[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Thursday's episode of Scandal. Read at your own risk!]
Mellie may often be an awful person, but even villains deserve a little love sometimes.
Enter Governor Nichols (Jon Tenney), who was introduced in Scandal's midseason premiere as Fitz's new running mate now that Vice President Sally Langston (Kate Burton) is ditching the ticket to run independently. Nichols was Fitz's (Tony Goldwyn) Deputy Governor in California, which means they share a long history.
Olivia (Kerry Washington) helped unearth part of that history when she prepped Nichols for the onslaught of interviews and put pressure on why he's never been married. Of course, he finally cracks and admits that he lost his chance with someone special in the past. Well, that someone is none other than Mellie (Bellamy Young), whom he's been carrying a torch for since she left for the White House. With Fitz preoccupied with his own mistress, does this mean Mellie will find true love of her own? TVGuide.com tracked down Young to get the scoop:
Mellie has a potential love interest! What can you tell us about their past and how his resurfacing in her life will affect Mellie?
Bellamy Young: It's interesting anytime anyone from the past comes into your life because they understand you in ways that the people that you meet day to day just don't. It's a whole different comfort, history and dynamic. It's interesting to watch Mellie in that regard because she's made so many choices to get where she is, and she's a different person than she was then when they started on this road. It's also transformative when you've lived without love for a long time. Sometimes Fitz gives her the barest crumb of kindness, but it's certainly not love. It's instantaneously transformative to be shown that gentle, loving kindness and open-hearted energy. It melts her. How hard she tries to keep her façade together is what the interesting fight is going to be going forward. Can she allow herself to be even regarded kindly much less adored? Or has that ship sailed and she has chosen her career and the life she's in now?
How did you feel when you learned that she was getting a love interest?
Young: It's fun to wrestle with. There's no more fun person to wrestle in that ring with than Jon Tenney because he's lovely and great at his job. I'm so curious to see what Gladiators are going to think about it all. For me to get to see how Mellie responds to being loved when all I've dealt with is how Mellie responds to wanting love is such a fun thing to look forward to. I'm also excited to see how Mellie parents or how she messes up handling a world crisis. I'm so lucky that I get to see all these different sides of her because we met her in this sad, pitiful, angry, desperate moment.
Olivia and Fitz are now openly flaunting their relationship in front of Mellie. How does she feel about that?
Young: It's just a knife in the gut to walk into the Oval Office and see your husband kissing somebody. It's even worse because he's kissing somebody he loves. You're under a microscope of the world and you have to go forward. It takes a certain strength, determination and professionalism not to just pick up a lamp and throw it at him, but she has to be First Lady and go on.
Fitz has his mistress, and there may be something going on between Mellie and Nichols. What kind of election does that make?
Young: A Shondaland election! [Laughs] It makes it fraught, delicious and what we all imagine it is in real life anyway: It makes it human. We're all just flawed and just looking to be loved. That is fun to watch. But it's best that we keep it in the fictional world in terms of our public leaders in politics.
How far will Mellie go to keep Fitz in office?
Young: From the very beginning, there's been nothing she wouldn't do. She's a very ride-or-die kind of girl. What's fascinating is that rhythm that Mellie and Fitz were in breeds a rigidity, and that rigidity fuels that forward momentum. It's interesting to see what softness brings; the softness of having your heart melt a little bit and the softness of remembering your human side, not just your work side. It could be derailing as it can be inspiring.
With Olivia acting as Fitz's campaign manager, Mellie will have to be around her a lot. What will that be like?
Young: What I love about that is it's difficult because Olivia and Mellie are, in so many ways, so very much alike. They would've been such incredible friends and they work so well together and are a formidable team. In some ways, being with her is easy like breathing. Mellie respects her and trusts her completely, and at the same time, it is absolutely gutting to be looking in the eyes of the woman your husband loves and to know that she's worthy and their love is real. It's going to be a bumpy road, but we will put public smiles on it and move forward for the good of what we truly believe in, which is Fitz and our country.
We're going to meet the Grant children. What can you tell us about their family dynamic?
Young: It's gloriously fraught. It really, really is. Those actors, Dylan Minnette and Madeline Carroll, are ferociously talented and so capable of carrying this complicated Grant family legacy. You're going to love them.
Will Mellie ever confront Fitz over what his father did?
Young: I am not at liberty to discuss and/or I may not know, so there you go.
James (Dan Bucatinsky) is actually working against Cyrus (Jeff Perry). How will that affect those in the White House?
Young: Will James choose loyalty to his marriage or will he choose loyalty to his beliefs? It's interesting to see what will happen if Cyrus puts it together. It raises all of it to a higher level when it's happening inside a marriage. We're all risking our lives at every moment in the story. You saw Harrison (Columbus Short) and Adnan (Nazanin Boniadi) and lord knows Fitz has a price on his head from many, many folks, but the truth is dangerous. It really is. James is a champion for the truth, but he's also in love with his husband, so it's going to be an interesting spring for James and his moral dilemma.
Are you glad Mellie has a potential love interest?
Scandal airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.