Bellamy Young as Mellie Grant, the wife of President Fritz Grant
Screengrab from Scandal episode "Everything's Coming Up Mellie"

Wow. Just wow. Last night’s episode of Scandal was packed with so many scream-worthy twists I’m sure most of you are hoarse. Today I can’t even whisper the word “gladiator” without feeling faint.

Just when you thought Olivia Pope had the “My Family’s Secrets Are Worse Than Your Family’s Secrets” contest on lock, here comes Mellie Grant, who’s not only married to a murderer but mostly likely had the baby of her rapist, who also happens to be her murdering husband’s dad. But, of course, in a final-buzzer moment the show’s so fond of, the Popes pull ahead of the Grants. Olivia’s mom is alive! She’s been in prison this whole time! And she sorta looks like she belongs there! See what I mean? The exclamations actually write themselves.

So much crazy happened in Scandal city this week we need a map of madness to keep up. From the mundane to monster reveal, here’s a crib sheet of the top 10 ways the world changed after last night.

1. Cyrus looks terrible with a beard.

The show opened in 1997 Santa Barbara, Calif. Fitz and Mellie are still madly in love, and Fitz’s abusive and filthy-rich father, Big Jerry, has hired “kingmaker” Cyrus Beene to get Fitz to the White House with a pit stop at the governor’s mansion. Cyrus is still his fast-talking political monster self, save one addition: an insane beard reminiscent of Homeless Huck. Thank goodness James made him shave that off.


2. Somewhere out there, there’s an ex-Mrs. Beene.

So more than just his look changed when Mr. Beene got to Washington. In an offhand comment made to a young Mellie, who’s begging Cyrus not to abandon her husband, Mr. Beene says he only fights at home with his wife. Because no scandalous stone is left unturned, I expect to see her pop up somewhere.

3. Fitz’s dad helped cover up Operation Remington.

The OPA team starts digging into the plane crash that killed Olivia's mom and learns that Fitz’s father, Big Jerry, headed up the congressional investigation into the alleged accident. So not only did Fitz murder Liv’s mom, but his dear old dad made it all go away. Fathers on this show all pretty much suck.


4. So Big Jerry is actually nuts.

As the plot thickens, we learn that Big Jerry isn’t just a demanding father who’ll do anything to get his son in the White House; in fact, he’s a total maniac. At one point he tells Fitz, his only son, “I own you. I made you. I can destroy you.” This guy needs a serious talking-to, or a straitjacket.

5. Olivia likes hugs.

As a professional badass, Olivia Pope isn’t the type to admit when she needs more than just merlot. By Liv’s own account she’s “surrounded by murderers,” including her dad and her lover. So when Abby says, “I’m going to hug you and you’re going to stand there and take it,” Olivia gives in, because if there is anyone who needs a hug, it’s Olivia. (And Mellie, but more on that next.)


6. Big Jerry raped Mellie.

Scandal just got real. It’s flashback time again. After Cyrus tells a young Mellie that it’s up to her, as “the wife,” to get Fitz to the White House, she goes to her father-in-law in order to convince him to lighten up on his son. Big Jerry, drunk as usual, tells Mellie all about Operation Remington. Allegedly there was a “dirty bomb” on the plane that would have started World War III. Then Big Jerry sits next to Mellie and tells her how beautiful she is. Mellie very clearly rebuffs him and he rapes her. It is the worst moment in Scandal history.

7. Quinn finally got her wish.

Quinn won’t stop fantasizing about being Lara Croft, and B613er Charlie, has been slowly turning her out. On a stakeout-slash-date, Quinn stabs an unsuspecting security guard with what she thinks is some kind of go-to-sleep serum. Turns out it is murder juice, and Quinn’s unwittingly killed a material witness in Operation Remington. To describe this girl as dumb would be a compliment.


8. Sallie’s husband is gay.

In their quest to bring down the vice president, who’s plotting to run against Fitz in the next election, Cyrus and Mellie try to tempt Sallie’s handsy husband with a young tenderoni. But instead he’s more interested in Cyrus’ husband, James. Sallie, as we all know, is a bit of a bigoted religious zealot when it comes to the whole tolerance thing. So there’s that.

9. Olivia’s mom is alive!

For most of the episode, Olivia Pope & Associates' mission is to find the mysterious passenger who managed to make it off the doomed flight before takeoff. Come to find out that passenger was Liv’s mom. She’s been in a super-max prison cell, and guess who knew all along? That’s right, Olivia’s dad, a man who has more secrets pound for pound than a 12-year-old’s diary. 


10. Mellie’s firstborn might be Big Jerry’s son.

This is too much. After being raped by her father-in-law, Mellie takes her role as the self-sacrificing wife into overdrive. Big Jerry backs his son in exchange for Mellie’s silence, and the young Grants are on their way to the governor’s mansion. While toasting their assumed victory, Mellie gives Fitz some big news: “You know if it’s a boy he’s going to make us name him Jerry.” The look on Mellie’s face pretty much says it all. Her son is her husband’s half-brother. That’s a thing that happened.  

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.


Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter.