Earlier today, I was alerted to the occasion of a dragging at the hands of Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) and Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) in Thursday night’s episode of Scandal. Promptly, I perked up and watched the episode, but even if you haven’t, this scene requires little context. All you must know is that for Scandal’s bow-out season, Shonda Rhimes decided to facilitate a dramatic showdown between Liv and Annalise, for the kids.
The above conversation occurs in a beauty salon after Annalise asks Liv for help with a class-action lawsuit involving about 100 plaintiffs (mostly poor people of color), which according to Annalise, “has the potential to reform our whole justice system.” Annalise wants to get the case in front of the Supreme Court, and Liv would rather be politically low-key at this point in her career, but she cannot resist a chance at being a savior.
Throughout the process, you can tell how much Liv and Annalise don’t quite care for each other—Liv at one point tells Fitz, “That woman is impossible!” Liv also does her Googles and realizes she may be dealing with a crazy person, but...who is she to judge? At the salon is where the dragging monologues commence.
“You judged me immediately. Just like a white man in a boardroom looking down on me because my hips are too wide and my hue too dark,” Annalise tells Liv. “Oh, we soul sisters just ’cause you in and out a hair salon for a few hours on the black side of town? Please. I dealt with plenty of bougie-ass black woman just like you who spend most of your life in boarding schools, Ivy League universities, with a horse between your legs and a silver spoon in your mouth.”
Liv comes back with her own read. “You know your skin tone and measurements aren’t the reason people don’t like you. It’s you,” Liv says. “You are a bully who insults people and then wonders why they won’t help you.” Imagine this is a Western and Liv is on one dusty side with her hair rollers and Annalise on the other staring her down. In the case of Olivia Pope v. Annalise Keating, everyone agrees that Annalise—she who can read you with just one look—won this drag session.