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New Show Recap, Scandal, 3×07, “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie”

Without a doubt, this was the ultimate Scandal episode. Don’t bother to debate it. It twisted, it turned, it was a fantastic ride.

Mellie Shows Her True Stuff

Mellie is trying to do an image-restoring interview, since her popularity has dropped in the wake of Fitz’s affair. (I know, I know. Apparently, though, they didn’t like Mellie airing the couple’s problems in front of the world. Go figure.)  Mellie’s normal Southern charm is not in full effect: she’s talking too fast, and smiling too broadly, and the reporter senses it. Fitz bails on his part of the interview, and Mellie is humiliated. She finally lights into Fitz, telling him that even if he doesn’t love her, they are on the same team and he should try to be her friend. Fitz mulls it over and shows up for the final part of the interview, where he stops the reporter from bullying Mellie, saying that the affair was his fault, not hers.

Wow, those are some really awful fake smiles. Do they not know about smizing? (Photo courtesy of ABC)
Wow, those are some really awful fake smiles. Do they not know about smizing? Also, look how big Mellie’s hair is. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

It’s the Mellie flashback that really does me in, though. We see Mellie and Fitz as happy young marrieds. We see that despite the cruel things Fitz has said before about marrying Mellie because she was suitable, they were in love, and very much so. Fitz’s monstrous father is pressuring him to run for governor, and has hired someone from the ivory tower of academia to do it: our favorite chief of staff, Cyrus Beene. (It’s interesting that Cy’s academic credentials have been mentioned so often recently.) As an academic, you’d imagine that he wouldn’t have the stomach for the rough stuff, but even then he is ruthless. Cy is very impressed by the potential First Couple, although he later advises Mellie that being Fitz’s wife and cheerleader would have to be her full-time job if she wants to succeed. When she protests, proudly mentioning that she is a partner at a law firm, Cy’s dismissal of this impressive credential is cavalier and a touch condescending. “They told you that, right?” Mellie’s expression clearly indicates, “Uh, NO.”

*I must now take a break from this flashback to discuss hair, specifically male flashback hair. Last week, it was Rowan’s ridiculously uniform hairpiece. This week, it looks like someone has taken some tufts from 1970s shag carpet remnants and glued them on Cy’s face. It’s disconcerting.

Back to the flashback: Cy wants Fitz to run on his war hero record. Fitz balks, so Cyrus quits. His dad is livid, of course. Mellie persuades Cy to stay, telling him she’ll convince Fitz. That evening Fitz has already gone to bed when Mellie has a discussion with his father about making this happen. His father, who is angry and drunk, rapes her. Yes. A shocked Mellie doesn’t tell Fitz, and decides that she will accept the full-time job of Better Half and do whatever it takes to help her husband realize his dream. She reconciles Fitz and his dad, and later gives an impassioned speech at a cocktail party to announce Fitz’s candidacy. And, when Fitz notices that she’s not drinking, she smiles at him happily, telling him it’s early days and not to get too excited. He is overjoyed and embraces her, which means he doesn’t see the look of horror and worry on her face as she mulls over the possible paternity of her child.

Quinn-trigue

Charlie is courting Quinn, and adrenaline junkie that she is, she’s getting sucked in. She stalks him, and when he catches her, he ends up planting a passionate kiss on her and inviting her to work on the private investigation case he is dealing with the next evening. When they get together that evening, Charlie easily manipulates Quinn, making her volunteer to administer a knockout drug to a security guard so that Charlie can wrap up his unfaithful spouse case. To convince him, she brags that Huck had her torture someone, and she got the information. What else would you want to do after you talk about torture but suck face? They have really good chemistry, but for Charlie, it turns out to be all about the job: the knockout drug turns out to be poison, and B316 has it all on tape. As Charlie points out, B316 owns her. Considering how delighted Quinn’s face was when she administered the knockout shot, once she gets over the way she was beaten in, she’ll probably enjoy B316.

Fitz Figures it Out

Fitz calls Liv and pleads with her to listen to him. He tells her he loves her, and she answers, “So what?” (Go, Liv!) He has his men investigate Liv’s mom, which is when he learns that Rowan is Liv’s father. I swear to all that is holy that if Fitz somehow blames Olivia or is in ANY WAY suspicious of her, I will invent something that allows me to go into the television and throttle a fictional character.

Omar’s Comin’

Liv’s team takes on a new client: Liv’s mom. She warns them that they risk alienating Fitz and her father in one fell swoop. They are all in despite this. They investigate Liv’s mom’s death, and quickly find that all roads lead to Omar Dresden, the mysterious passenger who was removed from the plane before it took off. The person Quinn killed was the sole witness to Dresden’s identity, and the person who Rowan visits in some sort of high-security prison is Omar Dresden. And “Omar Dresden” is an anagram for “Amend Orders,” which is itself an anagram for “It’s OLIVIA’S MOM.” Yes. I’ll let that sink in.

Yet another promotional shot of the Gladiators standing around a table. What's up with that? Oh, yeah. (Photo courtesy of ABC)
Yet another promotional shot of the Gladiators standing around a table.  There have been so many of those this season. What’s up with that? Oh, yeah. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Oh ,What a Tangled Web We Weave, When We Need no Practice to Deceive

Mellie and Cyrus try to expose Sally Langston’s womanizing handsome husband. Mellie tells Sally that  Mr. Veep made a pass at a staffer; Sally, stonefaced, dismisses it. They kick it up a notch, hiring an escort to seduce Daniel Douglas (DD to me) at a state event that evening. She fails miserably. Cy and Mellie confer about their intended victim, with Mellie hazarding that maybe the escort wasn’t his type after all. They look over at their prey and realize how right Mellie is: DD is engaged in animated and flirtatious discussion with a clearly flattered James. They are delighted, and you can see the wheels turning in their heads. My question is, will Cy’s wheel turn all the way to James, given that DD clearly has a weakness for men who wear oversize bow ties and give softball interviews?

Other Notes

  • So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu. Is this the beginning of the end for Quinn on this show, at least as a series regular?
  • Kudos to Bellamy Young (Mellie) for her performance this week. That scene where Fitz makes her get into bed and snuggle with him instead of going to take a shower, which she desperately wants to do? Heartbreaking.
  • OK, superficial stuff ahoy. The fashion experts are right on this one: really “done” hair is incredibly aging, because Mellie looks 15 years younger in the flashback simply by having a flatter ‘do.
  • So many thoughts: Could Sally and Douglas be a bearded couple? She’s covering for him. Is he covering for her?
  • Finally, as Selena McIntosh pointed out when we were discussing this episode, the show really went into full gear by focusing on its female characters. Not only was Mellie’s background riveting, but look at Abby: last season she wouldn’t have been the first to put herself in danger by going up against POTUS and Mr. Menace (AKA Rowan). This year, though, she’s on it. And she hugs Liv. Even though it’s awkward for her, and for Liv, she does it, and it seems to comfort Liv a little, too.

    I'm normally very disappointed by the promotional photos provided by ABC, but this makes up for a lot. I won't even bother to ask why he's smiling in the photo. Just thanks, ABC. (Photo courtesy of ABC)
    I’m normally very disappointed by the promotional photos provided by ABC, but this makes up for a lot. I won’t even bother to ask why he’s smiling in the photo. Just thanks, ABC. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

Quotent Quotables

  • “I’m standing in a graveyard made by people I thought I loved.” – Liv to Fitz
  • “You control everything, which is precisely why I want to kill you and sleep with you at the same time.” – James to Cyrus, reproaching him for not giving him the Mellie comeback interview

By Moretta

Moretta will take that applause. Her Twitter is https://twitter.com/GobezMoretta.

3 replies on “New Show Recap, Scandal, 3×07, “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie””

I read an article the other day on Clutch magazine strongly critiquing the rape scene and the writer made valid points. Here’s the link: http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/11/scandal-joined-long-list-tv-shows-rely-rape-scene-make-female-character-sympathetic-im-disappointed/

I do wonder if it was possible to make us sympathize with Mellie without resorting to her being sexually assaulted by her father-in-law? Also, does anyone remember even a hinting at Mellie’s relationship with Fitz Sr in other flashback episodes?

I read a counter to this argument (not this particular argument, the argument in general) that brought up the fact that while the rape of a female character can be gratuitous (or lazy), 1 in 4 women have been the victims of rape or sexual assault. I’m not sure the numbers are higher than that among fictional women who have been raped. I can’t find the link now, but I’ll keep looking.

At the same time, yeah, it seems like TV writers fall back on this trope (that seems like too much of a faddy term to apply in this particular situation, device, maybe?) way too often, particularly in cases like this episode of Scandal, where the intent is to make the audience sympathize with a character we’ve previously been lead to dislike. Mellie’s clearly been at the whim of ALL the men in her life, we don’t need Jerry Sr. to rape her to point that out to us, we’re smart enough to have figured that out without the rape.

And on yet another hand, I do think the scene was done well. Mellie broke my heart, and Bellamy Young is fantastic.

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