A friend told me once that every time Jake Ballard made an appearance on Scandal, her first reaction was to shake her head in sympathy. Nothing was ever going to work out for Jake in Washington D.C., was it? The Season 4 finale of the soapiest primetime soap that's currently on the schedule made it look like Scott Foley's assassin with a heart of gold might finally drop the mic and leave Olivia and the capital for good. So, is Jake Ballard returning to Scandal in Season 5?
There's no formal confirmation that Foley is either definitely returning or definitely leaving that role, though Foley did tell Bustle on the day of the Season 4 finale that if Jake died on the show "my wife will kill me — I’ve got kids to support." So there's some hope. And while Jake himself claims that he's out, I'm not sure I take his word for it. Ballard's alive, for one, which was not a forgone conclusion a few weeks ago after he was stabbed and underwent a sketchy recovery in a dirty warehouse under the care of a mob doctor. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes likes to leave doors open, and has surprised fans with secret returns before (I missed you, Stephen!). So I wouldn't entirely count Jake out.
But just because he can come back doesn't mean that he should. I adore Jake Ballard, no matter how many operatives he's taken out. But doesn't he deserve better? Better than being a runner-up to Fitz? This existence isn't good enough for him. To prove it, here are six reasons why Jake should hang up his white hat and actually ditch D.C. this time.
1. Command Is Always Watching. Even Now.
The season ended with "Eli" Pope, harmless paleontologist, behind bars, his secret identity wiped along with the few agents who know it. It was a master stroke on Olivia's part — she used her father's arrogance and need for ultimate control against him. But so long as Rowan is breathing, it's not over. If and when he gets out, he's coming for all of them. And that includes Jake. Use this break wisely, Ballard, and get as far away as you can.
2. Olivia's Toxic Dependence On Fitz
Short of crawling into the screen and arranging an intervention, I don't know what more I can do to will Olivia Pope to cut this cord. Fitz is selfish, petty, controlling, and married. He's always sought to have Olivia — to possess her. Jake just wants her to choose to be with him. Olitz burns up everything in its path, and it looks like Jake is finally getting that picture.
3. He's Unemployed
The mission is over. B6-13 is dead. Command has been stripped of his power. Circumstances might change, but, for now, Jake is jobless. Seems like the right time to move to California, change his name, and do something safe and boring.
4. Olivia Isn't Enough
If Jake did come back, Olivia would be the only reason why. And she's magnificent, but she's just not enough. Not while she's locked in her nightmare infatuation with Fitz, anyway.
5. The White Hat Comes At A Price
Jake made peace with realities of his job. Unlike Huck, he never seemed tormented by the violent things he had to do. But he's a little tired of doing them, all the same. If he were to stay — to keep the white hat on — who knows what other lengths he would have to go to.
6. It's Time To Really Stand In The Sun
A man can only beg so much. Olivia won't abandon Fitz or her friends or the power she wields in D.C. to "stand in the sun" with Jake. If she did, Scandal wouldn't be Scandal. It would be a nice, quiet show about two very attractive people doing nothing on a private island. But Jake can seek out that sun on his own. And, as much as I'll miss him, I really hope that he does.