Scandal recap: Understanding Mellie

We get our first real look at the first lady's past, as Mrs. Pope resurfaces
Ep. 07 | Aired Nov 14, 2013

FIRST LADY FLASHBACK Mellie chooses to set her own feelings aside to further her husband's career -- setting the tone for her time in the White House.

Eric McCandless/ABC

How do you feel about Mellicent "Mellie" Grant? Do you love the first lady's feisty attitude? Do you hate her icy demeanor? Or are you with the bulk of Scandal fans who love to hate her, week after week? Whatever camp you're in, the latest episode shed some new light on the woman who's often painted as a villain on the show. If you thought her anger and ambition only came from being a jilted wife, we now know that Mellie began building up her Aqua Net guard long before Olivia Pope came into her life. The question is: How will tonight's episode inform how you look at Mellie for the remainder of Scandal's run? We're getting ahead of ourselves, but that's how big of a bombshell was dropped about a character we thought we had pegged.

The episode begins with Mellie being followed for an in-depth interview with Carla Steele (sorry, James, you didn't land this one). When Mellie asks the cameras to cut, we rewind through her past decade-plus (15 years, to be exact) and find her and Fitz happily in bed together -- something we've really never seen on the show. The blissful couple is interrupted by Fitz’s dad hollering from downstairs. He’s got someone to introduce them to: Barry Gibb, er, Cyrus. Can we talk about that shaggy hair and scruffy beard? He clearly hasn’t met James yet.

Cy gives the couple a once-over, and he thinks the tall guy and pretty girl are definitely first-couple material. “What is this?” Fitz asks. “I think it’s our first step to the White House, baby,” Mellie says with a twinkle in her eye.

Back in present day, Quinn is feeling more at home on the range, even landing her first shot on a target. And her good old gun buddy Charlie -- who’s taken to calling her Robin, even though Quinn/Lindsay/Baby Huck already has far too many names -- is right there beside her. She presses him for info about his latest job, only to find out he’s gotten into the P.I. game. Kind of Pope & Associates territory, no?

Speaking of Pope, Olivia tries to avoid The Phone -- you know, the one she’s thrown away before -- only to run back into her apartment to answer it anyway. But this isn’t pillow talk. Liv is still angry about that whole Fitz-killling-her-mom-but-refusing-to-talk-about-it thing. She tells Fitz that they’re strangers now and yells into the phone, “I’m surrounded by men who have a body count.” He still won’t talk about it, but he does say he loves Liv. Her response: “So what?” He also urges her to stay away from Jake, and she casually mentions that she is acquainted with Rowan -- a.k.a., her dad. Fitz is one step closer to knowing just who Rowan is.

That whole warning didn’t really take, as Liv heads straight to meet Jake at the office to delve deeper into Remington. OPA’s latest client? Olivia’s late (?) mom.

NEXT: Young Cy pitches his presidential plan

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