Protecting Others Before Ourselves: “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie” recap
There’s an old, somewhat trite saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover. The outside isn’t necessarily representative of the inside. In fact, it can be misleading almost entirely. What do you find on a book cover? The title of something and the name of who wrote it. Now, anyone who reads knows that a title will only make sense, truly, with the context of the novel. And the name of the person who wrote it, who crafted the story, isn’t really indicative of much hard fact. Both might catch an eye, but neither explain what you’d find inside.
And it’s really the inside of everything that counts, isn’t it? What’s hidden without our pages, unavailable to the outside world, without a bit of effort and time? I’d say that this is the theme of last week’s episode of Scandal (Everything’s Coming Up Mellie), which revealed so much that, perhaps, we’d previously written off – judging by the outside.
First, let’s talk about mothereffin’ Quinn. Huck has been ignoring her in a vain effort to protect her pretty much from herself. He sees the tendencies in her that lean toward murderous and crazy – and a “whiskey” addiction. He is, undoubtedly, trying to save her by not exposing her to his life, anymore. But like anyone who has been given a taste of something a bit untoward and morally questionable – and liked it – Quinn’s hungry for it. She can’t stop. She won’t stop. She – you get the picture. She is conveniently befriended by Charlie, Huck’s once upon a time friend and colleague. And, initially, it’s almost sweet. They bond at the shooting range, and he kind of becomes a surrogate Huck, with decidedly more overt romantic undertones. Because there’s a vibe there, too, between Quinn and Huck. But nothing’s ever happened. So, Charlie enlists Quinn’s help with a scheme, kisses her to get her more motivated, and then pretty much tricks her into killing someone…dragging her into B613, the very place that Huck was trying to protect her from. To make matters worse, Huck ignores her panicked phone call and the person that she killed was the only person who could shed any light (aside from Poppa Pope) on the plane that Fitz supposedly shot down.
Meanwhile, Mellie is attempting to restore her public image with a media campaign. She’s pretty embarrassed when Fitz isn’t where he’d promised he’d be, missing out on a perfect camera op and kind of making her look like a moron. We get flashbacks to happy, relatively newly wed Fitz and Mellie, which is kind of jarring, given their usually tenuous détente. In this, we also get Flashback Cyrus, who was then married to a woman. Cy gives Mellile some free advice, basically telling her that she’d have to take a backseat to Fitz if she wanted to get him elected to Governor. And so we get the genesis of Mellie’s sacrificial modus operandi – past and present – shoving aside what she wants for the sake of Fitz and the glory that comes along with that position.
But, here, we need to talk about the rape scene. Late one night, Douchebag Jerry Grant is three gallons into his scotch (which, by the way, not an excuse for his behavior, in case anyone was wondering – rape is not a crime of passion. No one becomes a rapist if the hit some kind of alcohol threshold. No, rape is a crime of anger and control.), he goes on and on about how he’s a good father, because Fitz doesn’t want to cow tail to his whims (doesn’t want to run for governor on the platform on his military record). Basically, he’s throwing a drunken hissy fit, pity party because he’s not in charge. He then tells Mellie that she’s pretty and rapes her. Now, first, Bellamy Young is so amazing in this scene. It was so hard to watch, because you can see (as the victim) so much going on in her eyes. And if you’re me, that’s when you started shouting at the tv screen, because WHERE THE FUCKING HELL WAS FITZ? *ahem* After the horrible scene, Mellie goes upstairs to Fitz, who has NO idea what just happened, because a) victims often feel like they can’t talk about a rape, because of a fear of being blamed, among other things (because this is the unfortunate, piss me the fuck off culture that we are entrenched in, sometimes) and b) somewhere in the back of her head, she knows what that would do to Fitz and that it would pretty much decimate the pathetic relationship that he does have with Douchebag. When Fitz pulls her close, and she flinches at his touch (contrast to earlier scene of them in bed and lovey), it broke my heart. I felt so bad for Mellie that I just wanted to hug her. We then, the next morning, see a frostier Mellie use Douchebag’s atrocious and unacceptable bullshit crime against him, like the Machiavellian Mellie that we all love to (sometimes) hate. I think we’re supposed to understand that this is what caused the rife between her and Fitz, this silent, unknown enemy of an event. And yet, while I wanted to applaud Mellie for pulling some good out of it (getting what Fitz wanted out of his father), it left me feeling somewhat…icky. That plot turn made me really uncomfortable, which was probably the point. But I’m also not sure that I bought it as a backstory/character development element. Something about it felt…off.
Now, this all brings up to the shark-shaped elephant in the room: little Jerry, Mellie’s son. We, the audience and perhaps Mellie, do not know if little Jerry is Fitz’s or Douchebag’s child. Honestly, I yelled, “Are you KIDDING me?” at the TV screen when that intimation happened. Because…really? That plot point felt a little…unworthy of Shonda Rimes. Not because women don’t conceive children from rape (like some idiots mistakenly sputter), but because it felt like it was merely there for the shock value.
Speaking of shock value, Momma Pope isn’t dead. *throws confetti* SURPRISE! I mean, we all saw that coming, right? It was all a little too convenient with the Fitz-was-on-a-secret-mission storyline. But the look on his face when Liv revealed her mother was supposedly on that plane? That was total shock. You know, what you supposed to feel when it was revealed that Momma Pope isn’t dead. (Seriously, was I the only one who was a bit YAWN on that?) Elsewhere, Fitz figures out that Eli is Poppa Pope and the entanglements just seem to get more tangled, proving that just when you think you know everything, you really don’t.
I’m curious to see the eventual confrontation between Liv and Poppa Pope. Because SERIOUSLY? Wrangling Quinn into committing murder? That isn’t going to make Sunday dinners any easier. I’m pretty much biding my time until she roasts him over a metaphorical spit.
1. Sally Langston’s husband seems a little bit bisexual.
2. I really hope that Cyrus doesn’t ask James to be man bait.
3. I’m not a huge fan of the deliberately contentious vibe between Fitz and Liv. It feels disingenuous, but I’m willing to see how it all pans out. Impatiently, of course. Because I need my Olitz.
4. Even though, honestly, a part of me does like Jake, despite the fact that I don’t exact trust him, either. Given Poppa Pope’s use of people as pawns, it is reasonable to assume he’d place Jake there to keep an eye on Liv. Because he isn’t exactly father of the year.
5. Why is Momma Pope in prison? And will she get to see Olivia? Um, yes, otherwise that’s a dead plot line. But I can’t help but wonder if Momma Pope is some kind of spy. Although, that might be a little too Alias.