Eric McCandless / ABC

Ask Scandal's Once And Future Secret Agent

Rowan/Eli Pope may be semi-retired from B613, but he's still available to help you with your love life, dinosaur questions, or career advice.

Dear Once And Future Secret Agent,

I met this great guy when we were both in graduate school for paleontology. We fell in love on a dig, but then he totally ghosted me and I heard through the grapevine that he married someone else and had a kid. Now it's forty years later, and a shadowy cabal just came to my office and told me that I have to convince this guy to work with me on some dinosaur shit or…else. They didn't go into details, but did I mention shadowy? And cabal? So my question is, do I have sex with the guy or what?

Sandra Dinosaur Lady

Dear Sandra Dinosaur Lady,

First of all, don't assume you know why the guy ghosted you in the first place. I mean, he might have been recruited by a mysterious spy agency to preserve the integrity of the nation. Or maybe he was afraid of commitment. I'm just spitballing. Anyway, if you love the guy, and he's into it, then you should probably just kill yourself. We all know that, if they're using you to get to him, he's just going to have to kill you anyway so they don't have anything to hold over him. I mean, that's obvious, isn't it?

Dear Once And Future Secret Agent,

I am a loyal soldier. My boss seems to be semi-retired from the game, but he's still giving me orders to do things like a background check on his new girlfriend, which is fine. It's a couple of keystrokes here and a few phone calls there, so I don't mind. And even when he ordered me to be in place to use my sniper skills to take out the President-Elect, I did it, even if I was a little relieved that I didn't have to shoot him in the end. Instead, I helped my boss frame Cyrus Beene for the assassination. Sounds great, right? I thought my part was done. Well, now my boss wants me to take the fall and get arrested as the assassin, and then point the finger at Beene as the mastermind. I mean, we all know what happened to Lee Harvey Oswald. Plus, my mom will see my picture on the news and everything. So should I do it?

Nelson McClintock

Dear Nelson McClintock,

I am not a predator, I cannot be a predator. I'm really smart prey trying to help my species survive. You're a boy! You've been coddled and cared for, pampered and hugged. Do you have to be so mediocre? Against me, you will lose.

There. That was my greatest hits. Pick whatever works for you, and use it. I've got to go arrange a few more deaths.

Dear Once And Future Secret Agent,

My dad is always up in my business. He claims he's protecting me, but I think he just can't stand the idea that I might be able to accomplish something on my own. Like, for example, right now I'm trying to get someone elected President, and instead of just letting me run a clean race, he rigged some voting machines to ensure that my candidate would win. Gah! It's so frustrating. Plus, he's always borrowing my Marvin Gaye records and then returning them with scratches and/or bullet holes. That said, he is my dad, and sometimes he gives good advice, even if I don't want to hear it at the time. So should I cut him off for good?


Dear OP,

You are your father's only daughter. And he is your only parent who is not currently in hiding due to terrorist activity. So you have to figure out how to meet in the middle. Sure, he's done some bad things in the past. Like, really bad things. Like ruining innocent people's lives and massacres and such. But you have to ask yourself: why does he want your candidate to win so badly? Because he wants you to be in the White House? He had that. Is it possible that there's another reason? Like perhaps some sort of shadowy cabal that is forcing him to do bad things or else they will kill his daughter? No, a different shadowy cabal than the one he ran for years. Maybe. Or it might be the same one. It's unclear. The point is, give your dear old dad the benefit of the doubt. Hasn't he earned it? He hasn't? He's disappointed you at every turn? What if he cries? Well, you asked.

Dear Once And Future Agent,

I have this hit television show that's known for being crazy and burning through plot and shocking the audience with twists. The problem is, after five seasons, we've done it all. Now we actually assassinated a President (-Elect, but still), and we need to find a way to stretch out the reveal of who and why until the season finale, which is still a few episodes away. And then there's the problem where our lead actress is pregnant in real life but not on the show, and wardrobe only has so many ponchos. What do we do?

Shonda Rhimes

My Dearest Shonda,

First of all, buy more ponchos. Second, give everyone pages-long monologues where they get to pontificate on the nature of power and race and family in America. That will eat up a lot of time.

But here's my best idea: take a bunch of information that probably could have been revealed in one episode, and parcel it out over four or five episodes. Show the entire event from one character's POV. Then, show it again from a different character's POV. The genius is that you can furnish new little pieces of information each week, and then just reuse scenes from previous episodes, but now they will have new meaning, because of what the audience now knows. It will be March before any storyline actually needs to move forward in time. Milk this assassination plot for all it's worth. AND you'll save money because you can do entire episodes with only one or two series regulars, and then they get a couple of weeks off. Girl, you're welcome.

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