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.
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.