Well I betta get to it. This Scandal recap ain’t gon’ write itself. This episode started off with so much intensity, I was barely able to BREATHE. I expected the storyline from the previews two weeks ago, but I was soooo not prepared. Tonight’s episode was a thinly-veiled duplication of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri in the summer when a White cop shot a Black teenager dead in the street. On Scandal tonight, Mr. Parker’s (BRILLIANTLY portrayed by Courtney Vance) son (Brandon) had been shot by the police and was lying dead in the street. A crowd of Black residents with cellphones had gathered, with the mostly White police officers struggling to keep them at bay while not setting off a riot. The police chief called in Olivia Pope to “fix it”. Now, I expected Olivia to be up in her apartment chillin’…or out to lunch at some fancy restaurant…or at a spa day seein’ as how she’d just gotten rescued from her kidnappers last episode, but no..she was out doing what she does best…fixing thangs. And it was a welcome upgrade from that auction storyline of the past few episodes.
Olivia was trying to get an update from the police chief when Mr. Parker arrived on the scene, totin’ a shotgun and askin’ for the cop who shot his son and left him dead in the streets. The police were ready to take Mr. Parker out but Olivia got the chief to tell errybody to stand down. She tried to negotiate with Mr. Parker, and seemed to be making headway until a community activist showed up with a chair for Mr. Parker, asking him to take a seat, because it was going to be a while. And letting him know that he (Mr. Parker) had all the power but if he left the scene he would have NONE. That’s why Liv was there, because even she knew he had all the power. Mr. Parker put the lawn chair over his son’s body, sat down and settled in.
The cop who shot Brandon gave his story back at the police department. He seemed so sincere when he said he only discharged his weapon because his life was in danger. Apparently, he had gotten a call about a Black suspect who had stolen a cellphone and right after, ran across Brandon, who fit the description and was carrying a brand new phone. He was questioning Brandon, and Brandon pulled a knife, so he shot him. He said his heart went out to the dad (Mr. Parker) because he (the cop) also had children.
Olivia was back on the scene the next day (no, Mr. Parker didn’t move ALL NIGHT, not even to take a pee break), with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” playing in the background (damn you Shonda Rhimes!), attempting to talk Mr. Parker into moving away so the officers could investigate. She tried to get the community activist to help her, but instead he charged her up bout her Prada bag….bout how she neva comes to that part of town unless it’s to eat soul food and how she spent the better part of the past few years getting a Republican President (Fitz) elected. He told her that her Black card would not be getting punched today, and left a usually got so much to say Olivia damn near speechless.
Olivia tried talking to Mr. Parker who told her that he knew he would either go out in a body bag or in cuffs because that’s just the way it was in his neighborhood, and he was staying put. He was clearly a man who loved his son (his wife had died years earlier from breast cancer – LAWD Shonda Rhimes, I hate you! Such an emotional storyline all around) and just wanted to know what happened to his son. Because he had raised his son alone – leading by example by being a responsible, hard working man without so much as a blemish on his work record; teaching his son right from wrong; making him say where he was going when he left the house; etc. so his son could GROW up and not end up dead in the streets. Yet, here his son was…dead in the streets.
Olivia tried to talk to the police chief because she noticed the SWAT team getting ready to teargas the crowd but he wasn’t hearing it. He had gotten the media back behind the crowd where they could no longer film, and he was about to take charge. He then asked Olivia whose side she was on. She told him “not yours” and joined her people behind the yellow tape, chanting about police brutality (“Stand Up…Fight Back..No More Black Men Under Attack”) and it was a very poignant and real scene. It showed how “professional” or “highly educated” or “upwardly mobile” middle and upper class Black people can forget how real racism and police brutality is because we are one or two paychecks away from it. But is VERY real. And we cannot afford to be complacent about it, looking at our poorer brothers and sisters, thinking this happens to just “them” because it really is happening to US.
Meanwhile, back at OPA, Huck and Quinn nem were busy trying to get the surveillance tape of what happened. They were finally able to get it (David Rosen helped) and Olivia took it to Mr. Parker who was still sitting in the lawn chair over his son, “to protect him from the elements.” In the video, it did appear as if his son was reaching for something, but Mr. Parker said his son didn’t carry a knife. Olivia and the community activist told him there was one way to find out – they needed him to move so they could check his son’s body. They lifted Brandon’s body a little, only to find the knife. Mr. Parker snapped and pulled his shotgun on Liv and the community activist and kept repeating, shouting, “he doesn’t carry a knife![” The police were ready to light his hindparts up, but Liv talked them down and talked down Mr. Parker. She walked way from the scene shaking uncontrollably. I was shaking like Liv, cuz I just knew she was shot.
Luckily, Liv and OPA didn’t stop there. Huck and Quinn further analyzed the tape and realized there was a shadow in the background. The cop was dirty and had gotten a suspect he’d picked up already to plant a knife on Brandon after he’d already shot him. David Rosen went with his federal agents down to the station to question the suspect (who had been let go by the dirty cop) and to talk to the dirty cop. Olivia confronted the dirty cop first, but he told her to get out. She asked him if he was going to shoot her too. Then, the dirty cop went in on Olivia. The rant was uncomfortable but necessary for the audience to hear, because this is just how some of the White officers who work in poorer, Black communities feel. “You people do not respect authority…that boy is dead because he didn’t respect authority..he wasn’t raised to respect authority and my badge….you people don’t respect anything, you just take, take, take. Meanwhile, I kiss my wife and kids goodbye every morning and drive 40 minutes to y’alls community to protect you from each other, putting my life on the line while you spit in my face, curse me, hate me, etc. You don’t have the right to question me or my authority…..” When he finished, he was led to a police car. David Rosen gave a speech in the background about justice being served but not feeling like it WAS justice because Brandon was still dead.
Olivia delivered the news to Mr. Parker, who was still in that lawn chair, over his son. And she gave him what Brandon actually reached for when he was shot – the receipt for his cellphone, to prove that it was not stolen. Mr. Parker patted Brandon’s body on the back, and put his gun down and stood up and put his hands out to be cuffed by Olivia. She told him he was not being arrested and walked away from the scene with him. She rode with him to the White House (Mr. Parker said “where are we going…this is not my neighborhood..”) where he met with the President. Fitz shook his hand and said he was sorry for Mr. Parker’s loss. Mr. Parker said “Call me Clarence (the same thing he told Olivia when she first met him at the crime scene)..my son’s name was Brandon…” and then he collapsed in Fitz’s arms with an ol’ ugly cry. The episode ended with the FBI zipping Brandon’s body up in a yellow body bag. And then the tears came, y’all. I was exhausted. Emotionally spent behind this episode. Needing to be held. Wanting to yell. Wanting to scream. Wanting to do all those things I did back when Travyon Martin happened. When Michael Brown happened. When Chavis Carter happened.
Shonda Rhimes spun this story tonight in a way that made it speak poignantly to the audience. If you didn’t feel something behind this episode, then you are void of emotion. If your heart didn’t ache for the Black fathers..and mothers who have lost their children, CHILDREN, to police brutality and racism, then you are incapable of feeling. This episode was timely….and relevant..and necessary….and well written…bolstered by superb acting. Thank you Shonda and the Scandal writers and the actors and actresses for showing millions of viewers, Black, White and all shades in between, that Black Lives Do Matter. I believe you touched many with your message tonight. Thank you for touching me. Now, excuse me while I go finish my ugly cry.
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