I recorded a bunch of Scandal episodes and have recently started catching up (ie watching them). I originally wanted to watch because I miss The West Wing. I like the political drama and I like the fast-paced dialog. I also like several of the actors: Josh Malina (who should be in the Whedonverse somewhere, really) and Gregg Henry, who plays Hollis. He’s one of the best bad guys ever.
I’m discovering a couple of things. First, that watching a TV show all the way through and not waiting a week or however long between episodes makes you think differently. You get a better chance to collect up the clues and the developments. On the other hand, it’s easy to burn out. I’m burning out.
At this point in the show, I don’t have anyone I particularly like, except the two characters above, and that’s largely because they, at least, aren’t hypocritical. And of course, that’s part of the point–absolute power corrupts absolutely, and so does some. So does ambition. I’m going to be spoilerific now. So go ahead and stop if you don’t want to know. Although all these episodes aired ages ago.
Right now, we’ve discovered that there’s been a massive conspiracy and that just about everybody is involved now (including the president, even though he wasn’t involved in the original conspiracy). I like how everyone is struggling with what they want and what is right. But a lot of that is slipping into being despicable. The president, who is incredibly resentful and angry and feeling betrayed, just killed a woman to protect the secret. Because, well, why not? (My reaction was: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?)
I was wondering when did he become capable of that? After all, he’s been willing to destroy his political career for his mistress–finding out that the election was rigged just does it another way and doesn’t give the same payoff, but still, now he’s suddenly willing to commit murder? He’s in a situation now where he can’t trust anyone, which make him interesting, but he’s so very bitter and angry and repulsively vicious. Can’t like him.
Cyrus nearly had the love of his life killed to prevent it from coming out. And on top of that he, and a lot of the other characters, have this amazing ability to lie so convincingly without batting an eyelash that it makes me want to vomit. They can turn it on and off like a faucet. I’m beginning to think they are psycopaths. There’s not a lot human in there and nothing to sympathize with.
You have the ‘gladiators’ who are totally loyal to Olivia despite the fact that she causes them terrible pain and screws up their lives. She manipulates them and when they discover it, because she ‘must have her reasons,’ it’s enough.
So basically, I’m not sure I enjoy this at all anymore. But I plan to watch the season out to see what the writers do. I’m interested in the writing here because if they can pull the characters back to a sympathetic connection with the watchers, I want to know how. Right now, I’m not seeing any good guys. On the other hand, I watch Justified and can’t help liking Boyd, as dreadful a person as he is. Because he’s understandable to me. And maybe that’s the problem with Scandal. I don’t see how these people are staying in character.