SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers.
When I saw this weeks “Scandal” episode was titled “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie” I was thrilled. I have been a fan of Mellie Grant‘s since season 1, and I think she always gets the short end of the stick since everyone and their mother is more interested in seeing her husband Fitz Grant and Olivia Pope screw in a closet than great characters.
So I had planned to write an article titled “In Defense Of Mellie” about how I think she constantly gets seen as cold and ambitious. I wanted to show how Olivia is just as bad as Mellie is, if not worse since Olivia is sleeping with Mellie’s husband, which despite what everyone wants to think is wrong and makes her the other woman. Anyway, I had this whole article planned out until I watched the episode last night and I was left with a cold fury in the pit of my stomach.
Now I don’t write for television and I don’t know what happens in the “Scandal” writers room. But I will say this–since I am I writer, I recognize when others use rape, murder, torture or other horrible things for one purpose only: SHOCK VALUE.
I’m in no way saying that what Mellie went through was not one of the worst things that can happen to a person, but I believe she was a compelling and sympathetic character before Fitz’s father raped her and that this was not needed to add layers to her. I would have much preferred learning about her career before she took on the roll of Mrs. Grant. That way we could see how she clawed and fought her way to top of her class at Yale and Harvard. There was already a story there! The writers didn’t need to add this and having her use what happened to make Jerry work with them made her seem even more petty.
I loved the scene when Mellie was drinking in the Oval Office and asked Fitz just to be her friend since as she said she has to “fight for scraps” over everything with him. And it’s true. Fitz has treated Mellie horribly throughout most of the shows run. But more than that, we’re still supposed to be rooting for him and Olivia to conquer Mellie like she’s some terrible tyrant, but she’s not. She’s a woman who fell in love with a man, got raped by his father, got her husband into the Whitehouse, and the only thanks she’s gotten has been watching the man she loves (or loved) make goo goo eyes at another woman.
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Another problem I have with what happened to Mellie in this episode is the fact that ABC didn’t see the need to put up a warning to let us know what we were about to witness, they also didn’t add an “If this has happened to you or someone you know call this number” message at the end. That made the rape seem even cheaper to me.
My biggest problem with this episode of “Scandal” is that the past few have been all about Olivia’s father, Government secrets and the idea of this being the new Fitz and Olivia as the new Romeo and Juliet. But now that I know what happened to Mellie, I have this terrible taste in my mouth whenever I think of the two of them together. I can only see them as selfish people who don’t care who gets hurt as long as they get what they want.
Fitz comes off as a completely oblivious jerk and Olivia’s been whining most of this season. On a personal level someone who was raped by their father-in-law, possibly carried his child, smiled through his infidelities and has done everything in her power to make sure her husband got into the Whitehouse is far more interesting than anything Fitz or Olivia have done so far this season.
I know that people love Olivia and Fitz, but I think this season needs to reign in its focus and instead of planning every episode around the biggest shock and tweets they can get they should be developing the characters in more positive ways. That’s just me though, food for thought.
Article and Picture Courtesy of The D.L. Hughley Show