Last week left Liv reeling from the information that, you know, the love of her life killed her mother (minor details here, folks). This week takes a step back into Mellie’s life: how she got to the White House (and Fitz there, too), why she has that awful helmet hair, and what she gave up to be with Fitz.
1. Mellie: God, how much better was Mellie’s hair in the Santa Barbara flashback? And how much of a knife in the gut is it when the woman interviewing her on her art tour of the East Wing asks if Mellie feels she sacrificed to help the Fitzgerald Grant political machine over the years? Mellie smiles her icy smile, but we know the truth: the First Lady is a ruthless political shark in her own right, and hey, she might surprise everyone and decide to run against Fitz herself. Now THAT would be a power move. But this week she’s relegated to goodwill tours, for which her husband barely deigns to show up, and picking out a hooker to trap the VP’s hubby and his wandering eye (turns out women aren’t his type, by the way). Potato, potahto.
In the flashbacks to Santa Barbara 15 years ago, we see a bearded Cyrus telling Mellie she’ll have to give her partnership at her law firm up and concentrate only on #CharityFitz if Fitz is going to be a serious politician. While we gag at the TV, Mellie swallows her bile and handles the situation like the boss she is. Unfortunately, she’s then raped by her father-in-law and it is horrible to watch. Just horrible. She then gets her father-in-law to tell Fitz whatever he wants to hear in order to get him to run for office, and then he does and Fitz acquiesces and she gives a whole lady-speech about how happy she is to be with a candidate and THEN she tells Fitz she’s pregnant. This is like that “I’m My Own Grandpa” song. Anyway, Mellie wins. The name of the episode is about her. She has to.
2. Olivia’s Mom: Dead, so that’s a loss, right? OH WAIT JK NO SHE’S NOT WHAT THE HELL. She’s in prison as Omar Dresden, which is the name of the passenger who was pulled off of the Operation Remington plane before it ever left Dulles airport. Excuse me, Keyser Soze, great trick you got up your sleeve there.
3. Fitz: Fitz apparently had a moral compass once, but then his dad, Brad from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, pretty much forced him to run for governor. And now he’s here, in the White House, and walking around like a zombie because Liv calls him a stranger on the phone and basically tells him she hates him. He steps it up after a sobering late night conversation with Mellie, in which she lays into him and begs him to just be her friend and show the hell up. So Fitz shows up, defends Mellie to a reporter, and takes full responsibility for the affair. Because like Mellie says repeatedly throughout the episode, the affair was not her fault...but people are acting like it was. Also, Fitz finally figures out that Command is Olivia’s father. Boom.
4. Cyrus: We get a look at Cyrus’ beginnings with Fitz (he’s married...to a lady!) and Mellie, including the start of Mellie and Cyrus’ Axis of Evil partnership. We’re digging Cyrus’ extra facial hair… nice look, Cy. Cyrus wasn’t under Fitz’s power yet, and he claims that he doesn’t “do family drama” and isn’t sure if Fitz could be President, let alone Governor. My, how things change. Not much else happens with Cy-cy in this episode, minus the fact that he and Mellie (#DreamTeam) figure out that Ellis Grey’s husband has a penchant for dudes. That’s a win (well, not for Ellis).
5. Olivia: “I’m standing in a graveyard of people I thought I loved, that is how I am.” Yep, that pretty much sums up Olivia’s life. She gets her Gladiators on the case, and though she’s there the whole time, absorbing what they uncover about the downed plane and giving instructions, she seems like a shell of her usual self. She kind of sat back in guidance for most of this episode, but next week is going to be a doozy, because, well, her MOTHER IS FREAKING ALIVE.
6. Gladiators: The Gladiators will help Olivia “over a cliff”, so they’re on board to solving the mystery of Mz. Pope’s murder. Their reactions when Liv tells them that Fitz was the pilot who shot down the plane are priceless, particularly Abby’s. Jaw = dropped. The good ol’ fashioned Gladiator teamwork gets them pretty far this week, though B613 is still one step ahead of them.
7. Phoebe Buffay: Off-screen this week working on her stump speech. Way to get to work, Pheebs. Since we didn’t get to see you own any sexism-laden interviews, though, you’re not quite as high up as you were last week.
8. Jake: Jake is apparently a Gladiator now, since he’s just hanging around Liv, waiting for her to love him. Oh, and he’s still trying to get to the bottom of Operation Remington. Because of this, he’s not quite on the bottom of the list, but he sure ain’t on the top either. Banished to mediocrity this week, Noel: you can do better.
9. Quinn & Charlie: Are making out while staking out and we don’t like it. He is a major creep who’s macking on her on Eli’s orders, and she’s developing a pretty terrifying murder obsession. Huck, start paying attention to Quinn again so she stops hanging out with Charlie! He made her accidentally kill the guy who could’ve helped the Gladiators figure out that the missing passenger from the Operation Remington plane (Omar Dresden) is actually Olivia’s alive-not-dead mother! So now Quinn belongs to B613. Dammit, Quinn!
10. James: Fired. Poor James.
You guys, as much as we love getting Mellie’s backstory (she’s undoubtedly the most interesting character on this show), this episode was heaaavvvvyy. We got a lot of info in the last 30 seconds, namely that Liv’s mom is probably still alive, Fitz’s first child is probably actually his brother (gross), and that we need to take showers now after seeing all of that. Blech. Tell us on a scale of one to 10 how icky this episode made you feel, and we’ll see you back for more Scandal next week.