Since the premiere of “How to Get Away With Murder,” fans have been imagining a world where protagonist Annalise Keating (portrayed by Viola Davis) meets the fearless leader of the “Scandal” gladiators, Olivia Pope (portrayed by Kerry Washington).
There were of course some barriers to overcome. The shows take place in different cities, and one of the actors, Liza Weil, has roles on both shows. When it was announced that the current seventh season of “Scandal” would be the last, many thought the ship had sailed. But, they spoke too soon.
First confirmed by stars Washington and Davis on Instagram, the hopes and dreams of many dedicated viewers finally came to fruition last week with a two-hour crossover event.
The anticipation for these episodes was extremely high among fans of both shows. Personally, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle the extreme levels of black girl magic on screen. Many were concerned that the event wouldn’t be able to deliver. But, never doubt the genius of Shonda Rhimes.
The episodes saw the meeting of the two powerhouse female leads from both shows. Keating needs to get her class-action lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania fast-tracked to the Supreme Court. Keating makes the trip to Washington, D.C., to find Pope and ask for her help. At first, Pope is hesitant to take the case on but eventually comes to Keating’s aid.
Both episodes were centered around the issue of criminal justice reform. The class-action lawsuit Keating is aiming to get heard by the Supreme Court claims that state-provided defense attorneys are overworked, which results in unfair trials for defendants who cannot afford to pay for their own attorney. A win at the Supreme Court would spur major reform in the criminal justice system.
A win in this case would also bring some major redemption to both Keating and Pope who have both fallen from their pedestals.
The scenes between actors Washington and Davis were dynamic and compelling. Even when they are discussing the minutiae of presenting the case, it’s difficult to look away from the kinetic black girl magic on screen.
Keating and Pope are both forces of nature and the crossover keeps that in mind. These are two strong women working together, and not in a rosy lenses feminist way but a realistic feminist way. Annalise and Olivia do not get along from the jump. They do not trust each other, they fight and they blame each other when things go wrong. But, above all of that they respect each other and they know that what they are doing has the capability of changing the world.
Though the scenes between Washington and Davis provide so many highlights to choose from, one of the best scenes is when actress Cicely Tyson, who portrays Keating’s mother, delivers a sensational monologue on the plight of black women to try and fix a broken country.
Honestly, I was in awe for the duration of both episodes. The event resolved a major plotline in “How to Get Away With Murder,” and set the scene for the final episodes of the “Scandal” series.
The ability of these episodes to push the plot forward on both shows, while also presenting a thought-provoking and impassionate discourse on “post-racial” America, is a testament to the talent and genius working at the Shondaland production company.