8:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Scandal' Case Study: Josh Malina on the Mole's Shocking Reveal(s)
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's "Any Questions?" episode of Scandal.]
ABC's watercooler hit Scandal delivered one of its biggest reveals to date during Thursday's penultimate episode of season two when the Shonda Rhimes political thriller revealed the mole's identity.
After ruling out Cyrus last week, Olivia Pope & Associates turned their investigation to vice president Sally Langston (Kate Burton) -- who would have ample motive to remove Fitz from office after attempting to seize the presidency following the assassination attempt on his life.
However, in a stunning turn of events -- with Olivia (Kerry Washington) preoccupied with whether Fitz would really throw away his political career -- the Cytron card that revealed everything about Defiance and the election rigging that put Grant (Tony Goldwyn) in office in the first place is swiped from the safe at OPA.
As the Gladiators -- including David Rosen (Josh Malina), who now openly identifies as being among their ranks -- look to help Charlie (George Newbern) escape Jake (Scott Foley) and Rowan's (Joe Morton) B613 line of fire, they quickly realize that the man responsible for ruining Huck's (Guillermo Diaz) life set them up to steal the card.
But they're all wrong as Charlie -- whom Huck and Quinn (Katie Lowes) set free -- is revealed to be in the clear when the real mole is revealed to be a face not seen since the season one finale: Billy Chambers (Matt Letscher). Making matters worse: David is the one who stole the card after he effectively tells Abby (Darby Stanchfield) that it's all water under the bridge now that he's part of Olivia's team.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Malina to discuss David's motives and how he came to work for Billy -- the vice president's former chief of staff who was assumed dead after setting up the president to take the fall for Amanda Tanner's pregnancy.
The Hollywood Reporter: Billy Chambers is back and he's still pissed off! How did David wind up coming to work for Billy?
Josh Malina: Well, that’ll be addressed explicitly in the finale, so I won’t say much except: remember how shabbily the Gladiators have treated David, and understand why he might want to pursue vengeance, both personal and professional. Also, if there’s a whitish hat left for anyone, I’d say it belongs on David Rosen’s head. After all, it is a stolen presidential election he’s trying to reveal.
THR: David, after posing for weeks as a Gladiator, betrays everyone. Is he still attempting to prove Fitz's election was rigged?
Malina: "Betrays?!" With this lot?! I’d say it looks like they’re getting what’s coming to them! I know David/Poor Josh will be the object of much abuse on Twitter after this episode because the fans love Olivia, enormous election-rigging warts and all, but … come on! David is still trying to do the right thing. And yes, exposing a stolen U.S. presidential election is the right thing. Additionally, David never wore a suit at OPA, so how could he have been a Gladiator?!
THR: Why would he turn to Billy, who was the first to set the president up to take the fall for Amanda Tanner's pregnancy?
Malina: Desperate times call for desperate measures, and David has a long way to go to clear his name, and maybe start an income stream. In addition to consuming mass quantities of cereal at OPA, David has been learning a thing or two, most notably that to be effective you sometimes have to get your hands dirty.
THR: How far back does David's alliance to Billy go? Was he in on this from the start -- including the frame job with the dead woman in his bed?
Malina: That's something I cannot answer.
THR: Might we see some flashbacks in the season finale to the very beginning of his relationship with Billy?
Malina: Much will be revealed and yes, some of it in flashback. I’m usually not in the flashback episodes. I am delighted that Shonda Rhimes has finally allowed David to have a recent past.
THR: Charlie tells Huck that Billy is the mole. Is Charlie in on the entire set-up? Will we see him again in the finale?
Malina: We will surely see Charlie in the finale, and learn about his involvement with Billy. Unfortunately, I cannot reveal what sweets he’ll be eating (laughs).
THR: Are Billy and David working for Sally or are they attempting to get back in with her?
Malina: That is something I also cannot answer.
THR: Now that Fitz is seeking re-election, how can we expect to see OPA turn up the heat and try to recover the Cytron card?
Malina: Well, they can try, but given what it took to procure it, don’t expect David to give it up too easily. After a long, long wait, it looks like Rosen’s finally got the upper hand, doesn’t it?
THR: Considering David's past with Abby and the fact that she stole the Cytron card from him, might she suspect that David was involved in its disappearance?
Malina: She might, but if she thinks she’s going to bat her eyelashes at David and he’ll spill all, forget it. Eyelash days are over. I wonder whether Abby -- or anyone else at OPA -- would even give David credit for having the audacity and skill to lift the card from under their noses. Perhaps!
THR: James (Dan Bucatinsky) -- whom Cyrus (Jeff Perry) totally berates as an unqualified journalist -- is the one who uncovered everything about Defiance and the Cytron card. Could we see him return to David in a bid to blow the lid off the election rigging case?
Malina: This show has created some interesting bedfellows -- both literal and figurative -- hasn’t it? James and David once worked quite closely to expose Defiance, but as we know, James perjured himself during his grand jury testimony, hanging David out to dry, and losing him his job -- for the second time! So, I think it’ll be unseasonably chilly in Hades before we see the dance team of Rosen and Novak again, and yet it’s Scandal, so who knows!
Were you surprised who the mole is and David's allegiance? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Scandal's second season finale airs Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC.