Friday, November 15, 2013


What the hell Scandal? I mean, Shonda, I'm still trying to process what happened, and I don't know if that's a good thing. ***SPOILERS AHEAD!****

At its heart Scandal has always been a soap opera, and as someone who has watched everything from Dynasty to The Young and the Restless, I've always been fine with that. Since it's a nighttime soap, a lot has to happen to hold fans over week after week, and Scandal always delivers. That's part of the appeal and part of the fun (watching Scandal on Twitter is pure comedy) However, after tonight, I'm wondering if they gave us too much.

This latest episode was all about Mellie and how she got to be the cold, power hungry, whore tolerater she is today. I've always had sympathy for Mellie, unlike some fans, because I believe she loves Fitz the person, as well as the power. I also believe that all of her heinous shade and draw dropping shenanigans are done and said out of a place of extreme hurt. I mean, Fitz treats her like ish, and that's putting it mildly.

Well, how did Mellie become Mellie? Based on the flashbacks in this episode, Mellie and Fitz really did love each other in the beginning of their marriage, and she was always confident, strong, smart and ambitious. What changed? Oh, just being raped by Fitz's disgusting father and never telling Fitz Jr. what happened.

YES, you read that correctly: Fitz Sr. raped his son's wife. Oh, and now there's the question of whether their oldest child is Fitz's son or half-brother. Um, WHAT?!!!!!! I thought I was watching Scandal, not All My Children.

Now, the headline of the episode should have been that Mama Pope (ABC is promoting next week's episode with #MamaPopeLives. Interesting) is alive and in jail, and Daddy Pope put her there after getting her off the plane before Fitz shot it down. But, all anyone will be talking about is the rape, and we should because like many people, I'm not quite sure how I feel about Scandal going...there.

I love character back story and flashbacks, and was enjoying seeing that the "old" Mellie wasn't always the Lady Macbeth of the White House. However, that shifted once I saw what was happening between Fitz Sr. and Mellie. If nothing else, seeing Mellie get raped by her father-in-law was shocking and gross. More importantly, it felt unnecessary and out of place. Did it make Mellie more sympathetic? Of course, but at what cost? Was this really the best way to make viewers understand Mellie's motivations? I sincerely doubt it.

I'm not the only one who was taken aback by this sharp change in direction. A number of folks on my Twitter timeline used the words like "trashy", "lazy", "nauseous" and "jumped the shark" in their opinions about tonight's episode. There's also the issue of rape as a tool to "break" women and the fact that this breaking is at the hand of show runner extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes.

Oh lawd. A Tyler Perry comparison. Well, I can't say I blame anyone who was outdone by this episode, but I don't know if I'm ready or willing to echo these sentiments. I'm still trying to unpack what I saw, but the only way I can describe it is to go old school and say what I watched didn't sit right with my spirit.

Unfortunately, some people will see this episode through a "rape denial" lens, where rape is preventable or a tool women have at their disposal to somehow get the upper hand. That speaks to rape culture and how sick some people are to actually believe that women, even fictional TV characters, bring rape upon themselves or don't fight back enough, as if those things can actually happen. I won't get into that nonsense, but it's one of the downsides of social media: you find out how terrible, twisted and cowardly some people really are when the subject is rape.

Stories about rape need to be told, but when rape is used as a gratuitous plot twist, it just feels wrong, it feels disrespectful to rape victims and it just wasn't necessary. Scandal writers are some of the best in the biz, but I hope Shonda and Co. understand that they can and should do better. 

So, I guess I did unpack how I feel about this episode. Writing will do that.

P.S. Other things of note...Quinn made out with Charlie, killed somebody (by accident), and is now owned by B613; Sally's husband apparently plays for #TeamCyrus&James; Fitz Jr. knows that Rowan is Daddy Pope; Olivia was practically MIA from this epi; and like I said earlier, #MamaPopeLives

Stay Random,


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