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Ruminations on SCANDAL’s Mama Pope

Consider the following TV scenario: A TV Mom presumed dead by her Daughter—who’s also pretty sure that Dad knows more than he’s shared—returns to Daughter’s orbit under mysterious circumstances. Daughter is thrilled. Dad is pissed about the budding camaraderie and warns Daughter that Mom is not to be trusted. As Daughter and Mom catch up, Mom’s unexpected criticism of Daughter’s softer side causes Daughter’s Spidey-sense to tingle. Daughter digs deeper and discovers—much to her horror—that Mom is actually an infamous, foreign killer-for-hire. Mom is also, naturally, a manipulative and deft liar with easy access to money, transportation, weapons, and couture, whose motives—and intentions for Daughter—are never quite clear. Daughter is at a loss and not quite sure how to proceed.
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To which TV series and mom am I referring?
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I could be describing Scandal‘s Mama Pope (Khandi Alexander) . . . but as any Alias fan would tell you, I could also be talking about the series’ own mysterious mother Irina Derevko (Lena Olin).
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To be fair, any number of TV characters share a significant number of traits when viewed at the right level of abstraction . . . I suppose I just didn’t expect to encounter such a quasi-doppelgänger on Scandal. I’ve come to expect a high level of unique creativity from the series and its creator Shonda Rhimes—and, having rarely been disappointed, I eagerly await the inventive (and probably twisted) means Rhimes and Scandal use to differentiate Mama Pope.
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For the moment, it seems like a safe bet that Mama Pope does not—and, perhaps, does not want to—wear the white hat . . . so I wonder: What are Mama Pope’s ultimate objectives? How many others is she willing take down (or take out) to achieve them? And, having undoubtedly scorched the earth behind her, will she also salt it?
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Only time will tell . . . but I know where I’ll be at 10PM tonight (and every Thursday night ’til the season finale): Physically, on my couch; mentally (and emotionally), in ShondaLand.

ABC‘s Scandal (@ScandalABC) returns tonight at 10|9c (finally!) with “Ride, Sally, Ride” (#3.11).

What do you think about the Mama Pope mystery?
Share your Mama Pope conspiracy theory in the comments below!

Featured Image: © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

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The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.