Scandal: The Final Season. Stop playing with me!
I mean right? Last week we left off with Liv smooching with Jay Hernandez (because did anyone catch his character’s name?) in the elevator up to her apartment, and Fitz waiting in the hall for her. Mmm. Awkward. But obviously necessary to drive the season forward.
I’m not here for Olitz. I’m not here for Mr. President’s lack of eyebrows, nor his arrogance, nor how baffled he becomes when confronted with his own fallibility. I was never once sold on the charisma and greatness and magic of Fitz. Until last night’s episode.
Let’s face it though, Scandal’s been a little meh for a while now. Don’t get me wrong, Olivia still brings that heat. And I will definitely save it for last when I’m catching up on my stories. But these filler episodes, fam.
I understand that backstory episodes are necessary for crafting a character’s fabric. I still hate them. The fact that last night’s episode took 20 minutes to kick into gear didn’t help. But the slow lead in and climactic dustup between Fitz and Marcus worked well to give the new season some sense of direction. Fitz is an essential part of the narrative.
Mellie’s phone call with Marcus finally convinced me Fitz was special. Rowan also helped lead me there. When Rowan Pope is running away from home, from the watchful eye of his daughter – the new Command – to go crying in the night to her former lover, that says something about the power of Fitz.
If Olivia’s drunk on power, and losing herself, is Fitz the magic man to save her?
I’m not here for all that. I liked Olivia’s talk with Mellie at the end of the first episode, and again in the second – where she reminds her that they are the team, that Mellie must trust her, that they have the power now and the men will come for them, but they must not let them.
That’s what it comes down to. I’m here for new Olivia. At some point Rowan has to let go and accept that she is who and what he created. Every time he power tripped on her and scared the crap out of her he was chipping away at old Olivia, helping carve her into this new version of herself.
I don’t believe Fitz showing up to put new Liv back into her old box is going to go over well. Liv has the power now. Maybe she didn’t want it at first, or maybe she didn’t know she wanted it. But now she has it and I don’t see her taking direction from the old boys in charge.
Marcus and Fitz fighting. At first the scene plays out like a lovers’ quarrel. It was exactly something I worry about doing in my own writing – male characters arguing but coming off like women.
Does it make me a bad feminist writer to attribute/limit emotional spats to something only women engage in? I don’t know.
Anyway, eventually it gets charged. Race comes into play. Marcus takes Fitz to task for his ignorance. It comes to blows. I was living for all of Marcus’ faces. Note to white people: Black people are always counting how many other black people are around. This is a thing. Also, police your own language. Because your black friends are also listening for how you address them and respond to their actions, emotions, and expressions.
When Fitz says “behave” is a prime example of how to watch how you talk to black people. It doesn’t always have to be about race. But the funny thing about abuse is that it informs nearly every aspect of your life long after it’s done. Make no mistake, slavery – and everything that’s followed – constitutes the abuse of an entire race.
Accept it. Deal with it. And look out for the facial expressions to let you know when you’ve overstepped.
Marcus & Mellie on the phone. That was a beautiful exchange between exes. Marcus needed a moment. He needed a friend. I enjoyed the shared silence. I enjoyed seeing exes be amicable.
The fallen statue. One thing I really enjoy about Scandal is how it weaves current events into the series. A student activist named Steven is protesting a monument to a former slave owner, and after a visit from Fitz showing support his cause is vindicated when the statue’s pulled down.
Its protagonist is a no-nonsense, high-powered, stunningly beautiful and intelligent black woman at the seat of American power. It deals with the whole range of mess that entails and that’s the appeal. Scandal offers an alternative reality, delicious food for thought.