Wow. Sure there are other people in this episode – but who are we kidding? The whole damn thing belongs to Mellie (Bellamy Young).
Let’s bitch it out…
Scandal has always made great use of flashbacks, and this episode is no exception. This time, it’s 15 years ago when Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) and Mellie are newlyweds. Shockingly happy newlyweds trying to conceive. Fitz’s dad Jerry (Barry Bostwick)-unfortunately still alive in the past- introduces the couple to Cyrus (Jeff Perry), laying out the origins story of our dysfunctional trio.
In an “Oh my god is this really happening?!?” moment, Jerry is even worse than we thought. It’s one thing to berate your son (“I didn’t beat him, I’m a decent father right?”). It’s quite another to rape his wife. There are no words. And the look on Mellie’s face in that moment when she realizes it’s real. Also, Jerry is potentially the father of Mellie’s first kid (Fitz’s clueless line: “you know if it’s a boy he’s going to make us name him Jerry”).
Also in flashbacks, Cyrus and his amazing beard give Mellie a wakeup call. If she wants Fitz to be successful in his political career then he must become her full-time job, not that law firm partnership. We see the exact moment that Mellie loses her individual identify and pledges her life to her husband’s success. After which she uses Jerry’s rape as leverage to get him to support Fitz and pump him up for the gubernatorial run.
The entire flashback sequence is beautifully interspersed with present day Mellie, seeing her evolve completely into her role with the bitterness that has set in over the past 15 years. With a pasted smile on her face, Mellie has a camera crew follow her all day pretending that china patterns and art restoration are her passion to boost Fitz’s chances for reelection.
Meanwhile, Pope & Associates’ new client is Liv’s (Kerry Washington) mom (Khandi Alexander). Liv finally lets her team in on what’s going on with Fitz shooting down Flight 522. (Side Note: why does she bother giving her gladiators an out because it could be dangerous? She’s already told them the truth. At this point, they’d be on Rowan’s hit list, right? Also, they’re gladiators, psht).
The team discovers that one person, Omar Dresden, debarked before the flight took off and was subsequently shot down. When Rowan (Joe Morton) goes to visit said person in what appears to be an off-the-books prison, it turns out to be LIV’S MOM! Rowan’s kept her locked up for the past 20 years…what?
You know how sometimes an event is so depressing you try to block it out of your mind? That’s the entire Quinn (Katie Lowes) and Charlie (George Newbern) subplot for me. But I guess it should be mentioned since Charlie tricked Quinn into killing the witness who removed “Omar Dresden” from the plane. Now she belongs to B613. Does this mean we can throw the storyline into the B613 hole now?
- After seeing what she’s been through, it was gut-wrenching hearing Mellie tell Fitz “If you knew the sacrifices I’ve made, the things I’ve given up…and you shame me.” Minor kudos to Fitz for stepping up and defending her in the interview (it took him a bit too long…).
- The Charlie and Quinn makeout? I think screaming “EWWW” at my TV was an appropriate response.
- Cyrus used to be married to a woman!
- I don’t think it was a great strategy for Mellie to tell the reporter that she couldn’t remember what foreign policy issue was causing Fitz to miss the interview, that her “eyes glazed over.” Not exactly comforting to hear from a First Lady.
- Over in Operation Destroy Sally Langston, Cyrus and Mellie collude to set up a honey trap for Dan Douglas (Jack Coleman). Watching the two of them select the best escort for the job on the internet was hilarious, and a much needed bit of levity in the heavy episode. However, their plan backfires when it turns out Dan likes boys! Or more specifically, James (Dan Bucatinsky).
• James (to Cyrus): “You control everything, which is precisely why I want to kill you and have sex with you at the same time.” Haven’t we all been there?
What did you think of the episode? Do you agree that this should be Bellamy Young’s invitation to the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Emmy nomination? Sound off below!
Scandal airs at 10pm EST, Thursdays on ABC.