When “Scandal” debuted last spring, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, beyond recognizing that Kerry Washington had the goods to carry a series and Shonda Rhimes had fashioned an excellent role for her.
This season, though, Rhimes has kicked the show up to another level by ditching the Crisis of the Week procedural format in favor of reinventing “Scandal” as a gonzo hybrid of conspiracy thriller and high-stakes soap opera, involving election rigging, a presidential assassination attempt, a failed internal White House coup, and all sorts of other crazy shenanigans. It’s ludicrous on virtually every level; it’s also an enormous amount of fun, thanks to the writing and the performances.(*)
(*) The series has also benefited from ditching the charming but redundant Henry Ian Cusick and beefing up Josh Malina’s role as a good guy who’s righteously focused on bringing down Olivia.
Rhimes treated the season’s first 13 episodes as one big arc, which culminated tonight with a whole bunch of revelations, shifted allegiances, and dastardly conduct. “Nobody Likes Babies” was a particularly strong showcase for Jeff Perry and Bellamy Young, and it resolved almost everything from this arc while setting up some interesting new conflicts for whatever comes next.
I’m talking to Rhimes sometime next week about how she reinvented the show for the better, but I wanted to mark the end of this first arc, and see what those of you who’ve been watching all along felt about how things wrapped up. We’ll see if Rhimes can find a way to top this, but for now, bravo.
What did everybody else think?