Mar 6, 2014

Olivia Pope is definitely Sydney Bristow [Scandal/Alias]

Scandal and Alias spoilers are in this post. 
Do not read if you are more than a few weeks behind in Scandal!

Whatever the problem, Olivia handles it.
Scandal is obviously the water-cooler television show of the moment. Everybody's talking about it. Open up your window right now  you will hear faint whispers in the wind:
  ...what's the deal with quinn...
                 ...i can't believe olivia allows fitz to eat her face like that...
                                             ...mellie is the best....
The show is poppy, it's fresh, and it finds surprisingly interesting ways to introduce plot twists without feeling tired or try-hard. Plus, it's hella fun.

In case you don't watch the show but are still reading this article, the series follows Olivia Pope and her merry band of Gladiators as they squash scandals both large and small, all while having sexy liaisons with a variety of politicians, soldiers, and terrorists (cyber, destructive, and emotional). In Season 2, we all had the opportunity to meet Olivia's mysterious father, which meant that Season 3 introduced Mama Pope, the supposedly dead matriarch of the Pope clan. And not only is she alive, but she's also a crazy, dead-eyed terrorist. So, obviously, I thought of my other favorite series where someone's mother turns out to be a crazy, dead-eyed terrorist: Alias. Over five seasons, Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) had to take down a never-ending cavalcade of money-and-power-hungry terrorists and thugs, but there was nothing more difficult for her to deal with than her parents, two super-powerful, morally ambiguous super spies with both love and heartache to give in spades. She's Olivia Pope but with amazing wigs. Or, rather, Olivia Pope is turning into Sydney Bristow but with a more enviable wardrobe and wine collection. So, let's take a look at the many ways Sydney and Olivia are totally sisters from another mister, including a look at their signature looks, family travails, and bangs:

Played by Kerry Washington Jennifer Garner
Series Scandal Alias
Number of Seasons Almost 3 (So Far) 5!
Profession Secret Fixer/Handler Secret Agent
Executive Branch CIA
Main Female
Herself, Mellie Grant,
Her Mother
Lauren Reed, Anna Espinosa,
Her Mother
Main Male
Cyrus Beane, President Grant,
Her Father
Arvin Sloane, Julian Sark,
Her Father (emotionally)
Good at 
Pretty Good, but Prone to
Emotional Outbursts in
Times of Distress.
Great, but Prone to Emotional
Outbursts in Times of Distress,
Usually around Arvin Sloane.
The real-life pregnancy
of actress was...
hidden with handbags,
coats, and peplums.
written into the show/
Occasionally Rocks 
some Sweet Bangs?
Heavy Bangs in Flashback,
Side-Swoop Occasionally
Bang-a-Palooza in
Seasons 3 and 4
Stern Father that's
Secretly Super
Yep Yep
and he pretends 
to be a(n)...
Smithsonian Curator Airplane Parts Supplier
but really he's... the former head of a
shadow, pseud-gov't
organization (B-613).
an ex-CIA Agent, then a part of
a shadow terrorist
cell (SD-6), then a super spy.
Mother Secretly
Yep Yep
Everyone knew her as... Maya Lewis (Mama Pope) Laura Bristow
but really her name is... Marie Wallace Irina Derevko
and she's clearly... a super-skilled terrorist. a super-skilled terrorist.
So, Mother Issues? Oh yeah. Understatement of the century.
Susceptible to Crying 
Jags that Don't Undercut 
but Rather Reinforce Her
Femininity and Power?
Yeah, but usually
in private.
I mean, that's a loaded
question, but yes
What Makes Her Cry? The President, Her Family,
Arvin Sloane, Her Family,
Alcohol of Choice? Red Wine Tequila
Snack of Choice? Popcorn Ice Cream, but don't give any
coffee ice cream to Francie.
Strange Sartorial Choice
in the Home:
Diaphanous Loungewear
Comfy Sweaters, Turtlenecks.
and Sleeveless Turtlenecks
Strange Sartorial Choice
in the Office:
Indoor Winter Coats Wigs! Burkas! Overly Complex
and Revealing Costumes!
Love Triangle? Prez Fitzgerald Grant
/Jake Ballard
Michael Vaughn/Will Tippin
Trying to Do Good? Mmmhmm Oh, yeah. Big Time

Maybe they're not twins, but they are two incredibly strong female character who are allowed to have faults without compromising their strength, who both gain and lose power through the influence (both direct and tangential) of their parents. And, until the conclusion of this story arc, it'll be difficult to know just how similar Olivia really is to Sydney. Still, as soon as Mama Pope helps deliver Olivia's baby in a closed bank while being held at gunpoint, though, I'll be the one triumphantly shouting "TWINSSSS" out my window. Listen for the whispers.
I can't even tell them apart anymore.

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