Thursday, February 9, 2017

REVIEW: ABC's 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Scandal' (February 9)

Reviews for ABC's Shondaland shows from February 9:

ABC's Grey's Anatomy - Episode 13.12 "None of Your Business"
ABC's Scandal - Episode 6.03 "Fates Worse Than Death"

Due to the demands of Peak TV, it is becoming more and more difficult for this website to devote the time to full length episodic reviews. And yet, there are still thoughts to be had about the ongoing adventures on a number of series. TGIT is back on ABC. So I thought it would be good to still write down a couple of brief thoughts about each episode on a weekly basis. Of course, you can still expect full reviews for premieres and finales. If ABC should make screeners available, those episodes would get detailed analysis as well. But for now, this will be the way to continue to provide content for these shows while also being a lighter workload for me.

Grey's Anatomy - "None of Your Business"
Maggie gets a surprise visit from her mother at the hospital. Bailey has to make a difficult decision when one of the attendings refuses to work with Eliza. Stephanie gets caught up in Owen and Amelia's personal drama. Written by Andy Reaser and directed by Geary McLeod

After weeks of so many delays, viewers finally learned what happened with Alex. He's not in jail right now and didn't make a deal because DeLuca changed his story and made the DA drop the case. So now, it's a big mystery of why he did that. Of course, it's obvious to speculate he did it for Jo. That flirtation was simple and easy in the fall. But mostly, it just feels good that this story is over and Alex is back working at the episode. Just as this one ends, the show finds a strong new story to pick up the slack. Maggie gets a visit from her mother - played by LaTanya Richardson Jackson. It's fascinating watching Maggie get upset as her mother just walks into her life. She meets all the people at the hospital and her family before Maggie is able to introduce them. That makes her feel left out of the process. Of course, it then takes a devastating turn when it's revealed Maggie's mom has breast cancer and Maggie blows up at her before she shares the news. That's an understandable reason not to tell her for right now. But it probably won't take long before these health issues get worse. This show knows how to make family members severely ill. And finally, the war with Eliza is largely just in the same place. Meredith gets suspended (which again leads to a light episode for Ellen Pompeo). Catherine returns to make it known she supports Eliza. And then, the show suddenly remembers Eliza and Arizona are suppose to have sexual tension which comes across a little forced at the end of this hour. Also, I found it easy to predict that Owen's trauma patient was agoraphobic instead of something more devious. B

Scandal - "Fates Worse Than Death"
In the midst of a national crisis, Cyrus' fate is sealed. Meanwhile, Olivia and the gladiators will stop at nothing to get to the truth. Written by Mark Fish and directed by Scott Foley

The start of this season has had a strong focus on Olivia Pope and her interests. That shouldn't be surprising. This is her show after all. But the opening episodes were very deliberately keeping things from Cyrus, Jake and Liz's perspectives a secret. They've been minor characters up to this point - even though the stakes are so high with Frankie Vargas' assassination. Suspicion is still overly pointed at Cyrus. That's what Olivia believes. And now, she has the evidence to start an official investigation. So, it's important that this hour provides more focus on Cyrus. It definitely makes him seem like an innocent victim for all that has happened. But it's also clear that he's still a monster. He's just better at lying to himself about that. But it's also important to see this because it could open the cracks in Olivia's determination to see him in jail and Mellie in the White House. This hour lays the groundwork for Cyrus being innocent. Of course, it also sets a damning case against him too. All of that hinges on how much the audience believes in his various romances. For me, that angle of his life hasn't been that interesting to watch since James was killed. Michael's introduction was forced. He and Cyrus have grown a lot. But he still just seems like the answer to the "Who is caring for Cyrus' child?" question and nothing more. Meanwhile, Cyrus' affair with Tom was so quickly introduced. It's a pairing that is electric on the screen because they are both monstrous and ruthless people. It's chilling here watching Tom literally bark at Cyrus. But again, it just feels like Cyrus is being set up for this crime. That's perfectly fine. It will add a new wrinkle to complicate Olivia's life. I just don't know how complex this story is aiming to go before the truth comes out. And more importantly, will the audience be able to accept in the end? That's still up for debate. B-