4:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Scandal's' Bellamy Young: Mellie Is a "Lamb Wandering Into the Slaughterhouse"
Can Scandal's Mellie Grant truly have it all?
The first lady started season four in mourning, following the death of her son Jerry Jr. In the time that followed, Mellie (Bellamy Young) rebuilt herself and continued on her political path with a bid for Senate as she sets her sights on making the White House her own as the nation's first female president. Only her next obstacle could be the man responsible for her son's death — Rowan Pope (Joe Morton).
But what does Rowan want with the first lady, who was revealed to be Operation Foxtail?
"He wants her to be a pawn in his enormous and ever-growing army because Rowan's currency is power and once he has Mellie in his pocket, he has both access and ability in ways he hasn't had before, which you wouldn't think," Young tells The Hollywood Reporter. "You'd think he has all he needs, but he's a 'more is more' kind of guy."
Making things even more dangerous for the first lady is the fact that she doesn't have any knowledge of B613 or the dangers that come when you get involved with Rowan.
"Mellie has no idea who he is, so I think Mellie has absolutely no idea about any of it," Young says. "How would she know who he is? That's the whole point: Command never risks himself. He risks everyone else. So, Mellie would have no way of having come across him. She just thinks she's found a terrific big-fish donor."
The actress — whose character was originally only supposed to be in a handful of episodes in season one before Shonda Rhimes fully developed her — sees Mellie's story as apropos of politics.
"Mellie's a little lamb wandering into the slaughterhouse, like skipping merrily and chatting on the phone," Young says with a laugh. "She has no idea what she's getting herself into. This is such an apt metaphor because politics is so often like that. You really don't know who you are getting in bed with and you're just happy to have the currency to move forward with your political life — but all at what cost?"
Meanwhile, Olivia, Jake, David, Huck and Quinn are mounting their latest collaborative efforts to bring down the deadly black-ops group and there's no telling if — or how — the first lady may factor into Rowan's grand plan as he's typically proven himself to be two steps ahead of everyone else.
"I can only imagine that Rowan has thought this out enough to have targeted Mellie specifically," Young says. "I think he has a grand design, as he always does, and that it will be executed with balletic perfection to try and block those guys, but it's the classic good vs. evil. Who will win out?"
It sets the stages for Thursday's heart-racing season finale.
"The possibilities are staggering," Young says of the "terrifying," "inspiring" finale that she also described as part "giant relief." "In that great Shondaland way, Shonda will manage to burn everything to the ground and start everybody else sort of at zero in a whole new way, as she's done before."
Scandal's season finale airs on Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC. Stay tuned to The Live Feed after the episode for more coverage. Share your theories in the comments section, below.