Hate Me Now: Olivia is COMMAND Now

579x325-Q100_9c0bf274e041229de39d040f1452f2d5

Last week’s two-hour finale of Scandal felt like the beginning of the end. And that’s because it was. After six seasons Shonda Rhimes’ birther of live-tweeting prime time will air its final season in the fall. What better send-off than the show’s hero living long enough to transition to a villain. Olivia Pope forever relinquished her White Hat when she summoned newly-appointed Vice President Luna Vargas to take her own life. That’s right. The former #Gladiator-in-chief pressured the second-highest powerful individual in the land to commit suicide. A somber tribute to her husband – the late president-elect – whom she had assassinated. Because you’re nobody ’til somebody kills you.

Granted Olivia’s track record isn’t clean. We’ve witnessed her the past five seasons fix an election, carry on an affair with the president and murder a man with a metal chair. But in fairness, he had it coming – and these other acts were for the greater good. Regardless of her methods, Olivia always retreated back to her haven of light whenever her gut tip-toed too close to the darkness. But this time Olivia didn’t retreat. She dove in head first, swimming, treading, inviting the darkness to dwell within. The White Hat is dead. Long live Command.

I believe Olivia was destined for diabolical greatness – it’s hereditary. Both Rowan and Maya are evil personified. Cold, calculating parents who taught their only offspring to want nothing but the best. Liv’s thirst for power had always been evident. She possessed the Force, stemming her Jedi mind tricks with Pope and Associates. But the closer she was to the White House, the stronger the dark side begged her to loose her defenses.

Her aligning with the Empire was first evident when she and Fitz went “public.” She never really loved the man; she loved the access he possessed and worked her black girl magic on him like white on rice. The lust surfaced again in the attempt to cast Mellie as the first female president. She could taste the blood in the water. Now that the mantle is finally hers, nothing and no one wills stand in her way.

I adore this newly, self-aware Olivia. She’s embracing the monster within. She sees the blood on her hands and isn’t washing them off. She’d rather licks her hands clean, enough for her next target.

Hate Me Now: Aisha Hinds is Harriet Tubman

giphy (2)

Unless you seem to be living under a rock, the name Aisha Hinds should sound familiar to you this year. Not only is the actress storming Wednesday evening television in Fox’s socially-lit drama Shots Fired, but she’s commanding the screen at 10 p.m. in WGN’s critical darling Underground. As Harriet Tubman, Hinds is stoic and mesmerizing as the storied slavery hater. Last night’s episode — at a special time — was a Harriet-centric entry.

This season the Macon 7 survivors have been scattered — Noah ran in and out of bondage; Cato purchased his freedom; Ernestine landed in the Carolinas; and, Rosalee became the understudy of the Underground Railroad’s Moses. Its through Rosalee that we’re first introduced to this most known unknown figure. While we all know what she did — defying the odds to free thousands from bondage — we have rarely seen her depicted beyond the pages of history textbooks and biographies. Underground gives us this privilege.  And Aisha Hinds handles the role masterfully.

Last night’s episode saw Tubman speaking to a group of abolitionists. Lecturing on her experience, from bondage to freedom. She described her early dealings with rebellion, as a young girl set to work in her master’s home. Upon being beaten she recognized the freedom in defiance by not shedding a single tear from each lashing. She sought this feeling for the rest of her life.

Even as a free woman, Tubman recognized her work was not done. The very act of slavery, she defined as war upon black people, the black body. She came to this realization from the teachings of the one they called Captain Brown. John Brown, the white abolitionist and slave revolt leader, has been alluded to numerous times this season. The mention of his name stirs mixed emotions among those in the resistance. His violent tendencies are lamented as too extreme by some; while they’re praised by others. Tubman silences the bickering with the fact that they’re lack of consensus isn’t going to end the enemy’s assault on their livelihood.

Tubman agrees with Brown’s philosophy citing that not defending oneself from the violence enacted upon them would be settling in the brutality. Her words begin to sail from the set, through the screen, to the viewers, as the same climate of social unrest then mirrors the injustices today. The same distractions among those seeking freedom pop up, disabling the fight as the enemy’s hate spreads. Harriet is no longer speaking to the group of abolitionists in the show. Hinds is delivering a powerful call to action.

One of the most powerful performances of the year, Hinds and those a part of Underground aren’t just writing good TV. They are actively resisting remnants of the same vile philosophy that has kept blacks, PoC and anyone categorized as other in this country from bondage. You’re either with us or against us, as there are no negotiations for freedom. And none are free until all are free.

Underground airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on WGN

Hate Me Now: “What If…” Everyone Watched ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’

17311061_1362552933809551_4101257581458079361_o

Somewhere between the brilliance that was FX’s psychedelic Legion, and the The CW’s run-of-the-mill-tertainment heroes is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. The only television component of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (other than Netflix), it’s been holding its own ever since the tragic events of Captain America: Winter Soldier. Since that pivotal twist, Coulson and SHIELD have seen their share of directors, Inhumans, double agents, hell demons, mutants and life-like humanoids. Now in its fourth season, delivering one of its best yet, its experiencing its lowest ratings ever.

There could be a few reasons for this — two in particular. It’s move to 10 p.m. While I love the show, I never felt it was worthy of the 10 spot. ABC announced the time shift mainly because of this season’s darker tone, indicating more mature themes. But like many Marvel properties, its still pretty light compared to Netflix or other shows on the same network (American Crime). The other reason is just the sheer amount of options in this age of peak TV. On Tuesdays alone SHIELD competes with FX’s The Americans. In its old time slot of nine, NBC had the smash hit This Is Us. Picking the must-see live show is getting more difficult, and I guess for many SHIELD gets pushed to next-day airing. Honestly it’s a shame.

SHIELD has consistently delivered quality story-telling with action and great character development. All while keeping with the cinematic continuity. From its humble beginnings, trying to find its footing as a hero show with no heroes, SHIELD has chiseled its spot as one of the best comic shows on television. Yesterday’s return episdoe from a short hiatus proved this.

With the introduction of Dr. Strange late last year, Coulson and his team — under new management — encountered the supernatural universe. Magic beings and supreme powers beyond the alien technology they fought with the Avengers. This power mixed with scientific advancement introduced a villain with the capability of crafting an alternate reality. No, not the one Donald Trump lives in, but one that resembles an America that’s all too familiar. In this framework, mental sorcery imposed on comatose victims, SHIELD has fallen. Inhumans are hunted by the government. And the entity protecting citizens from these cursed illegals is HYDRA. The world’s only hope is an underground outfit known as The Resistance. Old faces take on new spaces as it’s literally the Upside Down of the SHIELD universe.

Will the resistance prevail? Or will our merry agents be trapped in HYDRA’s America forever. Tune in every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET to find out.

Hate Me Now: Billy Cranston is the Black Superhero We Deserve

Up until the official launch of Marvel’s Black Panther next year, the only representations of black super-heroism on film have been far and in between. Yes, we’ve had Spawn and Blade, but somehow they feel totally removed from the comics’ hero resurgence we’re experiencing. As far as the last decade or so, we have had Storm barely cause one in five Xmen films; Terrence Howard Don Cheadle as Robert Downey Jr.’s War Machine; T.I. as an associate of Ant-Man’s associate; and, Anthony Mackie as Falcon. That was until last Friday.
Read More