Anatomy of a Scandal – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

You Spin Me Right Round

Episode 3 of Anatomy of a Scandal begins back home with James promising Sophie that Olivia’s confession of love is not consensual. Sophie smiles faintly but it’s clear that she’s starting to doubt her husband.

Meanwhile, Maggie talks to Kate about the old old Libertine parties. She believes there may be something there to confirm past behaviour and, in particular, hints that James could have committed sexual assault before.

For now, we cut forward to the next day of the trial, as Olivia details what happened the day of the incident. Specifically, she mentions how James was upset that day, as a journalist had written a bad article about him in The Telegraph.

Olivia followed James when he left the committee and asked Olivia if he’s arrogant. “You’re ruthless when you need to be. Cruel sometimes.” James hung up over the word ‘cruel’ before apologizing. She perceived this as an apology for the affair.

Olivia followed James into the lift where they “collided” and kissed. Now, it turns out he actually left teeth marks where he bit her above the left nipple. Things turned nasty afterwards and she ended up getting scared. James even ripped her underwear.

After originally consenting, Olivia told him “not here” but it was no good. After several minutes he “shoved it inside me.” According to Olivia’s statement, James told her “not to be such a prick tease.”

As Olivia begins sobbing and breaking down into tears, court is adjourned for a recess. When it reconvenes, the defence takes over and Angela Regan questions her. It’s an interesting tact, especially as she clings to the notion of the passionate kissing and Olivia’s blouse not being ripped. Furthermore, Angela points out that she didn’t actually say no, just “not here” and continues on to mention, in detail, all the different instances they were together.

With police records at hand, Angela even reinforces Olivia’s point by showing that even in the police report , the word “no” wasn’t even mentioned.

While this is going on, news spreads that some of the Conservative Party are on the verge of voting No Confidence for the PM. Chris think he should distance himself from James publicly, but Tom refuses to do so, telling his aide he’ll “do what needs to be done.”

Back home, the case takes a drastic turn as James is told about an assault on a girl called Holly Berry back during his Oxford uni days. Of course, Sophie knew exactly who this is but he remains stoic and confused over his ties to her. Apparently she’s abroad and can’t be found, at least according to Chris anyway.

The past is mired in controversy, which we see via flashbacks. While at university together, James found Tom up on the roof smoking smack. Convincing him to stop and heading downstairs, they find one of their friends, Alec, still up on the roof. “You can do it! We believe in you!” Tom calls as the pair walk away laughing. However, a sickening splat soon stops their giggles. Alec has jumped and fallen to his doom.

James promises to keep this between them, hiding the truth and making sure they’re not found. That night, as an ambulance arrives on campus, James is left with Tom’s drugs and he covers for his friend. This also goes some way to explain why they have such a tight bond.

As the episode closes out, our wild cameraman goes on a bit of a bender again, rotating the camera annoyingly around and around in circles like this is some sort of looping rollercoaster. Sophie questions whether James really could have raped Holly, as the episode comes to a close.

The Episode Review

The third episode sees Olivia’s statement completely ripped apart and the possibility of her lying brought up for the whole court to see. However, 3 episodes down and I’m still not quite sure who we’re supposed to be rooting for here.

James isn’t a likable character and there’s not a whole lot of depth with Sophie but yet these two get the lion’s share of the run-time. Beyond Olivia’s teary confessions, we don’t actually see her outside the court, nor do we actually understand how this assault has changed her life.

That’s particularly frustrating given I (like many others watching I imagine! find myself rooting for Olivia to take down this lying Tory MP.

Anatomy of a Scandal ultimately arrives at the midway point of this court drama with a rather shaky story and a group of characters who aren’t very likable. Hopefully the second half improves.

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


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