It’s Handled: Top Moments from ABC’s ‘Scandal’

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For the past six years, I’ve made it a point to never be busy at or around 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings. Whether rushing home from choir rehearsal; or, leaving a work event early, before the clock struck 8:59, I’d be positioned in front of a TV screen. Remote in one hand; a smart device in the other.

This weekly ritual centered around ABC’s culture-shifting political soap, Scandal. Being Shonda Rhimes’ second TV series after the successful Grey’s Anatomy, no one expected thunder would strike twice. The initial reception for the show was timid. It teetered on the edge of D.C. thriller (a la House of Cards), and soapy drama of Empire proportions. And if that wasn’t enough, its lead was an African American actress.

While Seattle Grace’s Meredith Grey became a feminist icon, a black woman leading a network drama was a different animal. An African American woman had not lead a drama series since Diahann Carroll’s nurse in Julia. And let Hollywood tell it, people wouldn’t be interested in a black show. But as Field of Dreams stated: if you build it, they will come.

Viewers – mainly black women – came in droves to witness and make history with the series. And in a single season, the synergy of twitter and television became live-tweeting. It tapped into a pulse of TV viewership totally unprecedented. Thus birthed ABC’s TGIT – the biggest must-see TV block since NBC’s Seinfeld- led comedy run in the 90s.

Six seasons later, the twisted tale of Olivia Pope and associates is coming to an end. April 19th the series finale will air, closing an astute chapter in television history. I’ve compiled my favorite moments – from legendary monologues to the ever-so annoying Fitz-infused lip quivers.

1. Amanda Tanner meets Olivia Pope

      1. The pilot introduced us to Washington D.C. crisis handler, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington). Her first assignment – dismantling the rumors of an intern’s affair with the president. It was the first of many verbal assaults Olivia catapulted toward an adversary.

2. Meet Papa Pope

The end of season three finds Olivia possibly outed as President Grant’s mistress. As she thinks she has it all under control, her father – portrayed by the magnificent Joe Morton – arrives. He would have a series of memorable monologues, but this one ripped into Olivia’s from stem to stern.

3. Assassination, Attempted

Season two opened with a BANG. After discovering Fitz’s affair, Mellie is reluctant to play nice and attend a state dinner. We assume it’s because she knows what wicked this way comes. Fitz ignores her whining, and exits the limo to the press. Seconds later bullets ring out as he’s shot in the head.

4. Fitz with Blood on his Hands

As you may have guess, Fitz survived the assassination attempt. But when he finds out the who and why behind it, he flips his lid. To protect his legacy he silences the one person with the ammunition to bring him down. The bastard would later deliver the eulogy at his victim’s funeral.

5. Mellie’s Secret Pain

Just as Fitzgerald thought he had severed ties from his power-hungry wife, Olivia drops a bombshell in his lap. A pain Mellie kept hidden from her husband for years finally came to the surface. And like a woman, she swallowed it like it was nothing. This was before the MeToo movement and the call for Capitol Hill’s reform on sexual harassment in the workplace.

6. Liv and Fitz’s Closet Freak

Another staple of the series was the Cinemax-level sex scenes shared mostly between Olivia and her part-time lover Fitzgerald Grant. Here the two slip away from tumultuous situation in the White House to release some tension … in a computer server closet.

7. I Am Huck

In a stunning season two arc, we learn gladiator Huck’s backstory. Suffering througha mental episode, he shuts down verbally, only reciting three numbers. It’s Olivia who is able to reach him. We would later learn the tragedy Huck experienced at the hand of B6-13 years before joining Olivia’s team.

8. Jake kills James

Despite attempting to murder his lover before, Cyrus was never the same when James was killed. Jake acting on the call of Command takes James and two others out. I forget why but it was all to protect the Republic.

9. Quinn Vader

Billy Chambers was the main nemesis in the first two seasons. The conniving official was set to expose the Defiance, OH secret, bringing the administration down. Olivia and Command couldn’t have that. When Huck fails to finish the job, Quinn takes the reigns.

10. Sally’s Sin

In an alternate timeline, Hillary Clinton would have ascended to the Oval back in the 90s if it wasn’t for her philandering husband. Scandal played with this fan-fiction in the life of Sally Langston – a right-winged Christian conservative eyeing Grant’s incumbent seat. But when Cyrus threatens to expose the truth of her husband Daniel’s indiscretions, Sally snaps in a carnal moment.

11. Olivia Kidnapped

This storyline began the nadir of the series. Catapulted by Fitz’s jealous vice president, Olivia is kidnapped and held for ransom. The cost: the U.S. would have to declare war against a rather peaceful country, equaling a major payout for the VP. This had a sense of Cheney and Halliburton written all over it.

12. Olivia Gets Revenge

After the ordeal that was Olivia being held hostage, she struggled with extreme PTSD. Andrew returned hellbent on ruining Fitz’s life. As if being tortured by Charlie wasn’t enough, he pushed Olivia off the edge. She forever lost her White Hat when in a rage killed Andrew with a metal chair.

13. Mother Maya

For years Olivia believed her mother was deceased. A victim in a large-passenger plane crash overseas. But once she uncovered the truth of her father’s occupation, it wasn’t long before Olivia was reunited with her other parent. Turns out Maya didn’t die, nor was she a victim in the plane crash, but the perpetrator.

14. Fitz & Mellie Lose a Child

We witnessed the sinister depths Eli ventured to ruin the Grant family. None other was more cruel than the orchestrated murder of their son, all to swing sympathy toward Grant to win an election.

TV BYKE

This week marks the return of all the shows (ALL OF THE SHOWS *in my Rihanna voice*). 2018 began at a gradual pace of a show here (Star Trek Discovery) and there (This Is Us). But midway through January, new and returning shows are stampeding on my evenings. Let the games begin.

Monday – Tomorrow is the 2-hour season one finale of Fox’s surprise hit The Gifted. The battle between mutant and human intensifies as the Hellfire Club gains the Underground’s trust. Meanwhile Dr. Campbell convinced Jace in using his next stage in mutant manipulation – a machine that replicates the Strucker siblings’ powers.

Tuesday – This Is Us is in mid swing of its second season, but a new challenger at 9 p.m. will require my live viewing instead. The CW’s highly-anticipated Black Lightning series premieres. The first African American hero of the CW’s D.C. family features Cress Williams as the retired metahuman. When a violent gang threatens the livelihood of his family and neighborhood, he places the cape back on. And may received help from his two daughters as well. Black. Female. Heroines. On. TV. Sign me up.

Wednesday – Wednesday evening is a triple threat of entertainment. At 8 p.m. I play soap drama with the kids of Riverdale. Next I return to Filory as SyFy’s The Magicians entered its third season. Magic is no more for Quincy, Julia and friends. But a gallant quest may be the key – or seven – to restoring the magic in the world and beyond. Finally FX delivers Ryan Murphy’s second installment of American Crime Story. This time we revisit the murder of Gianni Versace, a crime I remember but definitely do not know the full story.

Thursday – TGIT returns with Liv and Annalise on their shows respectively. And as recently promised, their two worlds will collide when Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder crossover. Who wants more wine!?

Friday – Fridays are dedicated to ABC’s excellent fifth season of Agents of SHIELD. The team has been transported 80-some years into the future, where the Earth is nothing but a crater – remnants of a catastrophic Inhuman event. Coulson and the team are fighting  Kree as well as other forces of the galaxy.

Saturday – This still remains my catch up day – between apps and Hulu anything I miss will be devoured within these 24 hours.

Sunday – CBS is screwing the populace hiding the superb Star Trek: Discovery behind its $6 pay wall. The show is great for Trekkies and newbies alike, with an African American female lead in Sonequa Martin Green (The Walking Dead). In addition to Trek, Showtime via Hulu boasts The Chi. From Lena Waithe and Common is the multi-narrative portrait of Chicago lives.

This is the schedule as of now. Subject to change of course.

N.O.T. | Fall TV preview

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Summer is ending as the days will soon be shorter. The darkness of dawn will greet us in the morning for work.  We’ll trade shorts and tank tops for flannel and corduroys. The summer bin of bargain television will be replaced with the return of prime time series. Here are the few returning and new shows that have peaked my interest. (Subject to change) Continue reading N.O.T. | Fall TV preview

Hate Me Now: Olivia is COMMAND Now

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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.