The Lawn Chair Over Justice for Brandon: Scandal Episode 414 Recap
I am a firm believer in using your platform to say things boldly, even when they’re uncomfortable and when they make people wince by throwing the truth back in their faces. This last episode of Scandal was the most important one they’ve ever done, being audacious enough to use it’s primetime to affirm the fact that Black Lives Matter, even if they didn’t come out to say it.
It was ripped from the headlines, clearly telling the story of teenager Michael Brown Jr., shot down in Ferguson last year. Check out my recap on Vulture. That one is short and tight but I’m proud of it.
Let’s talk about it.
Brandon Parker – After lying to Jake that she’s resting, Liv gets out of the car to a police scene, dressed in all black like an omen. The police chief Connors says Brandon Parker was 17 and he seemed to match the description of some shoplifting suspect so when police stopped him and he pulls out a knife, he gets shot and killed. Chief says “Now we’ve got a dead Black kid put there by a white police officer.” The story of every day in America.
The boy has been on the streets for 30 minutes and suddenly, a shotgun goes off. It’s Brandon’s father who wants to know the cop who shot his son. The cops point the gun at him and Olivia tells Chief Connors to get his cops to stand down. She stands up and tells Clarence Parker that she wants to help and that she’ll get the Attorney General on the scene. Too bad David ain’t paying her much mind, as he walks into a meeting with Fitz and Cyrus.
That meeting is about how they’ll pick a new VP, since Andrew’s “stroke” has him unable to do his job. After Lemony leaves, Fitz suggests two people who are white and old and Cyrus reminds him that he said he’d be bold in term 2 but the “two more scoops of vanilla” ain’t it. POTUS picked 2 old white men because he doesn’t want Mellie to have competition when she runs. Cy gives major side-eye at the idea of Mellie as POTUS.
Marcus Walker – Back on the scene, a man named Marcus Walker stands behind the yellow tape and Connors is all butthurt because he’s been a pain in their ass, because trouble must look like asking for answers and accountability. He is and activist who has a civil rights-focused podcast and is a Georgetown graduate who runs a program to place high risk youth in jobs. The dude got receipts.
Marcus crosses the yellow tape and the cops advance on him but he pulls out his cellphone and tells them that he’s recording everything and they cannot shoot him. He’s also holding a lawn chair. Olivia goes by Marcus and tells him he has to leave but he refuses. He’s known Mr. Parker all his life (the man drove him home from the hospital after he was born).
Liv says she got the assistant Attorney general on the scene who will help make sure the police follow the rules on the investigation and Marcus asks her “what’s the going rate for playing both sides?” WELP.
The Lawn Chair – The chair Marcus is holding is for Mr. Parker, who takes it and places it around his son’s body so he can sit over him to protect him from the elements and to demand answers. It made me fist pump and want to cry at the same time.
He leads the crowd on a chant of “STAND UP. FIGHT BACK. NO MORE BLACK MEN UNDER ATTACK.” As this is happening, the instrumental to Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” is playing as the Capitol stands behind the angry crowd. That white building that is supposed to represent freedom flanking the scene where a Black boy was murdered by a man in blue. Ouch.
Clarence Parker was a single father who’s a white collar executive with no record, raising Brandon, a high school senior who worked part time job and was an athlete.
“We speak for Brandon Parker. And we ask when will the people we pay to protect us stop gunning us down in the streets?” – Marcus
The next morning in the press room, Abby tells the media that what happened is a local matter and not the White House’s business, even though it happened a mile away from Pennsylvania Avenue. Cyrus advices the President not to say anything on the matter, even though he wants to.
Lies and Bullshit – At the police station, Olivia interviews the cop who shot Brandon. Dude is blond too, with his fake ass Darren Wilson face. We’re gonna call him Filson henceforth. He said he ran across the boy holding a brand new cellphone so he called the station and they gave him a description of someone they suspected shoplifted. 5’10, medium build. African American. That’s basically everyone and anyone who isn’t Kevin Hart (cuz he’s like 5’2). Anywho, the cop says he stops Brandon and asks where he got the phone and he “became hostile.” Because telling you to mind your business is hostility. When it comes from a Black boy, of course it is. O__O
Filson: “I just asked the kid if I could see the box he was holding. Next thing I know, he was charging at me. He’s reaching into his coat pocket for a knife.” YES, BECAUSE BLACK BOYS WILL CHARGE AT COPS FOR NO REASON. BECAUSE THEY WALK OUT THEIR HOUSES LOOKING TO DIE EVERYDAY. FUCK YOU.
Don’t piss on me and tell me the sun is crying. UGH. The idea that a Black boy would would randomly charge at a police officer is as unlikely as Sallie Mae erasing your student loan debt randomly. NO MA’AM!
Liv asks where the knife is and the cop sitting next to Filson says it must be on the kid who is lying in the streets. He was the first one to arrive when Filson called for backup. “Jess was devastated just sitting in his car.” WHAT ABOUT CLARENCE PARKER, YOU DOUCHENUZZLE? Filson talmbout how he’d be devastated if he was Brandon’s father. SHUT YO ASS UP. DON’T NOBODY GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOUR FEELS, BRO.
Liv goes back to the scene, where people are holding “Justice for Brandon” signs. She asks the Gladiators to find security footage to confirm Jeff Newton’s story that he HAD to shoot Brandon. She walks by Marcus and he asks what the cop’s name was. “You are not auditioning to be America’s Next Great Black Activist.”
Olivia tried it so tough there for calling Marcus to the carpet in that way. But he turns around and gives her a well-deserved read. He calls her out for her Prada bag and high horse and reads her ass for elitism. “You’re about getting a White republican president elected. Twice. Excuse me if I don’t buy that you’re a real down ass chick…You want to tell everybody on the hill that you came down to the hood and saved us. No thank you, Olivia. Your Black card is not getting validated today.”
ALL THE WELPS THAT EVER WELPED IN WELPINGYORK.
I Can’t Sleep – Back at the White House, Mellie and her red dress meet Susan Ross, the senator from West Virginia. She mentions vaccinations and FLOTUS walks away while giving her the side-eye. Rosalyn Mendez, governor of New Mexico posts a video saying “I can’t sleep” because Brandon and others like him are being gunned down. She talks about how her immigrant parents were treated growing up so she feels the pain of Clarence. “I want to say to Clarence Parker and all those communities in this country where the police make you feel like you don’t matter. We all matter.” Fitz tells Cyrus that she just stole his feels and Cy wonders if she can be his VP. He whines about his promise to Mellie but his chief of staff reminds him about his more important promise to be the best president he could be.
18 Was the Goal – On the scene of the murder, Liv brings Mr. Parker a hoagie and he places it on the floor to tell her that his son never left home without telling him where he was going. He tried to protect Brandon. “I kept saying to myself. Get him to 18. Don’t let him end up dead or locked up.” But there he was, sitting over his son’s body. The mourning father wipes tears from his eyes as he tells Liv that he knows justice won’t be served, and HE will just end up dead or in prison. Whew. I was so deep in my feels already.
Liv calls Quinn, wondering if the media is covering the protests but she tells her they’re just talmbout the Vice President. Liv looks around and sees police putting on SWAT gear and press being kept behind barricades. She confronts Connors and he says he’s just trying to protect them. She ain’t having it and the chief tells her he hired her to work on the optics and questions what side she’s on. THIS is really what lets her know she’s definitely on the wrong side of the tape. She crosses the yellow tape, joins the protestors and chants with them. STAND UP. FIGHT BACK. NO MORE BLACK MEN UNDER ATTACK.
FLOTUS Wants POTUS – At the WH, Mellie rolls into the Oval Office, having heard that Mendez is being vetted for VP. She’s mad as hell that Fitz is reneging on the deal he made her to pick someone that would not be electable and competition for her when she tries to make a run to be POTUS. “I prostituted myself so you could get your mistress back.” Lawd, these two are twisted.
Tricks of Privilege – On the scene, Huck shows up to report to Liv that he found out that police already went and confiscated all the security tapes. Clearly, Newton was lying like a rug. Olivia goes to David to see if he can require them to turn over the tapes and when he rebuffs, she reminds him that the system is only there to protect folks who look like him. White privilege: must be nice.
“You talk about fairness and justice like it’s available to everybody. It’s NOT. That man standing over his son’s dead body thinks KNOWS he’s going to end up in one or two places: a jail cell or a drawer at the morgue. To hell if I can’t look him in the eye and tell him he’s wrong. I can’t FIX THIS, David. I have nothing left. No more tricks in my bag. It’s TOO MUCH.”
Because even Olivia Pope feels the burden of being a Black woman in America. With ALL her power, she is still Black and her skinfolk can’t get no justice. David tells her she’s been through enough with the kidnapping and she shouldn’t be dealing with this situation. She sits and tells him “I thought I was going to die. I lived in complete and total fear. Imagine feeling like that every single day of your life.” Man. THAT is a word, Liv, and he finally GETS what she’s trying to say and issues the subpoena.
On the scene on the crime, David is watching as Clarence Parker watches footage of his son’s last moments. Brandon is stopped by the cop. He walks past him and turns to Officer Newton. He pulls something out of his pocket and all of a sudden, the cop pulls out his gun and shoots him down. There was no charging, no imminent danger, none of it. Liv tells him that police said Brandon pulled a knife and Clarence asks where the knife is. She says they’d have to move Brandon’s body to check for it. Slowly, Clarence stands up from his chair and moves it away from his son’s body.
Marcus moves Brandon and there’s a knife under his body. Mr. Parker snaps and insists that his son does NOT carry a knife and when Liv tells him it’s time to go home, he stands up and points his shotgun. Liv tells him to lower the gun as her and Marcus walk away. Clarence puts the chair where it was, over Brandon’s body and sits down. Liv’s hands are trembling as she walks away.
VP Leak – The SWAT team is getting in position and Fitz watches the coverage as Cyrus storms in because The Times asked for a comment on Roslyn Mendez being considered for VP and they’re finding out that she has ownership in some prisons. Mellie enters and denies the leak. When Cy leaves, President Ghost admits to FLOTUS that HE did it since they had a deal. “Let’s pick a VP that won’t get in your way.” Mellie says she got one in mind already.
The Gladiators watch the security tape over and over again and see a shadow. They realize that Newton had already arrested the suspect before rolling up on Brandon. THAT person was in the cop car as Brandon was killed. It was their knife that is under the boy now.
Blue Bullshit – Olivia goes to the station and asks Newton who else knows about the other suspect and he gets all hostile. Just then, David and Federal Agents walk in with a man named Phillip Durant. The one Newton arrested and let go so he could STFU.
Fake ass Darren Wilson flips out on Liv in a rant that I had to transcribe so you could see the bullshit in black and white.
“What the hell is up with you people? You people have no idea what loyalty is. What respect is. You’re here because you’re supposed to help us… The truth is those people in Rosemead have no respect for anything or anybody. They’re like you. They just take whenever they want and they have no problem turning their backs on the people who gave it to them. People like me… everyone, including little babies are taught to look at us like the enemy. They are taught to question me. To disobey me. And STILL I risk my life for these people… all I hear about on the news are dirty cops. Cops who shoot innocent Black kids. It’s CRAP. There were 84 murders in this city last year. Were all of those cops shooting innocent Black boys? Hell no. Those were Blacks turning guns on each other. Yet I’m the animal. Brandon Parker is dead because he didn’t have respect. Because THOSE PEOPLE out there who are chanting out there who are crying over his body didn’t teach him the right values. They didn’t teach him respect… Questioning his authority was NOT his right. His blood is NOT on my hands.”
I. WANTED. TO. FIGHT. I wanted to jump through the TV screen and give him papercuts all over his face, followed by a push into a pull full of nailpolish remover. I was LIVID. Because the shit right there is what we’ve been hearing from people who justify the continued devaluation of Black lives. The Stages of what happens when there’s injustice against Black people played out in that monologue, in a checklist of excuses for why it’s ok for Black kids, men and women to be shot down.
The unmitigated gall of people to think that a child earned their death because they lacked obedience. As if they’re some house pet that only needs to bark or meow on command. As if all white children are the Von Trapp kids. GAAAHHHHHH!!! WHEW. I cannot.
VP Turn Down – Susan Ross is in the Oval Office with the First Couple, marveling at the fact that she was there. Fitz tells her he’d like to make her VP and the lady is so shocked she asks “why?” and then says she does not want the position because if something happens to HIM, SHE would have the worst job in the world (being POTUS). She shows some gusto and says being VP is actually worse because you have a title that has no real power. OOP. She mentions all the things they need to fix, from the war in West Angola to the one that’s a mile away, with cops shooting Black kids.
“That poor man whose son was shot dead in the street. My God. If anything like that ever happened to Kasey – my daughter, she’s 10 – but of course she’s white and the daughter of a senator so the police are actually gonna think twice before shooting her but that poor man… can you even imagine what he’s going through right now.”
She stops her rant and Fitz is actually takes her seriously now and she goes from being a joke to being s formidable woman.
Justice for Brandon – David speaks to the press as we see Jeff Newton being led out in handcuffs. He was arrested for altering evidence, perjury, filing a false report and conspiracy to obstruct justice. The Justice Department will open a federal investigation on the DC police force.
At the scene, Olivia walks to Mr. Parker and gives him what Brandon was reaching for in his pocket. It was the receipt for his new cellphone. A piece of paper got him killed. Liv tells him that his son’s murderer is behind bars, and Clarence puts down his gun and gets up, with his wrists together, expecting to be cuffed. “No one is going to arrest you, Mr. Parker. Let’s go.” They walk away together and when in her car, he asks her where they’re going.
Olivia walks with Mr. Parker into the Oval Office as David reminds America that another young life has been cut short. The President expresses his condolences and Clarence breaks down into his shoulders.
The FBI collects Brandon’s body from the street. As Bob Dylan’s “Any day now, I shall be released” plays, the camera focuses on Brandon’s lifeless face as the body bag is zipped up.
It felt like something was sitting on my chest. That episode was raw. It was painful. It was necessary. SO very necessary. That is the word I keep using because we NEED to see, taste, feel, even for a moment, what justice for our people might begin to look like. We NEED to be able to envision it because without it, we could fall into hopelessness. We NEED to be able to put this conversation in folks’ faces so they cannot ignore it.
It was an exercise in catharsis, because what would have made me want to wallow would be if the fictional cop walked away too. I’d be all WHY CAN’T WE EVER HAVE NICE THINGS?!?!? Real life is painful enough and the small dip into fantasy, where a white cop kills a Black boy and actually sees the inside of a cell, did something small (but significant). My only edit would have been to the chant. “STAND UP. FIGHT BACK. NO MORE BLACK LIVES UNDER ATTACK.” Because Black Girls are getting shot down every day too.
Other quick points:
* Courtney B. Vance gave a phenomenal performance as Mr. Parker. His grief was all over his face and it was in everything he did. In the end when he broke down to Fitz and the fathers shared their losses of sons, I was heartbroken. Whew.
* I appreciated how Olivia stepped into her Blackness, on a show that doesn’t define her identity by her Blackness. On this episode, she started off on the wrong side but she came into understanding how even with her power, the skin she was in came was constantly being attacked. Her “I can’t fix this” moment was frustration at the depth of the problem of racism, so overwhelming that it was not even handleable.
* Just read my Vulture recap for a better analysis. BTW, Tom Verica, one of Scandal’s main directors since season 1 (and director of this particular episode) and Annaliese Keaton’s husband on How to Get Away With Murder tweeted the link to it! EEEE!
I just want to applaud the team at Shondaland because although they never explicitly said “Black lives matter” in the episode, it was the clear message. Shonda’s tweets (@ShondaRhimes) post-show really showed how much care went into creating this episode, and I was moved tremendously.
The last image does me in. Because he's just somebody's baby. That's all. He's someone's child. #BlackLivesMatter #Scandal
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 6, 2015
That last 5 minutes, WOW! I fear for all three of my children (son and daughters) and the children they don’t even have yet.
It’s been quite some time since an episode of Scandal has had me sucked all the way in. This one right here…man! Shonda got it right!
Luvvie, thank you for both great recaps. This episode was NEEDED. A wonderful, heart-felt, heart-breaking episode. Despite what some have said, the show did not villianize cops. It villianized RACISM-believing that others are ‘less’ than you. Less human, less able, less deserving, simply inferior to you because of skin color. Racism happened to be a cop who functioned in their job from their position of racism. It hurts. Racism hurts us all, because at the end of the day we are all equally human. And when some choose to treat others as ‘you people’ or ‘others’ who are less than, tragedies occur. Many, many thanks to Shondaland providing the prime-time to weep, to mourn for the pain racism inflicts against our community, and for giving Olivia the opportunity to ‘fix’ an injustice for her ‘skinfolk’.
Great recap Luvvie. I was so impressed I tweeted Shonda to thank her. And I thank you
What a powerful piece of TV. Bravo to everyone behind this episode. Final moments really pulled on my heart strings
I swear “Connors” was not coincidence. Bull Connors. I see what they did there.
This is exactly what I intended to add to the conversation too. Shonda does everything with purpose and naming him Connor was not an accident!
I love this recap. Luvvie sounds like she was inside my head, hearing my own thoughts! I agree, the name was intentional and I’ll take it a step further. The actor who portrayed the chief (Conners) was Chris Mulkey, who played M.E.’s husband on the show “Any Day Now”, starring Renee (Lorraine Toussaint) and M.E. (Annie Potts), back in the late 90s/early 00s. The show was about a friendship between a young black girl and young white girl, during the 60s civil rights movement in Alabama, who remained best friends as adults, that also dealt with many issues of race in America. I agree, I don’t think any of it was coincidence.
Shonda misses NOTHING!
THANK YOU! When I heard the name “conners” it took me back to the 60’s and the raw emotions of that era! I am from Birmingham so I knew the name wasn’t a coincidence! Bravo to Shandaland, bravo to the cast and bravo to you Luvvie! I was moved by this episode, the only other one was “752”. I have 3 grandsons and I deeply, deeply understand Mr Vance’s character when he said “I did everything I could to get him to reach 18”! Big bravo to Cortney Vance! He rocked it. #BlackLivesMatter
In the spirit of honesty: I was a little disappointed by this episode. I was initially really excited when I started watching but eventually started to lose my enthusiasm because of the simplistic and completely unrealistic story line: The innocent black kid gets justice and the bad cop gets arrested. The armed father who “hijacks” the crime scene not only goes free but gets to meet the president. Black and white portrayal of the characters: innocent kid without any blemish, bad cop who hates blacks kills kid and plants weapon on him. Then cop confesses his distaste for black people and their disrespect for authority.
This episode does not add anything to the Conversation. It does not portray racism in a realistic way that educates both white and black folks. But hey, this is shondaland- where melodrama and outlandish plots rule and realism is non existent….
Thank you! I agree wholeheartedly.
I respectfully disagree with you. If this particular episode, of this particular show, was seen by that one particular non-minority person who NOW relates to the daily struggle of existing with dignity, while living in a society which was built on the backs of your forcibly abducted ancestors, and cemented with their blood, yet you are hated and maligned for your very existence, it changed the conversation for better.
The problem is….the only conversation I am hearing is from Black people. We know there is a problem. We want others to be aware of the problem and they have been silent because this episode didn’t speak to them. If the only ones talking are Black there is going to be no change.
Thank you Christina! I love you so much right now. Will you marry me? 🙂
Please read the Department of Justice report on the Ferguson Police Department. The reality is that INNOCENT African American men, women and children are harrassed, treated inhumanely and killed everyday because of the color of their skin.
I agree, I thought the plot was chessy.
Also, that was Trayvon Martin’s story as well as Mike Brown’s.
I am still waiting for proof if Mike really stole those cigarellos.
Where we disagree is that Scandal shown was an outcome should look like when injustice has occured to a black person, which almost never happens in America.
You have to start somewhere.
I respect the opinion of everyone that replied to my comment. I am a black woman who works in a “white collar” professional environment and deal with racism on a daily basis. I never see it displayed as overtly as it was presented in this episode. Maybe my experience is unique.
I also think that race definitely played a role in the shooting of trayvon, mike brown, Tamil rice, ahmadou diallo e.t.c but none of these cases played out the way it’s presented in this episode. Justice was not served for the victims. The police definitely did not come out and overtly admit what and why they did it like it was shown in this episode.
In my opinion, this distorted version shown on scandal only serves to make many whites who are guilty of racism feel non racist because their behavior is not similar to the white cop on the show.
If we really want to win this battle we cant show the people we are accusing a distorted version of their behavior and expect they will think they are guilty. We have to put them up to a mirror and show them an exact reflection of their behavior. We also can’t distort the facts of the case and expect to the taken seriously- there is a video showing mike brown stealing and shoving the store clerk. It DOES NOTmean he deserved to die. But it doesn’t change the facts…
I have to admit I agree with all of this…well I guess to a degree, but that’s because this episode still got me in the feels. The last 5 mins broke my spirit. And I genuinely appreciate what this episode was trying to accomplish. And the fact that it has opened dialogue again means Mission Accomplished.
But I also don’t think it truly spoke to my struggles as a black person (in particular growing up in the deep South). I feel it was built on a Disney version of events. Stock Disney villain and stock Disney good guys. Lines were drawn too clearly and neatly. I have several family members in law enforcement and their white colleagues are closer to Connors than the cop that shot Brandon. They’re more like the people I often encounter in meetings. The ones that greet me with a bemused smile when I say something intelligent and I can hear them thinking “Damn, a black woman said something clever. Will wonders ever cease?!” I would rather, as you put it, have a more ambiguous character as the shooter for many whites to see themselves in and realise they probably think they aren’t racist but actually hold racist ideologies.
So on the whole, I’m glad the episode aired and I think it was an important episode to air on such a big platform. But I also think it could have been done better.
@muppet and @granny- I feel yall. But like I said in my first comment, I don’t think this ADDED anything to the conversation. It may have continued the ongoing conversation but it didn’t add anything to it: Black people see their pain and white folks still think it ain’t about racism. I don’t need this episode to know that innocent black kids are killed by cops. But the “disney version of racism” that is portrayed only makes racist white folks (the ones that need to change) continue to think we are whiny angry children who like to play the race card when we don’t get our way. (Yes, I have to listen to this shit everyday at work.)
I agree with your thoughts on Marcus and Olivia’s first conversation. In my first comment I mentioned that at the beginning of the show I was very enthusiastic about the episode. This interaction was one of the reasons why. However, what could have been an interesting point to explore was quickly abandoned for a simplistic and unrealistic plot line.
I still think Shonda could have done better. This is a very important topic. Either you handle it properly or just leave it alone. I don’t think it was handled properly….
You refuse to get it. If you want Shonda to address your barely evolved co-workers, call her. In the meantime it is not her job, within one hour, to resolve centuries old racial issues to everyone’s satisfaction.
Wow. @notconvincedgranny. I am not asking shonda to solve the problem of racism in america. Just giving my opinion (which I am entitled to)- which is that the writing on this episode was mediocre. And I also gave my reasons as to why I felt that way. You don’t have to agree with me and I respect that. Last time I checked we all still had freedom of speech…..
Continue to speak up. While we may continue to disagree, we will always talk. It’s important and you should never be quiet. We were falsely lulled into silence for too long, and lost way too much ground.
I am a black woman too, retired from working with over entitled white lawyers who spelled their names GOD. The 60s are part of my experience, as well as my history.
This show was an amalgam, a combination of far too many events that result in the unnecessary death of a black person. Unlike reality, this show had a terminus; if a complete reality were to be depicted, the show would still be on right. now; further, because reality is written by experience, whose reality would it represent?
It gave some people a peek, albeit a limited one, into what happens not just when black men are gunned down for nothing, but when you are the successful black woman who gets the extreme side eye from your own folk because you “ain’t keepin’ it real” by not living in the hood, being able to purchase what you like and not dropping the g at the ends of words.
Did you notice the two definitions of success? Olivia and the well-educated activist? Who is he to punch her black card? How is his stance the right one? And if the father had been killed in the end, would he take responsibility for bringing him the chair and encouraging him to sit over his son’s body?
There is no one right answer, just as there is no one spokesperson for all black people. I’m glad the conversation is taking place at all, and saddened that the conversation is never over.
Yes, Granny…..you nailed it! Many of us are glad and sad at the same time…
notconvincedgranny, that was absolute wisdom.
Mz Nina, I feel your pain. White collar racism is subtle but constant and by the end of the week you’re exhausting after having to bite your tongue and strategically pick your battles. This episode was too simplistic, sure there was a message but…
Nina Simone – great addition to the dialogue. I’m an Asian woman and I too live in that place of having to work with white people and being extremely pissed off at the ignorance and stupidity every day that’s apparently too subtle to be noticed by the over-simplified trope that passes for race talk in America.
I also see and agree with all the sides of this dialogue – yes, if this episode can reach the ones who need to speak at this level, then hurrah. And you offer a great step for how to take it further into the nuances we face every – and we MUST take it further.
In watching the episode with my Mom, she had the opinion that she likes her TV shows to be campy & fantasy entertainment and as such, this episode was just too real for her. She had tears in her eyes through the whole thing because she said that all she could focus on was the pain in Courtney Vance’s eyes, much like when watching the real news reports of Trayvon, Michael Brown, etc. But as I told her, if there was even ONE person who watched that episode last night and it made them open their eyes to what Black people face every day? It did it’s job and did it WELL! I was angry the whole episode and cried at the end as they zipped up that body bag, thinking about all of the young men & women whose lives have been lost in the last few years. Great recap as always, Luvvie!
I only caught the second half of the show, but even that was enough to have me in need of some emotions elixir. The most interesting part I found was that, even though Filson was behind bars (for now), none of the charges were murder. It just shows that even though we’ve come so far, we’ve still got so much farther to go.
Also, I know some theories have come through wanting Marcus to join the Gladiators. Not sure if I see or want that because he and Olivia’s heart issues are too different. Sure, she had to confront her blackness this episode, and fresh out of “I’m on my own” kidnapping world she’s a bit raw and unhinged, but she will likely be back to business as usual soon.
Re: Murder charges – true. But, then Shonda couldn’t have had David arrest him. David’s the Atty. Gen of the US. He can only levy federal charges. Murder is a state charge. I’m not familiar enough with the DC area to know who prosecutes their murder charges, but Shonda would have had to bring another DA in to prosecute and take the white hat away from David, which negates the powerful scene in his office.
I kindof think there are all kinds of layers Shonda put in there regarding the most powerful prosecutor in America (a la Holder) being made aware, on a personal level, what black folk go through dealing with LEO on a daily basis. Since David is white, he could only “come to Jesus” through Olivia, and since we never seem to get justice from the state level (and barely from the A.G.) maybe having the person in Holder’s position make the arrest it was more believable?
She couldn’t have known that the DOJ’s report would come out this week, let alone that it would state there would be no charges for Wilson. I would speculate that she was hoping life would imitate art and Wilson would be charged by Holder (which would be David, in the show)? How many times has Shonda hit it on the head and we say “How did she know that was going to happen?” I know I, and pretty much everyone I know, had the same hope.
Anyway, layers because… Shonda. JMO
The problem with an episode like this FOR ME is that it is difficult to give an honest critique,because of the subject matter.
Was it really a well written episode of television or do we feel compelled to say that because of what it was about.
To be honest I was bored during the first half or even the first 40 minutes, especially as I was not sure where Shonda was taking this.
I found myself switching channels back and forth.
The episode became great for me when the police officer gave that monologue laying bare just how a lot of white people including police officers, in this country,feel about young black men, while wholly believing that they are not racists!
The phrase YOU PEOPLE said it all !
This is the mind set that allowed a man to shoot dead a 17 year old black boy, walking home from the store and he is not even kept overnight by the police for questioning!
It was a powerful piece of writing!
The actor who played the police officer did a masterful job and you could really feel his emotions
He certainly deserves a guest Emmy nom.
I have tears running down my face from the recap. Powerful indeed. This recap pulled the rest of the feels that I tried not to feel while I watched. Shonda’s tweet? Ugh! Somebody’s baby!!!!!!! Excuse me while I pretend like these are allergies.
To say I loved this episode is an understatement. I felt this episode to my soul. For some this episode was too soon, feeling are too raw, but I liked what Shonda had to say:
In the end, we went with showing what fulfilling the dream SHOULD mean. The idea of possibility. And the despair we feel now. #scandal
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) March 6, 2015
The Shondaland team did me in with this episode.
I have am a Black woman married to a Black man with two Black sons. This episode my worst nightmare come true.
I can do everything a parent is supposed to do but my children are less safe because they carry an extra burden. Someday soon, people won’t think they are cute anymore. The strong exterior that they adopt to navigate the streets will be the same exterior that makes them a threat to police.
U know, what i realized was that Shonda’s be working up to convo of race, priviledge, power all season and I didn’t see it till last night. It was all about Liv’s awakening. From the taking of liv by a bunch of mercenaries (all white), to the proposed sale of her on an auction block as would have been the case during slavery. Having to save herself and not depend on the two men (both white) that she “loves” to come to rescue her. All coming home to her black card not being “validated” for wanting things neutralized. To standing with the “mob” chanting the phrase “no more, fight back – no more black men under attack”.
She is a black character who has never thought about or traded on the hue of her skin but always more on her access but at some stage when you’re a minority (black, woman, gay, trans, Latina, short, fat, whatever your specific minority is) your difference comes into play and not always in a positive way and you have to decide do you stand up and be heard or do you blend in and keep neutral. Shonda. I see it now. I see what you did.
Shonda only wrote 2 episodes this season. The 1st episode and the episode 10. Do you still think she has been working up a conversation on race, power and privilege all season?
Shonda may have only written two episodes but don’t for a minute think that means she has no say over story direction, character portrayal, dialogue and the ultimate goals of the show. She approves EVERTYHING! It’s her show. End of. She says, they do!
Truth Teller –
I read the twitter feed of the dude who wrote the episode and he said that Shonda came up with the chant in the episode in under 5 minutes. Don’t think for one minute that Shonda isn’t in the background. Her tweets proved that.
I totally agree. I can remember Papa Pope also trying to bring Olivia back to reality on a couple occasions. He tried to explain to her that she was not important in the big scheme of things, by referring to her as “The Help” and he also referred to Fitz and Jake as her “Good ole boys”. This season Olivia was really too far gone. She needed to be reeled in. I loved the episode.
Brian Green….your comments are RIGHT ON!!! Shonda is so insightful……I am now one of her biggest fans!!!
I enjoyed both of your recaps and look forward to reading them. I also noticed the vulture readers are coming around. The song at the end of scandal was nina simones i shall be released. It was important to shonda to use that song because of ninas activism
Or maybe all the naysayers at vulture just left and stopped reading the recaps like they threatened. The only people left are loyal fans (pre vulture recaps days) who came to vulture because they like luvvie…
When that cop went into his racist rant about being disrespected my blood just ran cold. It disturbed my spirit because I know that is how a lot of these officers feel about Black folks. They have that overseer mentality instead that colors all of their interactions.
I have been really critical of Shonda and them this season, but I really enjoyed this episode because it touched on some real issues.
Was it realistic that the dad pulled a gun on crowd like that and lived? Nope, but it reminded me of the how John Singleton created a fictional character in Rosewood to save the Black folks and give them some justice because the truth was just so bleak.
Courtney B. Vance was wonderful in this episode especially when he went into the ugly cry at the end.
And they need to quit with this nonsense about Mellie running for President when she has not held any elective office.
This episode had me in tears as i watched it. As i watch the news today about another similar situation from Wisconsin i feel my heart breaking again. Too much. Can’t deal.
I felt like I had been to my best friend’s funeral at the end of the show. I was so emotionally spent. It was so real and so disturbing. They could have ended it with the receipt. I thought the scene with Fitz was completely unneccessary and unbelievable.
For me, this whole show was about making adjustments. Fitz adjusted his priorities after Mellie reminded him that he is a pimp. David adjusted his elitist attitude after Liv made him SEE others. Olivia adjusted her stance from trying to be the fixer to realizing that she needs to be fixed. Marcus adjusted from being a friend to the dad to being a fixer (for both Liv-her epiphany and for the community when he was holding his cell phone.)
I see this episode changing Liv forever. She is transforming from making assumptions (mostly wrong ones in the last few weeks – like when she thought the tech kidnappers were about the money and this episode where she thought Marcus was an Al Sharpton wannabe) to finally realizing that she needs to fix herself. Taking a stand against the police was her first step…and she was clearly uncomfortable in it. I predict that Marcus is going to replace gingham dude and possibly become a love interest.
There were so many statements made tonight that made me scream at the TV…validate her black card was the best but putting a university bumper sticker on the car so his son wouldn’t be seen as a “thug without a future” was the saddest.
As the mom of 4 sons, I pray everyday that I have prepared them well. My oldest was stopped for DWB in Philly a few years ago while I was in the car. Within 3 minutes, we were surrounded by 3 police cars and a paddy wagon van. The cop said he ran our plates and couldn’t verify the car. What????????????? So we pray for protection every time they walk out the door. So we caution them to be respectful, keep their hands in full view, to not speed, to not talk back, to not ask too many questions…all because we want them to see 18, 21, 25, 30, 80.
Powerful show. Shonda, you and your team have my eternal respect for your courage.
I love your recaps! I read them every week. This week you really hit the nail on the head, but the one distinction I would make has to do with Marcus Walker’s read of Olivia – the one where he pulls her fictional black card. That rubbed me the wrong way. We have to stop doing that to each other. Accusing people of not being black enough because of where they live, how they speak, what they do, and the list goes on. I think Shonda and her team have actively tried to portray Olivia’s blackness in a way that is relevant without being overwhelming (thinking back to the Sally Hemings and “twice as good” lines from seasons past). Perhaps this portrayal completely true to life, but the idea that blackness is a thing that can be taken, snatched, given or validated is one that simply belies what we all know to be true: no matter where you live, where you work, where you go/went to school your blackness is ever present in your life. I really wanted Liv to snap back at him, read him the way too many of us have had to do when presented with that because at the end of the day we need advocates on all fronts if we want to actually change things. We need people working in the communities like Marcus. We need people on Capitol Hill. We need people on wall street. We need people in entertainment, as this episode, the oscars, and the sony leak clearly point out. To suggest that someone is less black because they’ve chosen a different path towards effecting justice or change, and that path happens to involve prada, is just an example of picking the wrong battle to me. Ugh.
I agree with everything you said. But his reaction was typically what you’d get sometimes in such situations. Also, Liv went there with rose colored glasses thinking she could just fix it, and saw the young man as a disruptive person, trying to be the next big black activist. As the truth unfolded, she knew better, they each had a better understanding, and realized we are all in this together.
I am glad Shondaland showed that at the end of the day, it is everybody’s problem and we all have to work together for the change we need.
I hope the show can find a focus cuz it’s all over the map. Last month Liv was in a digital slave auction. This month she finally showed some strong black consciousness. I’m wondering what happens next. Does Liv go back to sleeping exclusively with white men or will we see more diversity? A strong powerful black love interest would be a breath of fresh air, cuz if she falls, back in the bed with Fitz ugh. There were more people of color in this episode than in all four years of Scandal episodes combined.
I’m thinking she can run into Marcus at Starbucks or something. They could have a love/hate type of relationship at first and then hit if off. Come on Shonda, you can SO do this! LOL
I hope will see Olivia creeping back down to the neighborhood to check out Marcus. He might make a good love interest.
i imagined that myself. i think i like that
Great recap – thank you. Not to “cluck” but the disgusting Filson quote is “questioning MY authority…” to make it the apex of entitled contempt. Given Scandal’s wide audience, let’s hope this helps move the conversation. And, I loved Nina Simone and “I Shall Be Released” at the end – powerful and perfect.
Normally, after one of you Scandal recaps I come on and analyze the funny, did you see that, that really didn’t happen moments. That moments that make shock and awe. I can’t do that for this one.
All I can say is “Job well done.”
I love reading your recaps Luvvie but I love reading the comments even more. I realized after reading the comments for this episode that it is all about perspective. How we want to conceive our truths. Reading the comments help me to see the other side and try to understand from a different viewpoint. It’s good if you are willing to be open-minded,
As a mother of 2 black males this episode put me in a place where words cannot start to describe. I just want the conversations to keep flowing so that we can all get a chance to see things from a different side and maybe it will help us when we act or react.
best episode of the season. got me glued from start to finish. thanks luvvie.
That episode had me all messed up. I did a full on ugly cry! Bravo!
Yesterday in PA a white man armed with a rifle, chased on foot by police and who pointed that gun at police was shot in the hand. He’s in the hospital recovering. Imagine that!
Granny and her wisdom! Thanks big mama @notconvincedgranny
I follow the Scandal IG account and was not surprised to see many white women claim they “would never watch this show again”. That they couldn’t believe that Shonda glorified “thugs and mobs”. No matter how our story is told, there are still some people who see what they wish to see. As someone said above, if we are the only ones having the conversation about race and injustice, then what’s the point.
Am I the only one that thinks Marcus would be a great addition to the gladiators?
[…] many other folk, I was in my feelings after watching “The Lawn Chair,” episode of Scandal a few weeks ago. So much so that I spent the weekend offline pre-gaming season 2 episodes of […]
Ok was it me or did there seem to be a little chemistry crackling between Marcus & Liv? When they were all up in each other’s face I was expecting them to start ripping off clothes and then I remembered they were outside. I dunno but it could be a good change for Liv.
A hoagie, Olivia? Really? The man was supposed to eat a fucking sandwich over his dead son’s body? I really hope that was to signal how out of touch she was with the situation. I gotta believe that getting kidnapped had her off her game. A bottle of water would have been a kindness. A big ass meat bomb you have to unwrap was just….
[…] Black Panther Party as unnecessarily violent terrorists. Or that wonderful line from that poignant Scandal episode, “You are not auditioning to be America’s Next Great Black Activist.” Not to mention what […]