Mellie has wanted to be Scandal‘s president for a while now, but does she have what it takes?
Mellie’s dreams always felt far away, saved for a time far off in the future, perhaps when Olitz would finally be off making jam in Vermont. In light of last week’s episode, though, it seems Mellie Grant’s time has come. So, in honor of this, I thought we could take a look at a few of her qualifications.
Our first real glimpse of Mellie’s political genius was her improvised announcement about miscarrying Fitz’s baby in season 1 (which was a lie). Timed perfectly and complete with tears, she solidified Fitz’s bid and built a narrative for them both to further expand. Clever and endearing, she even surprised Cyrus and Olivia — a difficult thing to do. She continuously does this for Fitz, seeing where she’s needed and handling the situation. She’s a resourceful woman, an essential trait for the leader of the free world.
Open to suggestions
Perhaps a better term is “stealing credit,” but hey, Mellie knows good ideas when she hears them. One specific instance is in 2×15 when Cyrus wants back in the president’s good graces, and Mellie feeds his political ideas to Grant without crediting the Chief of Staff and instead implying they’re her own. There’s that phrase “artists borrow, but true artists steal,” right? Mellie’s smart, and she knows it. She’s also smart enough to listen to other intelligent people, and take their suggestions. A true president needs to be able to recognize good counsel, and Mellie can do that. Unlike her husband, who lets his emotions decide who he goes to for advice that week.
If there’s one thing Bellamy Young brilliantly shows us again and again, it’s that Mellie will be heard. Specifically in 5×09, she is irritated for having her hand forced, and so she decides to filibuster the issue. For 16 hours. That’s a particularly loud example, but even in smaller, quieter cases, like 4×18, she gives Fitz some candid truth as she swigs her hooch. He couldn’t hack it as the first lady when she needed him. He can’t do what she can do. All power to her for expecting him to give back, and for telling him he failed her. The first woman president will need to know how she expects to be treated, and be unafraid to show and demand that, in all arenas.
Fitz and Mellie’s children play a relatively small role in Scandal. Mellie and those around her refer to her as not having the “mother gene.” However, in season 2, we got to watch her in labor. We see her with Karen in 4×04, comforting and understanding. My personal favorite moment of Mother Mellie is in 2×17, where she proved that she truly understands parenting. She tells Fitz how his selfishness affects their kids, how she’s able to recognize it, and why it’s happening. Verbally slapping him across the face, she explains that you put your children above your own wants and needs. Showing once again, Mellie Grant understands people, Mellie Grant understands protection, and Mellie Grant understands leadership.
Willingness to put the job first
The show preaches it: being in power requires sacrifice. Mellie has sacrificed heavily in her personal and political life. She put her career on hold for Fitz. She had children, busied herself with decorations and fine china, and smiled for hours. She lied over and over again, to countless people and news outlets and herself. More than anything else, she gave up her husband, and accepted the unfair truth of Olivia and Fitz’s love. Instead of being a baby about it, she… embraced it. She has often told Olivia that Fitz needs her. As painful as that has to be for her to say, she says it, and she gets Olivia back to Fitz. She knows not to fight a losing battle. In doing so, she quietly sacrifices for the greater good.