Season 4 of Scandal introduced us to Smelly Mellie, so what will Season 5 bring? "Emancipated Mellie," Bellamy Young tells "Senator Mellie. Lonely Mellie. She needs a friend, man!"

That is not an exaggeration after Lizzie Bear (Portia de Rossi) threw Mellie under the bus to Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) for unknowingly giving the names of the B613 jurors to Rowan (Joe Morton), which led to their deaths. And that, in turn, led to Fitz kicking Mellie, along with Cyrus (Jeff Perry) out of the White House so he could stand in the sun with Olivia (Kerry Washington) - right after Mellie won her senate seat. "Poor Mellie. She had no idea what she even did!" Young says. "Fitz is just looking for something. It's like the principal who's really tired for the really bad kid and they sneeze twice and you're like, 'You're outta here!' As Mellie is walking out of the White House, she knows Fitz is already dialing Liv."

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Season 5 (Thursday, 9/8c, ABC) picks up shortly after that booty call and will find Mellie at what Young describes as a "time of paralysis." It's not dissimilar to last season when the first lady was drowning in grief after the death of her son, but Young promises that she will snap out of this funk quicker. (Sadly, that means no fried chicken or bathrobes.) "I don't think she has the luxury of absolute indulgence like she did at the beginning of Season 4," she says. "I think that purification she went through, that rock bottom, changed her mentally.

"She's trying to figure out what her options are and who her allies are. She has a pretty clear idea who her enemies are," Young continues. "She's trying to figure out what's next because in an instant, it was pulled from under her. It's a sobering season starter for Mellie. She realizes just how alone she is. I can't wait to see Mellie on her own and also because she's talked about this for so long. It's terrifying in those moments. It takes a minute. She's magnificently flawed, so it will take a minute for her to get her sh-- together."

Even when she does, Fitz is not done throwing curveballs at her. As seen in the promo, he serves her with divorce papers. "Gleefully, I might add!" Young says with a laugh. While she pleads the fifth on what transpires after that, it's no secret that Mellie has always wanted to get the most out of her functional marriage. She stood by Fitz's side all these years while he ascended to the presidency and they had an understanding that he would reciprocate so she could fulfill her Oval Office dreams.

"Does she want to stay married for her campaign? I think it can go both good ways," Young says. "It's definitely in the Republican base to be married and have a family. If you're running as a single woman, a single parent, there are a lot of people who are not represented in that graphic. She has to figure out who would be on her team, if anyone."

An obvious answer might be fellow White House evictee Cyrus. "She and Cyrus are formidable pair, but they have never trusted each other," Young says. "They both want back in. That could be a beautiful partnership or calamitous ignominy!" But perhaps this search for a support system will lead to a moment of clarity and self-sufficiency for the (former?) first lady-turned-senator.

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"She has to keep surprising herself in who she's willing to go to, who she's creative enough to work with, but I think she realizes at the end of the day, she only has herself," Young says. "It will be a journey either way. All she's known her adult life was being obedient by Fitz's side. Now she's on her own political path as a senator. It's not gonna be easy."

But when the going gets tough, she knows exactly how to blow off steam. "Mellie is not in AA yet, so Drunk Mellie can come back!"

Scandal returns Thursday at 9/8c on ABC. Watch a supercut of Drunk Mellie below.