It’s really an interesting experience to sit in a room of people and watch an episode of Scandal together. I’m so used to freaking out by myself within the confine of my four bedroom walls that it was extremely liberating to watch (and gasp and laugh and scream at) an episode with other fellow gladiators. So that’s how I spent my Tuesday night, I was at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles attending Scandal’s Paley Fest panel. Not only did we get to preview the newest episode but we also got to see the cast, along with Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers discuss the show in a refreshing, insightful and hilarious new way.
There is no denying that this cast has incredible chemistry with each other, but they definitely shine on their own as well. This is especially true when they’re discussing their own characters. When asked how he saw his character’s end on the show, Josh Molina replied, “I would like to see him, this would be a rarity in Shondaland, but I would like to see him die of old age.” Kerry Washington was asked if she could write her character’s own ending on the show what it would be and she said, “I want her to fully be on her journey and at some point I want her to be at whole and happy and peaceful.” Darby Stanchfield was asked about her big, powerful, epic speech on this past week’s episode and when asked about the scene she said, “Five minutes before we went to rehearse the scene I called our Producing Director, Tom Verica and I burst into tears and I was like ‘I think this is what it is, but I’m not really sure’ and we went to go rehearse it and the best way to describe it is, I felt like I knew Abby so well up to this point and I knew Abby’s moral compass and I felt like I was going to swim for the first time ever and I was getting pushed in the deep end and I didn’t know how to swim.”
The fans got a chance to ask the hard-hitting questions and they did not hold back. One fan asked when Fitz will find out about Olivia’s abortion and Shonda replied, “My question is does he need to? … a woman made a choice about her body that she legally has the right to make. I haven’t actually decided, but I wonder sometimes. We talk about it a lot.” Admitting that she thinks about the answer to that question a lot and still hasn’t decided whether he’s going to find about or not. Another fan asked why we had to wait for Olivia and Fitz to get together, only for them to be ripped apart. “Olivia is on a journey and Olivia has been on a journey since we started. It’s interesting to me that her primary story is a romance — that’s what you’ve seen — because to me, her primary story has been discovering herself,” Shonda Rhimes explained, “I’m happy that you have fallen in love with Fitz because that is the journey that Olivia went on … she went on the fantasy and she realized that the fantasy was not real. That does not mean that she does not love Fitz, that does not mean Fitz does not deserve love. It just means that Olivia does not know who she is yet.”
It’s always a treat to hear Shonda talk about her craft and as a creative myself; I welcome any and all insight into her brilliant mind. When asked where her inspiration comes from she answered, “It’s sort of everything, it’s the people you work with, and it’s the ideas you hear. It’s some song on the radio, it’s some phrase that someone says on the elevator, it’s everything.” We all know that Scandal fans are notorious for being passionate, vocal, sometimes too vocal kinds of fans so Shonda is no stranger to hearing criticism from the fans so when a fan asked how she balances telling the story she wants to tell and the story she knows the fans want to hear she answered, “I kind of only know how to do one thing, which is just tell a story. I don’t think of it as, I’m not thinking of ‘What do the fans want to hear?’ What do I want to tell?’ I’m just telling the story that comes out and I really don’t know how to do anything else.”
The event all in all made me fall in love with Scandal all over again, not that I had fallen out of love but just like with a regular relationship sometimes you go through a period in time where you’re kind of just co-existing. I am all in now! I am fully embracing the Gladiator within me and I am so excited to see what is to come for the rest of this season on Scandal.