Warning: This interview for the “The Transfer of Power” episode of Scandal contains storyline and character spoilers.
Hail to the new chief, Melody Margaret Grant!
The Scandal Season 6 finale wrapped up a tense run of episodes that saw the assassination of a president-elect, the murder of another vice president, and the shocking decision by Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) to not only reconstitute the black ops organization B613 — but to run it herself!
The finale upped the anxiety level by placing Mellie in jeopardy on the eve of her inauguration, seemingly targeted by Olivia’s mother, Maya (Khandi Alexander). But it turned out that Maya was trying to help Olivia and Mellie by taking out the true orchestrator of Frankie Vargas’s assassination — his wife, the new VP, Luna Vargas.
Bellamy Young chatted with Yahoo TV about Mellie’s fate, Olivia’s power grab, and how the cast reacted to the news that Season 7 will be Scandal’s last.
Were you worried going into the finale that Mellie was going to die?
Always! Every table read, everyone’s terrified! I never for a second took for granted that Mellie would get to be president. I don’t take for granted that I’ll be president when we come back for next season! In Shondaland, you just never know. What I do know, and what we all do know, is that we’re grateful for that. Surprise is possibly the greatest gift of the job. And we trust our writers, so whatever they think up is always so brilliant and shocking and relevant and galvanizing.
Olivia is not only Mellie’s chief of staff, but she’s made herself head of B613. Do you think she’s gone power-mad?
It’s interesting. There’s the talk that Rowan gives her about unlimited power and him having to leave so she has no vulnerabilities. It’s a real cautionary tale. Our show has always asked that question — when given power, how do you respond? Who can you trust? How do you behave? Who do you become? I think that’s what a lot of next year might be about — Olivia finding herself in that most dire of moral dilemmas.
I still think Mellie very much believes that Olivia is the moral barometer. Olivia is who you turn to to ask the difficult questions. Olivia is the one to give you the honest answer, not the easy answer. I’m interested to see what kind of friction that makes between the two of them.
Mellie shared a very tender look with Marcus just before she got sworn in. Is there any hope that those two crazy kids can make it work next season?
I don’t know what will happen! But I love the way they get each other. I love the way they really see each other, really tell each other the truth that will set the other on the right course to their higher, best selves. I’d be gutted if either one of them lost that. I know they have crazy mad chemistry, too.
It’s unprecedented, right? Not only has there been a female president, there hasn’t been a single female president. So, we’ll see how they navigate those waters. But I really believe in them, because whatever the circumstances, their relationship has been based on truth and respect. I believe they can find a way to stay connected.
How did you react to the news that Season 7 is Scandal‘s last season?
Oh, you know, we’re gutted, because we really are a family. Even in our time apart on hiatuses, we’re bereft. To think of not going on an adventure that’s deeply wonderful all the time every day — it’s just gutting. But we’ve always known that Shonda [Rhimes] knows where it ends. We could feel it was getting to be that time. I don’t think anyone was shocked, just sad. But we know how lucky we are to have one more year. We’re going to find out where it all ends. Season 7 is going to be epic and unimaginably crazy. We’re going to go out on a high, in style.
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