By Vivian Obarski
Trying to figure out what alignment people (fiction or reality) are has always been a fun mental exercise for me as a gamer. For those of you unfamiliar with what alignments are, it’s basically a way to describe characters’, societies’ and monsters’ morals and ethics are within a game.
Originally fairly simple in the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the alignments were basically split among three categories — lawful, neutral and chaotic (the labels themselves should be fairly self-evident). Later editions of Dungeons and Dragons opened it up to two axis adding good, neutral and evil to the lawful, neutral and chaotic alignments. Obviously this opened up the character possibilities to nine different alignments.
Since then, there’s been various memes of different pop culture characters being put into these alignments. There’s one for The American version of The Office:
And The Big Lebowski:
And countless others, which often create discussion on characterization, writing and acting choices.
Given that Scandal’s been on winter break, I’ve had time to think about the alignments of Pope and Associates, as well as discuss them with Keidra (because that’s often a fun way to wile away some time because I am a dork), and I think that I’ve figured out the alignments of most of the characters.
Not surprisingly, the number of good-aligned characters are in the single digits. It’s because of the writing of the show, where everyone is seen as almost anti-heros, which lends to the complexity of characters and the writing (as well as over the top soapy moments).
The only two Lawful Good characters I could think of from Scandal were David Rosen and Jake Ballard
Putting David in the Lawful Good box was pretty easy to be honest. Even though at times he seems like the Wile E. Coyote to the OPA gang, the motivations for his actions have been primarily related to upholding the law. He’s chased down Defiance not for personal glory, but because it was his job as Assistant US Attorney. Even when he worked with OPA and stole their information (supposedly to sell to Billy Chambers), he ended up turning it in as evidence against the little weasel and earning his job back. Hey, Lawful Good doesn’t always mean selfless.
Jake Ballard as Lawful Good is a little trickier. True he’s done some dirty deeds (spying on Olivia for Fitz and reporting to Rowan about the whole shebang), but I always had the sense he was doing it under the impression that this was for a greater good kind of thing (we can also question Jake’s intelligence in that matter later). Also we’ve seen him question both Fitz and Rowan regarding his orders, which indicates a certain level of discomfort with their reasoning and motivations.
His disenchantment with B613 is probably related to the fact that the law is being twisted to an ends that his moral compass doesn’t agree with. But now that he’s head of B613, I’m curious to see if his alignment is going to slip — maybe to lawful netural, as he realizes the conflict between keeping order and doing the right thing. Also, I can’t imagine being friends with Huck and not having to make some tough decisions regarding whether or not to look the other way regarding some of Huck’s methods.
Lawful Neutral: Surprisingly, I think that most of OPA fits into this alignment. But then again, I think that if you’re working for a crisis-management firm like this, you have to have a rather flexible moral code when it comes to good and evil.
Huck has a code of honor and obeys a set of personal laws and rules that might be considered evil (torture anyone?) or could be good, depending on the circumstances. It’s clear in Six-Fifty-Two that he’s not comfortable with doing B613’s dirty work in the beginning and is a man trying to do the right thing — so perhaps he started out as a lawful good soldier and then slid into the neutral territory as he realized his talents for information extraction. I feel like he’s on the cusp at times of sliding into evil, which is something he recognizes, hence his AA meetings and his botched attempts to warn Quinn that what he does isn’t something to emulate.
Chaotic Netural: Ah, the trickiest alignment to play in game. If done badly (and I’ve seen this so many times), you end up being called “Chaotic stupid”. Which is why I feel like Fitz fits in this category. He’s not Chaotic Neutral, he’s Chaotic Stupid. There’s no rhyme or reason to his actions — he just kind of moves about depending on which way his hormones are going. He’s offered to divorce Mellie, but hasn’t filed. He’s broken up and got back together with Olivia more times than I can count. Even his whole rescuing of hostages was botched up by his inability to find an answer and STICK. WITH. IT. Granted, this could be colored by my belief that FITZ. IS. THE. WORST.
I’ve debated back and forth about Olivia Pope and the more I mull it over, the more I also see her as Chaotic Stupid, thanks to her being dickamatized by Fitz. In her work life, she might be lawful neutral, given that she tries to adhere to certain rules, but when it comes to her personal life? The girl is a hot mess. She offers advice that really she should be listening to and then two seconds later, she’s doing the opposite. Olivia is a prime example of “Do as I say, not as I do.”
Lawful Evil: Would anyone disagree with me that Cyrus Beene and Rowan Pope totally fit in this category? Admittedly Rowan might see himself as lawful good in how he’s arrived as many of his decisions (to protect the nation, family, etc.), but really? It’s easy to see him abusing B613 under the guise of protecting the republic. Admittedly, we have yet to see more of what he exactly did at B613 and whether or not he was an effective leader to be a real judge of that.
But I don’t think that Cyrus Beene is up for debate. The man knows his way around law and the way Fitz knows his way around a decanter of Scotch. He knows how to abuse it to get what he wants (see bringing back Adnan Salif as a prime example) as well as stonewalling through legal means to prevent ugly truths from coming out — like Defiance or Remmington. He’s definitely evil in the fact that he’s got no qualms about pimping his husband out to get dirt on the vice-president, rigging elections or even contemplating killing said husband. Hell, he doesn’t like kids and he adopted one simply to get James to stop investigating Defiance.
Chaotic Evil: Oh this is a huge basket of folks. Maya Pope I would argue as one of the people fitting in this alignment (Keidra thought she’d be neutral, but I think we have yet to see more of her character’s true nature before we can really decide), given that she sold secrets to terrorists and also tricked her husband into shooting down a plane as an act of terrorism. But like Rowan, this could possibly change, as we learn more about her and her story. Admittedly the romantic in me likes the idea of Rowan Pope as lawful good and Maya as chaotic evil because of the whole “opposites attract” thing.
Mellie (this is post-presidential Mellie, because we haven’t seen enough of pre-campaign Mellie to truly know who she was back then — besides a woman with rather unfortuante hair) I can also see as Chaotic Evil. Everything she has done is out of pure selfishness — that is, remaining in power and married to Fitz. She’s not afraid to use emotional manipulation to rally the troops to her side, nor is she afraid to work with her rival (Olivia) to ensure her husband stays in line.
Charlie — everyone’s favorite smart-assed assassin — is also totally Chaotic Evil. He’s basically a weapon on a short leash with Rowan Pope. Keidra also argued that post-Huck-torturing Quinn is Chaotic Evil, but I’m not sure of that yet. We have yet to see how deep undercover Quinn is in this case, so I’m waiting to see what the second half of the season will uncover, because I have a feeling she’s on the side of chaos, but the exact flavor is to be determined.
Now keep in mind, alignments can change, much like in real life, so these arguments aren’t set in stone. And we didn’t touch on all the characters (frankly we need to see more of Abby and Harrison’s background for a good judgment). But that’s the fun part of discussions like this — it gives you a perspective into the head of the characters and it’s something fun to talk about with other devotees of a show.
What do you think? Did we get it right or did we neglect some characters? Let us know in the comment section.