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Scandal, Ep. 3.12, “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies” gives Mellie the love interest she deserves

Scandal, Ep. 3.12, “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies” gives Mellie the love interest she deserves

Scandal, We Do Not Touch the First Ladies, Kerry Washington, Bellamy Young, Olivia Pope, Mellie Grant

Scandal, Season 3, Episode 12, “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies”
Written by Heather Mitchell
Directed by Oliver Bokelberg
Airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on ABC

On this week’s Scandal, Liv gets put in her place by Jake and Mellie, David and James continue their “Publius” escapades, Huck attempts to win back Liv’s favor, and Quinn proves herself a worthy member of B613.

Most of the internet seems to agree that Olivia Pope is a great character. She’s headstrong, intelligent, and independent, but she’s still human enough to make foolish decisions and mistakes (the least of which is engaging in an affair with the president). But, sometimes, even great characters can begin to irritate other characters and the audience. Even the great Ms. Pope isn’t above occasionally being one of the most annoying characters on the show–her self-righteous speechifying and constant demands of others is finally wearing thin, and Scandal knows it.

So, when both Jake and Mellie shut down Olivia Pope in “We Do Not Touch the First Ladies,” it feels especially satisfying, given the character’s recent faltering in likability. Jake and Mellie are often shoved aside in favor of others (i.e. Jake’s snubbed in favor of the president, and Mellie’s snubbed in favor of Olivia). But both are well-deserving of their own, better storylines–they’re intriguing enough characters in their own rights, and Scandal‘s finally giving them quality stories, separate from the increasingly-loathsome duo Fitz and Liv (their presumably post-sex argument as Jake and security listen outside the door is beyond tacky).

Making Jake head of B613 is already paying-off story wise, especially since it’s given him a solid reason for sticking around and gives the audience more insight into the shady inner workings of the organization. The only downside so far is how the writers are using his connections as yet another way to add drama to the Liv/Fitz mess–do we really need to see Jake watching video of Fitz and Liv in the Oval Office, as Fitz jealously quizzes Liv on her feelings for Jake? No. Not when it’s much more fun watching him interact with Quinn, Charlie and, surprisingly, Tom. More of the latter, please.

The best part of the episode–cheesy shots of the “first ladies” watching aside–is the relationship between Mellie and Andrew. Finally, Scandal gives us some follow-up to the horrifying episode where Mellie is raped by her father-in-law, though the flashbacks only give the storyline the beginnings of the attention it deserves. Mellie is an excellent character–complex, and not always likeable, but still fascinating–and the show continuously jips her. Here’s hoping this episode is the first of many steps to remedy this in the future. And Andrew already seems like a better love interest than Fitz, and he’s only been around for two episodes.

“We Do Not Touch the First Ladies” is a solid episode, but not without its faults; Hollis Doyle is still a snoozeworthy villain, and his double dealings are unsurprising, while Sally’s impending mental breakdown is much less fun than her murderous, Bible-thumping self. Luckily, it appears Liv’s mother will soon be returning as the show’s top villain. Cheers to that.

Ashley Laggan