If you haven't already noticed, the second episode of Scandal, Shonda Rhimes' new ABC drama series starring Kerry Washington, is online, even though it doesn't officially air on the network until this Thursday, the 12th.
I watched it very early this morning on ABC's website, after I finished watching episode 1 (also on ABC's website) and noticed that episode 2 was also available.
But it's on Hulu as well, so you have options, whichever you prefer; I embedded the Hulu player below with episode 2.
And now that I've seen 2 episodes, I can say that I'll return for a third; I usually like to give new shows 3 episodes before deciding on whether I'll continue watching them or not. So far, I'm engaged, though with a few concerns…
WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead…
One of my early concerns was whether Kerry Washington had the presence to give this real life firebrand of a human being (however fictionalized on screen) life and be believable. I initially felt that the role needed to go to an actress I'd consider more of a force, given the woman she portrays (and I'm going based strictly on descriptions here; I've never met the real Olivia Pope/Judy Smith).
I also expected an older actress, given the real-life character's age, her achievements, etc.
But Kerry is handling it (pun intended) for the most part, especially in the second episode, which I'm thankful I watched, because I wasn't entirely convinced after watching episode 1.
I'm also not a big fan of the rapid-fire dialogue which, at times when it happens, feels self-conscious, forced and unnecessary . But I suppose that's Rhimes' style (I haven't been a regular watcher of her past shows). Maybe it'll grow on me; maybe it won't. But I find myself rolling my eyes more often than not when it happens. It could also just be the delivery by the actors that isn't working for me, and less Rhimes' writing. I'll pay closer attention from here on.
And I guess the young up-start the firm hired in episode 1 essentially serves as the audience's POV into this new, hetic world, where everything happens quickly, as decisions are made with haste, followed by rapid action, making it a little difficult at first for the audience to make sense of everything that's happening, and what the different relationships are, etc. She asks questions, she gets answers, sometimes; and as that happens, the audience also learns something new about a person or a situation.
Good enough; but she's a tad irritating. I won't mind seeing even less of her.
Also, I really don't need to hear just how good Olivia Pope is at her job anymore, or that she's the best at what she does – whether from her, or from her employees, or from people she's worked for. I got it! She's good at what she does; she's the best; ok now, show me, stop telling me.
I really do hope she doesn't do something stupid like get involved with the president again; I can't stand that dude. I don't know whether it's the character as written, or if it's the actor who plays him, or a combo of both. Maybe it's because I remember him most as the creep from Ghost (the movie), and so when I see his face on my TV screen, I remember Carl Bruner :)
However, like I said, I'm engaged, and I want to see more; I hope it only gets better from hereon. I'm curious to see where Shonda Rhimes will take these characters and their individual stories; forget the individual cases they'll likely be assigned from one episode to the next; it's probably a given that each will be "handled" by the time the episode ends, which reminds of another concern I have: that they seem to have everything under control – they have all the contacts, the reach, the technology (or access to it), the smarts to "handle" likely any scandal; it's all a little too tidy for me and I'd like to see them sweat a lot more, and maybe even lose from time to time. I think that'll keep things more interesting.
Granted, we're only 2 episodes in… so I'm basing all my thoughts on those 2 episodes.
I'm not sure if ABC plans to pre-release every episode online before it airs, although I seriously doubt that; but I'll be checking out their website occasionally to see if episode 3 suddenly turns up as well, and of course, I'll share it here.
Deadline reported earlier today that the show's premiere numbers were "ok" but "decent." And as expected, I read some dumb-ass racist comments on other sites I was pointed to, lamenting the fact that it's a show with a black lead. While it was easy to dismiss them, they did make me wonder if the numbers would have been stronger if this was a show based on a real-life white woman *fixer*. Were the numbers just "ok" because SOME white audiences skipped it for that reason – audiences that may have very well tuned in to watch had the opposite been true?
Is this going to be a case of race actually playing a factor on how succesful the series is? Meaning, if black people don't watch it, it's doomed? And if black audiences don't *support* it en masse and it's canceled, will the tune being hummed be the familiar one about "black shows" (or shows with black leads) on network TV not being produced because black audiences don't support them?
Now I'm curious what the audience make-up looks like…
I've also heard some say that its 10pm time slot doesn't help, and it should be moved to an earlier time, maybe an hour earlier – 9pm. But its lead-in (Grey's Anatomy, which airs at 9pm on Thursdays) was meant to give it a boost.
Alright, enough from me; here's episode 2 titled Dirty Little Secrets: