WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
The final season of “Scandal” premiered Thursday on ABC, and the first episode, titled “Watch Me,” featured Olivia Pope’s rise to power, breakups and going behind friends’ backs to get exactly what she wants.
The season premiere starts with Olivia Pope strutting through the White House to the song “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy. Do you expect anything less? She’s using her power to make her way to the top, and no one is going to stop her.
Olivia Pope meets with a senator at the beginning of the episode to discuss his vote on a bill President Grant is trying to pass. She uses the best form of convincing — a folder of blackmail — to get him to change his vote to “yes.” Pope tells the senator that he’s in her world and convinces him to change his mind. After all, this is Olivia Pope’s world, and we’re all living in it.
Pope continues to use her power in the Oval Office when Vice President Cyrus Beene talks about getting in front of cameras on news stations to get the word out about their free college bill. Pope says it would be better for her to be in front of cameras and for Vice President Beene to be behind the scenes.
After Pope hands over her company, Olivia Pope and Associates, to Quinn Perkins in a former season, the company has trouble finding clients. They get their first client and find out a spy in the CIA is being held hostage in Bashran. Perkins takes the case to Pope for the White House to get to work on it.
Pope gives the file of the spy to her boyfriend, Jake Ballard, and he proposes a plan to kill the spy to keep him safe and keep him from giving information. But as new head of B-613, Pope makes the calls, and she wants a kinder B-613 and, more importantly, wants to avoid killing American citizens.
Despite Pope’s good intentions, Jake’s argument is clearly the more valid one. He goes behind Pope’s back and tells President Grant his plan to kill the spy, and she agrees. Pope is not happy with this decision, even though the President of the United States is the one that made it, and the President should have the most say.
Pope decides the right call to action is to make a phone call to potentially shoot the Bashrani ambassador’s child. Her lack of power in this situation literally drives her to potentially kill a child. Is her power driving her crazy? It’s certainly not normal to want to kill a child in order to get what you want, even if it’s to convince the Bashrani ambassador to free the spy behind the President’s back.
On another note, Pope doesn’t trust Vice President Beene. She hires a Democratic senator to bribe him with an offer that would make him president in four years if he puts down the free college bill he has been working on. Beene considers the offer since Pope has been taking over some of his duties, but eventually declines once he realizes President Grant appreciates him. The number of times Pope has gone behind her friends’ backs in this episode has me wondering if she’ll have any left by the end of the season.
Olivia Pope’s confidence in her power is what makes her Olivia Pope, but will it go too far? After all, it is Olivia Pope’s world. What happens in it will remain to be seen throughout the rest of this final season.