Now, the next step: picking her running mate. She will announce her VP choice on Thursday's season finale (9/8c, ABC) after mulling through all her options.
"I think it's more than great canvassing that happens when you're trying to find the perfect fit, to make the ballot whole, to make the chemistry work, see who rises to the top," Young tells TVGuide.com. "But in this day and age, so many people can be instantly struck down by one issue in their past, one skeleton in their closet. It's a real surprise who she winds up in political bed with.
"It was our experience at the table read after shooting the penultimate episode that you feel like you have a little purchase on what next season might be and how it would go," she continues. "Reading the finale turns everything on its head. Gloves are off. Next season is going to be a bloodbath."
So who will Mellie pick? Here are six candidates, ranked from most likely to least.
One of the nicer moments last week was Mellie and Susan's exchange and solidarity after Susan learned of David's (Joshua Malina) betrayal and threw in the towel, so these two are already on good terms. Like Susan told David in one of the best breakup speeches of all time, she is awesome -- and she knows it. Also awesome? An all-women ticket. The only question is if Susan would really want to be VP again for potentially another eight years. Considering that she had to be convinced to run for president, she might not be totally against it.
Edison Davis (Norm Lewis)
Edison has the pedigree -- all-around, inoffensive good-guy senator -- and he's hot right now after his blistering #BlackLivesMatter speech last week that forced him to concede the Democratic nomination to Francisco Vargas (Ricardo Antonio Chavira). Since it was Olivia (Kerry Washington) who convinced him to vent his rage in order to free him from Rowan's (Joe Morton) clutches, she might feel obligated to owe him something in return -- if not protect him from whatever retaliation Rowan is plotting. Yeah, Edison is a Democrat, but it'd be a show of bipartisanship. Plus, they blur party lines and beliefs on Scandal anyway.
Jake Ballard (Scott Foley)
Edison may have ruined Rowan's plan for Jake to be VP, but there's no reason why Jake can't still make the Republican ticket. He finally got a wake-up call and wants to break free from Rowan, whispering to Edison last week, "Tell Liv I need her help. Tell her I want to escape. Tell her I'm chasing the sun." (Here's our handy Shondictionary if you don't know what "chasing the sun" means.) Liv was thisclose to running off with him a few weeks ago and/or probably feels immense guilt for tearing him down when Rowan threatened to kill Jake if she didn't convince him to marry Vanessa (Joelle Carter), so she likely would save him and take him under her wing. The only risk? Running afoul of Papa Pope, of course. Can he handle losing his daughter and surrogate son? (No.)
Sally Langston (Kate Burton)
We could all do with a bit more Sally in our lives. The former VP-turned-talk show pundit seems to have left politics behind, but maybe a few years away -- and away from Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) -- is just what the doctor ordered for Sally. She's cunning, ruthless and a "lovah of liberty." Plus, we need her to drop another "yum crispy piggy" in the VP debate.
Liv running Mellie's campaign seemed unimaginable a few years ago, but here we are. The only thing that would blow voters' minds more is if the former first lady and the former first mistress are on the same ticket. Liv definitely has the smarts for it, but she's also a gladiator at her core. And lbr, if she were ever to run for office, it should be for POTUS.
Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry)
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC.