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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?

Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (152 Votes)

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

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I'm going to go ahead and call it now - Mama Pope had something to do with the bomb aboard the plane. It's my suspicion that Olivia's mom had something to do with that bomb and that is the reason why she's in jail and has not been allowed to see her daughter in over 20 years. The way she demanded to see her daughter tells me she's not a good gal. As soon as they said that someone was escorted out of the plane, I immediately knew that Olivia's mom was alive. I gotta give it to Shonda for throwing in the Omar Dresden name to divert viewers, but it just makes sense that Mama Pope lives. Her being alive is the only way that Olivia can ever forgive Fitz. Mellie's storyline was great! I can see know why she's so determine to keep Fitz in office. Though she's tough and is willing to do whatever it takes, she lacks the self confidence in herself to believe that she can do things for her own benefit or success - so she fights for others mainly Fitz. Like the reviewer I do believe she loves Fitz, and to some degree Fitz loves her, or at least loved her dearly at one point. Unfortunately though this marriage is toxic for both Mellie and Fitz. That was a great backstory that made clearly understand the character of Mellie a lot more. I'm excited to see how all these threads start coming together and as things get revealed how it affects all parties involved.

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I loved seeing the scenes with the newly married Mellie and Fitz. It was lovely. And I liked their making up of Cyrus to look younger. And I adore Khandi Alexander and Barry Bostwick (nice seeing him playing such a nasty role) - so a win-win episode all round.

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@ Fudgefase

I thought the same thing about MaMa Pope! Olivia is already surrounded by murderers why not add another;) it'll be interesting how it all plays out.

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Kasey, that is not what happened at all. You are simply making up stuff we haven't seen to argue a point that isn't true. I think Mellie loved Fitz as much as Olivia does now. She sold her soul just like Olivia to get Fitz in office and keep him there. Her keeping quiet on that rape is Olivia keeping quiet about Verna or that intern or Defiance. Fitz is a user. He's weak. The problem is these women are weaker. They drink the kool-aid. They chose for America someone who is not a good leader or a good person. I understand why Mellie does it. She sold her soul years ago for a worthless man and can't accept it. If liv keeps at it she will be Mellie one day.

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@ CJ

What exactly did I make up? That Mellie was never in love with Fitz? Then I think you need to re-watch Season 2, Episode 2, where she says "We were never....but we were always partners and we were always friends".
Or you could watch Season 2, Episode 18 where Mellie and Fitz have a long discussion about how they met and what their marriage was based on and Mellie says, "Every married couple alive pretends. They pretend they don't hate their in-laws or their husband's stupid jokes or their wife's laugh or that they don't actually love one of their children more than the others. Marriage is, well, it's almost all pretend. For everyone. That's the reality. That's what's real. Buying into the delusion that there's any other way to live together, to get through an entire life together, that's, well that's the fantasy. That's pretending."
Like I said, I think one can and should separate Mellie's rape from Mellie's political ambition. I think Mellie was going to do whatever she had to do to become First Lady, first of California then the US. But she could have stood up for herself before the rape happened, and she chose not to.
The rape changed everything. The rape put Mellie into a corner that nobody should ever be pushed into. For that, I pity Mellie.

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@ CJ

Rape is personal. There is no comparison - Liv could forgive Fitz for Verna, Verna was a bad guy and delusional, who try to have Fitz killed and almost succeeded. When you say intern do you mean Amanda, remember, she was a plant and yes Fitz slept with her once, he didn't kill her, Cyrus did. Defiance was all Liv. So like I said, Mellie was raped by her Father in Law and instead of letting everyone know exactly what kind of man he really was, especially her husband she blackmailed him instead. No matter how sweet she looked that was a very calculated move. All down hill from there between her and Fitz. So do you think her first born is Big Jerry's. You know it is.

Miranda wicker
@ CJ

I agree with everything you just said here except I don't think Fitz was worthless when she sold her soul for him and while I don't like him, I do't think he's worthless now. I think he's weak and has never been able to stand up for himself, but I think he's a pawn in his dad's game just as much as anybody else is. I, too, understand why Mellie has done everything she's done. She's given up absolutely EVERYTHING for him.

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@ Miranda Wicker

oh come on! Mellie chose to give up everything. She didn't have to enter into a marriage of convenience, she chose to do that.
Season 2, episode 2...Mellie said,
"We were never....but we were always partners and we were always friends."
Where in that statement is anything resembling love?
I feel nothing but pity for Mellie. Here's a woman who was top of her class at Harvard Law, yet didn't believe in herself enough to NOT sell herself into a marriage of convenience.

Charmed jenna

"There's a good guy in there somewhere". Sometimes I think you're way to quick to vilify Fitz. Or maybe you're just too much on the Jake/Olivia ship. However it lends s scent of bias in an otherwise very good review.

Miranda wicker
@ Charmed-Jenna

The statement was meant tongue in cheek, but when it comes to his marriage, Fitz is rarely a good guy, and I'm sorry, but carrying on an affair doesn't win him any points with me. What we really need to see is what happened between Fitz and Mellie when he was the governor. That's the hole in this story.

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You didn't talk about the irony of the title of the show. "Everything's Coming Up Mellie" is a play on "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from the play and movie 'Gypsy'. And for all of us who know how Gypsy Rose Lee's life goes, the title of the show fits. Mellie had the opportunity to stand up for herself, BEFORE the rape and didn't. She could have stood up to both Cyrus and Big Gerry and told them that she was going to continue working--no matter what Fitz decided to do.
I also think that we need to separate Mellie's rape from Mellie's political ambitions. No woman asks to be raped and if Big Gerry were alive I would say that he needs to be strung up by a certain male appendage. That does not take away from the fact that Mellie sold herself into a marriage with a man she was not in love with in order to achieve her goal of being First Lady. I think Bellamy Young plays this role brilliantly but I think that she (and you) have it completely wrong about Mellie being in love with Fitz; she's not. I think she liked him, but she knew their marriage was being arranged, whereas Fitz didn't. I think Fitz genuinely really liked Mellie at the beginning, but her untreated rape trauma changed her and in that changed their marriage.
Anyway...I've said the entire time that we didn't know everything about Remington; and I was right. MamaPope is alive!
And now Fitz knows that Rowan is Olivia's father. Heaven help Rowan. Because now that Fitz knows this he's going to do all he can to protect the woman he loves from the man who gave the order to shoot that plane down that carried her mother.
Next week is going to be sooooooo good!

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@ Kasey Henton

And there's that suggestion that Gerry might be the father of their first child, not Fitz...

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I find focusing on whether he killed Olivia's mother trivial. Fitz killed more than one hundred people that day. My guess there are a lot of Olivia popes because of him. Liv was right. She is surrounded by muderers.

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A lot of black women are calling out Shonda for not addressing the violence against Olivia - concussion and sex tape from Jake and choking by Huck as if WOC don't matter but violence against a White women does. I feel sorry for Mellie but she used that rape for political gain instead of distancing herself from Big Jerry. Then in season 2 on the campaign trail she was all over Big Jerry like he was her best friend - hugging and giggling. YUCK Mellie has mental issues and needs counseling. I have really mixed emotions about this episode. I wish Big Jerry had died a violent death instead of a heart attack. I'm looking forward to Mama Pope and Harrison's story. But I'm tired of Quinn being stupid and Jake being useless.

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@ Anon

I agree on finding out more on Mama Pope and Harrison's story. If they are as crazy as Mellie it will make for more amazing television. I am also sick and tired of Quin and Jake and wish we could see less of them!!

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@ Jay

So am I. Of Quinn. Why throw away your new chance at a life as Quinn for sadistic pleasure? Just be an awesome gladiator and gladiate, goddamnit. I guess they singled out the right woman to frame for the bombing of Cytron. Pfft.

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THAT WAS THE BEST EPISODE EVER FOR THIS SEASON! I was glued to my tv screen from beginning to end. Yap so many freaking cliffhangers too numerous to count but oh so delicious. What can you say about these characters? Everyone has there secrets and we can either love them or hate them at times bc we want to mold them into these perfect beings but they remind everyone that no one is perfect even though they take that statement to varying extremes :)
Had a feeling MommaPope was alive but like you said there are so many questions that need answering. Damn if Scandal doesn't get any emmys next year there is something really, really wrong!

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@ gem

repeat that

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@ djimdjibril

I totally agree with your comment - I was willing to look the other way when Jake pushed Liv down & when Huck choked her, for the sake of one being a fight and the other being a person who is distraught and seriously depressed. I didn't hear much out cry or sympathy for Liv. I feel very sorry for Mellie, but rape has to be communicated to someone, to keep this silent so your husband can become governor, doesn't make sense to me. I loved this episode as always, but it didn't explain what happen in their marriage, if Fitz doesn't know about the rape, then what else has happen to make them hate each other. This doesn't change my mind that this marriage should be over, We have been fed this epic and beautiful love story between Olivia and Fitz and now are they trying to go in another direction? I hope not.

Drea xoxo
@ Kaston

i thought it was mellie's digression before liv arrived that caused their marital issues. i felt for mellie but didn't like how she couldn't tell fitz! i agree with users stating that this revelation could have possibly saved their marriage but then this show wouldn't have been possible. and another thing, liv isn't the only woman Fitz has cheated on mellie with so leave her alone!! can't wait for harison story and still say he is linked to liv in a bigger way, like a secret brother that she found out about and has since done everything to keep him safe.....

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@ Kaston

I think that Mellie's ambition ruinned their marriage. We saw in this ep. that she is willing to make anything to achieve a goal

Miranda wicker
@ Kaston

I don't think they're trying to put Mellie and Fitz back together. I think they're just showing us that they're trying to make this political thing work. The hole in the story is what happened while Fitz was governor of California. Hopefully we'll get to see that at some point.

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
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