I like to think of myself as someone ahead of the entertainment trends. I tend to catch on to shows from the get go, before they become mega hits. I missed the boat on The Waling Dead, and I still haven’t even looked at the gangplank. It’s just not my type of show. But I was groovy with Mad Men long before it became stylish, signed up for HBO the week before The Sopranos premiered because I didn’t want to get whacked my the Mob. And three years ago I was ready to be scandalized by Scandal. And boy was I right to watch it back then.
I loved Scandal form the first episode. I wanted to be a gladiator. Olivia Pope was a goddess! Huck was scary but he was loyal to him. And Fitz was a republican I could say I wouldn’t vote for, but I’d have a beer with. I loved the first season. It was an exciting and interesting backroom look at the scandals and corruption of Washington D.C. I loved watching Olivia and gang swoop in, like the gladiators they were, and save the day. Whether it was helping a senator who was in the closet or a billionaire who was hiding some questionable business dealings, you knew it was going to be exciting and clever.
There was always a running mystery with the show. The first season was all about who was Quinn, the second season was all about a fixed presidential election. But they still were getting into the business of saving the day for someone who deserved it, or didn’t. It was fun to watch. And more people kept watching. More and more people, and it became a Thursday must see. And Twitter was going crazy!
Then came season three and they didn’t always have a story of the week, but when they did it was a doozy. And the running mystery became more and more soap opera worthy. And I missed the weekly saving. Don’t get me wrong as a thirty plus year watcher of Days of Our lives, I’m not saying my eyes are too precious to watch a soap opera. In fact I love night time soaps. I still want them to bring back Knot’s Landing. In fact I keep hoping that the next CSI or NCIS that CBS does (and we know they will do more) will take place in Knot’s Landing. Abby Cunningham can be they mayor or something! Ooooooh, I think I’m onto something here!
But I digress, what I am really leading up to is that the first part of this fourth season I could tell that the show was revving their engines to jump a shark. I was hopeful, however, that they would swerve before they got to the ramp and not do it. Then came Olivia’s kidnapping at the orders of the V.P. Wow, how ridiculous, but still possibly salvageable if they rescue her quickly. Shonda Rhymes is a genius of sorts. But nope all of a sudden Olivia is being auctioned off on some secret internet site to all the rogue countries because they can then control the president. Oh yeah they were definitely in full flight over a whole f’ing pool of sharks. Real hungry sharks. And then out of nowhere a character we forgot existed came and saved the day. I was done. Not only had they jumped the shark, but they didn’t stick the landing. I actually turned the show off that night with 15 minutes left. I was over it all.
Then last week while I was watching How to Get Away with Murder (another Shonda Rhymes show that may be jumping a shark, but they do it weekly and keep sticking the landings) and I saw the preview for this week’s Scandal. An episode that was obviously taken from the Ferguson headlines. No hiding it. It was Ferguson done in Shondaland! A white police officer stops a black man for suspected shoplifting and shoots and kills him. The family is devastated, the city is on the brink of race riots and Olivia Pope is called in to save the day. I had to watch it. I had to give them another chance at redemption.
Wow am I glad I gave them a second chance. They not only stuck the landing. They nailed it. Kerry Washington was on point as a struggling successful woman of color. Courtney B. Vance was beyond moving as a father struggling to understand the meaning behind the death of his son, especially when there was none. Michael Welch was a revelation as the young officer who is everything we fear in law enforcement today. The final speech of this racist cop is chilling in the truth it speaks for some people. I was moved to tears. It left me staring at the screen amazed at how they had said and done so much with one hour, not even one hour, more like forty two minutes.
If you have not watched it, you need to do so. It is for the most part a stand-alone episode. It does not require that you have the full history of the show. It’s available on line so get to watching people. I truly believe that this episode of Scandal is what television can be…..should be.