I’m sat here, hours after watching this episode, and I literally can’t stop crying. My eyes are puffy, there’s snot running down my nose, and I can taste the salt from the tears on my face. Oh, and to top it off, I have a headache the size of Mount Etna.
Man, that was a lot. That was a lot.
It was a truly wonderful, well done episode of TV, and honestly it deserves all the awards. The great thing about having a black showrunner, is that stories like these can be told from our perspective. I wish Shonda would use her powers for good more often, but The Lawn Chair was beautiful, heartbreaking story-telling.
I give the writers a lot of crap on this show, and rightly so, because episodes like the one tonight, is proof that these people have the ability to create amazing tv that literally touches our souls. Zahir and Shondaland brought their A game tonight.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s get into this episode.
What I Hated
Always Jake. Once again, he was pointless in this episode. I assume that he’s part of OPA now, but that feels like such a cheap way to go with him as a character. The writers obviously can’t be bothered even writing decent dialogue for him these days, let alone give him a decent story line. Not that I care, mind you, because I just want him gone for good. When Olivia pretend-yawned at him to get him off the phone, I got my life. And did you all notice the subtle eye-roll from Olivia? I did, and I lived.
Another episode that excelled when his total contribution to the show was less than three minutes of screen time.
2. Fitz opting to choose an un-electable candidate for the VP’s job so that Mellie can run virtually unchallenged was annoying as hell, but I’ll get to that later.
What I Loved
1.0 Courtney B. Vance and Kerry Washington did their thing.
Man, they had great chemistry. My heart broke and kept breaking for a father who’d just learned that his son had been murdered by a cop. I can’t even imagine the pain.
2. Olivia: “I can get the attorney general here”
Unfortunately, David wasn’t ready to listen to her because he was about to go into a meeting with Fitz and Cyrus. And besides, it was way too early in the game to bring the big guns out.
3. David: “We could impeach him”
But of course nobody can impeach Andrew, because then everything would have to come out about how Fitz went to war for his ex mistress, so that wasn’t going to wash.
4. Fitz: “I am tired of my Vice Presidents trying to overthrow me”
Well Fitz, you need to choose better candidates.
5. Fitz: “Mellie’s next, I promised her. She doesn’t need the competition”
I think that we were all Cyrus when Fitz said this. He looked as incredulous as I felt. The idea that Mellie wants to be president without working for it, shouldn’t surprise me. Mellie Grant hasn’t worked a day in her life, so why should she start now? She’s literally the epitome of an entitled white woman, who doesn’t realize how privileged she is.
6. Cyrus: “Do you know what an uphill battle it’s going to be for Mellie to go from being First Lady, to being president"
Tell him Cyrus!
I’ve been giving Scandal a hard time for not treating Mellie’s ambitions for the presidency with the disdain that it deserves, but actually I think that they have more to say about her ambitions and how qualified she is to even consider being the party’s presidential nominee, than I originally suspected.. I’m assuming they’re making her look lazy and stupid on purpose, because if she’s supposed to come across as presidential, the writers and Bellamy are failing big time.
7. Police Chief: ”Neighborhood activist, he’s given us trouble before“
Ugh. Freaking judgey cops.
8. ”Mr Parker’s my neighbor, he drove me home from the hospital when I was three days old“
Man, I liked Marcus Walker straight away. I could totally see him at OPA. He’d be a great replacement for Harrison. Shonda, can you make this happen? Pretty please with a cherry on top?
9. Olivia - ”I’m not the enemy“ Marcus- ”Are you sure?“
Marcus basically calling out Olivia for not being black enough. More on that later.
Was I the only person who was reminded of Jesse Williams. Knowing Shonda, Marcus was probably inspired by him.
10. ”You’re about getting a white Republican president elected. Twice.“
Way too judgey Marcus. But I still like you.
11. Marcus: ”No thanks Olivia, your black card isn’t getting validated today“
For all those people who probably forgot that Olivia Pope is actually black.
The scenes between Marcus and Olivia were just so interesting to me. And his attitude is actually one that I’ve experienced from within the black community. I’ve been told that I wasn’t black enough because I talked "like a white person”. Seriously, when I was growing up, some black folks had a problem with the way I spoke. The fact that I loved reading was even a problem.
My parents weren’t rich or anything, but we were comfortable in comparison to a lot of my friends, and somehow living in a nice neighborhood, being well educated, and not speaking in Ebonics made me less black. When I was younger it used to bother me that I wasn’t as “black” as my friends, but I’m older now, and I’ve realized that the ones who felt that I wasn’t black enough for whatever reason, were the ones with the problem, not me. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to finally cast those insecurities where they belonged.
12. Olivia: “The fact that they stand in groups and say things that you do not like does not make them a mob, it makes them Americans”
I was so proud.
13. Olivia “Stand up, fight back, no more black men under attack”
I was chanting and punching the air along with them.
14. Susan Ross: “I’ve been thinking a lot about vaccination protocols!”
This was the perfect time for Mellie to step up, and look the part, but nope, she dons a fake smile, and tries to get rid of Susan without hearing her out. This is the woman who wants to be president, and she doesn’t even have any interest in making time to hear a newly elected senator out, or at least pretend to. Convincingly. Mellie’s case for being president grows ever weaker.
Mellie Stans may think that her looking in disgust at Susan and pretty much dismissing her was funny, but it highlighted all the ways that Mellie has no chance of being president. She never sees the big picture until it’s too late.
15. "I never let Brandon leave the house without him saying where he was going. I never fell asleep until I heard his key turn in the lock. No being around girls. We fought about that one. A lot.
It may sound so simple to you, but I just kept saying to myself, “get him to eighteen”. Get him a diploma, don’t let him end up dead, locked up. There was a thrift store down on Browning Road. I used to buy Brandon old portable radios, TVs calculators, cheap crap. Because he loved taking stuff apart. Seeing how it worked, he always had a mind for that kind of thing. He was gonna do the apprentice thing after graduation, become an electrical contractor.
Even though he wasn’t going to, college, I put a University of Maryland sticker on my car anyway so if he ever got pulled over, the cops wouldn’t think that he was just a thug.“
I could literally feel an ache in my heart for Clarence. OK, I’m crying again.
16. Chief Connors: "Who’s side are you on here?” Olivia “Not yours”
Olivia joining the protesters despite fear of being tear-gassed.
This moment was so powerful for me as an Olivia Pope fan. You could see that she was frightened to death, she knew that in that crowd, there was a chance that she would no longer be Olivia Pope, and she’d be just another black face. Part of the unruly mob.
17. Mellie: “You told me that you were going to pick someone boring and unelectable. I prostituted myself so that you would get your mistress back, and now, you’re going to take someone young and charismatic, and female and Latina, and make her the Vice President of the United States, how dare you! What happened to my turn!?”
Mellie lies so much she can’t keep any of it straight. Last week she was sleeping with Andrew to save Liz and her daughter. Or did I dream that part? I’m still staggered that she literally wants to walk into the White House as president without having to work hard for it. I can’t.
18. Olivia “you talk about fairness and justice as if it’s available to everybody, but it’s not! That man standing over his son’s body thinks he knows that he’s going to end up in one of two places, a jail cell or a drawer in the morgue, and to hell if I can’t look him in the eye and tell him that he’s wrong. I can’t fix this David. I have nothing left, no more tricks in my bag, it’s too much. It’s too…much.”
My poor broken, exhausted Olivia.
19. Liv: “I thought I was going to die. For about a week straight, I thought I was a goner. I lived in complete and total fear. Imagine feeling like that every single day of your life.”
20. Fitz “Let’s pick a VP that won’t get in your way” Mellie “I have one” Fitz “Competent?” Mellie “Yes, and completely un-electable.
21. We know that this is going to come back to bite Mellie in the ass. Susan Ross was completely un-electable as a senator, until Olivia made her electable. She cares, and she has a heart, and she’s genuine, and she’s smart. And most of all, she’s accomplished more by herself as a single mom, than Mellie has as the wife of the president.
22. Jake coming into OPA and making random noises at Huck and Quinn:
Fuck me, he’s pointless.
23. Olivia: ”Talk faster or say less“
I’m gonna use this in my real life from now on.
24. Jeff Newton: ”God what the hell is it with you people?“ Olivia: ”Us people?“ Jeff Newton: ”Yeah, you people! I didn’t misspeak. You people have no idea what loyalty is, what respect is. You’re here because you were supposed to help us, instead you spent every second of it trying to tear us down, tear me down, push your own damned agenda!
The truth is those people in Rosemead have no respect for anything or anyone. No, they’re like you, they just take whatever they want and they have no problems turning their backs on the people who gave it to them. People like me, who strap on their boots everyday, kiss their wife and kids goodbye and trek 40 miles into a city where everyone including little babies are taught to look at us like the enemy. They are taught to question me, to disobey me. And still, I risk my life for these people, every day for seven years, I’ve allowed myself to be disrespected and hated by these people, all to protect them from themselves. I mean all I hear about on the news are dirty cops, cops who shoot innocent black kids, it’s crap! There were eighty four murders in this city last year. Were all of those cops shooting innocent black boys? Hell, no! Those were blacks turning guns on each other, and yet somehow I’m the animal!
Brandon Parker is dead because he didn’t have respect. Because those people out there who are chanting and crying over his body, they didn’t teach him the right values. They didn’t teach him respect. He didn’t respect me. He didn’t respect my badge. Questioning my authority was not his right! His blood is not on my hands!“
Man, I was so mad. Kudos to the actor for eliciting so much rage in me, because if I’d been Olivia, I would have straight up choked him out. And the unbearably sad reality is that many cops feel this way about black people. About black children. They don’t recognize black humanity. There are many Jeff Newtons out there, wearing badges, and promising to protect and serve as long as the people they’re trying to protect and serve aren’t black.
25. Susan Ross in the Oval Office gave me a few deserved lighter moments. I really, really like her.
Mellie: The president is asking you to be his new Vice President” Susan: “Why?” Fitz: “Why?” Susan: “I’m a terrible choice, I just got elected.” Fitz: “That’s why I’m asking you. This town has a way of taking people and turning them into politicians, I don’t want a politician” Susan “But if I was the Vice President and something happened to you…” Fitz: “Then you would be president” Susan “But I don’t want to be president, I mean no offense, but your job is the worst job in the entire universe.” CindersinRags “Halle-freaking-lujah!”
Somebody in the White House who doesn’t actually want Fitz’s job. Yessss! This is so going to backfire on Mellie. Susan is literally everything that she’s not. She’s worked hard, has raised an adorable little girl by herself and has an actual platform and she’s not just a talking head. This is gonna be good.
26. Susan: “That poor man who’s son was shot dead in the streets, my God! If anything like that ever happened to Casey, my daughter, she’s ten. If anything like that ever happened to her, but of course she’s white and the daughter of a senator so the police are actually going to think twice before shooting her, but that poor man, he raised that boy all by himself, can you even imagine what he’s going through right now? I can’t, I would die, I would literally die on the spot. I would have to kill myself.”
The look on her face when she realized that she was talking to two people who’d just lost their son. I really like Susan. I love her and her verbal diarrhoea.
27. Fitz: “Mr Parker, I’m so sorry for your loss”
I love that Olivia took him to meet the president. Two fathers who’d both lost a son.
28. "Call me Clarence. My son’s name was…. Brandon“
The realization of where he was, and that his son was dead. Oh God. I cried so hard at this point. His boy, his precious child, dead. Brandon was just a baby. His baby.
Fitz consoling him was just…so touching. And heartbreaking.
And I’m crying again.
I love the fact that white certain people are offended and swearing blind they’ll never watch Scandal again. That says more about them, than it does about this episode in my opinion. I think a lot of those people had probably forgotten that not only is the showrunner black, so is the lead actress, and the events at Ferguson couldn’t help but affect them personally. Hell, I think most of them had forgotten that Olivia Pope is black, and whilst some might see that as a good thing whilst wearing their Utopian All Lives Matter spectacles, as a black person, that’s the opposite of what most of us want. The reality is, we just don’t want our color to be the thing that people judge us on before they even get to know us. We don’t want our color to be the reason that a 12 year old boy is shot, while a guy who murdered 12 people in a movie theater gets to stay alive.
This episode of Scandal will be the one that fans will remember for a long time. I can’t say that I’ve ever felt so much emotion watching a TV drama. When a show can make you feel so much within an hour, it really deserves to be recognized. It truly was a brilliant episode, and my hats go off to the writers, the actors and everybody involved in this episode. Well done.
How amazing was the music tonight? When I Am Released started playing, I started sobbing and I couldn’t stop. Especially when they zipped Brandon into a body bag.
Olivia is going through it. All episode, you could see that just putting one foot in front of the other was hard for her. There was an air of sadness that clung to her throughout the show and honestly it broke my heart. And her hands shaking made me cry. Powerful indestructible Olivia Pope. That facade was always that, a facade, but now, she’s barely holding herself together. My baby girl needs therapy. And soon.
I’ve already said it, but I predict that Susan Ross will wind up being an amazing VP, and she’s gonna have Fitz’s back, unlike his other power hungry VPs. Mellie literally just made life so much harder for herself, and she doesn’t know it. How delicious…
Olivia is obviously going to have to break down. She’s so tightly wound that it won’t take much to make her snap. I’m praying for some sort of release for her. She needs to grieve for herself, and she desperately needs to forgive herself.
No Jamie and Claire Gifs this week, but a drink or two was certainly needed to get through The Lawn Chair, so here’s Snow…