Gold Derby Emmy Episode Analysis: Kerry Washington commands attention on ‘Scandal’

Last year, “Scandal” star Kerry Washington’s lost Best Drama Actress to Claire Danes(“Homeland”). Both are back in the hunt this year. While “Homeland” has lost some of its heat, “Scandal” remains red-hot. Let’s take a closer look at “The Fluffer,” Washington’s Emmy episode submission.

SYNOPSIS: Olivia Pope (Washington) has teamed up with her diabolical father (Joe Morton) to take down shady government agency B613. She confronts President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), demanding to know what service she is required to provide from a demanding and irrational president and part-time lover, ultimately asking whether she is his “fluffer”.

Olivia confronts Governor Andrew Nichols (Jon Tenney) in a boardroom and delivers an ultimatum after a jealous Fitz demands that Olivia force his running mate to stop sleeping with the First Lady (Bellamy Young). Meanwhile, Olivia sleeps with Jake Ballard (Scott Foley) to secure a password from his phone. This helps Huck (Guillermo Diaz) to gains access to the B613 servers and shut them down. Olivia and her associates celebrate their victory, but Jakes storms in and starts choking Olivia, telling her that her actions have just killed the President.

PROS:

Emmy voters love speeches and Washington gets to deliver two of them: one with the President, and the other, even more memorable, with his running mate. It is Washington at her best, and is likely to stick with many Emmy voters.

“Scandal” once again improved its showing this year with Emmy voters with three of its cast nominated (Morton and Kate Burton reaped guest acting bids). Dan Bucatinsky won Best Drama Guest Actor last year, so voters clearly have responded to this show, which bodes well for Washington.

Washington is clearly the lead of her show, with plenty of screen time. When on-screen, the scene is usually about her. Drawing attention is always a plus in such a competitive category, and her magnetic presence could keep her fresh in voters’ minds when they fill out their ballots.

CONS:

“Scandal” can be melodramatic at times. Its soap opera style could prove to be divisive, especially up against classier cable fare in this category.

In-between her dramatic outbursts, there is the B613 subplot, which comes across as more spy thriller than drama. This might put some voters off.

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