Clayton’s Catastrophic Column: Wait, what?

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Clayton’s Catastrophic Column: Wait, what?

All right, I had a completely different idea for what I was originally going to write this blog about, but I’ve had a change of heart. I’m still in shock after having watched the mid-season premiere of “Scandal,” and let me tell you, it was a good one. So, to go off of that, I’m going to go through some of the biggest moments in television that made me say “Wait, what?” whether they be good or bad.

(Warning: The rest of this blog will contain large spoilers for “Scandal,” “House of Cards,” “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation.” If you are currently in the process of watching these shows and do not wish to have them spoiled, do not read ahead. Also, to those who have not seen these shows at all, I’m going to try to describe the situation in a way that will make sense despite your unfamiliarity with the characters or plot.)

First of all, I’ve got to talk about “Scandal.” This show has been one of my favorites ever since I started it on Netflix, and continued with my viewing onto the live shows. It’s always filled with drama and suspense, though no episode so far had even come close to the insane mid-season premiere that just happened. Basically, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), the main character of “Scandal,” was kidnapped at the conclusion of the mid-season finale last year, and we were all left to wonder what could have happened to her. The premiere did not hesitate to jump right into the action, and that quick start led into an action-packed episode. Olivia had been kidnapped (presumably at the request of the Vice President of the United States) by really creepy men in black masks and taken, supposedly, to Sudan where she was thrown in a holding cell with a man who had been there for a while. After Olivia attempted to escape, the captors killed that man, leaving Olivia alone to go crazy while she ate odd-looking rice all day. Days, or maybe weeks later, she attempted to escape again, and this time succeeded after breaking a pipe off of a bathroom sink to fight her way out with. However, when she broke out of the building, it was revealed that she had been on a very elaborate sound stage the whole time, and her fellow prisoner who was presumed dead was actually the man who kidnapped her in the first place, and he used her sympathy to get information about her relationship with the President. Honestly, I don’t know how so much action was packed into one hour of television, but Shonda Rhimes is a genius.

Next, we’ve got the acclaimed Netflix-exclusive series “House of Cards.” I’ve written about this in a previous blog stating my love for this show, and let me tell you, it has only grown more after Kevin Spacey’s win at the Golden Globes, and the various teasers for the third season that have come out lately. Though I don’t doubt the third season will be spectacular, it’s going to be hard to top with the bar that was set at the conclusion of the second. The season started off with one of the most shocking character deaths I’ve ever witnessed in my young life. In the very first episode of the second season, Vice President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) meets with his journalist contact and companion Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara) at a train station to discuss a “fresh start” for their relationship, which has become both business and personal. Now, let me emphasize that the Frank and Zoe storyline was extremely prevalent in the first season, and drove many of the major plot events. I wouldn’t hesitate to call Zoe a main character, up there with Frank, and his wife Claire (Robin Wright). Anyways, Frank and Zoe meet at a local train station, however, Zoe seems to have delved a little too deep into a murder that Frank had a hand in, and won’t stop asking questions. Without even blinking an eye, Frank pushes Zoe in front of an oncoming train, killing her. I watched that episode at 2 a.m. and the moment he pushed her onto the tracks, I had to pause the show and take a break because I was so in shock. Honestly, I’m still kind of in shock and it’s been almost a year.

Alright, those last two have been pretty dark, so I’m going to lighten things up for these last two. For anyone who has watched “The Office,” you were probably extremely disappointed to see the departure of Michael Scott (Steve Carrell), as was pretty much everyone else. Though the show struggled to find a central character to rely their humor on in the aftermath of Carrell’s departure, I think they finally found what they were looking for toward the end of the show. This can especially be seen in the series finale, which is, in my opinion, one of the best of all time. It did a glorious job of wrapping up characters’ storylines, while still giving us something new to hang onto. However, the absolute best part was when Michael Scott made a surprise appearance at the wedding of Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey), showing up for just enough time to make a “that’s what she said” joke. The guest appearance was exactly what the show needed to give itself closure and conclude one of the most clever comedies of all time.

We’ll finish off with another comedy that is near and dear to my heart, “Parks and Recreation.” In the midst of its final season, “Parks and Recreation” never fails to cheer me up with it’s witty humor and hilarious characters. Near the conclusion of the show’s sixth season, the main character, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) was at a crossroads as to whether she should continue with her job in the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Pawnee, Indiana, where she has worked for the entirety of the show, or if she should accept a job offer at the National Parks Service, which would mean moving out of Pawnee. However, instead of making me sad by forcing her to choose one and deal with the negatives of her decision, the show elected rather to give Leslie the best of both worlds, with her taking the job at the National Parks Service, but relocating its office to Pawnee. However, this was conveyed in a very interesting way. The show elected to jump ahead two years into the future, where Leslie has established her NPS office, and many of the main characters of the show have moved on to different jobs and different lives. It’s now the job of the final season to tell us what the heck happened in those two year, and so far, I’m loving it. Though the time jump definitely caught me for a loop, it’s working out very well for them so far.

So, there you have it. Now, go watch copious amounts of Netflix until you find a show that makes you say “Wait, what?” That is all.

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