Scandal: Everything's Coming Up Mellie

Shonda, are you *sure* about this?
“Show up for me, Fitz.”

I know I’ve been begging for some Mellie backstory, but did we have to go there?

To misquote Indiana Jones, “Why did it have to be rape?”

When the rape of a female character is handled in a mature and thoughtful way, it can make for a moving bit of story. Was it used well here? Or was it just a quick way to make Mellie a deeper character? They had set up Big Jerry as a borderline abusive, philandering drunk so it wasn’t a stretch to imagine him assaulting Mellie. Current Mellie is clearly much different than the Mellie Fitz fell in love with. Does it make sense that one precipitating event changed her from the hopeful, idealistic young woman she was to the hardened, cynical woman she is now? I suppose it’s possible. Still, watching it happen was shocking. I didn’t see it coming. I was sure he’d make a pass at her, but I figured she’d brush him off and be fine. Not so.

Mellie has a disturbing pattern of using her body to benefit her husband politically. It happened during his first presidential campaign, when she pretended to have had a miscarriage to garner female support. At the end of the first season, she literally got pregnant solely to help her husband win back favorability after his sex tape with Olivia leaked. Her rape is where it happened first. The breakfast scene was very troubling. Instead of taking some action against Jerry - calling the police, telling Fitz, something - she used Jerry’s assault as blackmail material in order to benefit Fitz.

I’m not sure how much longer I can continue to talk about this, so I’ll just say one more thing: the Jerry might be Fitz’s brother not his son thing was too soap opera, even for me. Please, PLEASE Scandal, don’t do it.

Onto less disturbing matters. One thing that decidedly did not work for me this week was the reveal of the secret. The super top secret fact that Fitz shot down a passenger plane is now known by pretty much everyone. Mellie knows. Big Jerry knew. Everyone at Pope and Associates knows. By letting everyone in on the secret this soon and all at once, it seemed to lessen the significance of it. Plus, I’m not sure I’m a fan of Olivia being so cavalier with her staff’s lives. For weeks now, we’ve been regularly informed of the danger Huck, Jake, and, to a lesser degree, Olivia, are putting themselves in by investigating Remington. I don’t think she truly needed their help. She might have needed emotional support (her moment with Abby was very sweet) but she did not need their help. We barely saw Harrison and Quinn helping and all Abby did (besides the aforementioned hug) was make some phone calls. If investigating Maya’s death was really so dangerous and Olivia really cares about her staff, why on earth would she ask them for their help? Yes, she gave them an out, but it’s completely out of character for any of them to take the out and she should’ve known that.

Quinn and Charlie. What do I have to say about Quinn and Charlie? Um, the smoochies were revolting (which, I can only assume, they were meant to be). Their dynamic reminded me of Huck and Becky, Huck’s girlfriend of season two. I am ecstatic that Charlie turned on her so quickly. It would’ve been painful to watch weeks of Quinn being so obviously manipulated like that.

I really liked the twist that the guy Liv and Co. were looking for was the man Quinn killed. Charlie could’ve sent her after anyone, but this connection felt neat and earned. Nicely done, writers. Now B6-13 owns Quinn. Hopefully I’ll enjoy this segment of her downfall more than the Quinn-gradually-becomes-a-crazy-sociopathic-torture-maniac segment.

Olivia’s mother is alive. Anyone super surprised? No? Moving on...

Bits and Pieces:

I don’t have much to say about Mellie’s interactions with the press. I thought for one, terrifying second that they were doing a mockumentary-like thing this week. Thank god they didn’t try it.

Being Californian, I really enjoyed Cyrus’s plan to conquer California. I also found it interesting that he advised Fitz not to learn Spanish. Actually, why didn’t Fitz already know Spanish? He was obviously well educated and Spanish would’ve been the best language choice by far for someone aspiring to holding political office in the United States, let alone California.

Cyrus called Fitz and Mellie “Richie Rich and Snow White.”

Cyrus sent Sally to Iowa. Iowa has the first presidential primaries in the country and trips there are a definite sign someone is running for president. Sally wouldn’t be able to visit Iowa on her own without tipping her hand.

Cyrus had a wife. Please let us meet her eventually.

Speaking of Cyrus, the beard just made him look older, didn’t it? I’m forgiving, because what else could they do? Recast? Invent a time machine?

If it was that easy to get Big Jerry to spew out something that secret, I can’t imagine he made a very good senator.

Fitz now knows Rowan is Liv’s dad. Is this a good thing or bad? When will Cyrus find out?


Olivia: “I’m standing in a graveyard made by people I thought I loved.”

Cyrus: “It’s not fair, it’s American.”

Cyrus: “You’re way better at picking out hookers than you are china patterns.”

James: “Oh, you control everything, which is precisely why I want to kill you and have sex with you at the same time.”

Big Jerry: “That’s all you are: my son. Not as smart, not as interesting, but my son, just the same. I made you. I could destroy you.”

Mellie: “Maybe she’s not his type.”
Cyrus: “She’s not his type.”
Fun twist for an otherwise super dark episode.

honestly unsure of a rating; maybe three out of four syringes?


Heather1 said...

While I agree that having Quinn kill the guy they needed to see and manipulating her into being B6-13's bitch was an interesting twist... I couldn't believe how stupid Quinn was!! I can't stand her character. I find her whiney and dumb... and I just can't stand her.

Luce said...

This week's episode packed a lot of plot for viewers to go through. Overall, there were more things I liked than not.

FWIW, I've liked Mellie since S1. Getting background story on how she went from naive politician's wife to First Lady of the United States was bittersweet. I have to admit that my heart broke a little when the episode went 15 years into the past.

In all truth, I'm not a fan of rape story lines. Being a fan of Mellie, watching her scene with Big Jer was heartwrenching. I too expected Mellie to react more violently to her father in law's advances but, at the same time, I think she was too shocked to react. (Like you, I'm crossing all crossables that Jerry is Fitz's kid and not his father's because that would bring about a whole box of creepiness into the show.)

That said, Cyrus' hairstyle and beard were HILARIOUS. Also, he had a WIFE??? O_o!

Though I'm glad to know that Fitz didn't kill Olivia's mom, it still doesn't erase the fact that he shot down a plane where 329 people died. So, it's not as if everything's great. I did like that he stood up for her because he cares and not because he was playing up to the cameras.

I still don't care about Quinn or her dark voyage into assassin school, i.e. B613. Her falling for Charlie's moves made no sense given that she knows how Charlie operates. In truth, I think she's entered the Too Stupid To Live territory.

Finally, like most people, I was totally unsurprised that Olivia's mom is alive. As a matter of fact, I had flashes of the Brystows' storyarc in the first two seasons (from Alias).

Luce said...

I did like that he stood up for her because he cares and not because he was playing up to the cameras.

What I meant was that I was glad Fitz stood up for Mellie. (This is what I get for posting a comment without previewing it first. /o\)

sunbunny said...

Luce - I got what you meant. :) I love Mellie. I've always loved her. I completely reject the idea propagated by some that liking Olivia or shipping her with Fitz means that you have to hate Mellie.

One thing's always seemed a little off about Mellie (to me at least). She's wildly intelligent and fiercely ambitious, but her ambition has always been connected to her husband. She wanted to be First Lady, not President, which honestly doesn't seem that in character for all we know about her. Frankly, I think she'd make a better politician than Fitz and I find it really disappointed she hasn't yet pursued that for herself.

Luce said...

Frankly, I think she'd make a better politician than Fitz and I find it really disappointed she hasn't yet pursued that for herself.

I've been marathoning Scandal for the past 2 and 1/2 weeks (via streaming). FTR, Mellie becoming one of my favourite characters caught me by surprise. Especially because she was a tad generic when it came to the 'wronged wife' angle.

OTOH, I think that part of her will always be defined by her bond to Fitz. After all, she does love him (and he did love her--though not as ardently as he loves Olivia--once upon a time.)

OTOH, she doesn't quite know how to temper her ambitious side. It's taken her some time to learn the art of patience and focusing on the endgame. This, imho, is what's led her to be so impulsive at times and clashing with Fitz.

She would be a good President. The problem is that she lacks the political connections and weight to start thinking of a real future in politics. Or, maybe, she never really thought about the possibility and has only begun to realize it now?

ChrisB said...

After last week's wonderful ode to feminism, we get this episode. Two of our main characters being abused by men.

The writers really blew it. I had written a long, furious piece about this episode, but I'll just leave it at that. The writers blew it.