Scandal: Where The Sun Don't Shine
November 21, 2014 9:11 AM - Season 4, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Scandal ties, or unties, a whole bunch of loose ends in it's midseason finale. Poppa Pope is on the warpath, Elizabeth North and her allies launch an all-out media attack on Cyrus Beane, the President tries to deal with West Angola. Huck has some family issues, and Quinn finally tells Olivia what's been happening with their crossed tails.
posted by the man of twists and turns (12 comments total)

While I was watching I was surprised how weak it was as a mid-season cliffhanger. The "I choose me" moment officially drove a stake into this show's chest. Badass Olivia Pope is now Kelly Taylor.
posted by fuse theorem at 10:31 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

"I choose me" will always and forever be Kelly Taylor for me as well, but the difference from my perspective was that it was more like "I choose me... but we can still fuck if you want but I might also be fucking the president. Let's dance in the sun or Vermont or whatever but fuck my dad who I totally would have shot by the way" which is more interesting.

(I also love Jennie Garth so we might just be starting from a different point on this issue altogether.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:50 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Scandal's been boring me this season, to the point where I only half pay attention to the episodes. The speeches, the betrayals, the horrible, horrible romantic options. So it wasn't until this episode was over that I thought, damn, that was actually super, super solid.

Rowan is super tiresome at this point and Olivia killing him would have been interesting and earned, but his test of Olivia and reaction to her response was the first time I've enjoyed him in forever.

Cyrus' affair has been sad and icky, but the emotions in it's reveal were some of the most powerful we've seen in awhile and the handling was pretty fun, although for a moment it was interesting to think what the show would do with him in another role.

Quinn and Charlie are usually pretty dreadful but I enjoyed them a lot this time, especially their little catchup and "we should call each other more" after their failed fight to the death.

Khandi Alexander didn't have much point but her comparison of Liv to her father was chilling.

Mellie and Abby also had strong moments this episode. Really almost everyone was well served. Huck and Fitz are still the worst.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2014

(I also love Jennie Garth so we might just be starting from a different point on this issue altogether.)

Oh, it's nothing against Jennie Garth. I just wonder why Shonda decided to have grown woman Olivia seem like she's taking relationship cues from a teenaged girl. Now a lot of Olivia's behavior with regards to the men in her life is certainly juvenile but a reference to BH90210 seemed like a strange choice to me.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:14 PM on November 21, 2014

This show seems eminently discuss-able during, but when it's over it seems pointless.

It seems like Shonda has a lot to say about the relationships in African-American families in the context of the hostile American environment. Has anyone explored that?
posted by bleep at 5:35 PM on November 21, 2014

Not surprised that Fitz wussed out for his friend. What a very unlikeable character.
posted by bleep at 5:39 PM on November 21, 2014

“How to Get Away With Murder” and “Scandal” end with a bang: The most riveting power struggles on TV
Olivia’s spats with her parents — and with her lovers, who are both white men — are never accidental. “Scandal” is such a high-strung drama that everything that happens in the story is mostly happening just for emotional resonance. Olivia’s fraught, brutal relationship with Fitz, the arguable love of her life, is the show’s canvas for trying to portray the intimate horror of race relations in America. Her parents — and especially her father — are stand-ins for Olivia’s own doubts and demons. Rowan is always reminding her that she’s not like them, she’s black: She has to be twice as good to go half as far; she can’t trust white men; she can’t turn her back on family. It’s an injustice that so deeply rankles Olivia that it’s transformed her from a crusader to the president’s hired gun; in her insistence on proving that it’s all the same for her, she’s making a deal with the devil.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:07 PM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

It seems like Shonda has a lot to say about the relationships in African-American families in the context of the hostile American environment. Has anyone explored that?

I don't think Olivia and her parents are remotely representative of "African-American families". Olivia's had advantages that many Black and non-Black children could only dream of.

I think the commentary Shonda is making with Olivia is that no matter how rich and powerful you are, at the end of the day there's a huge chunk of the world that is still only going to see you as Black. You're constantly going to have to try to prove that you're more than that, even when you're sleeping with the President, your daddy runs a shadow government, and your mommy's a world-class terrorist.
posted by fuse theorem at 4:34 AM on November 22, 2014

This was an interesting enough show to see what all the fuss was about in streaming through the first couple seasons, but probably more for the accidental ephemera of details (a cast member here and there, a topic, an outfit, a town a friend is from, etc.) but now it's become repellant. Not because of any sex or violence, but things typified by the show climaxing with a woman (in a messed up "relationship" with an empty sack of manchild) yelling at a gay man (who is grieving and defeated) to stop being a "bitch" (which equals living a different version of an old lie)-- I could write a thesis on how messed up this is from the writing and execution alone, not even getting into the context/subtext.

It's not even like Nip/Tuck, which had this insanely watchable yet never going to watch it again quality of "What? Glad I caught that the first time because I never want to see that again." Much like how Grey's Anatomy got hard to endure in a couple seasons, it may have exhausted itself for me. I thought Abby had a great turn the other week and Mellie continues to entertain, but if I wasn't waiting for the creation of Skynet (because that's really what B13 is about, right?)--
posted by provoliminal at 4:03 PM on November 22, 2014

Yeah I really hated that scene too. I agreed with Cyrus when he said "This just seems cruel" and I hated that Olivia talked him into it. I want better than that for characters I like.
posted by bleep at 6:17 PM on November 22, 2014

Adopting the behavior of the abuser as a conscious act for the abused as empowerment? It's all kinds of messed up by being reductionist and-- see, it's hard to really suss out because the whole thing is this weird fantasia where "savvy power players" who actually care about what is "good and just" all wear their republican beards and play their parts, secretly pushing through things like gun control and retribution for real evil acts that the empowered get away with, this world where an old gay man and a black woman are the real power because they can play the game of humoring the clueless privileged straight white man, except it shows the corrosive effects of these short cuts to power and functionality instead of working toward genuine change and the kind of justice that can bear the light of day--
it has all the makings of an entertaining mess except if there is a moment to pause and think about any of the pieces that are shooting around, it's pretty hard not to be, well, grossed out by things that can pull off an effect by streaking by but are crap on a hanger.

This show has a similarity with Reign where they burned through plot so quickly, you could overlook the whole premise of ridiculousness, but whenever they stop moving or drag a thing out, it falls apart pretty quickly. Unless you are on whatever enraptured trip that keeps it rolling for you, suddenly turning on the lights and/or stopping the music reveals the sweaty, dirty mess everybody's dancing in and that's a deep crack in the illusion. Both these shows this year have stopped the breakneck burn rate of plot that kept them propulsively watchable no matter how generally shoddy the craftsmanship. It's not that they're unsalvagable, but some things are more stable at a run than a walk and these shows have been about sprints. Because of their loose connections with reality, they aren't made for long lingering looks and leisurely walks soaked with details. If they wanted to be, they'd end up entirely different shows, because they're all about blowing by fast enough that the seams don't fall apart on the runway. I'm way more worried for Reign that this show, which can probably continue on its merry way for another decade.

Like I said, I'm just waiting for when Huck's son comes back from the future to battle Quinn's lovechild for Papa Pope's cybernetic eye, because when they killed Cyrus' husband, I just knew it was time to detach the odd tendrils of this show I didn't even realize had grown in its gathered nightsoil.
posted by provoliminal at 9:58 AM on November 23, 2014

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