Now that the presidential nominees have risen — Mellie vs. Vargas! — the Scandal finale will take Gladiators on a rollercoaster ride in revealing who will be their running mates. Could Edison (Norm Lewis) still make his way into the White House? Will Jake (Scott Foley) find a new leader to follow? Or will a familiar face return from the past to join the ticket? EW turned to Bellamy Young to get the scoop on the season finale:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Mellie has become the Republican nominee. How is she feeling about that?
BELLAMY YOUNG: Relieved. There were more days than not when she had really steeled herself to give up this dream. Even at the very last minute when Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry) said he’d make whoever dropped out first the VP, that really looked like as high as she could go at that moment. Marcus (Cornelius Smith Jr.) talked her out of going for that. Now that she’s in the driver’s seat and getting to follow her own ambitions, it was interesting to feel how much harder it is to not be a backseat driver, to really be in charge of yourself. To see her doubt herself was a whole new color, because she spent a few years being very sure of herself and unrelenting. This whole trajectory of campaigning, I loved how it really made her meet herself in a new way. She found out such different colors in herself. She’s incredibly relieved that she gets to go forward and gets to be the nominee. Although, you’ll see in the finale that it’s certainly not a sure thing.
What can you tease of the finale as Mellie and Vargas (Ricardo Chavira) pick their running mates?
You’ll get a sense of the full ticket by the end of the finale. It sets up season 6 so brilliantly. At this table read, we lost our minds. We could’ve never imagined what went down. It seems like maybe, against Vargas, Mellie has a chance, although there are certain issues that he beats her on. By the end of the season finale, it will be a very well-matched race. The gloves will be off at the beginning of season 6.
Now that Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) is no longer working against Mellie, are they on the same side in the finale?
It’s never black or white with them. It’s never a binary situation. Fitz and Mellie have such a fraught history. There is deep love, and there is deep respect, but there is also so much fury and so much blame. No moment is ever simple. Although he is no longer against Mellie, she cannot, in any way, assume that he is her ally. In fact, we have one more delicious Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? scene in the season finale, which I was so grateful for, because I get so sentimental as the season draws to an end. “Yay, one last burn-down-the-house-scene with Tony!” Nothing is simple between Fitz and Mellie.
Speaking of the men in her life, there’s clearly some attraction between Mellie and Marcus.
It’s so interesting, isn’t it? He really gets her. He can really cut right through. He can calm her down. He knows how to be real with her and how to give her a true reality check, but in a way that’s coming from such a positive place that she can hear it, she can take it. She values his opinion. He’s also a handsome man. Who’s to say what will come there? I think he’s great for Mellie.
Do you think she would be open to a possible relationship, or is she so only focused on the White House?
This year of campaigning has really allowed her to remember her more vulnerable side. We spent so many years with her so angry and just wearing her worst colors, like jealousy and revenge — real, real anger. Finally getting to be on her own path has reawakened the human inside of her. Absolutely she wants to be loved. A tiny part of her sometimes looks at Fitz and still thinks, “Why can’t we have what we dreamed of?” The majority of her has moved lightyears beyond that. She’d definitely be open to having a partner. That’s what makes life great, right, having somebody to share it with.
The Scandal finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.