Four weeks ago, I stopped watching Scandal. It wasn’t the show’s fault. In fact I was still loving the show. But it aired on Thursday nights & like everything else, The Vampire Diaries tends to be the only Thurs show I can handle. Plus at this point we were 3 episodes into Scandal. Which left it an addictive show but still more of a procedural political drama. The big season arc was that the President of the US had cheated on his mistress & his wife. Well told but just not the kind of thing that forces one to watch live every week. HOLY BATMAN BALLS WAS I WRONG. Ep 4 kicked things into much higher stakes and as I caught up, I was struck by how non-stop and thrilling the rest of the season has become.
Which is something that I think actually says a lot about the length of TV shows today. If you pay attention to upfronts & a wide variety of TV discussion (ie: more than just spoilers) than you know that the idea of shorter series has grown in its appeal. Nearly every cable show out there runs a shorter 10-13 episode season. It cuts down on costs for a production and allows networks to air the episodes uninterrupted. It’s not just the money either. There are a lot of shows that tell a better story when held to a limited number of episodes. It forces a tighter storyline, advanced character development and side plots that aren’t very good end up scrapped to tell the greater story as a whole. I think this first season of Scandal would have been best with 10 episodes personally. 13 offered the option for too many filler episodes but I think 10 allowed things to be laid out a bit more slowly. Still, it worked. I’m hoping for a 13 ep season next year to keep the energy high.
Anyway, let’s get into the show. Bear with me here but I think Scandal is a little like Inglorious Basterds. That movie took situations we are more familiar with and basically did whatever the hell it wanted to the story. Scandal is doing the same thing with the assassinations and shit. AND IT IS AWESOME. I love how quickly this president issue became so much bigger than him and how well it was interwoven through the last few years. I was actually kind of liking Billy until he had his little crazy fit. He’s completely batshit but it was a damn good plan and if he’d had Olivia on HIS side, it might have worked. Cyrus on the other hand is fucking scary as shit. I love that Olivia was right and that Cyrus did have Amanda killed. It just gives so much more to work with next season when one of their most dangerous enemies is technically on the team.
Olivia & Fitz are this couple that I don’t necessarily ship but I do love their scenes. They work well professionally but also have this undeniable heat (which makes me crack up that everyone was surprised that Melly knew about them-wives aren’t that stupid) between them. Even better though are the “just one minute” scenes when they stop being a name and become a person. I don’t know how to fully explain it but those scenes are just so moving and easily my favorites. I like too that Olivia is often vulnerable but clicks into save the world mode when she has to. My one caveat with Fitz is that I don’t think we understand WHY he’s the better president. I’d like a little more mention of that.
Melly however, I am LOVING. I’m not a big fan of the cheating spouse but I do love the stories with the other spouse knowing what is going on and using it to get what they want. So the fact that Melly has known, and didn’t even mind because it kept Fitz happy, which kept her in the White House, is utterly fantastic. I watched several times the scene when she yells at Olivia for breaking his heart and not doing her job. So much depth to be mined in that scene. I think now that Olivia & Fitz know just how much Melly is aware of, she’ll be a much more integral and formidable part of the team next season.
As for the rest of Olivia’s team, while I’m still curious about them, I liked that the later episodes gave each one a chance to exhibit a little more passion and, with the exception of Stephen, show why they follow Olivia. (My theory on Stephen is that he’s not there so much because he needs Olivia but because she needs him. In a platonic way. They don’t strike me as lovers at any point). Huck intrigues me but at the same time I think I understand him so I’m not like OMG HOW INTENSE IS HUCK. That torture scene however was amazing, absolutely great work. That moment when Abby starts screaming at Olivia about bringing the wife back to the dictator is one of my favorites on the series so far. It was the wrong call and someone had to tell her that. Abby was perfect because she has reason to know the need to get out of a relationship and to call her out on the bullshit idea that if Carlita married the guy, she deserved to be stuck with him. (Something I don’t think is actually how Olivia feels). Stephen is still a bit of a conundrum but I like him all the same.
Final topic, WHO IS QUINN?! I mean right? I love this idea that she has the craziest back story of any of them. I’ve heard a lot of theories that Quinn is in witness protection but I don’t think that quite works. You don’t have half a dozen law agencies after you for witness protection. (Or at least its rare). And if that was the case with Quinn, I don’t think she’d be working with Olivia. It just feels like there’s more to it. But I don’t know what.
Okay so how’s everyone else liking Scandal? Are you as hooked as me? Comment away!