I am starting to feel like maybe Olivia’s relationship with her gladiators is not particularly healthy.
We were certainly encouraged to believe that Olivia selflessly helped out some people in a bad situation. That they genuinely needed the help and are grateful for it, I do not dispute. But I’m starting to question Olivia’s motives.
For one, they are overly dependent on her because she has weened them to unquestioning obedience. They don’t challenge her. She never has to explain her reasoning or make a convincing argument. She doesn’t have to cooperate with the people around her or even her clients, she simply assumes control and demands compliance.
Yes, it’s sexy as hell to watch a show with a woman in charge and is aided and defended by a loyal crew, but I’m not seeing Olivia treat them as equals, colleagues or people she has to earn the respect of. I’m also not see much effort on her part to encourage them to lead independent lives. Instead she demands more and more of them.
Abby, for instance, sacrificed her love life and chance at a redeeming relationship with a nice guy. The importance of that to someone coming out of an abusive relationship where you doubt your self worth can not be overstated. Yet Abby stayed true to the Gladiator code, made the sacrifice play without even knowing why. And if she complains about it, she can look forward to a lecture about how she’s expected to put her personal needs on hold for whatever mission Olivia sets. I both admired Abby for her ride-or-die attitude and am also dismayed that this sacrifice was just accepted without surprise, reflection or remorse. Really, gladiators, really?
Olivia seems to use her relationship with the gladiators as a mirror in which she can see herself as good person, a fixer, a savior. I question whether she actually wants them to lead normal lives with normal relationships. How can any of them have spouses or significant others? The hours, the commitments, the secrets and finally the level of sacrifice expected pretty much precludes having any significant relationship outside the
I have seen others comment on the similarities of OPA to B613, but I would say the difference is in the extreme reliance and personal bond Olivia forms with the gladiators. Rowan controls them with the stick, but Olivia with the carrot.
So when she decides her “gladiators need her” and leaves Fitz to take up the white hat, I don’t feel it’s a positive, noble or healthy move. OPA is a cocoon where she has surrounded herself with people she has hobbled and warped to her purposes. While they are indeed an effective crisis management team, her emotional demands on them have become a crutch for her and a leash on them.
No wonder she finds it so difficult to maintain a relationship with Fitz. He is offering partnership and she is more comfortable with dependents.
the bolded blew me away, but i’m just giving you a standing ovation, overall. *applause* so glad i’m not the only one that sees Olivia and OPA this way.