Like last week, I offer you an honest-to-goodness recap from K. Lee at entertainment.gather.com.
First of all, I want to thank you Miss Things who are struggling through Scandal with the Queen. I’m sorry I haven’t been more active in the Comments section. In addition to musing about this particular episode–which won’t take long–I wanted to give my take on some of the posts.
“One of my biggest peeves is Olivia’s line delivery. Why. Does. Every. Thing. She. Says. Have. To. Be. So. Pointed.? I get that they are trying to get across “strong, take no b.s. woman”. But that’s negated by having her supposedly flawless intuition compromised whenever she has a personal relationship with the client (initially thinking the president had not slept with that girl; believing the mom that her son wasn’t a rapist, despite blatant evidence otherwise). Giving hera rapid-fire speech pattern doesn’t dispel question of her potential inadequacies.”
I don’t have a problem with the dichotomy of a strong person making dysfunctional choices. That often makes for the most compelling conflicts to play out. My problem is that the writers have only cursorily established her as a strong character–choosing to use (as you also pointed out) this staccato speech pattern instead of exploring aspects of her personal life. If a powerful Latin general says “You are my best and my only chance.”, then I damn sure want to know what gives Pope this notoriety. Which is why Olivia’s breakdown in the first part of this week’s episode was rather jarring and confusing. I get that she’s all verklempt because of her relationship with the President, and what she’s found out about his relationship with Amanda. However, since we’ve not seen her handle any personal adversity with much strength, it once again becomes a woman succumbing to the wiles of a man.
Around the same lines countessgratitude said:
“However, the thing that bugs me THE MOST about this Show is Kerry Washington. For as much as I think she is a decent-enough actress, unfortunately, I DO NOT BELIEVE HER in this role. I mean, this woman, from what I understand is supposed to be “hella-powerful,” and “hella-smart.” Yet, I DO NOT GET THIS from Kerry’s portrayal. She’s “ok” in the role, but she is BY NO MEANS “nailing it.”
Although this actress is much less young and pretty, I would have MUCH PREFERED seeing someone like C.C.H. Pounder in this role. “
I think my biggest problem with Washington is that she doesn’t seem to be subtle or nuanced enough as an actor to create Olivia’s layers. She does fine with vulnerable moments, and she is able to tap into the power in moments such as confronting Amanda after hearing her demands. But she doesn’t know how to put them together. She doesn’t give the three-dimensional performances of a C.C.H. Pounder or s. epatha merkerson, or Alfre Woodard.
And yes, unfortunately they are not going to give this kind of role to a mature woman of color. Hell, look how long it took KATHY FRIGGIN’ BATES to get a lead role in a series?! Of the younger set, I think it would have been fun to see Kimberly Elise, Thandie Newton, or even Zoe Saldana take on the role.
I was actually drawn into this episode. First, it featured a family of color (even if it revolved around a ruthless dictator), and the twists and turns, ups and downs of the plot were enough for any avid roller-coaster aficionado. We got a crap-load of information about our main characters. We learned that Cyrus is gay; Abby is the victim of abuse; Harrison has a police record (of course–he’s a brother); Quinn has no history before 2008 and Stephen had a nervous breakdown in the middle of a trial helping homeless puppies–or something like that. All very interesting information, but other than with Cyrus, still only intellectual in nature–no emotional attachment. Still not much dialogue about anything other than the cases.
I was watching Grey’s Anatomy just before this episode. There was a scene in which Meredith and Cristina had a conversation through a door. Just the two of them. Sitting. Talking. Working things out. As an audience, we learn more about them and where they are emotionally than through any sophisticated plot device. I wish that we could have learned all of these Scandal character histories through dialogue and action as opposed to exposition. Only when and if the writers, producers and directors of the show trust its viewers to stay with them as they slowly and artfully build characters, the show will remain a decent idea which has yet to be realized.
And again, regarding Ms. Washington’s acting abilities:
” Im gonna need her to toss her weave back, relax her shoulders and give us a broad mouth toothy laugh at some point over a cocktail so that I know she’s not a robot…I cant have all this tension on a Thursday night when Im trying to ease into my weekend.”
The point about Kerry’s acting has already been made. But how could I not quote a line like that? 😀