'Scandal' Case Study: Guillermo Diaz on Huck's New Level of Crazy, Hope for Quinn

The actor breaks down the penultimate episode of 2013 and teases the "explosive" midseason finale in THR's weekly postmortem.
ABC/Richard Cartwright
"Scandal's" Guillermo Diaz

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's "YOLO" episode of ABC's Scandal.]

Will "Huckelberry Quinn" ever be the same again?

During "YOLO" -- the penultimate Scandal episode of 2013 -- Quinn (Katie Lowes) learned first-hand what it means to be on Huck's (Guillermo Diaz) bad side.

The upstart Gladiator with a penchant for drills betrayed Olivia Pope & Associates and wound up naked and bound with duct tape in her apartment as Huck tortured his former apprentice by pulling out a few of her teeth. And it would have been more had Olivia (Kerry Washington) not interrupted the process with news that her mother, Maya (Khandi Alexander) was alive.

Meanwhile, after Jake's (Scott Foley) team walks into a Rowan-set trap and Huck learns that the Gladiators can't get close enough to the B613 leader (Joe Morton) without a man on the inside, he winds up turning to Quinn to use her relationship with Charlie (George Newbern) to inch closer to Command.

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The plan works and after Quinn sleeps with Charlie (seriously!), he takes her to Wonderland where she demands all evidence connecting her to the security guard slaying before going back to OPA as a mole to help B613 reclaim Maya.

It all goes down right after Olivia, thanks to Fitz's (Tony Goldwyn) assistance, puts her estranged mother on a plane for Hong Kong just as she realizes that her mother may not be Rowan's victim after all. Instead, Olivia calls Huck after remembering a call she intercepted as a girl asking for someone named "Maria Wallace," whom Huck reveals is the name Rowan placed on the no-fly list. It suggests that Rowan may have been right all along and was trying to protect everyone from Maya -- who seems to be the one using an alias to hide her true identity as a terrorist.

As part of our weekly Scandal Case Study series, The Hollywood Reporter turned to Diaz to break down the episode -- which ended with vice president Sally Langston (Kate Burton) having killed her cheating husband Daniel (Jack Coleman) -- and preview what's ahead in Scandal's mid-season finale.

What was it like having to lick Katie's face and torture Quinn?

It just goes to another level of craziness with Huck. He's never tortured someone that he loves in the family. Katie and I love each other and it was really tough and strange shooting that. There was a really interesting energy when we were shooting it because it was so odd, and we just went for it. We feel so comfortable with each other, so it was easy to be close and get into it without worrying about the other person's comfort level. Poor Katie was naked and tied up in tape and already in a vulnerable position, and I had to stick this iron rod in her mouth. It was just nuts! I kept saying to the director, "I can feel her teeth!" He kept telling me, "Get the pliers way in there!" Katie was just like, "Just go for it!" She was such a trooper.

After seeing Quinn enjoy drilling into someone in the season two finale, what was Katie's reaction to being on the receiving end of that torture treatment?

We sat next to each other during the first table read of this episode and were both really emotional. We didn't expect Huck to be torturing Quinn. I thought he'd flip out and get in her face again, but I never expected Huck to tape her up and torture her. I wonder if Katie was thinking about being exhilarated or excited a little bit because Quinn does enjoy torturing people from that Billy Chambers situation.

How will Huck and Quinn's relationship change now that she's working both sides in a bid to bring down B613?

They're both coming from the that same dark world, so maybe they'll chalk it up to, "It is what it is" or "This is just what happened and we have to move on." There will be a little bit of disconnect between them, I'm assuming, and they're going to continue on with their dysfunctional, f---ed-up lives. I can't imagine. [Showrunner] Shonda [Rhimes] always throws something brilliant and really interesting at us, so I'm sure she's going to make it work. Katie's not going anywhere on the show and I'm not going anywhere so the show -- I hope. So they have to make it work somehow, right?

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Quinn is poised to take down Rowan. How will Olivia and Huck's realization that Maya may be the terrorist here impact Quinn's mission?

All I can say is: Poor Quinn! She can't catch a break! She was just tortured, she tells Huck she can give him more than what he wants and can actually do something. We don't know what their deal was there, but then she was going to take care of Rowan and we find out he actually might be the good guy! She can't catch a break, but she definitely gets an A for effort. She's trying to do the right thing, and I hope that counts for something. I hope that Olivia Pope and the rest of the crew can see she was really trying to do the right thing.

If Quinn can't kill Rowan because he's actually the good guy here, how else can she redeem herself with Huck and OPA?

She's going to have to do some real hard work with both Huck and OPA. She has to really prove to Huck and the firm that she's not going to go off and try to do these side jobs anymore. As unconventional and dysfunctional of a family that we might be, if you choose to work for OPA, you have to stick with us and not go off and do your own thing. She's going to have to prove that and stick around and really show us that she wants to be there or not. Maybe she doesn't want to be there, and she'll have to voice that as well and let us know if that's the case.

Can Huck and Quinn come back from this?

I hope so. They have this similar past. She kind of lost her family -- she doesn't have a mom and her dad wrote her off. Remember those little scenes of Huck trying to find her a family to watch? I feel like out of everyone at OPA, they had that special connection. I'm hoping that they'll make it back to their old selves and really get back to being friends.

Will Huck tell OPA about Quinn's betrayal?

I can't imagine he that wouldn't. I think he's going to put everything on the table. I don't know if he will tell the whole firm, but I definitely think he'll tell Olivia what's been going down.

How will Olivia feel when she learns that Huck, Quinn and Jake are all trying to kill Rowan?

I can't imagine Olivia being too shocked by what's going on. She just put mother on plane to another country, found out that her mother is possibly the bad guy, her father is the lead of B613 who put Jake and Huck in the hole. She knows he's killed people. I can't imagine that Olivia finding out what Quinn has done is going to be that shocking; I think she's going to be a bit surprised and think it's unexpected that it's Quinn who went off out of everyone and that she's the one who did this. There are so many crazy things happening in Olivia's life right now that nothing is going to shock her anymore. Olivia can't blame them. Rowan has taken everything away from Huck -- his family, his sanity, his hope -- and turned it into this mess. And Jake isn't as messed up as Huck, but I can't imagine that Olivia won't be able to understand that they want to get back at Rowan. Even though it's her father, she is kind of in the middle of it, which has got to be pretty difficult for her.

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Fitz is also on board to bring down Rowan. Could Olivia's dad become OPA's client?

Wow, that would be really interesting. Stranger things have happened. We've seen the president become the client up on that board. We've seen Huck's ex-girlfriend Becky become the client and Quinn become the client. I could totally see Rowan up there on that board. It'd be really great if he turns from this dark, negative character -- the bad guy -- into this guy that we start to rethink our feelings about.

It seemed like Huck had a tracker on Quinn when he tells Olivia that they have a problem. Has Rowan taken Quinn?

We're going to find out in the next episode what that's all about. That little blinking light will all be explained in the next episode.

If Rowan knew that Maya/Maria Wallace is a known terrorist, why would he marry her?

Maybe he didn't know at first. Maybe he didn't find out until after they were already married. I don't know for sure. You can't control your emotions sometimes and your feelings toward someone. Maybe he didn't care. Maybe he thought he could change her. Ultimately, you realize this person is never going to change.

Looking at the White House, the Grant Administration has a major problem now that Sally has killed her husband, Daniel. Could we expect OPA to get involved? Do you think that will end her presidential campaign?

I can't imagine them not getting involved. I think they might jump in there and try to fix things. It's a possibility. Sally is the type of woman who does things by any means necessary. I don't know if this is going to take her down emotionally or what. 

How would you describe the mid-season finale?

We're definitely going to see characters interact who we didn't expect to see interacting. Huck and Quinn are going to see each other again, and that's going to be pretty explosive and exciting. It's a winter finale and Shonda never disappoints with those. We actually shot a couple of different scenes in different ways, so Shonda has the option of doing different things. I haven't seen it and I haven't heard what they've chosen. There's going to be a lot of surprises. It's going to be shocking and exciting for everyone, including the people who are in it, which is something you don't normally say on a show or a movie.

Do you think Quinn can dig herself out of this mess? Were you shocked by Huck's actions? Hit the comments below with your thoughts. Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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