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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Scandal focuses on fanbait in a well-crafted episode

Illustration for article titled Scandal focuses on fanbait in a well-crafted episode
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Well, that was a fun fanbait episode. It had everything: Annalise and Olivia eating popcorn and drinking wine, a scene of them getting their hair done, #blackgirlswinning and so much more. Will anything in this episode matter to Scandal’s overall plot or the final episodes of the series? Probably not. But, this episode did give Olivia her groove back.
  • Mostly, it felt like old Liv. Olivia handled the TV interview with the kind of passion I remember from earlier seasons. Her refusal to blackmail a Judge absolutely reminded me of the Liv who wanted to help rather than use people. It makes it a little easier for us to root for Olivia again. Especially when she’s fighting for a nebulous case that simply boils down to “helping poor minorities.” Scandal usually gives us more depth or character stories when it comes to the issue of the week, but the actual people who will benefit from Liv’s actions are overshadowed by The Annalise and Olivia Show this episode.
  • And that’s okay. Scandal is already doing a lot as it comes to an end. We don’t have time to throw a deep analysis of the New Jim Crow into the mix. We’re all just here for catty hair salon sessions and pettiness.
  • I don’t know this for sure, but I think that hair salon scene was the most black people who’ve ever had a conversation together in the history of Scandal. If there was a “black people speaking to each other” version of the Bechtel test, this might be the first scene to pass. There have always been complaints about Olivia’s lack of connection to the black community and her lack of black female relationships, but the hair scene with Annalise almost felt too performative. Also, Olivia really came off like a jerk when she attacked Annalise. Annalise is right: colorism and bias have impacted her life; privilege and money have impacted Olivia’s.
  • The ending was perfect, however. They managed to come together on the case in a way that is helping both of them. Also, those coats. Wow. I can’t believe ABC didn’t offer press photos of them standing on the stairs in those amazing coats.
  • Annalise and Michaela’s nervousness around Fitz was cute. We don’t really see Fitz interact with civilians, so it was adorable to see him engage with people who actually have some respect for him.
  • Jake is just the absolute worst now. Just like Quinn, I don’t know what we’re supposed to call him or why he’s around. He’s very bad at strategy without Olivia.
  • Mellie vs. Olivia is a good dynamic, but it should’ve happened earlier in the season. It’s hard to believe anyone really dislikes Olivia when they’re all still clearly interested in what she’s doing. Every time Abby tried to bad talk Liv, it sounded so fake.
  • I still think Olivia deserves some sort of punishment for what she did.
  • Like Fitz said, “We’ve done this before.” That’s exactly what this episode felt like. Something we’ve done before, but at least it did it well.  
  • There are only four episodes of Scandal left!

Ashley Ray-Harris is a Chicago-based pop culture expert and freelance writer. Her work looks at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and modern culture.