nothing for me. It didn’t feel true to the show’s narrative, and it certainly didn’t convey the aftermath of Olivia’s ordeal. A case could be made that Olivia threw herself into her work so she wouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of her trauma, but the whole episode felt unnatural and forced. It didn’t fit in the show’s world. Scandal isn’t supposed to be a realistic take on Washington politics; it’s an adrenaline-drenched White House cartoon where the President’s mistress is worth two billion dollars, and the President of the United States chokes the Supreme Court Justice (after she helped him cheat his way into office). Nothing about the show screams realism, so to watch it grapple with such a real-life occurrence felt very staged.
So what is the episode’s saving grace? Certainly Fitz and Mellie working together side by side. The fact that Fitz is willing to sabotage his own Vice President to ensure Mellie won’t have to face a viable opponent when she runs for the top spot is brilliant and satisfying.The reveal that Fitz had screwed over Mendez, a promising female candidate, was the cherry on top. Perhaps these two should visit House Of Cards and pick up some tips from the devious First Couple on that show?
Even the burst of comedy this week with Senator Susan, Mellie’s VP pick, was bizarre and out-of-place. Sure it’s going to be amusing if Fitz actually chooses her to be his VP, but I felt like I was watching an entirely different show – a whacky sitcom with cliche idiotic stereotypes.
Scandal, you can do better than this.
– Courtney B. Vance, who plays Clarence, was downright excellent in the role. A pity the script wasn’t up to par.
– Having Olivia’s hands tremble was a nice nod to her kidnapping ordeal.
– Officer Newton’s monologue was very well performed. It insightfully explored a form of racism we might not immediately recognize.
– For a moment there, I thought Olivia might recruit Marcus the activist to join her team of Gladiators. He certainly knows how to pull off a monologue!
– Interesting visual parallel with Olivia in bed and Brandon sprawled out on the street.
– Touching final moment with Clarence hugging Fitz in the Oval Office and sobbing in his arms.
Marcus: Nice purse.
Olivia: What’s your point?
Marcus: Probably worth a year’s rent at my place, ’cause I live right around the corner. This block, these people are home. We live in the same city, Olivia, but this is probably the first time you ever stepped foot on this block. Probably never been to this neighborhood except to get grits from Reggie’s or chicken and Greens off of Wade Street.
Olivia: You have no idea what I’m about.
Marcus: You’re about getting a white republican president elected… twice. Excuse me if I don’t buy you’re a real down-ass chick.
Olivia: Big picture… you and I want the same thing. You’re just taking the path of most resistance to get there. It’s not smart.
Marcus: We don’t want the same thing. You want to put it to bed quietly, tell everyone on the hill that you came down to the Hood and you saved us. No thanks, Olivia. Your black card’s not getting validated today.
Mellie: You told me you were gonna pick someone boring and unelectable. I prostituted myself so that you would get your mistress back, and now you’re gonna take someone young and charismatic and female and Latina and make her the Vice President of the United States? How dare you? What happened to my turn? We made a deal.
Olivia: Talk faster or say less.
I respect the message behind it, but I found The Lawn Chair very strange and out of place. Not impressed.