If you ever wanted to see another side of Eli Pope on Scandal, season 6 is what to watch. Last week, we found out what Jake was up to during election night, and in “Extinction,” we find out what Eli was up to that fateful night. We also find out who killed Frankie Vargas, and the events that lead up to his assassination. And who knows that Eli has weaknesses?

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Blast From the Past

About 50 days before the election, Eli’s former flame, Sandra, comes to town and asks him to join her team of paleontologists in a brand new lab a collector has paid for. Still smitten after 40 years, Eli immediately says yes, and suddenly we see a softer side of Papa Pope.

He’s so thrilled to have Sandra back in his life, he can’t even offer snarky advice to Olivia when she comes to him for advice when she finds out Mellie is sleeping with Marcus.

However, his soft side is short-lived when he finds cameras in the lab watching his every move. Just as he spots the cameras, a lab tech named Sara introduces herself. This Sara person is the same woman who threatened Olivia in the previous episode. Eli puts his guy, Adam, on a mission to investigate Sandra and this group of collectors. Sandra comes up clean, but Adam can’t find anything on the group.

A New Threat

Eli immediately goes to see Olivia at her apartment and distracts her while he searches for bugs. He seems paranoid, and rightfully so. Back at the lab, Eli lures Sandra into a closet with memories of their past together, out of sight from the cameras, puts a gun to her head and asks her what’s going on. She says she doesn’t know anything other than the group came to her, offered her the lab in return for her getting them Eli. He believes her, walks into the lab and tells whoever “they” are to come out.

Eli is quickly joined by two men and Sara. One man, who seems in charge, sits in front of Eli, and Eli immediately starts threatening them, as he usually does. However, the other man in the background comes over and shoots the man sitting down. A power move to show Eli who is actually in charge. This man then tells Eli that he’s going to get Mellie into the White House, or else Sandra dies. Eli makes the deal, as Sandra is his weakness now.

Back at home, Eli promises to keep Sandra safe. For a few weeks, they live happily at his place, while he tries to figure out a way to get Mellie into office. Adam brings him info on Jennifer Fields, Vargas’s intern, but Eli wants more. Adam then tries to rig voting machines in San Benito County, but Huck finds out and Olivia tells him to turn the machines back to win fair and square in a clean election. Eli is devastated because he doesn’t know what his next move will be and election night is fast approaching. He tries to get Sandra to run away with him to Zanzibar, but she won’t go.

Kill the President-Elect

Two days before the election, Eli has run out of options. Sara shows up at his house and informs him that Sandra is being held captive. She tells him Sandra will die unless Eli kills Vargas to ensure Mellie gets the oval. She wants him to make good on his promise. Eli thinks it’s a crazy idea, but Sara is insistent and yet again threatens Sandra.

On Election Day, Eli gives Adam a new identity, and tells him to head to Philly and wait for his instructions. He also asks about Jennifer Fields again. When Eli finds out about Vargas winning, he contacts Jake and gives him a mission (I’m assuming to fake Jennifer’s death later on). He then heads to Philly, drugs a Secret Service agent, crawls his way under Vargas’s podium and eventually kills Vargas from underneath the stage. Adam then fires three shots from the parking garage across the street, distracting agents and police enough to let Eli get away. Eli then gives Adam one last mission — get caught and take the wrap for the shooting, to which he complies.

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Back at the lab, the man and Sara are waiting for Eli, who demands to see Sandra. They want to plan how to frame Cyrus. Eventually, they let Sandra go, and Eli makes the call to Jennifer to tell her to call in the tip that Cyrus killed Vargas. They are pleased, however, the man tells Eli that they basically own him now because they know his weakness – Sandra. And then the old Eli comes out. He shoots Sandra in the head and tells them he can’t be owned. Of course, these people know his other weakness – Olivia. Sara tells Eli that they will always have eyes on Olivia, adding that someone will always be within feet of Olivia to take her out at Sara’s command. They want Cyrus framed, Mellie in office and then the real work can begin.

Later that night, Olivia comes to see Eli, asking if he killed Vargas. And we know how this conversation goes. He denies it, and implicates Cyrus. However, his speech about survival of the fittest takes on a whole new meaning now that we know the events that lead up to the election. In a final scene, we see another soft Eli as he says a final good-bye to Sandra.

Who Are They?

So who is this new group that’s clearly scarier than Eli? They also seem more powerful, but I guess only time will tell about that one. Even though I know Eli is a terrible person, I was shocked that he killed Sandra. It’s terrible that he pulled that move to show his authority, and all it did was make things worse for him. The love of his life is dead at his hands, and now his daughter is being compromised.

I’m wondering why this group wants Mellie in office so bad. She can definitely be manipulated, but what else? What are they up to? What are their motives? Where did they come from? We know Eli is part of B-613, but is this part of that or something completely different?

Just when I thought Scandal was reusing storylines, and the plots were getting stale, I’m sucked back in. I like how this new group makes Eli nervous and I’m curious what Olivia will do when she eventually finds out.

What did you think of “Extinction?” Who do you think this new group is? Why do you think they want Mellie in office so bad? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s Scandal Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of ABC)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV