The last time we saw Scandal's Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), she was sitting next to Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, declaring that it "feels right" to have the full force of the American government behind her. It makes sense, since she's now White House Chief of Staff as well as the taskmaster for the dreaded B613; it doesn't get much more powerful than that.

"She's absolutely the woman behind the woman of The White House," Darby Stanchfield says of Olivia's new role in Season 7. "I think she's very comfortable being in charge. I think she's very satisfied with being the one who has the power, and I don't see her slowing down at all."

Some might worry that this new, almighty Olivia might mean a darker, more villainous Olivia than we're used to. It's hard to wear a white hat when you're signing kill orders.

Stanchfield is giving us a little faith though that Olivia might come out of this mess with a scrap of her soul left. "You know what they say: once a gladiator, always a gladiator."

Scandal begins its final run Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9/8c on ABC.

Kerry Washington, <em>Scandal</em>Kerry Washington, Scandal