Shonda Rhimes used her hit show "Scandal" on ABC as a platform to address the Ferguson issue in last night's episode entitled, 'The Lawn Chair.'
The show, which usually focuses on handling the daily scandals of powerful political figures in Washington, DC, put all of that on hold to shed light on what is going on in current affairs.
The storyline shed light on how minorities feel discriminated against, but also gave viewers the chance to hear from a police point of view.
Critics are calling this the most powerful and emotional episode of the series to date, tackling racism, discrimination and activism all in one.
The timing of this episode could not be more appropriate, as the Ferguson police report was released to the public, giving the confirmation that discrimination is still present in many areas across the country.
“Scandal” is a trending topic on Twitter almost every Thursday, and delivers some of the best GIFs and memes on Instagram, but the buzz around last night's episode was even louder than it normally is.
The show is set in Washington, DC, but it felt like we were right in Ferguson, Missouri. Gladiator extraordinaire Olivia Pope met one challenge she could not fix -- well, at least right away.
While social media for the show is generally positive, last night was met with mixed reactions to the episode's message and tone.
Some fans sent tweets directly to Shonda, expressing their discontent for the episode, and couldn't believe she would take such a public stance on the issue. However, many Twitter users praised Rhimes for her bravery, and Washington for her emotional performance.
"Scandal" is not the only show to take a stab at the issue; "Law & Order: SVU" did a related episode, as well as "The Good Wife."
Last night, many of us were faced with a lot of questions: How can we do better? Is it just plain racism? What about the cops? So many thoughts filled our heads as this dramatic episode played out.
With so much going on, I have to highlight the winners of last night's episode:
Courtney B. Vance
The experienced actor deserves praise for delivering such an emotional delivery over the death of his son.
Mr. Parker initially exploded onto the scene with his shotgun, and it seemed his character was about to cause more problems than solve any. However, his role changed.
The symbolic message of the lawn chair symbolizes him as his son's protector, watching over him now.
Neighborhood activist Marcus Walker
This character was brave enough to call out the infamous and untouchable Oliva Pope. He made the point to say she has never even been to the neighborhood, and she was only called to help manage the optics of the scene.
This is important because Olivia spends a lot of time helping the rich and powerful stay rich and powerful. In season three, last year, her mother, Marie Wallace, said she is "the help" and all she does is fix other people's problems.
Marcus called her out for being a person of privilege and not one of the "real" people who have to deal with daily discrimination.
He makes a point to shun her for getting a white Republican elected as president, not once, but twice.
He was the catalyst that made Olivia get behind the tape and join the protestors, and was a very powerful part of the storyline.
Mr. Welch brought the character of Officer Newton to life with one of the most emotionally charged monologues in "Scandal" history.
Twitter quickly compared his character to Officer Wilson, the man responsible for the death of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.
Welch made valid points, some of which we choose to ignore when it comes to police officers. They are people just like us; they have a family and they risk their lives every day to keep us safe.
It is a lot for them to make decisions without being scrutinized and investigated by internal affairs.
How can we expect the officers hired to protect us to do so if the community they serve does not respect them, and instead, mocks them, hates them and challenges them?
His powerful speech to Olivia made me think for a second that maybe it is not all on the officer. If that was case, many more officers would be in prison, but they are not.
While I don't believe they are all angels, I do not believe all officers are racists. They have one of the hardest jobs, and do not get the respect they deserve.
This episode showed viewers "Scandal" is able to switch things up, by staying up with current and relevant events. 'The Lawn Chair' was the opportunity for Rhimes to ignite public awareness about an issue that will soon be blown over in the next couple of months.
If you didn't care for the episode last night, you can, at the very least, acknowledge the show for trying to keep up with current events.
If it made you feel something inside, it probably motivated you to make a change in your local community and realize you do have a voice and it is powerful.
If nothing else, 'The Lawn Chair' episode showed ABC viewers there may be some things that may never change, but at least we are talking about them. We are addressing those issues and offering hope.
The fight for justice still goes on outside of the fictional world of "Scandal."