Spoilers for the latest "Scandal" lie ahead.
On Thursday night (January 29), "Scandal" delivered a relentless, unflinching midseason premiere that, safe to say, very few fans were expecting. The show abandoned its bureaucratic D.C. roots and pretty much all of its characters for an Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) bottle episode of sorts -- but instead of taking place in an office or a community college classroom, this bottle episode was shot in an Abu Ghraib-style prison. And the tortured, traumatized rat in a cage was Olivia herself, kidnapped for seemingly no reason and flown across the world to an unnamed Middle Eastern country.
Now, many critics (myself included) lauded the episode. It allowed viewers to see Olivia's nearly impenetrable spirit, and corrected many of the errors of the past season-or-so, which found her character kowtowing to the various men in her life. Plus, it served as a stellar stand-alone, series defining episode that will definitely put Washington on the Emmy short list next year.
However, some viewers were pretty unhappy with "Run," specifically, with the fact that the torture stuff was a bit too real given real-life tragedies like the ISIS murders and America's own CIA Torture Report. The show didn't fully degrade Liv's body -- this is network television, after all -- but the horrors that were inflicted on her mind seemed to come straight from the Abu Ghraib reports, which must have come as a huge shock for viewers who watch "Scandal" for its case-of-the-week, soapy D.C. drama:
This was by no means the typical reaction to last night's "Scandal" -- in fact, most of the tweets on the show's hashtag consist of variations of "Holy S--t!" and [insert excited cat emoji here] -- but it's definitely understandable how those who watch the show for an escape were displeased with "Run," which was literally anything but. Olivia did not escape her psychological torment, and and at the end of the night, it was heavily suggested that things are about to get a whole lot worse.
So, the question is -- what did you think of "Scandal"'s shocking change of pace? Are you happy with this bold new direction, or do you miss the old case-of-the-week D.C. format? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!