Scandal Review: Father Knows Best

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Are we sure Scandal isn't going on hiatus after that episode chock full of cliffhangers? Because maybe it should just so its viewers can recover. One week might not be long enough, though.

But then again, if we had to wait longer than one week to get answers following Scandal Season 3 Episode 7 there might be a global mutiny. 

Mellie's In the Spotlight

There were three stories competing for the spotlight tonight, so to facilitate discussing everything, or almost everything, let's break this down into three parts. Ready? Okay...

Mellie, Mellie, Mellie

We flashed back to 15 years earlier before Fitz became governor of California. Big Jerry brought in a younger, bearded Cyrus Beene to manage Fitz' campaign. Fitz didn't want to run on his military record and tried to get out of running at all if he couldn't do it his way. 

Big Jerry bellowed that he knew what was best and that Grants didn't take orders and Fitz would run on his military service and that settled it.

Then he raped Mellie after telling her about how Fitz shot down that plane and he covered it up.

There has always - always - been something about her character that I've found sympathetic. Always. Yes, there was the time when Fitz said she had been given to him like a prize, their marriage arranged by their fathers, but there has always been something about her that has been sort of bright eyed where Fitz was concerned.

Ever since interviewing Bellamy Young way back in Scandal season 2 and listening to her say that Mellie is a woman who loves Fitz, it's just always been something I've believed about the character. She's been scorned and nasty and mean. She is a monster. But part of her has always loved him.

Tonight we saw that Big Jerry took her and instead of telling Fitz, she used that information to get Fitz what he needed, which was an apology. Yes, that apology led to Fitz running for office and winning and then going on to be the President, but there was a moment where Mellie weighed her options and chose to benefit from the incident instead of go public and lose everything. 

Big Jerry isn't the kind of man who loses and anyone who says Mellie allowed herself to be raped and had the presence of mind in that moment to be thinking toward the future should probably rewatch because that's not the scene I just saw.

I just saw a woman be violated in one of the worst possible ways limp to her bedroom, broken and abused... and then get up the next morning and use blackmail to guilt and shame her attacker. I'm not saying she was right. I'm just saying she didn't plan the attack.

She also didn't plan to carry the secret that her firstborn son might belong to her father-in-law and not her husband either, but she's lived with that for 15 years as well.

Part of her nastiness comes from looking around at everything she's given up - her career, her ambitions, her self - in order to get Fitz to the Oval Office since there's no real power that comes to her from being the First Lady. The interview made that painfully obvious. It was pandering and Mellie knew it and hated every artificial minute of it. 

Fitz' affair is insult to the injury that has become her life and she's the one vilified by the public for his indiscretions. Fitz earns a gold star for standing up for Mellie during the interview and shifting the focus and blame for the affair back onto himself. There's a good guy inside him somewhere.

Mama Pope

There is a good guy inside Fitz, and that good guy neither knew that Olivia's mother was on the plane he shot down nor did he know that Rowan Pope was Olivia's father. (I'm guessing he has a professional last name for instances like this one where his identity needs to be kept secret.) 

After last week, I thought that might be the case. That Fitz didn't know Rowan was related to Olivia. I did not, however, see her mother being alive and in prison coming. 

Who IS this woman? Why has she spent 20 years in prison? What could she possibly have done? Was she a criminal and Rowan was tasked with killing her but he couldn't do that so he squirreled her away somewhere? Did he think she was dead and then learn later that she'd faked it? 

So many questions now!

Olivia brought the team on board to help her find answers about her mother's death and it remains to be seen whether that was a smart move or not. They did uncover some leads and gather some information, and Olivia works best when she's working on something.

She can definitely use all the hugs Abby can give her right now, that's for sure. But opening this case up in the OPA offices inadvertently exposed Quinn to B613.

Quarlie? Chinn? Quinnlie? Charn?

Quinn and Charlie grew closer this week, romantically and to a deadly degree.

After stoking the bloodlust within her, Charlie invited Quinn along on what he claimed to be a quick file grabbing job. He pretended to send Quinn in first to disarm the guard and the alarms. What he really sent her in to do was murder a man.

Using the ol' "this pen is dead!" trick to grab the guard's hand, Quinn administered a dose of M99, which caused the man to die. The man was one of the last remaining people to have been anywhere near the flight Fitz shot down before the plane took off. His information may have proven useful, but Command got there first.

Now Quinn belongs to B613. Uh oh.

Other points to ponder:

  • Sally's husband isn't all that interested in women. Cyrus and Mellie ordered an escort to lure the man away from his marital bed, but as it turns out, Daniel Douglas likes men. James, in particular. Horn Rimmed Glasses was way too young for Sally Langston anyway.
  • James lost his job. The way he ran into the cocktail party panicking, I thought he'd broken another Defiance-level story.
  • There was no David Rosen this week and that's always a little sad.

What did you think of Scandal Season 3 Episode 7? What was your favorite cliffhanger of the night? Were you shocked at the way Quinn was brought in to B613? Why is Mama Pope in prison?


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (153 Votes)

Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.


First off I'd like to say Mellie is my favorite character on this show! From the beginning of this series I just found something so interesting & sad about Mellie I didn't see her just as a cold power hungry witch I always knew there was something more to her and this episode explained partly why Mellie is Mellie. I would still love to what her relationship was like with her father and mother I think that would really give us insight on why she is the way she is. I have to respectfully disagree with those who said that if she had told Fitz the truth their marriage would of been stronger! I think the truth would of destroyed Fitz knowing that your own father violated your wife in the worst possible way while you were sleeping upstairs would of broken the strongest of men let alone a weak willed guy that has huge daddy issues! Besides that I think generally most rape victims have a hard time admitting the truth to anyone they feel ashamed, self blame and denial! Yes she used the rape as leverage but for me that is what Mellie does when someone hurts her she reacts strategically and coldly that's why I say that there is more to be told about why Mellie is Mellie! At least we all now know for sure that Mellie and Fitz were in deed in love and happy. I always knew that they were in love at one point! BTW if she is just with Fitz because she is politically ambitious then she would not care if he was cheating on her but she does care because every time she realizes Fitz is with Olivia you can see the pain etched in her face and my heart just breaks for her, that is the reason why I started routing for her in Season 1 already!
Team Mellie


so mellie's kid isnt Fitz.. suspense gosh...Olivia's mum is still alive.wonder what next. i wonder why olivia's dad had to crash a whole plane for olivia to beleive her mum died... props this series... nuclear awesomeness. n fitz should learn how to connect the dots faster. this has so far being the best episode with lots of flashbacks... kudos the creator

Drea xoxo

Called the mum so no surprise, i now stand by my theory of the mother being a spy and the dad sent to kill her. now we wonder what she did and what her role was.....did this stunt help popa pope become commander? Quinn honey we all knew you'd get you're wish and become a member of wonderland. shouldn't have looked to hard in the rabbit hole. hopefully this now means quinn will kill popa pope and finally end B613 or even perhaps become the new commander and leave P&A...? Also confused that everyone has just recently figured out that commander is liv's dad..... how did no one make connections or anything!!!


Ok I'm confused here. Is Olivia's dad first name Eli or Rowan?
And how comes Ftiz never connected the dots. When Eli/Rowan/Whoever shows up at the prison his I.D states Pope,Rowan. Command.
How many Pope are they in the DC area? Spy 1.0 change your last name not your first name.

Drea xoxo
@ Em'

Thats what i was just thinking too!!! which name is it?????? or is rowan a fake name..? As i digress, the episode had alot of gasping and aha moments but i'm sorry, has not changed my mind on mellie.
i understand what she has sacrificed and been through, however another part agrees with what cy said to her before he left off in the station wagon. the quote regarding fitz becoming her life and job if she wants him to become POUTS let alone governor


Mellie screwed herself,if she had loved fitz more than politics they wouldn't av dis issue of him being inlove with another woman,I just pity her.. But then I know olivia and fitz have something that people only dream of avin,they ar destined plus jake is into something,we can't c it yet but I just av dis wierd feeling about the guy,as for quinn, she's such a trouble finder and she's got into this mess,gosh... And the gud news,fitz dint kill the mother of the love of his life,olivia is totally losing it,why did she feel she can trust jake anyway, the dude was sent †̥ seduce her and destroy her life with fitz,why can't she c that.. Oh well,I can't wait †̥ c H̶̲̥̅̊o̲̣̥w̶̲̥̅̊ this plays out


I don't believe most commentators believe that she is not a good actress. However, the writers have her bogged down in this love hate relationship with Mellie and Fitz that is quite frankly morbid. People don't want to see Olivia breathlessly waiting for Fitz's phone call all the time. They want to see her at work getting her Pope on. Olivia has clients, she has work to do. This is what Fitz loves about her, her mind not her body. I got enough of that last season, I want to see the mastermind at work, we saw some of that last week, I want more. Shonda needs to bring it. I dread the reincarnation of the Grey's Anatomy of Meredith-Addison, Shepherd-Sloan. It took along time for me to see the doctor in Meredith because she was too busy chasing Shepherd while Addison was shown as the brilliant one who by the way got her own show. With Kerry being pregnant ,they have a chance to show her mind at work and what better adversary than her mother and father.

@ Akyme

Everytime, I come here, at least one person will comment on Kerry's ability to act , not about Olivia the character but the actress herself. I am sorry but after awhile it becomes too much especially when it is coming from other black women. I agree Olivia needs to get back to what she was in the beginning even if it means the end of her and Fitz (that is hard for me to say , because I adore OLITZ). I will continuously shout it from the rooftop Scandal is not and should never be about Mellie, There are many shows that have white leads but this is one of the few with a black woman ( yes I brought race into it because it is the elephant in the room) and I refuse to see it turn into a story about another white woman, I think we have enough of those and I watch and enjoy many of those. These comments about Mellie being more interesting or being the heart of the show (which I have read from "critics") are just codes for we are more comfortable with seeing a white face as the lead than a woman of color. I refuse to just ignore those comments because these thoughts are what have kept us from seeing a black woman as a lead on television for 40 years and we should not go back.

Ayana kemba
@ mmel

Well for me it's just a show and you taking offense to other people not sharing your views just because they share your skin color is rather odd.Kerry is a black woman in a leading role as a paramour . In love or not, soul mates or not, at the end of the day her character is somebody's side piece and that's nothing to be proud of ( not Kerry the person, but her character) So my Mellie love is A.) because she's a great actress and B.) because I naturally root for the wife in real life and on tv, for me it really has nothing to do with color.

@ Ayana Kemba

If you noticed my comment mentioned that most of us don't believe its about the acting ability of Kerry Washington. I like Kerry Washington as an actress and I love her show but I hate her storyline. She is the mistress of the President, how any woman of color could like seeing one of the most powerful female black characters on television the mistress of a white president or any president is beyond me especially when he refuses to divorce his wife. I am not a romantic, I believe that you should back up your words with actions. If he wants Olivia, then he should marry her PERIOD. It's not as if a King never gave up his throne for a controversial marriage in real life. Oh but a King DID give up his kingdom, his throne and practically his family for love. Olivia acts as if Fitz is the air this country breathes, the USA WILL survive his resignation. By the way, Shonda mentioned on a radio interview that Fitz was supposed to be divorced and Mellie was supposed to be cancelled. However you see what happens when characters take on a life of their own and other TV execs become involved. So its not me you should be talking to its her.

@ Ayana Kemba

Okay - so let's take a good long look at Mellie - how come no one is talking about what a horrible wife she is and the obvious problems within their marriage, all the deception and resentment, she doesn't even care about Fitz, she only cares about herself, everything is about her and what she did and what she "sacrificed" and "allowed". I'm sorry ladies, but if you're not gonna take care of your man the way he needs to be taken care of then he's gonna always find someone else to do it (even though I still believe there are things and reasons that are yet to be revealed about how and when Fitz fell out of 'love' with Mellie). And NO I am not condoning Olitz or any type of extra-marital affair, I am, however, stating facts, it is a reality that if men aren't happy at home they can and will look elsewhere. So let's woman up and be real - Mellie has some stuff she needs to get together too. And I am not in any way blaming her for Fitz's indiscretions, because I do believe in fidelity and personal responsibility but I'm just stating facts. You ladies out there can try it on for size - treat your man like less than a king and see just how far that'll get you!!!!


Why would B6-13 want Quinn? Everybody else in B6-13 seems highly trained and Quinn still seems like a hack. She tags along after people and she keeps failing at spying on people. I think it is interesting that Olivia still has her on the team, but she doesn't really bring many skills to the team. The only thing Quinn can bring to B6-13 is intelligence from inside Olivia's office, but Huck or Abby will pick up on that pretty quickly.


I find it amazing that people can come in here and say that Kerry Washington is not a good actress and their comments are shown, but me saying that Scandal isn't about Mellie but it is about Olivia and if someone wants to see Mellie's story she should have her own show is kept by mediators. That tells me a lot about this site.


I love how this show continues to flesh out their characters with their back stories. Finding out about the rape tells so much about Mellie's character. Mellie's own political ambitions put aside, that rape is a huge reason for her fighting to hard to keep Fitz in the White House and stay in her marriage. She lost a HUGE part of herself on the road to get him there and if he loses it before his time or they get divorced then it was all for nothing. This also shows the day that Mellie became the woman we all love to love and love to hate. Prior to Papa Fitz doing this to her she didn't know how the play the game. She thought she could just continue her life the way it was and Fitz would have his political career completely separate from her. When she used the rape as leverage though everything changed. She became a real player in the politics and she has honed those skills for years now that is how she manipulates it all so well, years and years of practice. Some episodes I really hate Mellie, just because I am so loyal to Olivia as a viewer, but at the end of the day I want Mellie to get a happy ending from this. If Fitz and Olivia are going to be together I don't want Mellie to end up alone and miserable, nothing more than a former first lady. I want her to get the political career she has dreamed of, maybe even have Olivia run her campaign.


I am a big fan of Scandal and I like the complicated interplay of all the characters, however, Kerry Washington, is too 'one note' of an actress to play the role of Olivia, as one of the lead characters in the show. I like her very much as I have seen her in other roles, just not as Olivia.

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Scandal Season 3 Episode 7 Quotes

Mellie: I just don't understand why I have to apologize for his affair.
Cyrus: Because that's how it works.

[to Cyrus] You control everything. Which is precisely why I want to kill you and have sex with you at the same time.