Mellie couldn't've been less appealing in Seasons 1 and 2, but Season 3's "Everything's Coming Up Mellie" gave her a Get Out of Scandal free card forever. Although it's usually strange to cheer for the other woman on a television show (or in real life), TV writer/producer Shonda Rhimes made Mellie such an unlikeable character that it was easy. But the rape scene with President Fitz's father Jerry Grant in that episode left viewers with an altogether different picture.
That episode also said a lot more about why President Fitz is the way he is. One of Jerry's quotes that caught the most attention from the den scene 22 years ago in Santa Monica, Calif., before he snitched on his son for shooting down Flight 522, was:
"Sure, I slept around a bit. I like pretty girls. But his mother never knew. Before she died, she didn't know, and he holds it against me. Saint Fitz!"
It's difficult to understand why in the world an older, wiser Mellie would be aware that Olivia and Fitz are sleeping together and still want to be with him. However, she seemed just as upset about infidelity as she was that Fitz didn't show up for a photo op.
In the same episode, she said: "If you knew the sacrifices that I have made, the things that I have given up and the pieces of myself that I have given away. And you treat me this way. You declare war on me. And you shame me. And you make me beg for scraps when I have done nothing but fight for you. You don't have to love me, but we are in this hell together. And the flames are burning both of us with equal intensity, baby. So the least you could do is be my friend."
And there have been moments when he was not only a friend but a husband, too. Fitz stuck up for Mellie during the reporter interview about his infidelity and blamed himself alone.
And while gladiators are still unsure of whether Fitz has been raising his brother or his son, it still begs the question: Why in the world did younger Mellie sit down at the breakfast table alone with her father-in-law and start bargaining with him about her husband after she'd been raped? The speech she gave Jerry about not pointing out Fitz's flaws or nagging him about his military record seemed bizarre considering the circumstances, but Mellie has never been able to get rid of her game face. And the persistence of telling Fitz to join them at the table so his father would apologize was even more Mellie-like.
Overall, viewers just may not be able to stomach the idea that a woman (even on TV) would use rape as a bargaining tool, but it sure did seem a lot like it.
Did that den scene make you look at Mellie differently in a bad way? Did it make you want Mellie and Fitz to work out after all she'd been through? Or, did you feel like the scene just went too far for entertainment?
Note: According to Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 44 percent of victims are under age 18, 80 percent are under age 30, every two minutes another American is sexually assaulted, 60 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police, 97 percent of rapists will never spend a day in jail and approximately two-thirds of rapes are from someone the victim knows. Although this episode was for entertainment value, it is strongly suggested to report real-life situations and/or contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE.
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