The classic ABC political thriller Scandal, which finished its fifth season in May of this year, is hanging by a thread. The show has quickly deteriorated; it is a shell of the exciting masterpiece it once was.
This is not an especially new phenomenon for Scandal: signs of distress and discontent were evident in the viewers by the end of the second season. At this time, it was still thought that it could be saved. Evidently, the writers did not think they were able to save it.
So, during the third and fourth seasons, a variety of plot twists were thrown into the mix to try to create excitement for the audience. Among these events were: the main character’s kidnapping by the vice president, the main character’s father being the head of a super secret spy organization that assassinated the president’s son, and enough murder and gore to last you a few centuries.
Riveting, right? Wrong.
The problem with these plot twists is that, as dramatic as they may be, they never have any consequences on the overarching plot of the story. In other shows, the murder of an innocent character might have reverberations on the cast and the audience for seasons to come, but on Scandal, that victim is forgotten in two episodes. Therefore, there is no worth to these plot twists. Viewers feel as if they are getting played — and they are. Scandal is essentially just a soap opera with a high production cost, trying to be seen as an insightful and dramatic love story between two characters who can never be together.
You see, the entire show is based around the affair between President Fitzgerald Grant and his mistress/crisis manager, Olivia Pope. For four whole seasons, the same cycle of their breaking up and making up occurred over and over again. The viewers were tired of this same love story.
So when season 5 opened with Olivia finally moving into the White House and becoming the President’s official girlfriend, after his grueling divorce from his wife, viewers thought that there was finally some meaningful change occurring. And while, for a few episodes, it seemed like this change was bound to stay and make the show back into what it was at its prime, after a mere nine episodes, the two broke up again. The show quickly reverted back into what it was.
In summary, season 5 was promising at first, but soon turned into the same old drudgery we have been forced to put up with for years. The show had received a much needed break from Olivia’s father, Rowan, but after the breakup, he came back into the picture as quickly as he had left. The breakup of the power couple and the return of the much-hated Rowan created a season that was almost unbearable to watch. The only thing that made it tolerable was the presidential election taking place throughout the season, offering viewers an entertaining distraction from the repetitive plot. Even this subplot was not a creative idea from the writers; it was rather a ploy used by political TV shows everywhere to revive themselves. It worked for Scandal this time around, but seeing that it is the third election to take place in the five season timeframe, it will definitely not work again.