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!

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