Scandal’s Final Season Premiere Is Here to Remind You to Never Question Olivia Pope’s Authority

Scandal’s back, and if the seventh and final season premiere taught us anything, Gladiators, it’s this: Do not question Olivia Pope’s authority.

Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) may be 100 days into her historical presidency, but it’s Liv (Kerry Washington) who’s calling all the shots in the Oval and beyond–as if there was ever any doubt. You don’t want to vote with President Grant on a groundbreaking bill to make college free for every American? Well, she’s got a folder with your name on it, Senator. You’d rather eliminate an American spy caught on enemy territory than undertake a risky rescue mission? Well, she’s going to move heaven and earth to avoid that, including threatening the life of the foreign ambassador’s child. (She was only bluffing though, right, Huck? Right?) You’re going to dare let a man get in your ear and cause you to question her guidance? Well, she’s got a dressing down of epic proportions with your name on it, Mellie.

As the season opener proved, Liv’s exactly where she’s always wanted to be—though perhaps not exactly with who she wanted to be with. She’s bedding Jake (Scott Foley) while Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) is off in Vermont making jam or whatever. She’s turned the tables on daddy dearest, forcing Papa Pope (Joe Morton) into the kind of mandatory dinners that she was once beholden to. She’s willing to turn to QPA (that’s Quinn Perkins & Associates now, thank you very much) when she needs them, but she isn’t very available for small talk. And she’s testing the loyalty of those around her, as proven by the way she put that Democratic Senator up to offering Cyrus (Jeff Perry) the chance to stab Mellie (and, in effect, Liv) in the back on the education bill. But shocker of all shockers, he doesn’t take the bait.

In fact, the most surprising thing about the premiere—aside from the fact that the show’s seemingly set aside its usual ’70s funk soundtrack for late ’80s-early ’90s rap—is that the axis of power in the White House (Liv, Mellie and Cyrus) are a united front. For now, at least. But this is Scandal, and if we know one thing about the show, we know that’ll never last.

How soon until Mellie finds out Liv is Command? Who will stab who in the back first: Cyrus or Mellie? And what will it take to get Fitz back in the action? Sound off in the comments below!

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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