Anatomy of a Scandal – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

Conflicting Accounts

Episode 2 of Anatomy of a Scandal picks up with James heading home and trying to regain his composure. He’s got big news. Olivia Lytton’s rape allegation is a huge scandal and that’s given Kate Woodcroft cause to pursue this further. Unfortunately, so too do the reporters and journos, who swarm around James and Kate like locusts when they drive up to the court in the morning.

Naturally, because of the allegations against him, James is stripped of his title as MP for the time being and awaits a court trial later on down the line.

Kate’s aide Maggie is convinced that James is a rapist, pointing out how handsome he is and that’s cause for him being trouble. Unfortunately this charge also has a knock-on effect in parliament as the Prime Minister comes under fire for supporting James through all of this. Chris urges him not to let Whitehouse’s mistakes drag him down too.

Sophie encourages James to go and see Chris, which he does so down the back alleys of the parliament building. There’s some really annoying tilted camera angles (dutch tilts, we’ll be referencing that a lot here!), as he promises James that this will be over soon, praising the Libertines. For now though, James is to keep a low profile, although he urges Sophie to be there for him in court.

Sophie has issues of her own though. She’s shunned by her friends and begins to lose support from her peers, including Ellie. Sophie deliberates over her choices in the past, bemoaning how she never pursued her own dreams and doubled down on supporting James’ political career instead.

There are a fair few flashbacks here depicting James and Sophie’s past, including how they met and Ellie’s friendship with Sophie but to be honest, they don’t add a whole lot to the show. At least not yet anyway.

Court begins and Sophie does indeed stand by his side. The jury are told to stay off the internet and not to conduct their own research. They’re also not allowed to discuss the case outside these four walls. Kate Woodcroft is for the prosecution while Miss Amanda Regan is with the defence.

Now, the report states that this rape occurred a week after Olivia and James’ affair broke off, with James committing the act with Olivia Lytton in the lift. So did James Whitehouse actually rape Olivia? Well, as she arrives in the witness stand, she gives her statement.

Olivia started working at the building but on 18th May things changed. This is a whole two months after Olivia started working. That earlier flashback about the pair bumping into one another is given a different context this time, with James inviting her for a drink. They head out together, with James claiming that Sophie “trusts him.” A week later, James booked a hotel and that began their affair.

On the 5th October is when James broke things off but Olivia was distraught as she never wanted the affair to end… because she was in love with him. Hearing hat is too much for Sophie, who turns and leaves court, rushing out the doors and tumbling through a surreal bunch of past events before tumbling to the floor.

The Episode Review

This show has a really horrible overuse of Dutch tilts. For those who aren’t complete geeks like me, that’s the process of turning the camera to the side so everything feels slanted. Now, sometimes this can be used really well to accentuate something not quite feeling right. Horror films do this a lot during dream sequences, for example. Here though, the camera is a complete distraction and takes away from the melodramatic story.

I’m still not quite sure who we’re supposed to be rooting for here either. Olivia and James both have alternate stories and right now, I’m rooting for Olivia. Whether that’s actually intended or not is unclear but it’s hard to get behind a serial liar and arrogant Tory MP like James. Sophie isn’t much better either, and I’m not quite sure what she expected to hear coming out of the court like that.

Either way though, the first two episodes have been pretty rough around the edges. Hopefully this one will improve in the episodes to come.

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You can read our full season review of Anatomy of a Scandal here!

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