By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 18, 2012 at 9:37AM
And that's a wrap folks!
It suddenly struck me how "post-racial" we could say the show is, in that Olivia Pope's race/skin color is really of no real bearing on the series' various narrative threads. It just is; we see her, we know she's a black woman, but it's not *announced*. Other than the visual reminder (can't wash it off, as the saying goes), you actually almost forget that she IS black; and that's also a credit to how connected and engaged you are as a viewer of the series, with all the various parts in this assembly line working well together to keep you occupied otherwise.
Whether all of that's a good thing or bad thing I'll let you all decide for yourselves.
It's obviously significant if only because, for one of the very rare few instances in television history, America gets to see a black woman in this capacity, and with her skin color being almost akin to a prop. Now, who knows, showrunner/creator/producer Shonda Rhimes just might intro a scenario next season in which Olivia's race is indeed pivotal to a specific episode, or a narrative thread that stretches across multiple episodes. Or maybe not.
Would you want her to do that?
And by the way, I'd say the same thing about Chief Of Staff Cyrus Beene's sexuality; he's gay, and we are told that, but, like Olivia being black, Rhimes doesn't *announce* it; it just is... you know... life... a sea of diverse, complex human beings.
We assume that the series takes place in the present-day; I don't know if at any point, it's dated - I can't immediately recall; my point being that Rhimes paints a portrait of a world - a USA specifically - in which matters of race and sexual orientation are of little concern to the people who populate this universe. And so it's not improbable that one wonders if this is a representation of an America as it exists today, or is it a futuristic one, minus all the CGI :)
Or an America as Rhimes would like it to be.
But I can only assume the controversy that must have surrounded the appointing of Cyrus - a seemingly openly gay man - as White House Chief Of Staff; especially with the pairing of a Vice President who's from the so-called Bible Belt, who espouses conservative, Christian values... or is all that just BS as well, and she's just as power-hungry and unscrupulous as the others, willing to do whatever is necessary to reach her ultimate goal of becoming President of the USA?
But, yes, it's a wrap for season 1 of Scandal, a show that apparently has a huge chunk of black America hooked - likely primarily female. Out of mere curiosity, how many of you dudes have kept up with the series? Also, how many of you women have not, and maybe don't care for it enough to do so? Not that every black woman is somehow obligated to watch it by the way because it stars a black woman; just asking...
A number of questions were answered (the most crucial being who really had Amanda Tanner killed); and of course, as you'd expect with any season finale, a cliffhanger - who is Quinn Perkins?
So who IS Quinn Perkins? And looking back on the previous 6 episodes, where any hints given at any time that might help answer that question? I can't immediately think of any.
In response to that question when asked by TV Guide, Rhimes herself obviously wouldn't give anything away, except to say:
I think you're going to find the answer very interesting. I'm still deciding [when we'll reveal it].
Obviously Olivia knows; she knows everything, and she did hire Quinn, so it's no surprise. Given the resistance to finger-printing her, and Olivia's knack for picking employees with *questionable* pasts, I think we can safely say Quinn falls right in-line with the others. So what you've got here is a kind of rag-tag team of smart people with problems, and Olivia is like their mother, which you could say makes sense, given her own shady past - having an affair with the Prez. One big happy family :)
Also noteworthy was the First Lady finally showing us who she really is. But I think we all (certainly I) suspected she had an agenda all her own early on. Specifically, in a previous talkback session, I said that their marriage is reminiscent of what people said about Bill and Hillary Clinton's marriage - that it's essentially like a business partnership. Both have/had their political ambitions, and are/were simply working together like business partners to see those objectives through - even in light of Bill's 3 or 4 affairs, including the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which likely inspired the Amanda Tanner fiasco in Scandal.
Olivia's reaction when the First Lady *revealed* herself to her was hilarious; you could see the look of absolute surprise on her face, kind of like, "I don't know who this woman is."
But it's really no surprise that the First Lady is just as sheisty as several of the other characters on the show. It's a dog eat dog world out there; every man for himself. A sad commentary on the state of things (and not just within the political realm) we could say.
And now that we know Cyrus is the mastermind behind Amanda Tanner's death, looking ahead to next season, will others eventually learn the truth, and will whomever does, play a significant role in season 2?
Talking to TV Guide again, Rhimes had this to say in response:
The answer to both of those questions is yes. There's a level of power that Cyrus is playing with at this moment that allows him to distance himself from the actual acts of doing certain things, and possibly gives him a little bit of leeway in his mind. He really does think that he is doing what's best for the country. I absolutely believe Cyrus has a line that he won't cross. Cyrus is a patriot who really loves his country and really believes in the presidency. In a weird way, that's his flaw. His patriotism has taken him to some dark places.
Well, yeah. Like murder.
And what about Billy Chambers? Given what we saw towards the end of the episode, as he got on the elevator with Charlie, and later we see Charlie at Cyrus' house asking for the rest of his payment for taking out Amanda Tanner, because he needed to leave town ASAP, are we to assume that Charlie finished the job Huck assigned to him - to kill Billy Chambers?
Rhimes wouldn't answer that obviously.
And with Olivia handing in her White House badge/pass as she walked out of the compounds, does that imply she's done with that specific circle of people, and that entire narrative thread won't be continued next season?
We'll see. I think it's important to keep her within that world in some capacity, but she burned a very important bridge. More than just walking away from him, she forced him to do something that he wasn't willing to do. He actually got the courage to walk away from his life, and she threw him back in. While she may be willing to come back in, he may not be willing to let her in.
And so does this open the door for a new romance for Olivia?
There is [the possibility of a new romance]. I was just talking about that today. There's a prospect of one. I don't know that we're going to get to it early in the second season, but there's definitely a prospect of one. I think that we call her a political nun and she has no personal life and we all know why she has no personal life. But I think that she reached a crossroads at the end of the finale. She handed in her White House badge. She was walking away. I think we might come upon her trying to get her own little bit of normal at this moment.
And might this new prospect be a black man?
Just kidding; that question wasn't asked; but I know a lot of you were thinking it. If I ever get an opportunity to interview Rhimes about the show between now and next season, I'll be sure to ask her that question for you all :)
But I won't be surprised if Rhimes hooks her up with the copper, David. They *dance* well together I think, and it won't be shocking to learn that they had a little something going on at one point, back in the day.
The TV Guide interview is quite thorough, so if you'd like your season 2 expectations potentially spoiled, I'd suggest you read it; if not, stay away. Not that Rhimes gives much away, but I think she hints at enough, and does answer a few of the questions head-on.
She talks about whether we can expect a major through-line next season as we had with the Amanda Tanner thread this season, and also the potential real-life scandals she might be considering as fodder for next season's episodes.
And by the way, this should make you fans of the show happy - she reveals that ABC ordered 13 episodes for season 2. So expect double the fun.
See ya next season!