FBQ Review-Scandal-Episode 5: Crash and Burn

This brother has got ISSUES

Okay, so it’s official: Olivia Pope is a wuss. And the show is picking up steam. Mostly by focusing on characters other than the lead.

I really think Rhimes made a mistake with the way she introduced Olivia. There just hasn’t been sufficient development to establish Pope as a tough character. I do think the writers have been able to establish her as formidable–but not tough. If I’m not mistaken, there was dialogue in an earlier episode in which she says something to the effect of: “I don’t cry”, yet everything from Bambi’s mom getting shot, to her local Starbucks being out of Half & Half makes her boo hoo.

So Amanda Tanner–the President’s Mistress–is missing; a plane with 120 passengers crashes in Virginia, and it looks like pilot error. And Guillermo Diaz finally gets to show that he is the best actor in the bunch.

And we get another Character of Color with a pivotal role. Unfortunately they also happen to be dead. Senator Paul Sanchez–a strong supporter of the President’s Dream Act–was on the plane that crashed. He is practically canonized by Grant at a press conference immediately following the disaster. The Queen would so much rather have a corrupt Latino with a meaty plot line, than a dead hero. Also, is it bothering anybody that the series is set in the present (referencing current legislation, the chronological order of Presidents-based on the dialogue during Grant’s negotiations with the Secret Servicemen, etc.), and the writers/producers have erased Obama as the 44th President? It’s not even so much the black thing. It’s mostly my pet peeve involving the suspension of disbelief in TV and movies. Like when a current-day movie references a current day-star–such as Ocean’s Twelve did with Julia Roberts. Part of the plot revolved around Roberts’ character Tess, and her strong resemblance to the Pretty Woman star. So if Tess looks like Julia Roberts who exists in this current day world, then is fair to assume that George Clooney exists…Don Cheadle exists. So why doesn’t anyone ever stop Danny Ocean or Basher Tarr and confuse them with their Hollywood Doppelganger? I know, I know: the Queen takes this stuff WAY too seriously.

Plus, they erased the first Black President.

For shame Shonda. For shame.

Of course we did get to learn a LOT more about Huck. And thanks to a brilliant performance by Diaz it’s more than the Queen cared to know. In order to find the whereabouts of Amanda Tanner, Huck must go “off the wagon” and use his CIA training as an Assassin. The interrogation scenes with Charlie are chilling. Not so much for the violence taking place, but because of Diaz’s BRILLIANT descent into his old ways–his quiet plunge into madness.
Kerry Washington? I hope you watched the dailies from the days of shooting that segment. THAT is a layered performance. THIS was an episode about a man struggling with his demons–all for someone he cares about. It’s been a long time since I have rewound a scene again and again to watch an actor’s process–to analyze their beats. It was a Master Class.

Powerful Players

Does the writing/directing staff realize that they are creating these strong, compelling female characters in the First Lady and the Vice President who are eclipsing the star of the show? The scene with Fitz and Mellie once again showed how in control and clear she is about her relationship with her husband–AND how the Presidency works. And even though she had to cave in on the Dream Act, it is obvious that VP Langston is a force with which to be reckoned.

And the plot thickens. Was the rudder control in the plane that crashed tampered with? Who killed Amanda Tanner, and why? Who is blackmailing the President? Who is the father of Amanda’s baby? Is David feenin’ on Olivia? I have to admit that though it was heavy-handed, the overlay of President Nixon’s resignation speech against the montage of Cyrus and the President and the dredging of Amanda’s body was quite effective. This country really has some amazing stories of scandal and cover-ups.


9 thoughts on “FBQ Review-Scandal-Episode 5: Crash and Burn

  1. The problem with scandals is like ripples in water they are ever expanding and whilst they may appear deceptively calm on the surface they can come crashing to shore and destroy everything you have built like a tsunami.

    • I’m always fascinated by the idea that for some people (it seems to me to be men especially) desire trumps logic. Any person who is a peripheral student of history has GOT to know that the Truth Will Out eventually. It is amazing to me to watch the extent of some people’s hubris.

  2. Isn’t Guillermo Diaz just fantastic? So glad they finally utilized his acting abilities in this show. The downside being that Kerry Washington’s lack of skills are further highlighted, when compared to her cast-mate. I am just continually disappointed by her performance.

    Other than that, I think this episode was much, much better than its predecessors.
    Hopefully that trend will continue…

    • I thought he was a cutie when I saw him on a couple of episodes of No Ordinary Family. He’s chunked up a little since then, and now I think he is HAWWWWWT!!!! So to see him really bring out his acting chops was just icing on the cake. It really was a beautiful little performance.

      Regarding Kerry Washington: I don’t find her performance bad as much as I find it generic and predictable. Pope is such a complex character. It would be so much more fun to watch an accomplished actor to play her.

  3. Yaay, Scotty. I have been WAITING for your Review of this week’s episode. I have been known to be “heavy-handed” with the criticism at times. What can I say? I am an Artist who thrives on excellence in artistry! And so I always like to “check in” with others whose opinions I respect … just to determine whether or not it’s just me being “overly-critical,” or not. Your assessement of this episode is practically “spot on” with my feelings. However, whereas you (and many others) are willing to continually give this show “a shot” at winning their hearts, unfortunately, for me — they will get “one more episode” out of me. Meaning: I will watch “one more episode” this week, to determine whether or not it’s worth me investing an additional hour of my week into watching this Show. So far, I feel like it’s not — the Show is not “captivating” or “entertaining” enough for me to keep tuning in each week. The Olivia Pope character just “flat out” IRRITATES me, at this point. As you’ve mentioned, the other female supporting actors are “working it.” I LOVE the First Lady, and yes, the Vice President was also a “force with which to be reckoned.” And so, how did ABC go “so wrong” with the Casting of this series “Lead”? As we touched on in previous Threads, there are SO MANY fantastic actresses who could handle this role, and with Shondra Rhimes track record, the series could be a hit. However, as long as Kerry Washington continues in the Lead, I am afraid it simply will not happen. Guillermo Diaz (whom we whole-heartedly agree, REALLY made the episode worth watching, “thanks” to his chilling, spot-on” performance) and other FANTASTIC performers/performances aside, if the Lead does not carry his/her weight, then the Show inevitably suffers. And yes, I too, am bothered by the present-day references in the Show that exclude the first African American US President. If we are going to “suspend disbelief” then it is expected that we should do it “on all levels,” not just in the areas where the writers get to “pick and choose.” Sheesh! Although we have begun seeing some solid performances by a few of the supporting cast members, if I had to grade this Show, at the present time, it would receive a generous C- for the lack of co-hesiveness in the areas of writing, casting, production (still the “out of character music is being featured in the background of many scenes — WTF??? ), performances, believability, etc. Overall, there are just TOO MANY areas that are being “poorly executed” to keep me interested (and thereby willing to tune in) each week. Just my humble (or perhaps not so) opinion…

    • I think the thing that keeps me watching countessgratitude (and I’ve meant to tell you how much I love your moniker and avatar)–besides wanting to support any network shows with people of color in the leads–is a relatively compelling storyline. Most of my problems stem from the way the writers and directors are telling the story.

      I think they are trying to hard to be innovative with their dialogue and hide-and-seek way of character development. I think if they would trust the story itself and let the actors and the things they say be a little more conventional in the execution of the piece, then they would pull in more viewers. And we both agree that it starts with the lead actor.

      • Thank you FBQ on the compliments about my moniker and avatar. The avatar is actually a picture of me! (lol) Actually, I am dressed (full make-up and wig) as a Victorian character I created, who’s name is Countess Gratitude. She sings Opera, and the diva is FIERCE! We began our modest launch efforts of this performance character just last month! Pretty fun stuff. But, back to “Scandal.” I totally agree that the writing leaves A LOT wanting. Unfortunately, the information is not being presented in a way that is “cohesive” enough to create lasting interest, which could possibly garner a faithful following. Couple that with a weak Lead Actress, and “minority support aside,” unfortunately, you’ve yielded a recipe for disaster. As much as it seems like I am “down” on Mz. Washington, the truth is that I am actually “rooting” for her. Hell, so few of “us” get opportunities to play Leads, that when we do, I suspect it is important for us to “show” the Networks that we are “bankable.” African American males have done it successfully on the big screen (Eddie, Will, Denzel, Sam Jackson, Jamie). As for females? Well, there was Whoopie, at one time, and now, I believe you referenced Zoe Saldana, whom I applaud for AT LEAST kicking in the door that would allow for a Woman of Color as the Lead character in film. As for TV? Well, there are a few comics who have done it, but again, besides the talk show circuit, Women of Color are not typically considered “bankable” in the Lead role (“That’s so Raven,” [a cross-over hit!]; “Moesha” and other black sit-coms are also noted, and even those “comedic leads” are few and far between). It would be NICE if Mz. Washington and the Writers would sort out these problem areas so that this Show could continue, and so that possibly Women of Color might continually be invited/ushered in to perform in these capacities.

  4. Huh. This review/recap is the first that makes me consider giving Scandal a few weeks of regular viewing.

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