Warning: The following contains spoilers from the two-hour season six finale of Scandal. if you haven't watched yet, you may want to bookmark this page and return once you have. Proceed with caution.
Have you picked your jaws up off the floor yet, Gladiators? Because we're still dragging ours around after that Scandal season finale.
We finally know who put the wheels into motion for Frankie Vargas' assassination (that would be his wife Luna, after she was nudged in the oh-so-wrong direction by Cyrus with some sick talk about how no one would deny Jackie O. anything with the bloodstains on her dress), we finally saw Mellie sworn into office, we saw Fitz abdicate the throne, we learned that Quinn and Charlie have a lot more to look forward to than just a wedding and we just may have seen the moment that Olivia Pope broke bad and set down the white hat for good. That'd be when she and Jake forced Luna to kill herself for what she did just as she re-opened B-613, putting herself in charge. It was a lot.
To break everything down while we look ahead to the show's final season, E! News got Madame President herself Bellamy Young to break it all down. What follows is our Q&A.
E! News: Mellie is finally president! Congratulations, Madame President!
Young: Phew! Only for a moment. I take nothing for granted. Who knows what next year will bring, but to sit in that Oval—we'd done a version of that Oval when Cyrus got beat up badly in prison. In one of his fever dreams, they'd built that Lady Oval and oh man, as Mellie to sit in that Lady Oval, it felt good.
How stunned was everyone when it was revealed who was really pulling the strings all along? What was that table read like?
Every year, the season finale is like a riotous roller coaster. I'll say this, one of the things I'll miss the most about this wonderful, wonderful ride now that we are going into our final season is our table reads because we love the show, we're fans, and so getting to watch the show—that's our time to watch the show. And it does your actor homework for you and you watch it all happen in real time with everyone's real, true immediate honest and emotional reactions. And always our series finales are just riotous, like keggers, you know? We throw chairs and crazy stuff goes down because you know, people say things like "Dad?" and the whole world turns. But this year, everything is different because Fitz's administration is coming to an end, so everyone is having to find their next chapter. So it was so interesting and bittersweet and shocking and inspiring. It was just one of my very favorite table reads.
What sort of president do you think Mellie going to be?
I think if you had asked me that last year when she was campaigning, it would've been a very different answer. I think this last chapter with Peus and Mystery Woman has burned away the frivolity of the dream for her. I hope that she will really open to her power, you know? When you've been dreaming of something for a long time, sometimes when it comes to you, it crushes you because you so identified with the wanting of it and you're not ready for the being or the doing. But I don't think that's Mellie at all. I think she certainly didn't understand what she was dreaming about, but the dream was real and the ability is great and I think that she, in this last chapter, has come to realize that it isn't just her dream. It's a mission. It's something much greater, something our country needs. Our country, we're so behind the rest of the world and we need a female leader. We need to see a woman in office, a president. And I think with the Peus/Mystery Woman chapter and up through the inauguration, she had to realize that it was much more important than here, so she had to know that she had to put her life on the line. If she had been killed being inaugurated, it would have been worth it because people would've seen a female president being inaugurated. So I think that sort of sobriety entering office will serve her well.
What I'm interested in is, now that Olivia has such complete power—both for the good of the Oval and for the dark with B-613—I'm so interested to see where that leaves their relationship. Mellie's always turned to Olivia to ask her the hard questions and get the real answer. Or when she's lost herself, turned to Olivia for Olivia to remind her who she is and where they're going. And to perhaps not have a reliable narrator on those topics anymore in Olivia will be like the rug pulled out from under her, but another opportunity for her to find her own feet. So it's going to be an interesting cataclysmic final season, I think.
She and Marcus have been circling each other all season and they share that little moment during the inauguration, that knowing look. What are you hoping she gets to do in the final season not in terms of her presidential mission, but just her personal life?
Well, certainly, like I say, I'm so excited for her to be beyond herself of this dream, in terms of being president. I'm so excited for her to have risen to the moment of service the public office should be. So I want to watch that unfold and all the delicious opportunities to explore gender politics in the workplace. I'm so excited about Quinn's storyline, watching her deal with being her husband's boss and having a child and running a very important company. So I think there's a lot of rich, rich fodder there for next season.
But for Mellie, yeah, I hope that this moment of living her dream, not dreaming her dream, will also allow a peace in her heart and a quiet in her mind that will make her brave enough to love and be loved in a way that she has not been able to before, you know? She's been very wounded in many ways, and I would love to see her really be brave enough to give herself that joy. They're so wonderful together, she and Marcus. I honor their connection. They're always ready to call each other on their BS and they're always ready to help each other get to their highest good. And of course, they have mad chemistry, so it would be great to see it play out in that way. However, I wouldn't want them to lose each other in their lives.
I'm also really excited for her to have Fitz because how often is it that the only other person in the world who's been what you're going through is your ex-husband, you know? It's a party of one that she can turn to him and he's the one who knows her the most, the longest and also the only other person she knows who's been president. I really hope there's great opportunity in season seven for them to rely on each other in a way they haven't at all in this series. We haven't ever seen them really be aligned energetically, so I think that's a great opportunity too.
You all attended your last Upfronts this week, kicking off a series of lasts. How are you feeling about this all coming to an end?
Well, you know, it's rough. Everybody says it, but we really are family, so hiatuses I'm even forlorn. But to think of not spending my every day on this journey with these guys is deeply, deeply sad. I mean, it wasn't a shock to any of us. Shonda's said all along she knows where this story's going and so we were all prepared and we could feel it was getting time. But the big gift is that they didn't end it this year and say ‘Thank you. Bye-bye.' We have a whole other year to be together, to love every second and to really bring this story home in a way that hopefully will shock, thrill and awe our audience and also honor these characters that we lived with, but most importantly serve the vision that Shonda had from the beginning. Shonda said it best, we want to go out on a high. And hopefully we will.
In her statement, Shonda also said the final season will leave nothing on the table. How do you hope the series ends?
Oh my gosh, I couldn't even imagine. That is not my gift at all and I am only so luck to work in Shondaland where every time I sit down for a table read, I have to pick my jaw up to get myself out the door. I hadn't seen that statement, so when Kerry read that statement, our eyes just went like saucers. So I can't even imagine, but I can't wait to see.
Scandal returns for its seventh and final season this fall on ABC.