It’s no secret Shonda Rhimes loves a good infidelity story line. The couple is just so in love, but there’s one big obstacle in the way: his wife. Yearning makes for great TV, sure. But when you’ve got two powerful, educated women competing over a guy, you start to wonder, “Hey, what if they just dumped him and took over the world together?” And dammit, that’s exactly what Scandal did! Even if Olitz does end up being the romantic endgame in the show’s series finale tonight, in its later seasons, Scandal has become just as much a story about Oli and Mellie finding each other in order to take over the world. In honor of the show’s final few episodes, we present the best Melli moments from the seven-season run.
Season 1, Episode 7
“Like I always say, if you’ve got a problem, get Oli Pope on it.” — Mellie
Oh season one, where we were introduced to our unstoppable white-hat wearer, Oli Pope, who could solve any problem except for her feelings for a certain mediocre president. Oli and Mellie spent most of season one apart, Oli handling cases, Mellie planning and organizing. In episode three, we learned that, yes, of course Mellie knows about the affair. But it wasn’t until the finale of this short season that we really saw what Melli was all about (and up against). Mellie snaps at Oli, “I do my job, why couldn’t you do yours?” implying that handling Fitz (sexually) is all Oli needed to do, and that they’re part of some twisted team to make a president. Mellie’s all cold, mean business; Oli seems genuinely shocked, but you can feel that there’s something brewing. See, these two powerful ladies have had to deal with a president who didn’t know how to keep it in his pants all season. But together, they literally solve the central problem of the season in one meeting.
Season 3, Episode 1
“How many times did Fitz and I sleep together?” — Oli
Okay, let’s get to the “whore” of it all — Mellie calls Oli a whore too much. If you’re out on Melli because of it, it’s understandable … but maybe consider it on the scale of all the insane things people have done on this show. At the end of season two, Mellie announces to the world that Fitz had an affair, and like most things that Mellie plans without the help of Oli, it blows up in her face. Our twisted “love triangle” meet to try to decide how they can spin the Fitz/Oli affair so that it does the least damage to everyone. Mellie wants them to say they had sex two times, not that they were in love (because, you know, she has to save face a bit). Ultimately, this whole conversation doesn’t matter, because Oli isn’t quite willing to out herself as the president’s mistress … yet.
Season 3, Episode 17
“You’d have to be an idiot to be this reckless … and you are not an idiot.” — Oli
Oli knows that Mellie wanted to do a paternity test for one of her kids and she confronts her about it. But midway through the heated argument, Oli turns. She realizes things don’t add up, that Mellie would never be this careless. To this Mellie screams, “I have been destroyed while I have made him president. IT. IS. MY. TURN.” (Girl, yes it is your turn, just wait one season.) And, most crucially, she accidentally reveals the truth about Big Jerry raping her.
This feels like the major turning point for these characters, even though there is still more than a season to go before Mellie divorces Fitz. It’s the moment where Oli shows how acutely she knows and values Mellie. And if the rift and hatred between them hasn’t disappeared, at least it’s clear now that they see each other.
Season 5, Episode 3
“Do you like to decorate, Oli?” — Mellie
In episode two, Oli tells the world she’s the president’s mistress. This sends Mellie on a spiral because for some reason she … still wants to be married to Fitz? Mellie, of course, goes for her hooch, hidden in a huge walk-in closet, as Oli, who will be moving in to the White House soon, to be the president’s girlfriend, walks in. Mellie wishes her luck, viciously, but honestly. She reminds Oli how boring and lonely it is, how you sacrifice all your wants and desires to fulfill the needs of the president. If only there were a better option staring right back at Oli.
Season 5, Episode 6
“I was wrong, you are not my enemy. You are my freedom … You are gonna make me president of the United States.” — Mellie
Here’s Mellie’s “make me president” moment — loud, overly dramatic, totally Scandal-ous. Mellie literally says everything that Melli lovers have wanted to hear for the entire run of the show in this speech, but honestly … it was a bit much.
The actual perfect moment of this episode is when Mellie literally stops the Oli/Fitz marriage to say that she has something better to offer. And Oli runs to Mellie, instead of to the man she’s been sharing heavy-breathing calls with this whole time. It’s like the show is trying to tell us something. Something it will keep telling us, and telling us.
Season 5, Episode 9
“You’re the biggest bitch I know, don’t tell me you can’t do this.” — Oli
Here, again, we get a moment of Oli being with the man she loves, living a boring, if fancy, life, and still thinking about Mellie. Meanwhile, filibustering for Planned Parenthood is Mellie’s defining moment in her political career thus far, but it also could be seen as her grand gesture to Oli. Of course Oli is watching. Of course she wants in. Oli has Susan ask a long question so Mellie can go to the bathroom, and when she does, Oli is there. Mellie wants to give up, but Oli pushes her through.
Season 5, Episode 11
“You were my out, Mellie. You kept him unavailable.” — Oli
This is the “Fly” of Melli episodes. Mellie is writing her book and she goes to Oli for help. Oli says the main thing Mellie has to answer is why she stayed. Thus begins a heated, intense, fulfilling breakdown of all the reasons Mellie stayed and Oli left. This episode also begins the tradition of Oli and Mellie drinking wine together. If that doesn’t tell you they’re meant for each other, I’m not sure what will.
Season 6, Episode 1
“America has made its choice and it is not you.” — Oli
Thus begins what I would like to call the “hand-holding phase.” Mellie loses the presidency and has to call Frankie Vargas to concede. It’s a devastating episode made more devastating by real-life events. We see our pair later in the bathroom, Mellie in the tub, Oli sitting on the floor, both women in the fiercest power suits passing and swigging the Champagne that was presumably for if they had won. Oli apologizes for losing; Mellie says she doesn’t have to and takes her hand. It sets a mood, which Scandal has always excelled at.
Season 7, Episode 1
“There are three things you need to know about me that you should already know, but I clearly need to reiterate: One, you do not ignore me, because two, I am right, always. It’s frustrating. Get used to it. And three: there is only us. You and me. That’s all there is. We have it all.” — Oli
The beginning of the end! Oli gives her big impassioned speech about women rising up, claiming their power, and not letting men get in their way. She tells Mellie she is the boss, if Mellie trusts her she’ll become a monument, and if not she’ll become an asterisk. What’s funny is that this scene should also have a big asterisk over it! It’s basically about B613 and blackmailing people. But it’s a good reminder of how easily Oli can manipulate Mellie (and us, really), and how sometimes Mellie needs to be led. We want to believe that they’re taking what women have been denied for so long, but we know there’s a nefarious side to it as well.
Season 7, Episode 16
Oli: Mellie, I am with you. No matter what you think I have always been with you. Are you with me?
Mellie: I’m with you.”
At the beginning of this episode, Mellie plays the “Cyrus does not get to rewrite the history of women, he doesn’t get to erase our climb” card to convince Oli that Cyrus is the real enemy and that he deserves to die. But ultimately, Oli has decided to stand in the sun (could the show end any other way) and she wants Mellie there with her, too. Here’s their big ride-or-die moment, seven seasons in the making. If you go back and you watch that first scene, you can feel it leading to this scene. They’ve always had each other and they’ve always had the power to take on the world. It’s time for one last stand. Over a cliff we go — and like Mellie said, maybe they’ll give them side-by-side prison cells!