TV Corner: Scandal

[Content Note: Discussion of sexual assault and violence. Spoilers for the most recent episode of Scandal.]

image of Scandal's First Lady Mellie Grant sitting beside President Fitzgerald Grant on a sofa for an interview, she is looking at him with surprise as he speaks
Mellie and Fitz.

Last night's episode of Scandal was so upsetting for so many different reasons, I'm not even going to try to do one of my typically silly recaps of the episode. Here is what we learned, in a combination of flashbacks to the early days of Mellie's and Fitz's marriage, and contemporary scenes of the current state of their marriage, along with scenes of Liv and her team investigating Remington, the top-secret mission in which Fitz shot down the commercial airliner on which Liv's mother was a passenger:

1. Fitz was a reluctant candidate, even for the governorship of California. He didn't want to run on his military record, because he was ashamed of it.

2. Cyrus once had a wife and a beard. (Get it?)

3. Fitz's father is a garbage nightmare of epic proportions. We already knew he was a terrible, abusive asshole, but it turns out he is a rapist, too. And quite likely the biological father of Mellie's and Fitz's son Jerry. God, I hate that guy SO MUCH. I hate him almost as much as I hate how, for many viewers, Mellie has from Day One been The Bitch to Unilaterally Hate, as if every character on the show isn't complex parts of good and bad and everything in between, as if every character isn't a bundle of contradictions defined by the extraordinary circumstances of their extraordinary lives, and now lots of reviews of last night's episode are treating the rape as a catch-all explanation for Mellie being (supposedly) irredeemably unlikable, because rape is either so insignificant that it means nothing or so encapsulating that it means everything, depending on how a survivor needs to be defined by other people. And it is enraging to me that the only thing that has finally managed to get lots of people to see Mellie as fully human is seeing her be raped by her father-in-law. I could go on and on and on and on forever, but I will leave it there. For now.

4. Abby forced a hug on Olivia. Did not like. (But Olivia enjoyed her consent-free hug.)

5. Charlie forced a kiss on Quinn. Did not like. (But Quinn enjoyed her consent-free kiss.)

6. Mellie convinced Big Jerry to tell Fitz what he needed to hear in order to run for governor. And he did it, so she wouldn't report him for rape. Holy hell.

7. Fitz is still having Olivia followed and getting reports on her, because their relationship is super healthy.

8. Mellie feels like the minimum she is owed in exchange for all the things she's done for Fitz (things of which he clearly doesn't know the half) is his friendship. Is his showing up for her. And, at least for the next five minutes, he agrees.

9. Vice President Sarah Michele Palinbachmann's husband likes boys. (Saw that one coming from a million miles away.)

10. Charlie tricked Quinn into murdering someone who was crucial to Liv's investigation of Remington. And saved footage of her doing it. And now she belongs to B-613. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.

11. Liv's mom is alive. (Also saw that one coming from a million miles away. BUT I STILL LOVED IT.) And she is being held in detention by Liv's monster-father.

12. Fitz didn't know before this that Command was Liv's dad?! Whoa. Welp, he knows now.


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