VO: I’ll say this right off the bat — when I saw the previews for this two weeks ago, I just kind of sucked in a breath and went “hooo boy.” Maybe it’s because we’re currently reviewing the news about the Department of Justice’s findings on Ferguson and everything is still fresh, but I really am skeptical that an hour-long drama — especially one that prides itself on OMG moments that include unorthodox dental surgeries — can handle this issue with the sensitivity it requires.
KC: It feels weird to review this right after what just happened in Madison. I will admit I actually wanted to skip this episode because even though Shonda’s heart is often in the right place her storytelling skills are kind of like a sledgehammer. I quit a show (Private Practice) over how she handled a rape storyline. But anyhoo…
VO: So we’ll start from the beginning. It’s clear that Olivia’s got some PTSD and is ignoring what happened to her by diving back into work. And she’s not willing to level with anyone with it — even Jake, who knows exactly what’s up. Because the man isn’t stupid.
KC: No he’s not stupid. However, I’ve done the “OMG yeah I’m tired and going to sleep” phone call when I am really about to binge watch old DIllinger Escape Plan videos, so I get that.
VO: And here we go with the ripped from the headlines and I can feel my gut clench. Hey Courtney B. Vance! Nice seeing you again.
KC: I have missed him. Speaking of ripped from the headlines, why did they get rid of him on Law and Order: CI?
VO: Hell if I know. I haven’t watched Law and Order since they recalled the mothership.
I love David’s reaction admittedly. “I’m not a pizza. You can’t call and I’m delivered.”
KC: He’s so snarky and he’s totally right, he’s not like a plumber or something.
VO: And there’s a momentary relief from that as they discuss what to do with the vegetated corpse of Nichols. “Mellie’s next,” and Cyrus suddenly needs a drink. And I get his pain. While Mellie is smart, she lacks the experience on paper that would get her attention. Hillary Clinton went from First Wife to Senator to Secretary of State, before being taken seriously as a candidate for president. Then again the voters in Scandalverse are drunk on wine and would vote for a paper bag, so maybe Mellie has a better shot at winning.
KC: I love Mellie but she is totally delusional about this.
VO:I like the activist calling her out on playing both sides. Because really Olivia’s not used to working with people who won’t negotiate.
I find it interesting the arguments between Olivia and Marcus. I sense that it’s the two different ways of people handle issues. Olivia’s used to being on the inside and working from there quietly while Marcus believes in change and pushing forward that way.
KC: I am gonna be shallow here and hope he comes back as a regular character and hooks up with Liv. She kinda needs a dude who will call her out on shit.
VO: Leaking the name? Not a low call, but I’m more on his side than Olivia’s.
KC: Nope, not low at all, IMO
VO: AND THEN THEY GO AFTER VACCINES? WHAT THE HELL? I’m sorry, I’m with Jimmy Kimmel on this and putting both sides out there — no. This is incorrect and with Mellie? Mellie is going to appear unhinged as hell. But it’s nice that the actress Susan is rocking the crazy eyes hardcore.
KC: As a fan of It’s Always Sunny, It’s always great to see Artemis Pebdani but I wish they were doing something different with her.
VO: I think that’s my issue too — Susan Ross to me wasn’t an unhinged woman, but a woman who was smart, but terrible at getting people to follow her and painting her as fringe I think simplifies her character.
The speech about what to do to appear “good” in front of the cops hurts. But that’s also one speciality of this show — they give magnificent speeches to actors.
KC: Agreed, and I think they are good about sneaking in those small references to everyday black life.
VO :Mellie — no offense, but your turn requires some groundwork. And maybe some murder.
KC: I think she’d be a better choice if she had divorced Fitz and run for office somewhere.
VO: “For a week straight…” Wait. I thought Olivia was gone only for a week? SCANDAL WRITERS PLEASE GET YOUR TIMELINE STRAIGHT.
KC: Yeah WTF!? That week thing makes no sense anyway, they went to war with West Angola and suffered casualties in a week?
VO: It is really disconcerting watching a very heavy scene in this episode then suddenly get a commercial for The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
KC: I’m watching on Hulu so for me it’s just a Dunkin Donuts cronut commercial
VO: With Mendez falling through, I wonder if they’re setting up Mellie as VP, to which I wonder how the hell that would happen legally?
KC: The American People of Scandal are so stupid, I wonder if they’d be down with it, like “well, her son died, she needs something to do.” Think about it, this president went through an an almost assassination attempt, a sex scandal, the death of the dude’s son, the vice president. They go through Vice Presidents the way Spinal Tap goes through drummers. IT’S TIME TO SAY PEACE OUT TO THIS DUDE.
VO: Mellie, I get why you chose Susan, but seriously I don’t know if you know who you’re dealing with. Admittedly it could be hilarious to have her around, but she’d wear the hell out of me.
KC: it is just me, or have they made Susan even quirkier? She seemed unpolished but not eccentric in that other episode.
VO: I feel like she’s gotten more fringe than the last time we saw her. She was unpolished, but not flat out questionable with some of her stances.
Did someone mine Facebook for this guy’s speech? The sideeye he’s getting from the African-American cops is just awesome.
KC: Actually did they zoom in on the one black guy? I kinda LOLed. Way subtle.
VO: What I worry about with this is that it goes back to idea that “all cops aren’t bad,” which is true, but it makes it easy to dismiss the institutional racism that occurs that is also mixed with the idea of “protecting your own.”
KC:Easy to dismiss or not even recognize.
VO: While I appreciate what they’re trying to do with the ending of this, I’m also bothered by it, because it’s easy to dismiss actions like as “a few bad cops” as opposed to not addressing the institutional power structures that have created these perceptions. Admittedly that might be harder to address in a 42-minute drama, but it just bothers me because it gives a mistaken impression that there are pat endings to this.
KC: For all of the reasons you mentioned I had a big problem with the end, I know that the Perry Mason style 11th hour confession is more dramatic and offers some narrative closure, its cold comfort for the real world parents and family of black men and women who have been murdered by police. And for viewers, too, who know that such swift justice is elusive. And I understand that this isn’t what Scandal is about, and probably not appropriate for a multi-episode arc, but I wish, just once, on TV, I’d see an example of good people who exist within and benefit from a structure/culture of white supremacy. I think there are older shows like old school Law and Order, or I’ll Fly Away, or Homicide: Life on The Street that tackled this, but since we are now in the so-called “New Golden Age of Television” I don’t think it’s asking too much for this issue to be tackled with the nuance it deserves.