Shonda Rhimes grabbed us all by the collar and gave us a little punch in the heart on Scandal Season 4 Episode 14.
Her ripped-from-the-headlines story told the tale of Brandon Parker, a black kid who was shot by a white police officer.
How did TV Fanatic staffers Jim Garner, Christine Orlando, and Miranda Wicker react to this story that felt a little more real-life than our usual superspy, fixer fare? Read on to find out and then we want to hear from you. Leave your answers in the comments.
What was your favorite quote or scene from "The Lawn Chair?"
Jim: I loved Fitz outing himself to Mellie as having leaked the info. When they are playing for the same side, they are such an awesome couple to watch.
Christine: Agreed Jim. I really think that Fitz and Mellie make a great team. They might not be great at marriage but with everything else they really seem to work. I can see how they ended up together in the first place.
Miranda: Absolutely any and everything having to do with Courtney B. Vance won it all for me. I'm glad we had the opportunity to have him guest star in such a momentous role, but I'm also kind of wondering why Shonda didn't snatch him up for a recurring or regular spot on the series. I'd forgotten how good he is.
How did you feel about this art-imitating-life episode?
Jim: Honestly, I was torn. Both messages that were presented were so true and powerful. If you didn't catch both messages, the louder one was about cops shooting unarmed suspects (seemingly due to skin color in this case). But the other message, that youths today are not taught to respect Police and follow instructions was equally as powerful (if said in a horrible way). I thought the episode handled this about as well as it could.
Christine: I really wished we could have heard the original encounter as well as saw it. Was Brandon giving the officer a hard time? Did his attitude make the officer feel like his life could have been in danger or was that all in his head because he was racist? As in real life, we got some of the answers but not all of them.
Miranda: I loved it and found the story timely and relevant, which I think is a good thing for fictional TV shows to do sometimes, particularly those set in what could be the real world. I'm glad Shonda took a primetime stand to say that Black lives matter while also taking a moment to unveil the kind of latent racism and classism dividing officers and citizens in some communities. Emphasis on SOME. The officer's tirade left me wanting to throw things at him.
Will going back to work be what saves Olivia or what breaks her?
Jim: I think it is part of what will heal her. Of course that's assuming she can go a week without someone pointing a gun at her. She will still need someone to talk to at some point.
Christine: Her job is so much of who she is that I’m not sure she can stay away. But Jake’s right, she definitely needs someone to talk to if she’s going to work through the trauma.
Miranda: I know she believes she needs to get back to work in order to move past her ordeal, but what she really needs is to let someone in. Abby, Huck, somebody. Instead she's just shutting everyone out and that's not going to help her heal.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you rate Courtney Vance's guest role?
Jim: I give it an 11. I'm not sure who else could have played the calm-before-the-storm yet grieving father as well as he did.
Christine: A definite 10. I almost didn’t recognize him because he completely embodied this character and my heart broke for the father who spent so many years protecting his son only to have him die in the street.
Miranda: See my previous answer. Courtney B. Vance deserves an Emmy for that. I wish there were a way to bring him into the fold somehow but that would probably tarnish his stellar performance of a broken and grieving father.
Describe Mellie's VP choice in five words or less:
Jim: Going To Surprise Us All
Christine: Unpredictably Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs
Miranda: Damn, Jim. You stole mine.
If you missed any part of Courtney Vance's exceptional performance, watch Scandal online now to see it all!
NOTE: Scandal Season 4 Episode 14 will be titled "The Testimony of Diego Munoz" and air on Thursday, March 11.
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.