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There was an actual, relatable, Scandal last night!

by Aitch Cee

**WARNING** THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK

I have to say, I was a bit surprised by Scandal’s episode entitled “The Lawn Chair”. This episode dealt with (the still unresolved) issues of Black men being gunned down by cops. This issue is something we all as a nation have seen happen far too many times not only in the past few years but the past few months (as well as again this week) as well.  For once, we got a show that has had hardly anything to do with any of the plot lines of the past shows, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if this winds up being a standalone episode.

This time around, a young man by the name of Brandon Parker a resident of Rosemead (not – wood, see what they did there?) is shot to death by a police officer after a confrontation. Parker’s father, armed with a shotgun, stands (and eventually sits in the titular lawn chair) vigil over his son’s body quietly and angrily seeking justice as he knows his son was wrongfully murdered.

In swoops Olivia to save the day and after using all of her connections, even after seemingly running out of them, we find out that the police officer in a fit of racist rage, made up the story about Parker reaching for a knife to cover his own ass in this senseless shooting.

What made this episode interesting is that usually the ‘ripped out of the headlines’ tag is usually reserved for Law and Order and while they have some very well talked about shows, Scandal gave many of us a lot to discuss afterwards. This episode also dropped at a crucial time when the news outlets have informed us that neither George Zimmerman nor Darren Wilson will face federal charges.  Also the not so surprising findings this week that Ferguson police have targeted and have used excessive force on its citizens and have made money off of it as well. Not to mention that Cleveland placed the blame of Tamir Rice’s death squarely in his own hands.

Some of my friends already know where I stand with this episode. In its own way, it was a good breath of fresh air that for once, Scandal gave us more than how many more times Fitz and Olivia can screw while Jake, Mellie and the others spin their wheels. It gave us more than how many glasses of wine will Liv sip as her father plots to destroy everything around her. It gave us more than what Cyrus and Rosen would do to cover their own butts in the process of covering Fitz and Olivia.   Last night’s Scandal gave us a real world topic that we all could relate to and even at one point, Olivia’s Black-woman pass was questioned by activist Marcus Walker. To me, the one quote, “What’s the going rate for playing both sides?” said it all. This really made Olivia consider what her role should be in solving this issue and eventually her choice affects the entire outcome.

In my opinion, this episode had everything that we have seen so much of within the past few years. The cover-up by police and media, the anger of citizens tired of constantly being targeted, not to mention the explanation of what Black people have to do daily to avoid being killed because Blacks are stereotyped as thugs. All of the elements hit the right notes for a show of this type that has rarely been seen. But one thing that nagged me was the ending. The show reveals that not only was evidence planted at the scene and there was a conspiracy by the Officer Newton to cover up what really happened, but we get a serious mea culpa from Newton as to why he pulled the trigger: “Brandon Parker is dead because he didn’t have respect. Because those people out there, who are chanting and crying over his body, they didn’t teach him the right values. They didn’t teach him respect. He didn’t respect me. He didn’t respect my badge. Questioning my authority was not his right. His blood is not on my hands.”  Chillingly, there are many people who believe this train of thought.   I have met them and this hit hard. This also was probably the closest thing to a confession that was delivered as he is eventually arrested.

So great, a bad cop is taken off the streets, what’s wrong with that ending as the elder Parker gets a one on one with the president?   To answer one of my friends’ questions, “Wait….y’all are actually mad that the cop got arrested? Law and Order borrows from real cases all the time but it’s a problem when Scandal does it?” After some considerable time thinking, I have to say that it’s not that the cop was arrested. It’s not that facts plain as day helped in the arrest. It’s the fact that as credits roll, we are faced that in a one hour show, Olivia Pope manages to do in less than 72 hours on her own, with a small team what the DOJ and all of law enforcement has failed to do in over 20 years with an endless yet growing list of unarmed victims of police shooting which now includes Charley Leundeu Keunang.  To paraphrase one of my other friends, the ending of last night’s Scandal was ” …about as believable as Game of Thrones.”

I won’t lie, The Lawn Chair episode was great fiction but the question is when will we actually see justice in our real lives?   When will we actually see changes in police departments that will curb the amount of deaths Blacks face from officers? We have seen so many people like Eric Garner murdered in broad daylight by police with ample amounts of evidence shown yet cops still get off. In its bittersweet ending where a fictional father gets some closure to his son’s death, it’s difficult to shake the fact that hundreds of Black people in this country still won’t ever get that ending.   It’s not the fiction that makes me angry, it’s the reality we still have to deal with when the credits roll.   While I may be torn about the execution of this episode, I am glad however, that Shonda Rhimes created this very necessary and unflinching episode.

 

 

About Armand (1271 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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