Scandal S4E4 Roundtable: Smelly Mellie


By Josh Axelrod, Anamika Roy and David Oliver 

Well that was an incredibly frustrating episode. Besides one of the dumbest relapses ever, it was a reminder that this is a show full of comically unlikeable characters. And, even more depressingly, the one character who was legitimately trying to expose some evil has now been arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Oy vey.



JOSH: First Rowan put the bomb in Jake’s car. Then Jake came agonizingly close to exposing Rowan as the man who ordered the death of Fitz’s son, but Mr. President was too busy (and too jealous) to listen to him. And then, when Tom Larsen was about to name Rowan as the man responsible for Jerry Jr.’s death, Rowan stepped in at the behest of the president to finish the interrogation. Seriously, Fitz is an idiot.

During the whole interrogation I was thinking, “Rowan isn’t about to indict himself, is he?” Then it occurred to me that Tom had every reason to be more afraid of Papa Pope than Jake. Jake has no actual power besides the ability to connect Rowan with Jerry Jr.’s death, and Fitz hates Jake now that he knows Olivia ran away with him. The show is definitely going to kill off either Rowan or Jake this season, and for now it looks like Rowan has the upper hand.

DAVID: Eeeeeek! This was all so tense. And the worst part is that all this revolves around Olivia. No matter how much else happens, this is all because Fitz and Jake have been screwing Rowan’s daughter. This episode was appropriately titled “Like Father, Like Daughter” not just for Fitz and Karen but also Rowan and Liv.

ANAMIKA: I think the episode was given that title more for Mellie’s comment when she first learns about Karen’s sex tape but it definitely applies to the most screwed up love triangle ever that is Olivia-Fitz-Jake. That ending scene was so infuriating to me. Fitz knows that Jake did not order his son’s murder but set up a situation where Tom would name Jake. Seriously!? AND He got Rowan to do the interrogation??? Just when I though Fitz couldn’t be a worse character. Also, Tom is better off as a character in the background. That one bench scene was taxing to watch. He has no screen presence. Final point, Jake, cool it with David and those B613 documents. There’s no need to choke the attorney general.

Scene from “Like Father, Like Daughter” courtesy ABC


JOSH: God I hate Fitz. His wife clearly needs him and his daughter was dangerously close to Eiffel Towering herself to infamy, and all that idiot wants to do is make out with Olivia and soliloquize about whether he is a failure as a father, husband and a man. Well he is, on all counts. Then he goes and arrests Jake purely on the confession of a two-faced Secret Service agent and his own jealousy. He can add being the worst president ever to his list of shortcomings .

As for Olivia, at least she told Fitz the truth about running away with Jake…eventually. And that speech she gave to the Morgans about painting them as child pornographers was possibly the most emotional outburst we’ve ever seen from her while fighting for a client. She was even desperately trying to connect with Jake, but life kept getting in their way. Looks like it’s too little, too late for those two.

DAVID: I didn’t hate Fitz as much this episode – I genuinely felt his pain. Let’s remember that he is still grieving the loss of his son, and really, a sex tape? That would drive any parent up the wall.

Finally the Olivia Pope I loved the first season is back. I loved her rant to the Morgans. It felt very appropriate considering their heinous requests and balanced Olivia’s feelings for Fitz as well as her inevitable placement back as D.C.’s top fixer.

ANAMIKA: I have never liked Fitz. Seriously. Never. I do sympathize with him losing his son, but I wanted to smack him after that whole “I have failed as a father, a husband and a man” monologue. Get it together, Fitz. Everyone around you is miserable and it’s your fault. Also, way to forget that you have also failed as the president.

When he and Olivia were alone in the Oval Office, I was yelling and throwing cushions at the TV, hoping Olivia would hear me and not kiss Fitz. Forget the pain of forbidden love, Fitz is downright manipulative and emotionally abusive. Olivia has no business associating with him. Thank god she eventually came to her senses.

Third, it was completely selfish and disrespectful of both Olivia and Fitz to not tell Mellie about Karen from the start. Whatever she’s going through, Mellie is Karen’s mother and she should be the one make decisions in this situation, not Olivia.


JOSH: Karen gets her own section for possibly being the dumbest First Child in television history. She ditched her Secret Service detail, basically stole a jet, went to a party 500 miles from her boarding school, got drunk and high, shot up “something wonderful,” had a threesome with two guys and, to top it all off, became part of a sex tape that made even Olivia Pope blush. She may still have been grieving for her brother, but God damn that was an impressive attempt to ruin her life and basically ensure Fitz would always be remembered as a hilariously inept president. Of course, that ship has probably already sailed.

DAVID: Honestly, poor Karen. Her brother just died – who wouldn’t act out a little bit? Granted, this was quite a way to get some attention, but you can’t really hold her too accountable considering neither of her parents are setting great examples. I actually really like the Karen recast, if anyone even noticed that this was a different actress.

ANAMIKA: Yes, I like this new Karen too! First of all, hitchhiking on a jet? Really? Also, I would love to see the analytics on how many people Googled “eiffel tower” Thursday night. The First Daughter acting out was not the least bit surprising. Besides losing her brother, as David said, her parents are hardly good role models in this respect.


JOSH: That scene between them was great, mostly because they were both right. The administration was keeping Abby in the dark way too much, but Abby is also clearly insanely jealous of Olivia and still feels stuck in her shadow. Also, it’s only a matter of time before Portia De Rossi pulls the trigger and exposes Cyrus’s affair with Michael the prostitute. Still not as bad as Fitz.

DAVID: I’m just waiting for Abby to be back at OPA by season’s end.

ANAMIKA: I agree with David. Seeing Huckleberry Quinn as the OPA entourage was just sad. They need Abby. Cyrus’ monologue to Abby about her insecurities was fitting, though I still sympathize with her. Olivia hasn’t exactly made it easy for Abby to make her own mark at the White House.


JOSH: The only thing Fitz did right this week was call Mellie out on the fact she had “mothered no one” since the death of her son. Of course, that caused her to actually mother her daughter, who was clearly in desperate need of some parenting. Telling her to “keep her knees shut” was blunt but exactly what Karen needed to hear. So in conclusion: She’s still not a worse parent than Fitz.

DAVID: Mellie has grown so much. I recall an earlier episode where she sort of admitted she didn’t like being a mother, but as the show has peeled back her layers, you understand her hesitancies and insecurities and realize she has many aspects that could make her a good mom. Let’s hope this Mellie sticks around a bit.

ANAMIKA: I loved that scene when she found Olivia in the White House. In a show that has seemed to produce a host of some of the most annoying characters on television, Mellie is a much needed voice of reason. She might be smelly Mellie, but she seems the only one that’s not a raging hypocrite. I really hope she loses the Uggs for Jimmy Choos soon though. I’m starting to miss the old Mellie.


JOSH: Huck shut out cell phone service for everyone at that party. As if.

Also, the dude who was one-third of that threesome should be ashamed for letting Quinn intimidate him. I’d be more afraid of Mindy Kaling with a can of whipped cream than Quinn.

Still not as bad as Fitz.


ANAMIKA: I forgot about that! The cell service shutdown thing was so stupid. They do realize, people could take a video, SAVE IT *gasp* and post it later, right? Again, Huck and Quinn prancing around the White House representing OPA? Not a good look.

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