If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does this mean a dark ending for Olivia Pope in the final season of Scandal? According to a recent visit to the set of the show by Variety, that might be the case.
“Olivia’s sitting in the highest seat,” said Washington to Variety. “Anything that jeopardizes her ability to show up for the republic is potentially a problem. Relationships are not the most important thing right now, unless that relationship serves and enhances her ability to wield her power in the ways that she needs to.”
It's safe to say that Olivia Pope has a lot of her plate in the final season. Like her father, played by Joe Morton, Pope faces the difficulty of navigating an extraordinary amount of power as the new head of B613. She is also the chief of staff to the first female president.
What does her on-screen father think about her new position of power? “I think that’s what Rowan’s big worry is. When you get that much power, morality goes out the door because you think everything you’ve done is for all of the right reasons," he shared with Variety.
It is difficult to ignore the parallels between the people in office on Scandal and the people in office in reality. A wise uncle of a popular superhero once said, "With great power comes great responsibility." Like Spiderman, I think 2016 and 2017 so far could have used an Uncle Ben. Irresponsibility and thoughtlessness have been key themes as well as genuine worries of corruption and malice in our government. Has power corrupted absolutely? Donald Trump time and again appears to be more concerned with displays of power rather than understanding, solutions, or progress. Case and point: why go on about professional athletes expressing their right to freedom of expression when there are cities and countries in disrepair and thousands displaced by natural disasters?
It seems as though his worries have already started to come to pass. At the end of last season, Olivia was instrumental in arranging the death of the former vice president with the plan of replacing him with Cyrus. “She is going into this time and this position having been able to watch a lot of people make mistakes, and so hopefully she takes all of that wisdom with her and doesn’t walk down the same paths,” Washington says, hoping the best for her character.
Season 7 starts off 100 days into Mellie's presidency, and actress Bellamy Young alluded to a "dance" of power between her character and Washington's. “There’s so much kerosene they’re both sitting on and they’re just one little match flick away from an explosion,” Young said during the set visit.
Kerry Washington believes that rather than changing who you are, fame and power "reveals who you are." What will this newfound power reveal about her character Olivia? Only time will tell.
Scandal premieres on October 5 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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