ABC’s Scandal at long last resumed Season 3 with an episode that threw a huge curve ball at Fitz’s already tough bid for reelection, welcomed Olivia back to the campaign trail, pushed Quinn to a new extreme and reignited the Liv/Jake spark (if only just for show).
But wait, there’s more: As the hour closed, the First Lady found herself blushing as we learned that Fitz’s new running mate, Governor Andrew Nichols, has long been — and still is — carrying a torch for The One That Got Away. Bellamy Young spoke with TVLine about Mellie’s secret admirer, playing wingman for arch rival Olivia and how Team Grant will deal with the Sally sitch.
TVLINE | Someone’s got a crush on Mellie….
[Laughs] It’s kind of nice, right? Somebody being nice to Mellie… It feels weird. But it feels good. I can’t say it’s a bad thing.
TVLINE | And it’s about time, right?
It’s nice. After years and years of never a kind word… sometimes a human word but seldom a loving word… it’s certainly startling and definitely moving to have someone look at you with their whole heart and open eyes. It’s a game changer.
TVLINE | What was your reaction when you found out that Mr. Jon Tenney was going to be for you?
I adore Jon Tenney, so I was thrilled. And getting to be on set with him has proven to be a daily joy. He works so hard and makes me feel so safe… A great actor and a great guy. I’m a lucky girl.
TVLINE | What are you able to reveal about Andrew’s past with Mellie?
I can tell you that you’re going to enjoy next week’s episode, because you will get a lot more information not just about me and Andrew but also about Andrew in general. could get some flashback-y storytelling goodness. There’s a lot to learn and it’s all fun. We did some reshoots on that, so I’m excited to learn about it with you and see how that all turned out.
TVLINE | Will we learn the reason for their break-up? Was it scandalous or a simple, “It’s not you, it’s me”?
It’s so interesting that you assume that we were together for a break-up…. I’d be interested to talk about that after next week!
TVLINE | Oh, maybe it was an unrequited pining…?
Mmmmmmm…. You’re going to find some other shady stuff about him, too.
TVLINE | Are you excited to play a wanted, desired Mellie?
What I’m excited about is that you get to see another piece of her. You don’t get to see just angry diatribing Mellie. You get to wonder, “Can she allow kindness? Is she causing the dynamic in her marriage, can she not allow herself to be loved?” Because not everyone can. It’s a very scary thing to risk yourself like that, to open your heart and really be seen by someone. It’ll be fun to watch her fail at that, but sort of crawl forward, if she can. For me the quote that comes to mind is William Blake’s, “We are here to learn to endure the beams of love,” because I feel like that’s where Mellie is now. But it’s also going to be fun because we’ll see the kids [son Jerry, daughter Karen] later on, so we’ll meet her as a mother. I am so deeply grateful to have a job at all, and to have a job this great, but also to have a job where I keep finding these full other gorgeous dimensions about this person I’m living a parallel life with. So yes, to have someone look at Mellie with love in their eyes is… [Sighs] instantaneously transformative.
TVLINE | I’ll just put this out there: If Andrew were to make an overture, one could forgive Mellie for obliging herself.
[Laughs] That’s very kind, Matt. Some would forgive, some wouldn’t. I’m literally on the edge of my seat to see how the Gladiators feel about Andrew. I’ve got to work tonight, but we’ve got Jon on Twitter…. I’m so excited to see all the reactions. Especially next week. Next week… you get more.
TVLINE | I have to imagine another favorite scene from the premiere was Mellie handing Olivia a list of potential suitors, as if it’s a menu.
I was being thoughtful! I really tried to cover all the bases, so something would be there, so she would find someone. Mellie didn’t just pull these names out of air, they’re great men! It’s a great list. Mellie doesn’t do anything halfway.
TVLINE | If Liv does allow herself to be squired, is it safe to say Mellie would make it well-known to everyone — especially Fitz?
[Coyly] I think it benefits the campaign, don’t you? [Laughs] Sure, maybe it’ll upset Fitz, maybe it’s a little bit for Mellie, but mostly it’s alll for the campaign.
TVLINE | Lastly, what are we going to do about Sally Langston? Running for president after killing her husband in cold blood? The chutzpah!
The chutzpah! That’s cajones. She is going to be a thorn in our side, a snake in our garden and all those joyous metaphors we love to throw around. We will have to deal with her, and we will — by any means necessary and by different means on any given day. Because that little Leo she’s got running her campaign? He’s slippery! That Paul Adelstein…. I love that character so much. He has some lines coming up that bring me so much joy. Those two will zig and zag and keep us on our toes, but we have Olivia, and Mellie is grateful for that, because Olivia is the best.
TVLINE | I can’t imagine what could derail Sally now. The played the Teenage Daughter’s Abortion card, the carousing husbad is dead, the murder thing would bury Cyrus…. She has no Achilles heel left.
Don’t understate us, Matt. We’ve always got one more card up our sleeve!