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S&A "Scandal" Talk-Back Session #3 (Some Answers + Shonda Rhimes Seems Certain About A Season 2)

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
May 11, 2012 10:22 AM
23 Comments
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Session 3 of the weekly S&A Scandal Talkback, now that the penultimate episode has aired (last night), and I'm sure most of you have seen it.

I watched it this morning.

If you haven't seen that episode yet, then you may NOT want to read any of this.

So, as expected, we learned about how Olivia Pope's relationship with the Prez got started on the campaign trail, when she was brought onboard to do what she does best - fix his campaign; we also see how she begun to assemble her team, and the contentious primary race between Fitz and Sally Langston, who's now vice president, in an episode that contained mostly flashbacks.

Some questions were answered, maybe most importantly, we learned who the mastermind has been behind the entire Amanda Tanner fiasco; AND even more significant, who the woman is with Fitz on that audio sex tape - a mystery to everyone aware of the tape except Fitz and the woman - Olivia Pope.

I initially suspected Prez Fitz's wife was somehow involved, but even though she's certainly proven to be capable - given the really sly and even unconscionable thing she did to help keep Fitz in the presidential race (recall the scene in last week's episode in which she told Fitz "there's no one in this building [the White House] who won't go to extremes for you"), and the fact that she had an extramarital affair before Fritz and Olivia hooked up - she's innocent here... at least, thus far. Who knows what Shonda Rhimes has in store for her in upcoming episodes.

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.

But it turns out that Billy Chambers has been our man all along. I actually never suspected him at all. Did you?

And with the way this episode ended (Chambers stabbing Gideon in the neck with a pair of scissors) and next week's season finale's synopsis (when Quinn finds herself in a fix that's both tragic and compromising, Olivia and the team rush to help. Meanwhile, Cyrus turns reluctantly to Olivia when Billy Chambers makes an announcement that shakes Fitz's presidency to its core), episode 7 should be an explosive one, likely ending the season with a major cliffhanger.

What could this tragic and compromising fix be that Quinn finds herself in? In her last scene in episode 6, she's in Gideon's bed, post-coital. And now Gideon's been stabbed in the neck. I'm guessing the predicament she finds herself in will involve her relationship with Gideon. 
 

And what could this core-shattering announcement from Billy Chambers be? Maybe he breaks his silence and reveals all he suspects of the Prez's affair with Olivia? 

Gideon is left bleeding profusely - will he die?

What will Olivia and Fitz do to prevent the audio sex tape from being made public, assuming that's a turn the show takes? 

Of course, my Twitter feed was all abuzz about the *steamy* scene between Olivia and Fitz in one of the flashbacks. If you thought that was steamy, you should know that it could have been even steamier, because, as Shonda told THR yesterday, she had to "fight" for those scenes.

The sex scene, I wrote it really, really specifically. The actors really went for it and tried to make it real. I had to take it by Broadcast Standards and Practices more times than I can count. There were shots that I had to pull out; they sent it to lawyers. It was crazy what went on with this scene. It's not a scene in which you watch two characters have sex; they never have sex, the scene ends when any sex could possibly begin. Yet there was something about it that was really steamy for broadcast standards and practices. They were so worried about it that we had to fight those battles.

And in response to the question of what she had to cut out, she replied:

Frames and shots; there were just little, tiny images that had to come out to make it not "too hot" for network television. In the end, I was still really pleased with it because I wasn't willing to compromise.

Interesting. I didn't think it was particularly risque; I feel like we've seen even riskier love scenes on network TV - especially in primetime, during its timeslot. Maybe we'll get a "Showrunner's cut" for the DVD/Blu-ray release with all the frames and shots she had to remove, included :)

And let's not forget David's investigation into Amanda Tanner's death. How will that affect the other plot-lines? I can see both he and Olivia pairing up (not romantically) to eventually get the story behind Tanner's baby, kidnapping and murder.

I like how the show keeps the audience a bit off-balance; just when you think you've maybe snuffed something out, it takes you off in a direction you didn't quite expect, which helps keep it interesting. Although I'm hoping it's not all just to keep the viewer off-balance, and that there IS a method to the madness: Amanda Tanner's kidnapping, the president showing up at Olivia's door, and now Gideon being stabbed - all happening successively in each of the endings of the last 3 episodes.

So what can we expect for the season finale?

Acording to Rhimes:

I think a lot of it ties in, a lot of questions get answered. I liked the idea that whether we were doing seven episodes or 17 episodes that when we got to the end of this run there was going to be some definitive questions answered. The Amanda Tanner aspect of the story would be put to bed in some way for the audience. I didn't like the idea that we would leave that hanging. That said, there are other pieces of the puzzle that leap off into a new direction for the audience.

And finally, as we wait to find out whether ABC will renew it for a second season (and quite frankly, at this point, I don't see how they couldn't), allow me to highlight a sentence from Shonda's chat with THR in which I'd say she all but outright states that there will indeed be a season 2. 

THR asks Rhimes about backstory for the other members of Olivia's team, and she replied with this:

One of the things that we're excited about doing for Season 2 is to really delve into who these characters were. We will see what happens with Stephen. You've heard all this time that Quinn didn't exist before 2008. Who is Quinn? That's going to really start to resonate as we move on.

So, there ya have it. Sounds like Shonda MIGHT already know something we don't know, when she starts off with, "one of the things that we're excited about doing for season 2;" or am I just reading too much into that?

Anyway, as I already said, ABC will renew it. There's no reason not to. I expect an announcement today, or soon thereafter.

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23 Comments

  • bondgirl | May 17, 2012 9:25 AMReply

    I have been cautiously optimistic about this show, but I'm sold completely. It's historic (first black female lead show in 30 yrs!) and damn good! I'm a fan of Tony Goldwyn, and he plays the lovesick puppy so well. Damn shame, but I actually know more white men in entertainment that find Kerry sexy than black ones....or at least the young black guys are not vocal. Tony even has admitted to being ga-ga for KW way before being on the show. It would be so intense if Shonda wrote a young, hot, black senator into the show as a love interest (and competition to the obsessed POTUS) for Liv, because Fitz is willing to use his power to get her and a Democratic senator would challenge him even more politically and personally. Anyway, I'm looking forward to tonight's finale!

  • Orville | May 13, 2012 5:19 PMReply

    The sex scene between Kerry and Tony wasn't risque at all although I think what Shonda might hinting at is the controversy since it was an interracial love scene. Although some people might think America is a post racial nation I think some people might have a problem with the interracial love story. I love the fact that Olivia is black and President Grant is white it makes the love story more intriguing and interesting. Although race is never discussed on Scandal it is obvious that race has a role in Olivia and President Grant's relationship.

  • tina | May 11, 2012 9:43 PMReply

    I love love this show, but I'm a bit nervous about season 2. Do you think Shonda will be able to keep up with all of the mind blowing drama she has in each episode for 7 seasons? I guess she had to really leave it all on the table since this was just a 7 episode trial season...but for a regular 20 episode season i think they'd have to start killing everybody in the house in order to keep us interested. Or they'll have to bring the drama down a couple dozen notches.
    As for Olivia and Mr Prez, idk I'm personally in love with Olivia Pope (KW in general) but Im just not sold on Mr Prez like their love is sooo intense and I just don't see why she's soo into him. I don't think he deserves her *shrugs*

  • Nadine | May 11, 2012 7:39 PMReply

    SCANDAL Episode 6 - "The Trail" http://abc.go.com/watch/scandal/SH55126555/VD55200622/the-trail

  • Nadine | May 11, 2012 7:36 PMReply

    ABC renews SCANDAL for second season: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/abc-renews-shonda-rhimes-scandal-323608 ... apparently....

  • misha | May 11, 2012 6:07 PMReply

    @ Lauren, I know, right?! Fitz has some great lines in last night's episode. No wonder Liv's panties couldn't stay on. LOL

  • ellie | May 11, 2012 5:18 PMReply

    I LOVE this show and am very happy they will be renewing for season 2 and so on. The acting is point on! CONGRATULATIONS shonda you have a HIT!!

  • Kid chaos | May 11, 2012 4:02 PMReply

    All black actress are just whores who will pimp themselfs out to any white man.

  • Turner | May 17, 2012 9:42 AM

    You're an idiot.

  • Kid Chaos's Mom | May 11, 2012 5:53 PM

    And here I thought I had your support.

  • Kid chaos | May 11, 2012 4:00 PMReply

    Really,fighting for a white man to have sex with a black woman

  • Adult Order | May 11, 2012 9:19 PM

    Yup, at least he doesn't have AIDS.

  • Nicole | May 11, 2012 12:10 PMReply

    Hopefully they will renew but I don't think they need a full season of ratings to determine if they're going to bring the show back. Haven't there been shows that have been renewed only after two or three episodes? I don't see any reason for them NOT to renew the show and at least give it one more season to prove itself.

  • EJ | May 11, 2012 11:57 AMReply

    I love love love Scandal. So glad to hear Season 2 is possible. I was blown to find out that Chambers was behind it all. That's politics for you. How is he going to deal with the guy bleeding out on his floors? Call Black Ops again?

  • misha | May 11, 2012 11:02 AMReply

    Ok, this show is ridiculous in its gratuity and propensity from being way too melodramatic. But that chemistry between KW and TG is some of the best I've ever seen. Seriously. They are scorchin' hot together! So I'm looking forward to a second season, despite the show's flaws, because those two and their storyline appeal to the hopeless romantic in me. :) Oh and tambay, you're right...the scene wasn't necessarily risque (there was no nudity or actual sex involved, after all) but I found it incredibly sexy/steamy, nontheless so I could see why some prude(s) at the top would have a problem with it.

  • Nadine | May 11, 2012 8:05 PM

    Statler and Waldorf... you two... ;)

  • Nadine | May 11, 2012 7:47 PM

    Wooo.... just caught it. First moment I've had to myself! You know @MISHA, I wasn't quite "feeling" the chemistry until their last "one minute" session (I wish film/tv would put more raw, silent scenes on screen like that and stop filling up every second with tired banter.) I appreciated Rhimes for doing it for that extended period of time. The episode moved a little quickly, overall, for me and this episode, more than any of the others, was quite melodramatic... still, I found my eyes buggin' out a couple of times at the unexpected which is always a good thing.

  • CareyCarey | May 11, 2012 12:44 PM

    I am so hurt Misha, I guess you told me. But look, you don't have to kiss me in the morning, just answer the damn question while YOUR ramblings roll on.

  • lauren | May 11, 2012 12:23 PM

    Olivia and Fitz have the most amazing chemistry ever.... so real! When he said: "Say my name..." Wow!

  • misha | May 11, 2012 12:09 PM

    Carey, I'm not interested in old, senile men who love to ramble on blogs, so could you please back the hell up? Damn!

  • CareyCarey | May 11, 2012 11:14 AM

    OH lawd little young one Misha, come over here and let old school put this bug in your ear. Now tell me, why does one have to be a prude because they don't desire to watch sexiness, steamy(mess) and hopeless hotness, on their tv screen - huh? Some hot and steamy grown folks keep their sexiness between their 4 walls, and surely do not need others to get their juices flowing. So speak to me or lie to me softly :-). Tell ol'school what's really on your mind.

  • Dankwa Brooks | May 11, 2012 10:55 AMReply

    I've read about SO MANY shows where the creator talks about successive seasons for it not to happen. I'm also not too keen on ABC announcements for everything, but the kitchen sink being renewed EXCEPT 'Scandal' last night. Frankly I don't know if they have a number they're looking for (ratings wise) or if they are waiting for a season total tally. Either way as we all know, enthusiastic viewers alone are not enough to save a show.

  • Ali | May 11, 2012 11:06 AM

    There are quite a few shows that ABC has not officially renewed or canceled yet. They are GCB, Scandal, Last Man Standing, Body of Proof, Missing, The River, and Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23. Now, Body of Proof, Missing, and The River are dead. They aren't going to be coming back. Scandal does seem likely to return based off of numbers especially in comparison to the other new dramas. It's more likely to return than GCB.

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