Monday, January 28, 2013

The Truth Will Set You Free: Dirty Little Secrets Episode 2

When watching a television show I like to get the general atmosphere that is conveyed by the elements of what is going on. The transition from the end of the first episode to the beginning of the second episode was dynamic. The serious tone of taking Amanda as a client left the first episode with a vengeful taste, but as the second episode began the work environment was full of high energy and very upbeat. The beginning recaptured the side of Scandal the was fun and quirky, leaving the mind to wonder what in the world is going on. Once again, I find myself looking through the lens of Quinn. As the quick pace becomes almost unnecessary to try and make sense of; Quinn demands answers to what was happening. Olivia and Harrison continue talking as if she hasn't said anything, putting us in a seat to just sit back and enjoy the show like the frustrated Quinn.

With Sharon Marquette as Olivia's client, we begin to unfold new troubles within the President's circle. It just so happens that Sharon Marquette is the best in town in managing the "call girl" business and keeps a written record on her of all her worker's transactions. This record turns into a list for Olivia's teammates to generate a grid of all the men that were in need of Sharon's services. When one older white male face is on the wall, Olivia immediately must leave. Olivia continues to stay true to her demeanor so far, this up and leave with no questions asked personality automatically details us that something big is up. And it is!

Who was that man? Well it was Patrick Keeting, a politician that was nominated for the Supreme Court. We all know how scandals can affect public image and an escort on your resume is bound to come up, hence is why Olivia must stop him from running.

The best part in keeping up with a series is watching the development of the characters. Quinn begins to have a little Olivia rubbing of on her. A man begins casual small talk with Quinn as she is watching over Amanda in the hospital, Quinn uses context clues to uncover that this man was a reporter. Quinn takes control of the situation by calling him out on all his intentions and confirming him there would be no story here so leave. Since Quinn has been reserved and feeling out her place on the team, it becomes quite obvious when she breaks her original character. Is this a foreshadow of what's to come of her?

There is so much that must be done to have a good show that you don't realize at the time of actually watching it. How convincing is it? Let's examine the scene when Patrick Keeting is called to be questioned about his history with a call girl. The show creates the environment that invites us to believe he is guilty. The pre-notion  of the list, his wife sitting with him, and keeping his political image clean; he has every reason to lie. Here is where the convincing comes in, there was a sense that Patrick Keeting honestly never had been with a call girl in the genuine way he defended himself. This was pulled off very well, and now it puts everything into question. Is their client a liar, putting the whole list into question as well as the credibility of their organization or his Patrick really lying just to save himself.

Olivia attempts to clean up Quinn's mess by speaking with Amanda. This scene is powerful, as Olivia's eyes are big and full of regret she attempts to reach out and show her concern for the women she is nearly responsible for almost committing suicide. When Amanda tells her off, Olivia instructs Quinn to slide her number under Amanda's door. As Quinn asks how do we know she will call, an emotional Olivia says "because I am very good at my job". Even with the disgruntled look on Olivia's face, her tone for Quinn even questioning her judgement was enough for me to understand she has been here before.

Remember the conflict we had in the plot earlier, while I have to say I am impressed with the creative development of the resolution. Scandal made both scenarios work. The list was an accurate list and Patrick was telling the truth, and this was because his wife was the call girl and never told Patrick. This was extremely cunning way to bring together the contradictions of the plot. And who would of guessed (sarcastic tone), all those men on the list were related by their political work. With the help of the team, Olivia gathers these men and convince them to drop the allegations towards her client Sharon. Olivia does her job again with time running out and everyone is happy. Or are they?

When Amanda shows up to be represented at the end, she is followed by an unexpected guest. The reporter who once didn't have a story is convinced something fishy is up. I know he is a reporter and he is looking for a story but I was a little unconvinced that he would just barged into Olivia's establishment out of no where like that. Still, this adds a whole new twist with a reporter bringing press to Amanda's scandal. Scandal continues to spark my curiosity for what's next.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gladiators in Suits: Sweet Baby Episode 1

Scandal sets the tone for the rest of the episode with its intense opening scene. Automatically as a fan of misdirection, I found myself drawn into the style of Scandal's delivery. Quinn Perkins seem to be trying to blow off what appears to be a blind date with Harrison Wright. She seems so determined to belittle him, but Harrison's poise and confidence suggests a different story. The wordplay was sharp between the two as they snap remarks back and forth. Harrison continues to state that this is not a blind date, but a job interview. Except that this is not a job interview but a job offer, now we can see Quinn's spunk slowly diminish as Harrison develops the upper-hand. This creates an exciting tension between the two. Once Harrison says he works for Olivia Pope, Quinn completely gave in, demonstrating a great deal of respect for Olivia. This was a grand introduction to whoever Olivia Pope is, putting her on a pedestal right off the bat. 
Scandal was recommended to me by a couple of friends, so I came into the series with high expectations. So far I was impressed with Scandal's ability to create its own style. The fast pace and intense energy maintained in the show really captured how it would feel to be someone with a demanding career. The witty conversations held my attention to the dialogue between characters. For some reason it caught me off guard that Kerry Washington was Olivia Pope, it shouldn't have! She really embodies her role as a straight to the point cut the crap leader of an organization. As Quinn is learning the ropes of what goes on within Olivia's organization, we are too. They are not really defined as a law firm, but they're in the business of protecting clients. I'm just as curious and confused as to what goes on here as Quinn is. It was clever to learn about the organization through Quinn's perspective. While many don't envision women in a commanding role, Olivia shatters all preconceptions. She leads men and women while maneuvering with a purpose that demands respect.

Not really knowing what to expect from this show, I find myself watching a developing murder case. Sullivan James, a public speaker and soldier, has a dead girlfriend with all the evidence pointing at him as the murderer. We began to learn more of what the organization does as Sully rushes in asking for Olivia to represent him. I was very pleased with this aspect of the show because I am a fan of crime series such as Dexter, CSI, and Law and Order. Olivia agrees to represent him, locking him away from public attention. She buys herself time to develop a case to prove his innocence. What makes this so interesting is that the case is very risky and Olivia has to use a gut judgment in order to determine if he's telling the truth. Now the factor of whether or not Sully is being honest brings another variable to the plot sparking suspicion amongst the viewer because of the team's uneasiness proceeding forward.

Olivia has a close relationship with the President and agrees to get rid of a woman who allegedly will come out to the press about an affair that supposedly didn't happen, supposedly. The details to why Olivia agrees to work this case while in the midst of another heated battle remains unknown. Olivia brings Quinn along to bury this Amanda Tanner girl. Everyone watching the show should have a clear sense that Amanda has some truth to her claims, because its evident something else is blocking Olivia's judgement. The plot then takes another exciting twist when the team finds out Sully knew his girlfriend was sleeping around, this would give him motive to kill. Still, Olivia trusts her gut to protect him. With new details of Amanda attempting suicide, Olivia is convinced there was an affair when she hears a nickname she's familiar with. I'll attempt I was somewhat shocked to find out that the President was having an affair with Olivia, which makes sense to why her judgement was cloudy. We see a breakdown in Olivia's character as she succumbs to her feelings and shows she is human. In the end, evidence is found to prove Sully's innocence, but will undermined him as a war hero by revealing his gay lover. Sully would rather go down for murder. I for one think this is a powerful moment because it illustrates the internal conflict between the public and private life and the lengths people will go to protect that life. 

Sully admits to being gay and beats the case by showing video evidence supporting his alibi. Olivia watches proud as the world is forced to come to terms with who he is whether they like it or not. Driven off the pain of betrayal Olivia takes on Amanda as her new client places the President in a potential world of trouble. Great way to end the first show, with its fast-paced, edgy style, and sharp demeanor Scandal drives it home for the season opener. I look forward to seeing the "Gladiators in Suits" and telling you my thoughts on the next episode of Scandal!