The first part of the two-hour event, also referred to as How To Get Away With Scandal, introduces the two leading ladies to each other. Within just a few minutes of Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself, it becomes clear how the two shows fit perfectly in the same universe. They both revolve around terrible people doing terrible things in a cut-throat environment. The good news is that they’re brought together to actually do some good this time.
While I’m terribly behind on HTGAWM, the Scandal part of the crossover luckily doesn’t require much knowledge of whatever murder the Keating Five are up to this season. It’s no secret that Viola Davis is still phenomenal as ever as the badass attorney Annalise Keating who seems to have fallen from grace just as much as Olivia Pope, and every interaction between her and Kerry Washington is exceptionally sharp and gripping. The fact that Annalise’s arrival in D.C. brings back the softer side of Olivia in the form of a case in desperate need of the Supreme Court’s attention is a welcome development for Scandal fans who have been waiting for Evil Liv to disappear since last year. If only that was enough.
As fun as it is seeing Annalise and Olivia snap at each other at one point then proceed to work together by the end, the rest of the hour tries to make sense of the crossover with various degrees of success. For example, Michaela’s dynamic with Marcus is extremely forced and only exists to add pointless drama as we head over to the second hour. Similarly, Mellie is repeatedly displayed as the bad guy this week when her only intention in delaying Annalise’s case is to guarantee a win; Olivia calling her out on this and proclaiming that her grudge is what’s keeping her from backing this case seems incredibly unjustified.
Besides those few minor details, there’s no denying that Olivia and Annalise getting together by the end proves to be an exciting prospect and the perfect setup for the second half of the crossover.
– A little on the nose, but the quiet opening of Olivia in a classroom writing “How To Get Away With Scandal” on a chalkboard, a la the pilot episode of HTGAWM, is quite effective.
– It is very odd that Olivia has become a lecturer now since the pre-Winter Olympics episode, but I guess the writers were desperate to find a way to bridge both shows.
– Goosebumps-worthy moment as Mellie shoots Olivia down for only taking this case because she “needs a win” (quoted below).
– How incredible is the salon scene between Liv and Annalise? Wow.
– QPA’s involvement in this case seems a bit shoe-horned as well, especially since I don’t believe Quinn would forgive Liv that easily.
– So, Abby and David are definitely back together? Was it all done off-screen or did I actually miss anything?
– I don’t think anyone is rooting for Olivia and Fitz anymore at this point, but their heartwarming moment as he tells her “you’re still you” is unusually powerful and compelling.
– Hilariously meta scene with Olivia and Annalise sitting down for some popcorn and wine just like an ABC commercial for #TGIT.
Annalise: I thought you were able to move mountains. That’s why I came here looking for you.
Mellie: I want this case to move forward in a year when it actually has a chance of succeeding. The only reason you want this case to happen now is because you need a win. You need a win while there’s still a chance for you to scrape back some influence in this town. Beyond the occasional teaching gig, that is.
Olivia: Madam President, I don’t—
Mellie: Go ahead. Tell me I’m wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time you stood in this room and lied to my face.
Olivia: We’re going to the Supreme Court with or without you.
Mellie: You do that, you will find yourself an adversary of the White House.
Olivia: Wouldn’t be the first time for that, either.
Annalise: You judged me immediately. Just like a white man in a boardroom looking down on me because my hips are too wide and my hue too dark.
Annalise: You think we soul sisters just ’cause you rented out a hair salon for a few hours on the black side of town? Please. I’ve dealt with plenty of bougie-ass black women just like you. Spent most of your life in boarding school, Ivy League Universities, with a horse between your legs and a silver spoon in your mouth. You’re not the only one who knows how to Google.
Fitz: Why did you take this case? Olivia, answer the question.
Olivia: Because it matters. I took this case because it matters.
Fitz: Because you want to change the world.
Olivia: Because I want to change the world. Okay?
Fitz: Okay. There you are. You’re still you. They just don’t see it. You just don’t see it.
The first half of the How To Get Away With Scandal crossover is mostly successful thanks to powerhouse performances by Davis and Washington and an exciting cliffhanger. Bring on the second hour!