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?

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

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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.

James