Ever since Abby Whelan was Liv’s “gladiator” on “Scandal,” she’s been doing the dirty job of a true gladiator. Armed with technology, deception, and clever monologues, she has been solving the crises of Washington D.C.’s elite at Olivia Pope’s behest. That has left her, on different occasions, friendless, unemployed, single, involved in covering up presidential election rigging, and looking like a complete fool in front of rooms full of press.
Abby is a smart woman; she went to law school alongside Olivia Pope. At one time she was in a seemingly perfect marriage to the youngest son of a former Virginia governor. And when it comes to working investigations, she gets her job done. So why does she consistently fare badly? It’s time Abby is no longer referred to as “red” in a professional capacity, especially when she has put in the time to earn her position.
Let’s look at two times during the Season 5 premiere when Abby deserves better.
1) You’ll see it just a few seconds into the show. Olivia blatantly lies to Abby, her supposed best friend.
This scene shows the two, dressed in elaborate evening gowns, sitting in the middle of a ballroom. The President’s recent decision is the topic of their conversation. Fitz Grant finally did what he always told Olivia he would. After this, their on and off again affair took on a new development. Olivia rushed to act, presumably after thoughtfully reconsidering what he means to her. But at this dinner, Olivia offers up to Abby that Fitz hasn’t even so much as called. Ouch, Liv.
2) Déjà vu. Abby is emotional again. You can find her shouting, “Why didn’t I get a heads up? I just got destroyed out there!”
Fitz has launched another crusade against Mellie. Abby is the collateral victim. He does have a legitimate grievance, finally. What Mellie recently did was gruesome, murderous, and greedy. But, his muddled private choices complicate matters for his staff. Incidentally, as White House Press Secretary, Abby ends up getting completely caught off guard by reporters. Fitz had secretly made a sudden change of plans. Olivia had convinced him. Yet again, Abby is losing and Liv gets her way.
If they don’t already, “Scandal” fans are going to want this mistreatment of Abby to end. Maybe that’s just because they also know what it’s like to be troubled by what the writers give them. It’s frustrating. Dear Abby, “Scandal” fans everywhere are also having our tolerance pushed to the limit. We empathize.
Here are three times during the premiere when “Scandal” fails to account for intelligent beings who understand context clues.
3) A mystery begins. But it’s not mystery enough.
A heinous act has just occurred, kicking the show into fix-it mode. Olivia must figure out what happened. But clues are also revealed to the audience. We find out what the major piece of missing evidence is, and the camera also gives a close-up pan across a crucial photo. We viewers are fully equipped to ask useful questions and create probable hypotheses. However, the writers don’t include any of this satisfying information until much later.
4) The plot is an elaborately extensive reference to a global, royal, and pop-culture icon.
The similarities are painfully clear—so clear a clever and informed individual can link the two early on. However, the show withholds, until much later in the episode, details that clarify the connection to a high degree, such as key family and marital dynamics. Once again, TV viewers are cleverer than “Scandal” gives them credit for.
5) Lastly, “Scandal” doesn’t seem to acknowledge a viewer’s sense of morality or wholesomeness. They might exist.
Quinn, from Olivia’s staff, asks her how exactly they will fix the big problem. An inquisitive audience member would have his or her own questions about the methods employed by Olivia Pope and her associates. The answer is more monologues, blackmail, and bribes. By the way, in this episode Olivia’s personal life is just as dirty as her professional life. There are countless suspicious scenes of her and the married president. Perhaps affairs and deception are intriguing or sexy. And maybe that’s why I’ll be one of the millions of viewers this Thursday, and most likely the next. Nonetheless, I need “Scandal” writers to treat Abby as someone who deserves love and concern, and I need them to treat me like they would treat someone who can put two and two together. I have offered two times Abby was slighted and three times the audience was. That’s a grand total of five. You can do better “Scandal.”
One grade is deducted for each time the season premiere mistreated the good people.