(Spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead if you have not watched through last Thursday’s penultimate episode of “Scandal.”)
Bellamy Young has played Mellie Grant for the entire seven-season run of “Scandal.” And in that time, the character has worn many hats (some white, some not). She’s been first lady, a scorned wife, a passionate lover, a grieving mother, a good friend, a bad friend, a villain, a hero and now the President of the United States.
But ahead of the Shonda Rhimes series’ finale tonight, titled “Over a Cliff,” Young told TheWrap that at least one thing has remained the same to her throughout all that time: the importance of her relationship with Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope.
“For me it was always Olivia and Mellie. Always,” Young said of the bond that has slowly formed between the two women — who used to share Mellie’s ex-husband, Fitz (Tony Goldwyn).
“You met them at such a horrible time, the worst time in Mellie’s life, and it would have been so easy for them to have stayed angry all these years,” Young continued. “But life is complicated and people evolve and if you love people enough, you give them room to change and then real change occurs. Real trust blooms. And to have watched their relationship as they inched closer and closer together over the years, and then these last two episodes where they literally take hands and go over a cliff together, it’s so moving to me.”
“In any other narrative — not any other narrative, but largely in most narratives — if you get two women on screen together, or if that even happens, then they are probably going to be talking about a man together or they are going to be fighting,” Young added. “And so to have spent all this time in the matriarchy, in which Shonda is showing women in power — there is Olivia who is both the hero and the antihero, there is Quinn who while pregnant takes over QPA and becomes the boss of even her husband, and Mellie who has followed her dream and finally become president — it all matters in terms of representation, but it also just really moves me in terms of them being very real women.”
And what about when it comes to how she feels about Mellie’s current relationship with Fitz, the former president — who is also her former spouse.
“Legitimately friends and legitimately weird,” Young said, laughing. “But again, life is complicated and sometimes fiction or the narrative flattens out the mess. But I loved that Shonda keeps things real, for things getting messy. And you can hate what your ex husband did to you, but you can also accept that it put you on a path to fulfill your actual dreams and come to some sort of mutual respect. Because who else are you going to turn to? Who else do you know that has also been president? Do you know what I’m saying? And you remember the man that he was and you know the man that he is now. Love is war, love is hard. But you get past it and move on.”
The series finale of “Scandal” airs tonight at 10/9 c on ABC.