Scandal season 7 is circling Olivia Pope around the drain. Will she go down or will she be pulled away in time?
“Talking to me is a privilege.” Olivia Pope is responsible for killing two Vice Presidents and yet somehow delivering this line is the most polarizing action she’s taken on Scandal.
In its final season, Scandal sends Olivia to what she believes is the peak of her career – Command. Mellie may reside at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, but Olivia Pope is the woman in charge. She has control of the military and with a wave of her hand, she can assassinate leaders on American soil.
Can anyone stop her? The better question here is, “Should anyone stop her?”
Olivia appears to be on a mission set for self-destruction. She feeds into her isolation, she is impulsive, and people are starting to take notice.
So far, the only people trying to save Olivia Pope have been the men in her life. Eli Pope plays the role of the concerned father. He enlists the only person he’s seen sway Olivia’s headstrong behavior – President Fitzgerald Grant. Fitz steps into the picture to push Olivia towards a white hat endeavor, before he realizes that she doesn’t need to be pushed, but left alone. Of course, he reminds her that he will be watching from the wings.
Jake Ballard gave it the old college try in the first episode, trying to challenge Olivia, but retreating back to his place as number one Agent under Command. Maybe he has a coffee mug with the saying he is trying to live up to. Regardless, he is taking her hand and guiding her through the ups and downs of her newfound power.
Then there is Cyrus Beane. Again, he is choosing the cool as a cucumber routine with Liv. He knows the role she is playing, he understands the decisions she can influence, where the true power of the Oval lies. Cyrus doesn’t fight, doesn’t challenge her. But he does undercut her aggression by remaining unaffected in her presence.
All these men, each with a history of working, living, governing under Command. Are we really going to look to them for guidance and trust that they know what’s best for Olivia? Should they be the saviors who push her into the light?
Leave the saving to the real heroes
If that happens, it undermines the ethos of the show. There is only one team who can save Olivia and it’s the group who has been ostracized this season – QPA.
There is a noticeable shift in Olivia when she walks into the QPA offices. She’s uncomfortable, distant. Who wants to help the little minnows in Washington when there are bigger fish to fry? After all, would you rather go down in history with a legacy or a mere asterisk?
As far as I can tell, Liv doesn’t know what she wants her legacy to look like. Is controlling the people around her enough? There is no credit in what she does, only terror. Working behind the scenes, manipulating results, calculating the lives of others gives her the high. But in 40 years will she be content without human connection? Without a single person to check in on her?
In the offices of QPA, a new family forms. Charlie and Quinn may be literally procreating, but Abby and Huck are along for the ride. They are doing everything they can to keep QPA alive. The look for cases, solicit help from David Rosen, even get into the White House and thwart an assassination.
QPA provided a channel for these powerful and resourceful Washington outcasts with a safety net. Ex-agents, ex-staffers, anyone who walked through that door looking for a purpose, a place to channel their talents got a second chance. Liv lost sight of this a long time ago.
That’s why it is so important to get her back. This is the group who can repair Liv. But only if Liv finds some way of recognizing just how far gone she truly is.
Last week’s episode came close with Liv and Mellie butting heads over starting a war with the rebels in Bashran. Mellie’s discovery of all things B6-13 took some air out of Liv’s balloon. But when Mellie takes a step back and realizes that Liv’s plan to assassinate the ex-President, she gives her more power.
The more people acknowledge that Olivia is right, that her plan is the only way, the more damage they do.
It’s time for QPA to reenter the picture in a big way. Not as a procedural element to the show, not as a courtesy wrap-up, but as the heroes. The show markets itself around the Gladiators.
It’s time for them to practice what they preach — save a Gladiator and they’ll save someone in return.
And it’s time to save Olivia Pope.
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC.