Check out the Post’s article on the PoC led dramas coming this fall. And a few are led by women! Numbers are getting better, but no where near where they need to be.
The link and a couple of quotes below.
With “Scandal” commanding $200,970 per 30-second advertising spot, it’s a cash cow.“The color Hollywood loves the most is green,” says Wilmore. “Shonda Rhimes really showed that you can have a black lead in your thriller and you can have a great show. She broke down that wall, and Hollywood follows success.”
Hollywood definitely follows the money. Hopefully these new shows prove to be great television as well. The problem we’ve faced in the past has not always been a lack of content (well, yes, this is the problem, but) sometimes the content put out there isn’t good. There are a lot of times people of color will watch a show featuring someone of their background and that will boost ratings, but ratings will drop off if they don’t consider the show good. It’s not just about representation in numbers, but representation in quality and content. Don’t just give us a show with a black person and say it’s diversity, the content has to be good as well.
Rina Mimoun, executive producer of “Red Band Society,” says that, because of the Rhimes effect, “people will open up their casting. There’s no reason not to.”
More and more producers are realizing this, but things still aren’t where they need to be. The Emmy’s certainly showed that with the small amount of PoC nominees and smaller winners (most weren’t even televised). Hopefully, with this new crop of PoC led shows, next year’s Emmy’s will feature more PoC nominees and winners (now that Breaking Bad is finally out of the race; and maybe Emmy voters will finally be over Modern Family).
(In addition to these current shows, let’s not forget Sleepy Hollow, also led by a black female–I don’t think the article mentioned it.)
via Minority actors land the lead roles in fall’s diverse TV lineup | New York Post.
Tonight is the #Scandal season finale! I haven’t been recapping Scandal lately (busyness–I often don’t get home to watch it live, then had things to do Friday morning, no writing time–and my recap style fit more when the show was a tad bit more serial) but doesn’t mean I’m not still watching it. I’ll watch the finale as soon as I get home late tonight, but ahead of the episode, the internet is giving us loads of Scandal content to get us through the day.
These two links, both from Vulture, are different takes on Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal monologues. One is a monologue generator that I haven’t gotten to play with yet (but Shonda Rhimes has: )
and the other is breakdowns of 4 monologues from this season, by Joe Morton, Bellamy Young, Kate Burton, and Jeff Perry. These are fun games but also very useful for me.
Earlier this year I was writing a Scandal spec script for a TV writing class I was taking. I got pretty far, but Scandal fatigue and adding other things to my writing interests put it on hold for a while. But something I was struggling with was figuring out how and where and who to give a brilliant Scandal monologue to. It’s hard work. The obvious choice would be Joe Morton’s character Eli, but he wasn’t quite giving me one. And I was so focused on trying to give him one (because he is my favorite character on the show) that I ruled out everyone else and I think I was suffering for that.
He could still get the monologue, but now I have a new idea! Use the Vulture Scandal Monologue generator! Obviously not to take whatever I get when I play, but I think the generator breaks down the monologues from the show in ways that would be beneficial to me looking at my spec and including one. It starts off with themes and goes from there. Once I break down the theme of my episode (another aspect I was struggling with–Shonda is very theme heavy in her episodes and it’s always good to know what yours is, but I haven’t broken down the theme to go with the plot of my episode), I can use this generator to get a monologue for it.
Sometimes you have to know how to use the fun of the internet to actually do work and understand things that were giving you trouble. I can’t wait to try it. If you use it, comment with your monologue!
I think another brilliant thing I just came up with could be to use all those Buzzfeed quizzes to learn more about your characters, just take them in their voice and use the end result as a way to understand your characters more. Or maybe your character wouldn’t take a Buzzfeed quiz. That’s telling too!
Last week, I was blessed to have been able to attend a NYWiFT Panel on the current state of black women on screen at Harlem venue My Image Studios (MiST). It was very inspiring and I got to watch Scandal afterwards with a room full of Gladiators. It was pretty amazing. Here are some of the questions and responses below (featuring general essence of their answers, with direct quotes from my notes).
The panelists for the evening were: Neema Barnette, Julie Dash, Sharon Hope, Chenoa Maxwell, and Rachel Watanabe-Batton with Ylana Kellar as the moderator. You can google them and check out their work like I have been. They’ve all been working in Hollywood trying to get the stories of black women told in the right ways and the things they had to say were very inspiring for all future black artists: whether actors, writers, directors, producers, any kind of black content creator.
The questions and answers are below as slides, click one and read through! These ladies were really inspirational and it was great to just be in a room with other like-minded people. Hopefully the roles portrayed by black actresses will continue to expand in number and in character dimension.
This week’s episode started off with a bang. Well, two bangs. Olivia and Fitz meet up and “review the numbers” then have an all out RAGING fight. All with poor Jake awkwardly chatting with the Secret Service right outside the door. I loved the fight and it was about time Olivia stood up for herself. Fitz is getting more and more ridiculous with the things he says and the things he demands from the people around him, especially the women. He doesn’t appreciate Olivia for what she brings to the table, what she wants, what she needs and Liv finally let him know. He didn’t really do anything in the rest of the episode that told me he was adjusting or changing, so we’ll see if this is just his character and the way the writers are going to continue to write him or if this is leading to a character development arc. Because Fitz, of all the characters on the show, needs the most character development in order for fans to continue to like him or believe that Olivia loves this man. (You may say, but Quinn needs some character development too! No, Quinn needs to die.) I suppose, in lack of a Papa Pope Speech of the Week, we can give Kerry some serious award noms for her part in the fight. She really did tell him about himself and that not everything is about him. I almost forgot to look for Kerry’s baby bump!
Some of the episode flashes back to the California governor’s mansion 14 years ago. Andrew Nichols, in the present, owns to some prescription drug use that someone is planting to use against the Grant campaign. But back in 2000, it was Mellie who took the pills. She was feeling sick and tired of her life, unable to look at Fitz or even touch him, scared that her kid wasn’t his and really feeling overwhelmed. Nichols finds her and stays up all night to make sure she makes it through and boy does he fall hard. But Mellie has a backbone and resists his charms, despite everyone kind of understanding and knowing where Fitz is headed in terms of his own marital screw-ups. But two wrongs don’t make a right, until the present day, when Mellie couldn’t take it anymore. Nichols certainly gets to touch the First Lady (and with Mellie’s hair like it was, she looked so great!) and he did it once, so he decides to do it again–this time the painting of Jackie O he was admiring before he had another first lady to admire. Fitz is already pissed about Jake being “a fox in his hen house” so it’ll be interesting to see what conniption he experiences when he finds out his other “loyal” “trusted” friend is a fox. Even with how he dismisses Mellie, he wants to have his cake and eat it too, he doesn’t want her to do anything he doesn’t want. Fitz’ control issues are spiraling out of control and I believe it’s all because he found out about Defiance. And he started drinking.
Speaking of spiraling (weak transition, I know), poor Jake. He’s been command for over a month now, but B6-13 let him get settled before delivering the whammy. He gets a suitcase of mysterious files, all of the nations secrets. With very daunting words like “protect the republic.” Jake doesn’t seem like he was ready for this; he’s seeing how lonely it is at the top. The suitcase clearly stated that he was to act with no interference from the executive branch and to stay a step ahead of the president, etc, etc. He thought he was going in with Fitz by his side, but between Olivia and the weight of his office, his buddy is getting farther and farther away and the weight is getting heavier. I know many of us certainly loved the scene where he uses his “boyfriend of Olivia Pope key” to demand some real food in the house and to go take a shower. But the seams are more visible and the pressure will get to him more and more, I am sure.
Well, I suppose at least Jake isn’t James. James is about to shake right out of his skin, he really wasn’t made for this covert ops, behind his husband’s back stuff. The littlest sound is setting him off and his meeting with David under the bridge (or wherever that seemed to be) made me laugh at how cliche it was for a secret meeting between “spies.” He’s not ready for B6-13.
And neither is Quinn (I’m really killing these transitions aren’t I ;-)). Quinn makes me more and more angry as the season progresses. She wants to find her own way? So go back to being the girl you were before you were Quinn. Olivia and Huck made you Quinn and if you want express your independence, why not go back to whatever your name was before (you make me so angry I’ve chosen to forget what your real name is)? Don’t pull a gun on the person who’s best suited to save your life when the time comes. She walked into Jake’s office cocky as I don’t know what, but you got caught on your first go round by Olivia. Not Rowan, not Charlie, but Olivia, who isn’t exactly covert ops material herself (she’d be in the command station doling out orders). You didn’t even try to hide when spying on Rowan and someone is going to get fed up with you and kill you. And the entire audience is going to cheer with glee (we’re all still kind of on Huck’s side about the torture thing–he just went a little too far with the licking). Huck kinda made me nervous though, bringing Olivia coffee like he was. Who knew what could have been in that coffee, considering his background. But it was apology coffee. Not for hurting Quinn, but for Olivia’s anger about it. Huck doesn’t let his desire for an apology stop him from telling Olivia about himself and herself. “You should have never given me someone to love. Monsters eat people, Liv. It;s what we do.” Oh Huck. It’s so telling about how he sees himself and his relationship with Olivia. And he loved Quinn. He took her under his wing and loved her and she went betrayed the master (if we’re sticking with Huck’s puppy metaphor), so he had to take a couple bites out of her for that. I wish he’d gotten a couple of more bites in.
Finally, I sat on my last post for about a week, hoping to unleash my theory about Adnan Salif working with Mama Pope and they reveal it the very next episode! I still KNEW IT! I really wonder what they’re up to, though. Adnan has now gotten her way into the Grant campaign camp, despite Cyrus knowing how criminal she is, and it was Mama’s idea? What’s the plan? And how will it interact with Eli’s plan to destroy Fitz? No way Maya wants Fitz to continue being president (certainly not without some damage somewhere), he knows about her and was the man who pulled her trigger. But if she does something to destroy Fitz, how does that play with Eli’s plan? Will they end up working on the same team somehow? What dangerous red strings of fate are being intertwined as we hurtle toward the end of the season?
I’ve been slacking on bringing back my weekly Scandal posts. Partially because I am still busy and partially because I watched Scandal differently for the premiere than I usually do. Last week, I went to a panel on Black Women in Hollywood (which I will write about soon) put together by New York Women in Film and Television (NYWiFT), at a venue in Harlem called My Image Studios (MiST). After the panel, as they do every week, MiST played Scandal in their theater space. That’s right, this place in Harlem plays Scandal on two large movie screens every week. Dozens of women (and some men!) were there–partly the panel crowd, partly the usual crowd that usually appears there–and wow is it different watching Scandal with other people. I mimic the experience when I live-tweet the show, retweeting funny comments, but it’s great watching and hearing people’s physical reactions to things. The moment when Mellie walks in on Fitz and Olivia making out in the Oval, every gasped so loud. It was fun! I would totally do it again, but with more people I knew. I got to hang out with some of the NYWiFT interns, but I’d love to go back with some friends of mine and get to react to the show live. So the busyness of that night combined with other life reasons made me put off this post for a whole week. But here it is. Hopefully the next one won’t take as long.
Like I said, the entire screening audience gasped when we and Mellie all caught Liv and Fitz making out in the Oval. They were “reviewing the numbers” all right. The two pull their lips off each other to deal with Sally’s big announcementt: She’s running for president as an independent, but she’s not stepping down from the vice presidency… She claims the devil came in and killed Daniel Douglas, but the devil must be giving her some intense balls to think she can both be the VP and run against her boss.
All of this pisses Fitz off so bad that even Liv can’t get through to him. He says he’s got a new pick for VP, Andrew Nichols, who worked with him in California. Liv thinks it’s a bad idea, he’s from the same state and brings absolutely NO diversity to the table. Fitz dismisses her. “I said that’s all.” Here’s where Fitz pisses me off the most, and it comes up in his scene with Liv later: he says all the time how he loves her and trusts her and can’t win without her, but he refuses to listen to her opinions. Eli was right, he’s a boy who’s trying to prove he’s a man. Speaking of Eli, Liv finds out that Jake is in charge of B6-13 and goes off to find her father, now that she knows he was fired from Wonderland. They meet at an old hangout spot of theirs and discuss his uncommon valor. Liv apologizes for what happened to him and that. sets. him. OFF. I’ll post more of the speech in a section I’ll call “Joe Morton Speech of the Week,” but he really tells Olivia how it is.
“You’re skipping around in a field full of bombs and mistaking them for daisies. This, dear, sweet, child is what happened. The married man you can’t seem to stay away from had me abducted and locked me up in chains and spoke to me about the way you taste while he allowed the terrorist who snaked her way into my marriage bed to clear US airspace. What happened was, the man you screw, betrayed me by freeing the woman who gave birth to you as a bargaining chip. What happened was, the man that defiled you also defiled an organization that I gave my soul to build. That is what happened. What is currently happening is that Fitzgerald Thomas Grant III has made an enemy. The worst kind of enemy. because i know all his secrets. I know where every body is buried. And the greatest weapon I can use against him calls me Dad. […]
Everyone should be afraid. the president should be afraid. And if I were you, Olivia, I would be terrified. I would pick up whatever chips you have left and run as far away as possible from that burning building known as the White House. Run, Olivia, run. Because, mark my words, Fitzgerald Grant, is not going to make it to the end of his term.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“Watch me. Start grieving now, Olivia. Rend your garments. Curse the heavens. It will save you time down the road. But first, run.”
That’s it! I surrender! How Olivia manages to not cry from fear, I do not know. His speeches are always epic! And we all desperately want to know what he’s planning! Does he actually mean to murder Fitz? Or is it more of a political threat? Eli turning to Sally’s campaign manager Leo tells a more political destruction, but Eli told Olivia to grieve. Wow. I cannot wait to see what he has planned.
Leo puts thoughts of Olitz into the minds of the media and a circus ensues. In order for Mellie to come out on top, she urges Liv to pick a suitor, any suitor. When Olivia does, choosing Jake to be a “patriot” and date her to serve his country, Fitz is less than pleased. He’ll be even less pleased when he learns that his running mate pick, Nichols, shares a burning torch for Mellie. His decision to choose Jake and Andrew over loyalty is about to backfire largely in his face. Tonight, we’ll find out more about Andrew and Mellie’s secret fling 12 years ago. Other plots:
Harrison is WIGGED OUT. Adnan Salif sends him veiled threats, causing us and Abby to wonder why Harrison knows how to use a gun. She shows up and all our thoughts about her being a large threatening man are thrown out the window and she and Harrison get busy in his office. What’s she up to? One theory below.
Charlie and Quinn take up kidnapping, but she misses being a gladiator
David Rosen and James are colluding against Cyrus. Secret recordings, double crossing, betrayal, backstabbing, all of it. James is tired of being married to a monster. Theories:
I have no idea what Eli and Leo are planning. Is it a trade of secrets for Sally to use in her campaign? Is there a more sinister nature to their meetings? Time will tell.
Here’s the biggest theory of all: I think Adnan Salif is working with Mama Pope.Perhaps all this time. Perhaps Harrison even knows something about it (maybe not consciously). She comes in and wonders, “How we can help each other.” If she was brought into the country by Cyrus to get him to play his game, what agenda would she already have? I think she’s working with Mama Pope and wants to get close to Harrison again (not killing him as he feared) so she can get information on Olivia and Eli and everyone out looking for her. And whatever other plans they have set into motion. We won’t see Mama for a while, I presume, but Adnan will be her eyes and ears in the meantime.
Another theory rolling around the internet is that Mellie’s kids aren’t Fitz’. We already think Big Jerry is the father of the oldest (about 16 years ago) and with this new reveal, it may turn out the child #2 is also the product of another man, this time Nichols. Could this mean what fans have guessed already? That Fitz is sterile and none of the kids, not even Teddy, is his? And we’ve tracked the other two father’s down, who is Teddy’s biological father?
I am so glad Scandal is back! Thanks for reading!
What was your favorite “cover the baby bump” moment from this episode? The man’s head conveniently covering her stomach in the oval? I think mine is her giant purse with the distracting White House badge dangling off it as she walked down the hallway.
And (UPDATE) newest staff members, two black female writers.
I didn’t want to have a lot of words on this, since everyone else will, but people have been asking my opinion on it, so here are my thoughts on Sasheer Zamata being cast as SNL’s newest token black cast member– black female comedian (neither is much better is it?). I had more thoughts than I thought I would.
I know nothing about this girl, so this opinion has little to do with her or her comedy style. I sincerely hope she is great and has a great time and it leads her, whenever she is ready, to bigger and better things. But SNL hasn’t solved the problem. This hire really will only highlight more problems. What about comedians of other races? Will SNL only cave to include an Indian or an Asian after those communities raise an uproar? What about SNL’s non-acting writing staff (the cast and featured players aren’t the only writers, as far as I understand–perhaps I am wrong), how diverse is that group? Is the placement of this hire a ratings stunt for the traditionally slow month of January?
I worry also about featured player dynamics now that Sasheer has been chosen. The newbies on SNL are all currently fighting to get as much sketch/screen time as the main cast. Is Sasheer on featured player level, or main cast level? Either way, the show is gonna have to use her often, if only to prevent backlash of, “oh you hired her but don’t let her do anything.” Hopefully this opens up the writers’ sketch ideas in what they can include (non-drag Oprah and Michelle Obama will be a nice change of pace), but will those other writer’s write appropriate sketches for a black character?Some of Kerry Washington’s sketches were seen as problematic, if not on their own, but mostly because the issue was so hot then. If the show was known to have black writers/cast members as apart of the team, those sketches might not have had such unfortunate implications. To be specific, I’m thinking of the fact that Kerry played a lot of “ghetto” girls in her sketches, even the digital short.
Part of Jay Pharaoh’s failure as a successful main cast member is that he did great impressions, but once he did them, what was left? The ones we’ve seen become unfunny if done every time you’re in a sketch. His original work left much to be desired. Will Sasheer be relegated to those kinds of characters–ghetto girls and black female celebrities–without allowing her to broaden her range and play the straight man in a sketch or play a (quirky) character that has no ethnic implications?
Only time will tell. All I know is that Sasheer’s first (and probably second) episodes will be some of the highest of the season–the normal crowd will be watching, as well as critics (both positive and negative) of the choice, as well as “Black Twitter,” which has shown itself to be a force to reckon with. The black television audience is larger than networks give us credit for and the success of Scandal and even Sleepy Hollow have shown that black women will watch a television show with a black female character (even if just to hate on it) because we are so starved for representation. The rest is up to the writing, which SNL has been suffering with in the past, but hopefully some new blood will raise the quality of the writing as well. UPDATE: http://splitsider.com/2014/01/snl-adds-two-black-female-writers/ SNL has also hired two black female writers LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, to add to the staff. This certainly alleviates concerns about the treatment or Sasheer’s characters. As long as they can 1. fight to shut down sketches with unfortunate implications and 2. not be sidelined to only write sketches Sasheer is in… but right now, SNL is seeing our concerns and circumventing them, so here’s to hoping! Even more reason to watch SNL when it returns… They really will be some of the highest rated of the season I am sure.
[Apologies for no post for last week’s episode, I had some other stuff distracting my brain, making me unable to write a post][This might be my longest Scandal post yet!]
Last night’s Scandal Winter Finale left me at a peak during Papa Pope’s EPIC speech (which I will of course get to later, probably in the most detail of any other plot point) and then kind of rolled down to the end of a roller-coaster. The end wasn’t shocking like last week’s (though that’s typical of a penultimate episode–a shocker ending to get you into the finale) but neither did the episode really have those BIG moments we expect from Shondaland. Last season’s mid-season finale was the Defiance arc–those five major moments in that episode: from Cyrus almost getting James sniped, to Fitz killing Verna–but we didn’t get nay moments that big. Some jobs switched around, and Mama Pope came back (which is not really a surprise), and ugh Quinn. Nothing really big happened, so I was left a tad disappointed. But perhaps it’s better this way! We don’t get another episode until February 27 (which is basically March), so I’m kind of glad this was an episode that wouldn’t have me going through MAJOR Scandal withdrawal. Just minor withdrawal will happen now. 😉
Starting with the Sally/Cyrus arc, as the episode does, I really enjoyed the direction of the fight at the beginning of the episode: the fight overlapping quiet moments of introspection between them. I don’t know that I am sold that Sally would kill him in this moment–he merely threatens to leave her and tell her story on national TV? I am not sold that that would be the push to send her over.
“The devil came in.”
Cyrus seeing that his actions have negative consequences if very important. Usually, his awful actions have no negative consequences for him; but now it’s affected his marriage and killed a man (hope you weren’t eating during the vomit shot).
“Give me your sin. Let me clean this up.”
Quinn needs to get her life together. She needs to pick a side and stick with it. She’s a gladiator, then she betrays them, then she agrees to kill Command for Huck, then can’t do it so she takes her tracker out and sticks with Charlie, then in middle of the night goes BACK to OPA, and is SURPRISED when she is rejected! Then back to B6-13. SMH. GET IT TOGETHER GIRL.
Fitz really wants to be in charge. He tries to use his power to control Rowan and gets in a tizzy when it backfires. So he calls up Jake to take over B6-13. I don’t understand how this happened. Rowan constantly says that B6-13 is above the president, so how does Fitz have the power to have him removed? Has Rowan been wrong this whole time? And Fitz allowing that power dynamic to seem like it’s out of his favor until this moment? Or did he call someone else to have that change made? I don’t get it. And choosing Jake? That’s going to go sour real quick, since they have rival affections for the same woman. What will Jake do with this position? I feel like he would have to eventually make the same choices Rowan did, the choices that he and Huck are scarred over. There must be more to Jake accepting this position; does he plan to destroy B6-13 with his new power? Or will he eventually put Charlie/Quinn in the hole like he was?
Now onto the Fitz/Rowanscene. As I mentioned before, Fitz is trying so hard to play grown. He decides to rub it in Rowan’s face that he is sleeping with his daughter. That’s never a good idea, fool, regardless of whose father you are speaking to.
“Here’s the thing about power, Rowan. It’s always hard to accept when you’ve lost it.” “But you realize you never had any at all.”
Fitz clearly takes this as a challenge. But then why hasn’t he done anything about Rowan before all of this?? If he had the power to do anything about it, it should’ve been done. And Fitz clearly isn’t the type to do anything unless prompted. He didn’t want to get into politics but he was prompted by Mellie and challenged by his father. Just recently, Cyrus questioned his balls, so Fitz made a counter-move to say “How presidential are my balls now, Cy?” He only did what he did in response to someone calling him out on how weak he is. All the signs of a “boy,” as Rowan says.
Watch the moment when Fitz tells Rowan about him and Olivia. The direction is brilliant here: Rowan in the chair, center of the screen coming at him from below, with Fitz dominating the left half of the screen behind him. The angle makes him look large as he hovers over Rowan to tell him about Liv. Fitz wants to have the power, but Rowan out plays him in this moment.
Rowan calling Fitz a “boy” has so many levels. Obviously, one is that it’s true. Fitz has suffered from his father’s influence on him, as well as his wealthy status, and in turn has never grown up. He gets things handed to him, but throws a fit when he finds out about it. But not enough to do anything on his own.
But Rowan calling Fitz “boy” also has some historical connotations as well. To have a black man call a white man [who is in power, but that wasn’t even usually the case] “boy” speaks to centuries of racism. Rowan’s character is probably the most racial context we’ve gotten on this show, between this moment and his “you have to work twice as hard” speech from the premiere.
“For you, it’s always summertime and the living is easy and daddy is rich and your momma’s good looking!”
Excellent delivery of this well known lyric. Really, the whole scene is fantastically executed. Joe Morton wasn’t playing around when he delivered these lines, and that’s all while being tied down in a chair. I don’t know if Season 3 is eligible for any of those TV awards, but I really hope Joe Morton gets some sort of recognition for this role, because right now, he’s the most interesting character on the show for me.
“You have everything handed to you on a silver platter and you squander it!”
Someone on twitter mentioned that this monologue should be every black actor’s audition piece. It really is fantastically performed.
“So you decided the one thing you wanted was my daughter. My child. Mine. What I made. What I created.”
It’s a problem that they are talking about Olivia like she has no autonomy of her own, but that’s built into these characters. They are both characters who possess things. Fitz has things handed to him, Rowan works for them, but they are both still men who believe they deserve power and the things that come with power.
“You love that she is a door marked exit.”
This has been it from day one. Fitz wanted to get caught with Olivia, he’s the one who leaked her name. He built a house in the country they could never live in, they talk about making jam, he constantly wants to run away with her. He is, as Rowan says, using her to fuel his escape fantasies from this life that was 1. handed to him 2. designed by his father.
“She is always going to be the formidable Olivia Pope.”
Said right after he says the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Papa makes Olivia formidable, so he can imply he is even greater than that.
“Don’t use the person that I made to make you into a man. You are a boy.”
“You disappoint me as a suitor for my daughter’s hand.”
I was lightheaded from that speech. It was so well delivered and hit some great points about Fitz and Liv’s relationships.
After this moment, the episode left me kind of meh. Mellie is ruthless, Quinn is dumb and can’t pick a side, James wants to file charges against Sally or Cyrus, Maya used Rowan to kill 300+ people… for fun? As an act of terror that lies on the side of the government rather than a terror organization? Rowan is released but then fired as Command in favor of Jake. James decides to stay with Cyrus and play some power games of his own to get White House Press Secretary. Leo, Sally’s wanna be Chief of Staff, also doesn’t bat an eye to Sally murdering her husband, he wishes he’d been called. Definitely Cyrus-light. Rowan continues to evade Olivia’s questions, but I’m not sure why at the moment.
And Maya escapes from the plane only to still be in DC, looking like Olivia Pope’s mother (hair, fly jacket, GLOVES), outside the White House with her burner phone. What is she planning? Has she already done it? Is she going after Rowan? What has she been planning for the last 20+ years? But I couldn’t help but feel this moment wasn’t enough for what we expect to end on in a Shondaland episode. But like I said earlier, it’s for the best, so that my withdrawal isn’t as strong.
Oh, another moment that I loved was the one between Eli and Olivia. When Liv lip quivers and realizes the truth in front of her dad, he doesn’t even move. but his acting is still impeccable?! How does he do it? He literally just stares into space, but you can see his jaw clench and the tears in his eyes and that speaks so much. So much about his love for his daughter, which I’ve seen all along, and about being played by his wife, and the effects his job has on other people and himself. Maybe he needs this break from being command.
ALSO, when Eli flashes back to the night Maya “dies,” we see him crying in front of the TV. We’ve been showed this before and assumed it was because he loved his wife. But now we see that it was because of all those people he had to shoot down. When he said in the last episode that he got no pleasure in taking a life, we scoffed, but deep down, it’s true. He didn’t cry for Maya (or perhaps he cried for knowing she betrayed him all those years), but he cried for the plane crash victims and he cried for what he was about to do to Olivia. Again, Eli/Rowan/Papa Pope is (clearly) my favorite character and it’s moments like these that cement that opinion.
“Your father, he is not our hero. He is our demon.”
“You’re not a gladiator anymore.”
“I’ll see you real soon.” –> Shonda’s words to us fans.
I can’t wait to see how they continue to hide Kerry’s Washington’s pregnancy!
We won’t get another episode until February 27, so hang in there, gladiators! We can do this! If anything, we’ll still make Scandal trend on Twitter on Thursdays.
See you real soon, gladiators!
As always, where do I begin?
Let’s first begin with the greatness that is a primetime show with a black female lead, a black female showrunner, and a black female director (Ava DuVernary) of an episode. When has THAT ever happened? On TV ever? (The episode was not written by a black female, however, I think our brains would’ve exploded). Such a rarity to see those things together; hopefully we get to see more of it across all media.
Now, on to the episode. While last week’s episode gave us lots of backstory, this episode is setting us up for next episode’s Winter Finale (we’re not readdyyyy!). However, I think this was my least favorite—and the weakest—episode of the season. Many moments were kind of forced (really Liv? You still think he murdered your mother— sorry, we’ll get that later) or fell flat (the Josie storyline is just gonna end like that? Whomp whom). But there were some nuggets of character for the Parental Popes that I am enjoying trying to figure out.
We didn’t learn as much about Mama Pope as I think we were hoping, in terms of the actions that got her in prison, but I think we learned a lot about her personality wise. She is fierce and bold, a little nuts (you nearly threw up in your mouth when she chewed her own wrists, didn’t you), but that move made her ingenious. She goes after what she wants and does whatever it takes to get there. But what does that mean about her past? Did she use these same traits to hurt people? To pass secrets? To take action to blow up a plane? Later, I’ll ask you guys to give me your favorite Mama Pope theories (I’d like to do another blog post on those); for now, we’ve just been given her character traits–which we’ve seen have passed on to Olivia. (As well as a love of popcorn.)
Turning to her relationship with Eli/Rowan, I can’t tell where they’re at right now. His entrance into her cell didn’t seem like a surprise. He cradles her wrists in the hospital and hands her water. He brings her pictures of Olivia, touches her shoulder, laughs with her. She laughs back. They don’t seem to hate each other. She told him to take care of Olivia. Have they seen each other in the last 20 something years? Has he done anything to help her? Can he? They don’t seem to have ever talked about Olivia in all these years, but they don’t act like it’s been 20 years and a conspiracy driving them apart. I don’t get it. What could the circumstances of Operation Remington be that they’re almost cordial with each other until he denies her what we might call “visitation rights.” Then he’s Command and the leader of B6-13, angry that a prisoner escaped. We’re they operatives together? Was she on our side but then turned traitor? I need answers and I need them now. Things I Didn’t Like (Shocker, I know) Harrison and Candace. I called their UST from the moment they met each other in the episode, but I’m upset because it’s (so far) served no purpose. He didn’t get a storyline in the episode about it, the two don’t even seem to be sticking around for the next episode (there is clearly no room for them in the winter finale) so he and Candy probably won’t continue to see each other, and it didn’t help either him or Candy in the episode. So what was the point? To pretend to give Harrison some (literal) love? How is this helping Cyrus’ proposed blackmail to bring that guy back into the country? Did that even happen? Have we forgotten about that in honor of non Harrison story lines? Even Abbie and David’s storyline has had more forward movement than anything Harrison is given. It was disappointing. As was the Marcus storyline as a whole. I was hoping Lisa Kudrow would go out with a bang; her presidential candidacy barely last a month? Liv is free to go back to the Grants?
But that’s the easy choice; what will Shonda do to unravel Olivia and Fitz? She certainly fused them back together for a moment that might have had fans cheering a few episodes ago, but now felt extremely forced. I’ve mentioned before I’ve faltered between Team Jake and Team Fitz, but Olivia thinks he KILLED HER MOTHER. At the very least, he killed hundreds of people (under orders he’ll keep saying) and never told her about it. Then he has the nerve to be upset that she didn’t tell him about her father (who—as far as Fitz knows—could have a similar “don’t tell anyone I am your father for national security reasons” hold over her). His upset about that really made me angry (also, leave the girl be for ONE MOMENT, instead of using your power and emotional manipulation to get her to do what you want. -____-) so I was disappointed that she thought that a house (that he has to keep secret because he is STILL MARRIED) was enough to forget all of that for one night. And I get it, he’s her weakness. She forgets herself and her morals when she’s around him, but where will her self control come in? I hope Mama Pope will smack some sense into her daughter and cause another rift (final? because what else could drive Liv and Fitz apart once and for all?) between Olitz. I think I am officially over Team Fitz.
Also the end. We knew Olivia and Maya would meet again, but it felt a little flat to end it on their first meeting. I might have preferred if Liv had actually passed out (she certainly looked like she would. and maybe they’ll begin next episode with such a move). but it was kind of anticlimactic because we’ve met her mom, we knew where she was going and that they’d meet eventually. If mom had been doing something else (killing someone, breaking into Liv’s apartment, something), maybe it would’ve have been a good ending, but since it was expected, and came after the HUCK KNOWS moment, it fell a little flat for me.
But part of this is being the set up for the winter finale, it’s putting as many pieces in place as it can to set those explosive events in motion. I just wish the moments hit stronger in this one; because now I have to wait two weeks for the next episode and I was underwhelmed by this one. =/ Other thoughts Mellie, Mellie, Mellie. She was so sad and had such a change of heart about the Honey Trap when she learned Fitz and Liv were off somewhere together. But what can she do next? She’s already threatened divorce, outed his affair on national television, he’s already been shot at—what’s left for Mellie? After all that she’s sacrificed and she still will only get to be the First Lady for another term—she hates being First Lady.
Will Shonda write in an Olivia pregnancy from the Vermont scene? I think she could ave written it in by now, but maybe the timing wasn’t right when Kerry told her about it? If it had been written in before, the obvious plot would’ve been the question of whether it was Jake’s or Fitz’. If done now, it would most certainly be Fitz’. And where would that leave us? I was hoping they wouldn’t write it in at all, but now it’s certainly possible; hiding Kerry in those black and white pants suits, giant coats and behind lamps will only work for so long, I suppose. And in order to keep the scheduling promise they gave us, these run of episodes, then the next set after winter break with no reruns, Kerry will have to keep working through the baby bump, until probably mid/late spring when she’s likely due. So it’s highly likely they just wrote in the pregnancy and when we get back, Liv will be having the president’s baby. Guess it’s good she told him to keep the house, huh? I wonder what that might mean for the Grant kids, of which I am not sure any of them are his. Can he only reproduce with Olivia? Mellie might snap on that information. Finally, what are your Mama Pope theories? She and Rowan were my favorite parts to this episode, figuring out what their current relationship is and what events in the past determined it is really fun. The one thing I truly believe they agree on is that they love their daughter. It looked like they loved each other too. So what happened to destroy it all? Let me know your theories!