Scandal: Papa Pope returns with dire consequences


[Warning: The following article contains spoilers from Thursday night’s “I’m Just a Bill” episode of Scandal.]

Rowan Pope is such a divisive character. On one hand, he’s a loathsome man who has done horrible things. He created B613, taught Huck and Jake and Charlie and (indirectly) Quinn to be the people they are today and, frankly, he’s just an evil bastard. But on the other, he’s become this character we love to hate. He gets away with it all because what he says and does is based on the truth. He’s brilliant and clever and knows how to work a situation to his favour. It’s frustrating but, at the same time, almost inspiring.

Aside from Maya Pope, the only person, on paper, who should be able to beat Rowan is Olivia. But since he just so happens to be the one person whom she is unable to keep her emotions in check around, it looks like we’re stuck with him. For the long haul. He might flit in and out of episodes but his presence is always looming. We never know when he’s going to pounce, or casually saunter in; all we know is that his soliloquies are a thing of art and without him, we might (dare I say?) miss him.

After a week off, Scandal returned with “I’m Just a Bill,” and while most of the episode dealt with Olivia, Huck and Quinn dealing with the murder of the mayor’s wife, and the President waiting on Vice-President Susan Ross to wrap her annoyingly winsome head around a bill he was desperate to get passed, it was the first and last scenes that made it another epic hour.

Olivia had just given Marcus Walker a speech about justice and doing the right thing; no matter how much of a compromise or bad move it seems in the beginning, it is everything, so she had to apply her words of wisdom to her own life. And since Rowan is a self-professed champion for the Republic, it only made sense that she would use that to her advantage.

But, naturally, he was ready for her. In that Creepy Rowan way. Despite the opening scene, in which Rowan seemed like he was baiting Olivia to choose between him and Fitz, by the end, that smirk and that condescending, pompous tone was back. Olivia informed Papa Pope that nothing was going to stop the case against B613 because it’s good and right and all of the people Rowan tormented want and deserve justice. And she is ready to do whatever it takes to get that, even if it means the truth about Fitz’s involvement with that plane crash all those years ago gets out. She’s fine with that. Because, justice.

“Justice is, in fact, the point of the Republic,” Olivia spat, and Rowan looked like a pig in shit. It was quite maddening, actually. He put his proud dad face on and told Olivia that he loved that his daughter picked a side and has become the woman he always hoped she would be, standing on her own two feet, doing what she feels in her soul is right, choosing to be a warrior instead of running after Fitz like a lapdog.

“I’m proud of you. Surprised, but proud… We may be on different sides but at least you’ve become a worthy opponent. Bravo, Olivia.” Argh. The only thing that was surprising? Olivia not wiping that smug, shit-eating grin off Rowan’s face.

Olivia told her dad that no one needed to die, and no blood had to be shed but when he grabbed her and informed her that that wasn’t bloody likely, you knew it was going to be bad. And it was. Because of course Liv’s loverboy, Russell, was really working for Rowan, and of course he attacked Jake, and of course it was as stabby as Mickey was with the mayor’s wife earlier in the episode. Mother. F*cker.

Yeah, so all my posturing about how Rowan is a character we love to hate and it wouldn’t be the same without him? Scratch that. I want him dead. Like, slow torture, teeth-pulling, finger-chopping, then BAM! I want it to be messy and bloody and the kind of thing Huck needs to lay down several sheets down for. Who’s with me?

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on City and ABC.