Anyone who loves Scandal knows two truths to be true:
- First half of the series – we hated Mellie Grant
- Second half of the series – we love Mellie Grant
It’s hard to pinpoint when the shift from frigid trophy wife to complete and utter badass takes place with Mellie Grant but I think that was intentional. Scandal has never been about the Fitz/Jake/Olivia love triangle, that has always been a sub-plot that makes for good promos. It is my true belief that Scandal has been, and will continue to be, a love letter to Mellie Grant. A love letter to Olivia Pope. A love letter to strong women who sat patiently in the shadows because they knew that one day, they would be the light.
So how did we end up loving Mellie Grant so much? Let’s recap her trajectory.
Season 2 Mellie: This is the first time we see Mellie humanized. Fitz referring to Mellie as “ornamental” in the White House caused a monumental shift. He made it clear that he had no respect for her mind and only kept her around to keep up a politico facade. This allowed the viewers to realize that Mellie wasn’t the Ice Queen S1 made her out to be. This made Mellie breakable. Characters that are breakable then become relatable.
Season 3 Mellie: When something breaks, it allows for re-growth. S3 was Mellie’s re-growth. Mellie took control of her life in S3 and decided to become her own #WCW. She always knew she was the smartest one in the White House and in S3 she finally lets herself shine.
Season 4 Mellie: This was Mellie’s absolute lowest point. S4 was when her son, Jerry, was killed. Mellie in sweatpants eating fried chicken was the most realistic Mellie that Shonda Rhimes has given us. EVERY girl has been Mellie in sweatpants eating fried chicken. EVERY girl has hit their lowest point. And just like Mellie, EVERY girl has overcome it. This was the moment that I fell in love with who Mellie was, and what Mellie could become.
Season 5 Mellie: Like a phoenix rising from the flames, we have Mellie in all red setting fire by filibuster. This was the defining moment of Mellie. This was the moment that had me sobbing into my wine and popcorn. This was the America we’ve dreamed of. A Republican standing up for Planned Parenthood. A politician who put their morals above their party. THIS was the moment Mellie earned the respect of fake Scandal America as well as real America. We ended S5 strong with Mellie winning the Republican Nomination and I can’t wait to see what S6 brings.
Also S/O to IRL Mellie, Bellamy Young, who is so smart and admirable in her own rank. The Yale grad won Celebrity Jeopardy and donated her 50k winnings to a charity that helps homeless animals. You are the real hero, Bellamy.