Anatomy of a Scandal – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review

A Big Twist

Episode 4 of Anatomy of a Scandal begins with another Dutch tilt camera angle. Because of course it does. Sophie has a bad dream, and wakes up breathing heavily.

Kate too is breathing heavily but mostly because she’s in bed with her partner Richard. Only, she wants to be alone, given she’s caught up on the Olivia case and too distracted for any funny business right now.

Kate believes wholeheartedly that James is a rapist, bringing up the power imbalance in Olivia and James’ relationship. Ironically, that’s not too dissimilar to her own ties with Richard, who actually used to be her teacher.

Further flashbacks shed more light on what’s going on here, as Sophie thinks back to moments involving Holly. With pills strewn across the sink, she’s leaving and clearly flustered about something. Could it be the sexual assault we heard about before?

Back in the present, Sophie decides she needs a break and takes the kids out of school and off to the countryside for the day. She’s missing court – which I guess is a blessing in disguise – but confirms she’ll be there when James is the one to give evidence. Unfortunately, Sophie visiting her mother-in-law Tuppence doesn’t help matters. Specifically she learns about how James lying has been ingrained into him from a young age, including numerous games he cheated to win.

These rape allegations from the 90’s continue to do the rounds, as Amanda quizzes Kate over whether she may be responsible for spreading these around. Apparently she’s every bit in the dark as she is, while Maggie also confirms it’s not her either several scenes later.

Kate’s case is getting a lot attention and this is starting to hit quite close to home. She rings a familiar voice from her past but it would appear this case could be very personal for her.

In court the next day, another witness in the form of Miss Ledger (Olivia’s friend) takes the stand. She’s immediately walked back into a corner though as Amanda hounds her over the rape allegations. Kate is seething and speaks in third person afterwards as she comments how she’s “off her game.”

That night, Sophie returns home with the kids and pours herself a glass of wine. James is there, but Sophie is unable to let go of what’s happened. She’s not interested in Olivia though, she’s hung up on Holly. Apparently Holly was there during some of the end-of-year parties but Sophie’s memory is hazy.

Further flashbacks show Holly leaving one of the parties after James did, drunk and tired. In these visions, James kisses Holly and shockingly rapes her. As the camera pans out, it’s revealed that Kate Woodcroft is actually Holly Berry.


The Episode Review

So I’m not completely clued up on the way the justice system works but given Kate is now emotionally compromised and a very focal point of this court case, surely this is a conflict of interest? Furthermore, despite the endearing twist, how did the court not to due diligence and realize Kate changed her name?

However, this twist also throws a more concerning issue at hand and that’s how breezily this series is brushing over sexual assault – and the aftermaths that can cause in a victim – in favour of something that feels akin to an airport novel.

Compare this, for example, to Unbelievable, a heartbreaking drama that perfectly captures this same subject material, and it’s easy to see how far away this show is from that one.

It’ll be interesting to see what direction this show takes now, and whether James will actually receive a guilty verdict or not. Will Kate/Holly have something to say about this if everything goes awry? We’ll have to wait and see!

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

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2 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Scandal – Season 1 Episode 4 Recap & Review”

  1. So when Ms ledger is on the stand. The defense counsel ends the cross with something along the lines of “he raped her it wasn’t consensual”. Why is Kate so pissed and off her game? Is t that as the prosecutor what she wants the jury to hear? I was So confused by this scene.

  2. Hi there. Just to say that maybe you missed, concerning Holly’s departure, that the medication zoomed on is “emergency contraception”, known then as the “morning after pill”, so yes, her departure is indeed due to the assault. Did you notice how James’ assault on Holly matches the description of the “rape” of Olivia? Pushing her against the wall, ripping blouse and underwear……, biting her breast… very similar filming.
    So, my question now is (and I will watch the final two episodes tonight and find out!), did Kate ‘train up’ Olivia to describe her assault in terms matching Holly’s experience? How far did she, like Miss Ledger apparently, put the idea of accusing him of rape into her head?
    As for plausibility…. so Holly abandons English and goes into the law to defend rape victims, but why didn’t she deal with her own assault? Apart from what you raise about possible obstacles to her taking this case…..
    You talk about airport novels. Yes. I don’t think it is at all about the trauma caused to rape victims….. or only insofar as it makes a good plotline. I’m betting James may well get off and then perhaps be bumped off by Sophie, Kate, or both….. And don’t forget that Sophie is far from innocent as a character – we see how manipulative she was of Holly as a student….

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