Olivia Pope has done some incredibly badass things over the course of the show — after all, the first time we see her, she's ransoming a baby with a duffle bag that's light on cash, and doesn't even bat an eye. But the Scandal winter premiere might be Olivia Pope's most badass moment yet. Because it takes some incredible guts to play hardball with kidnappers, but even more guts to play hardball with your own.
We already knew that Olivia Pope was kidnapped, but tonight we got to watch the abduction scene reshot from her perspective and see the details of her abduction. And after watching her neighbor be shot and then being smuggled out in an ambulance under the neighbor's lifeless body, Olivia Pope was what any of us would be — freaked out beyond belief. And yet when her kidnappers try taunting her, telling her that now is the time to try to convince them to let her go, Olivia Pope might be scared out of her mind, but she doesn't beg.
Instead, she gets herself together enough to tell them, "I only bargain with people who have the power to say yes or no." And she may be shaking when she says it, but she still has it in her to tell them that no one in that ambulance is in charge. And so, she tells them, "Bargaining with you, begging for my life, would be a waste of my time."
Olivia Pope is not a perfect character, and she certainly has moments of weakness, and moments when all of the things she has to deal with just get to her. But she is also the sort of person who is strong enough to keep it together in the face of things that would break other people. And tonight would be the prime example of that.
Olivia's speech in the ambulance might not be delivered with her trademark confidence and commanding presence. It might happen while she is crouching in an ambulance with her voice shaking in fear. But the fact that Olivia Pope, after being abducted, after being tied up, after watching someone get murdered, and after being shoved into a body bag underneath a corpse, is not only able to keep her wits but also stand up for herself might be her most badass moment yet.
Because it's easy, comparatively when you have resources and power, to be a awesome. But it's a whole other level of amazing to do it when you have nothing.