|Shonda, are you *sure* about this?|
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.
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?