Thank God for Mellie Grant.
For the second week in a row, Bellamy Young is Scandal‘s standout performer with her gut-wrenching turn as The First Lady of The United States. I honestly don’t think I’d have any emotional attachment to the show if it wasn’t for her. Whether she’s adorably munching on chips over her son’s grave, or snacking on fried chicken without a care in the world, Bellamy has done a knockout job of balancing Mellie’s grief with some much needed humor. In fact, every single scene involving Mellie this week also managed to elevate the rest of the cast. First, Abby had her best moment yet on the show with that magnificent pep-talk (found below), and Cyrus had his only likable moment in a long time during his fried-chicken monologue. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.
And also, how can I not mention Mellie’s harrowing breakdown in the end? The way she removes her shoes, then starts ripping off her pearls, before finally crashing to the ground is a thing of haunting beauty. And to top it all off, the scene culminates with Fitz kneeling down by his wife and holding her tight as she sobs profusely. Wow.
Last season, I pointed out that the cast of Scandal had become severely unlikeable. I’m sad to report that this assessment is still unchanged. I don’t like Huck (kill him off now), I certainly don’t like Quinn (she had her moments last year but that ship has sailed), and I most assuredly loathe Cyrus. His blackmail of Liv in the episode’s opening scenes made me want to smash his face through the TV, and served to remind me just how despicable the once beloved character had become. Shonda, you really have to step it up with the damage control, or there won’t be anyone left to root for.
– Intriguing turn with Olivia judging Abbey’s handling of the press, and Cyrus passing on the advice as his own.
– Funny how after Cyrus’ monologue, Mellie still insists their pain is not the same.
– I did not find Jake and Olivia’s incessant talk about “booty calls” all that cute or adorable. It just made me cringe. Time to go Jake.
– I don’t know if I was supposed to take The Elliots seriously, but the gun-control couple bordered on sitcom material with their hideous subplot and atrocious performances. Good lord.
– So now David Rosen himself is doing some blackmailing? Good for you David; maybe that’ll make you a tad more interesting.
– I didn’t mind Fitz and Olivia’s scene this week as the President asked for her opinion concerning his speech. The speech itself was a great performance by Tony Goldwyn who’d been relegated to playing the whiny child for far too long.
– So Lizzie hired sex-worker guy to seduce Cyrus. I want to say this was a gripping cliffhanger but it really, really wasn’t.
Cyrus: Craving meat really brings out the worst in me.
Mellie: It’s not the same. My child, your husband. It’s not the same.
Cyrus: I keep hearing that. The loss of a child is greater. I resent that, never having lost a child. I resent having to feel like losing the love of my life, the only someone who ever made me feel like I was truly me, is less of a loss, is smaller than your loss. I am now broken. I’m not me. I’m forever changed. I’m undone. A broken heart is a broken heart. To take a measure is cruelty.
Abby: (to Mellie) There are thousands of people out there whose children have died just like yours. But unlike you they didn’t get to spend three months flipping through trash and eating potato chips. They got three days to grieve, three weeks if they were lucky. Or, they would lose their jobs and make no mistake Mrs. Grant you do have a job. You are the First Lady of the United States.”
Cyrus: I never believe Olivia Pope will fail.
MacArthur Park by Donna Summer
Mellie’s gorgeous journey singlehandedly saves this hour and turns it into a worthwhile episode. The rest of Scandal however, needs a lot of work and is absolutely struggling to keep up.