This Scandal review contains spoilers.
Scandal Season 6 Episode 6
Shonda Rhimes went to a whole new level with Eli Pope, showing him for the first time with a love interest. However, to others wanting Eli to follow their orders, she was just another weakness.
When Eli is contacted by his old university colleague, Sandra, for help on a project, Eli immediately wants to take part. It was delightful to see Eli so enthusiastic about dinosaur fossils and engaging with Sandra and their fellow researches as if he was a professor with his students. A sweeter side of Eli was finally being exposed to us and I liked it! I liked him.
Well, of course that was just a setup for viewers to have the rug pulled out from underneath them. We soon discover that Sandra was threatened and coerced to bring in Eli by people…well, people we have yet to learn more about.
They, for a reason that is still unknown, wanted Mellie in the White House, threatening Sandra’s life if he didn’t follow through. He abided by the rules and tampered with voting booths to get the votes to sway for Mellie. But, when Olivia caught him and reversed the tampering, Eli’s only option was to kill Vargas.
His hesitation and battle within himself made me feel for Eli so much. He came so close to totally backing down and even pulled his gun away and sighed as if he had conceded. But, a last wind of courage sent Eli’s gun back into the air and he fired the three shots that killed Vargas.
I was so hoping for some crazy twist here that maybe Vargas wasn’t dead, or at least it wasn’t Eli who did it.
Not the case.
Later, when he returned to his new “friends” asking them to release Sandra now that the job was done, Eli transitioned back into the monster we all knew he was. He made one final call to begin the process of framing Cyrus, when these two new characters decided they would continue to use Sandra against him so they could further use his help. After Eli’s powerful speech of how the “white man” feels they can always control black people, he then pulls out his gun and shoots Sandra himself.
Sandra was an unexpected character this episode. Never had we known Eli had a previous love interest before Olivia’s mother…someone who seemed like a missed opportunity until now. Almost more disturbing than her body slumped on the floor with a bullet in her head, was her body wrapped like the fossils in his research facilities. In the final scene of the night, we see him unravelling her mummy-esque body from plastic bags and crying over her and what he had done.
While it was hard to see Eli in a broken state, it was a rewarding episode in the sense that we saw a more human side of Eli. A man who is constantly tortured by power. A man who always has to be better; the best. A man who cannot be controlled because it would tear him down.
For these two people to come in and strip that away from him broke Eli in a way I never thought I’d see.
Now they pitted Olivia against him as his weakness. But truly, it seems that his weakness is not for those he loves…but rather his weakness is the threat of losing his power. Especially at the hands of those who think they are above him.
Even after watching Eli kill Sandra—the woman’ he loves—it was almost more devastating to see Eli collapse at the idea that the indestructible person he had made himself become, begin to disintegrate.
Another great episode as we reach just beyond half way through the season. Next week, it looks like Olivia has figured out that it was her father who killed Vargas and asks Huck to kill him. But, will he follow through with taking out Command?
Until next time!