Dee Discusses: Scandal 4×14

Posted: March 16, 2015 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Recaps, scandal, Television
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

Oh boy. I suppose if any show is capable of dealing with racial injustice, it would be the one run by one of the most successful and outspoken black women in the industry. Ferguson is still a very tense situation in this country, and the DOJ released their reports eerily close to when this aired. Scandal decided to take on the issue and paint a somewhat “happy” conclusion, and honestly, I don’t fault them on that. They addressed the seriousness of it, but in the end chose to have some small amount of hope. Shonda tweeted about it after the episode, saying: “We had a great deal of debate about this ending. Whether to be hopeful or not. It was really hard. In the end we went with what fulfilling the dream SHOULD mean. The idea of possibility. And the despair we feel now.” I appreciate they didn’t shy away from addressing it, although since it’s otherwise on such a mess of a show, it’s too bad it didn’t have a better platform. Sigh. But I have to say that overall this episode was solid. Great performances. Good continuation of consequences for Olivia’s kidnapping. Which reminds me. Previously on Scandal, Olivia was kidnapped and held ransom. Fitz went to war for her. She was rescued instead by her friends, and she told him off for going to war and they’re broken up. For now. Sigh. I have no hope for that to last. She’s still fragile from her experience, but she thinks going back to work will help. Not so much.

Olivia is called in by the chief of police because an unarmed black teenager was killed on the street, and he needs her help to cover it up. Or at least to do some management, the type of job she used to do before the show decided we needed more of Fitz in the show (spoiler: no we didn’t). Things take a very complicated turn when the teenager’s father Clarence shows up with a gun. He sits in a lawn chair over his son’s body and refuses to move. This causes a lot of public attention and a demand for the world to pay more attention to the social injustices perpetuated by the media and by the police. Activist Marcus shows up to stir up the crowds and to encourage Clarence not to be talked down from his purpose. Olivia tries to get the two of them to back down and settle this peacefully, but Clarence is full of grief and anger. Olivia is forced to look at her own feelings regarding the issue, especially since she’s a black woman, and the PTSD and fear she is currently suffering from. When she sees the police about to make a shady move, she intentionally goes over to Clarence’s side.

scandal-season-4The police claim that the boy Brandon had a knife on him, and Olivia convinces Clarence to let them look for the knife on the body. They find it there, but of course it was planted. I knew that from when the police officer first spoke. Clarence states over and over that his son didn’t have a knife and he gets violent toward Olivia and Marcus as well. Olivia manages to solve it by confronting the police officer directly, and he goes off on an incriminating rant. It’s interesting to hear that rant, because it does seem to represent a point of view that is very real, and because it’s real, concerning. I think strangely it came from a place of understanding that mindset while still being hugely critical of it? It’s hard to review this because I am a white woman and I don’t feel like I can reasonably address this episode’s issues. I’m going to bow to other reviewers with first-hand experience and feelings on the issue. I think it was a well acted episode. The actor who played Clarence is seriously heartbreaking and absolutely excellent. It was so difficult to watch him break down. The show really does have great acting choices, even if the storylines make me cringe sometimes. It was interesting to see Olivia back in the field and I hope it’s not the last time.

Meanwhile Fitz isn’t allowed to speak on the matter, which frustrates him, and they’re looking for a new Vice President. Fitz is freaked out that his last two were sort of power hungry. Maybe you just bring it out in them, Fitz. I want to overthrow you and I’m not even on the show. Mellie said she wanted to run for office in the last episode, but apparently she just flat out wants to run to be President now. Uhhhh. I thought she meant she wanted to get a seat in the Congress or make a rise through politics, and eventually be President. When she has experience? But instead she thinks she can run in the next election. What. Lol. No. Okay. Fine. She wants his new VP to be decent enough but not so decent people will want to vote for her. Senator Susan Ross fits the bill, a new Senator who has a serious case of word vomit. She’s smart and idealistic, but a little strange and rambles. How did she get elected in the first place? I mean, I actually like her, but she’s not typically who gets elected. She’s startled and uncertain at first, but eventually agrees.

I can’t say I liked the episode, but I did find it interesting to watch, and the acting was great. I think it was handled better than people expected, which goes to prove that the show has really changed. Scandal when it first started actually seemed like the type of well written and bold show that could handle this topic, but it’s really veered off in the last few seasons into soap opera drama. It still has the ability to get deep when it wants to, and I hope the writers actually remember that and don’t go back into ship wars.

 

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