For Mellie Grant, Scandal‘s Season 4 finale marked the best of times… and then the very worst.
“Poor Mellie, man…,” Bellamy Young laments, reflecting on the quicksilver series of unfortunate events that found her ambitious alter ego getting ejected from the White House she called home. “It should be the best time in the world — she got her senate seat! — but it’s like the worst, because Fitz kicked her out. And he was so cold when he did it.”
Adding insult to the considerable injury, Young says, “She knows in her heart that Fitz has Olivia on speed dial as the door is shutting behind her” — meaning, Mr. President’s lips likely never had a chance to get cold before Olivia arrived on the scene, for that warm, season-ending reunion. (“Oh,” Young scoffs, “his lips were never cold, that Fitz.”)
REWATCH FITZ GIVE MELLIE, AND THEN CYRUS, THE HEAVE-HO
With Cyrus subsequently fired as Chief of Staff, and given that Mellie’s gal pal Lizzy Bear is the one that threw her under the bus full of assassinated jurors, Season 5 (premiering Thursday, Sept. 24) “starts out in a world of hurt for Mellie,” Young says. And because it picks up near-continuously, she and other crippled characters will be seen struggling to emerge from their respective abysses.
“That season finale pulled the rug out from under everyone, so I think everybody was pretty happy that we were starting back immediately after and getting to go into those moments” versus gloss over them via a time jump, says the actress. “It was a relief.”
Young says that Mellie will be “less self-indulgent” as she processes this blow, compared to how she coped with Jerry Jr.’s murder. “There is no greater pain than losing a child, but she’s absolutely devastated,” she shares. “She’s having to regroup, but she’s sort of by herself completely, because everyone is alienated at this point. She’s never going to give up without a fight — I mean, shes Mellie! — but a lot of options are no longer open to her.”
But why even bother with a fight this many rounds in, with Fitz and Olivia standing blissfully in the opposing corner? Why doesn’t Mellie simply cherish her position and senator and wash that commander in chief right out of her hair, never looking back?
“If she didn’t love him, that would be the better plan,” Young concedes. “She hates herself for loving him, but she loves him! Oh, her life would be so much simpler if she didn’t! But she does.”