8:20pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Scandal' Case Study: Katie Lowes Talks Truths -- and Consequences: 'Nobody is Safe'
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Thursday's "Truth or Consequences" episode of Scandal.]
In one of its most whirlwind episodes to date, Scandal's Gladiators in Suits spilled everything -- the who and why of Quinn Perkins and nearly every single one of Olivia's secrets (including election rigging!) -- in an attempt to save one of their own: Olivia Pope.
With flashbacks to Quinn and her boyfriend, Jesse -- who accepted Hollis' money in exchange for swapping the technology that allowed the Defiance votes to swing in favor of Fitz -- Katie Lowes rallies everyone at OPA to come together as they finally begin to work as the team that they once were.
Realizing that her late boyfriend's damaged computer has been sitting idle at a computer repair store, Quinn recovers the laptop and turns it over to Huck, who is able to easily trace the money back to Hollis.
Meanwhile, Olivia (Kerry Washington) turns on one of her fellow illuminati members, telling David where to find a cell phone that Hollis used to contact Becky to assassinate President Fitzgerald Gran (Tony Goldwyn), the same man he helped elect. And because that wasn't enough to send Hollis (Gregg Henry) up the river, Huck goes to Becky for help. After he reveals his real name to her, she offers up an encrypted bank account where the Gladiators are hoping to find the smoking gun further linking Hollis to Fitz's assassination. Only the account use to transfer the money to Becky (Susan Pourfar) didn't come from Hollis.
When Olivia ultimately makes the call that Hollis didn't pay Becky, it's already too late, as he's been released. His life is now in danger when Cyrus (Jeff Perry) sends his hit man Charlie (George Newbern) in to finish him off.
And because this is Scandal, eight-million other things are happening, including Mellie (Bellamy Young) going to drastic lengths -- inducing labor! -- in order to prevent Fitz following through with the divorce.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Lowes to discuss the big episode, which also featured her husband, Adam Shapiro, playing the late ex-boyfriend, Jesse, to the lady previously known as Lindsay Dwyer.
The Hollywood Reporter: If Hollis didn't transfer the money to Becky's account, who did?
Katie Lowes: I can't tell you that, but know that more answers will be coming your way. At the end of this episode it's back to the hash tag #WhoShotFitz because the road we're going down proves to not be the answer. But you will get one. Next week it will all be answered and you're going to be shocked, as per usual. It really could be anyone. Everyone is a player in this game. It's definitely someone you've seen before. It could be someone from the illuminati; it also could not be. At first we thought it was Mellie, since she tried to stop Fitz before he got out of the limo. Then we went down the Hollis path; now we're on the Becky path, and it's really no one you would think of. It's going to shock everyone. It's going to be one of these awesome moments where it's someone you least expect but when you look back, everything starts to line up.
THR: Charlie's back! How will OPA work to protect Hollis after attempting to nail him to the wall for Fitz's assassination?
Lowes: I call Charlie the grim reaper because when he's around, everyone needs to hide because someone is going to die. In that last scene, you see Olivia yell at Huck that Hollis is out and that means all systems go. Olivia knows that Cyrus has been capable of putting the hit out on someone and has done that before. The job at hand is to save Hollis, even though he's the person who blew up Cytron and ruined Quinn's life. We'll see Quinn have doubts about saving him.
THR: David swore that he would come after Olivia; Cyrus knows Olivia turned on Hollis; and Mellie has ample reason to hate her. How safe is she?
Lowes: She's not. Nobody is safe. Everyone has crossed someone, and everyone somehow is guilty of something. Except for Quinn -- but even she is testing those waters. The enemies are growing at a really crazy rate, which is why Olivia just buckles and retreats to her bed for days, because there's nowhere to turn anymore.
THR: Quinn really steps up in this episode to unite OPA and decides to dedicate her allegiance to Olivia. Will she continue to be the glue that holds the team together?
Lowes: She makes the choice that this is really it for Quinn. There's a huge part of her that feels as if she's been betrayed. Even though Olivia saved her, her life was still ruined. This episode is where we see Quinn measure people up, mediate and show her real colors in terms of what she's learned on this journey. She makes the decision at the end to be on board to save Olivia and crosses over into being loyal to Olivia Pope & Associates.
THR: Will Quinn ever find out why her boyfriend was working for Hollis?
Lowes: I'd really like that! It's painted in this episode that he does it for the money and to change their life. There were some scenes cut for timing that involved Lindsay and Jesse talking about their future and buying a home and being a successful tech guy and lawyer, respectively. He was taking that money to better their life. As awful as it is to rig an election, he had the software.
THR: Could we see your husband return as Jesse?
Lowes: I don't know! Anything is possible in Scandal. Hopefully, we get to do a million more episodes and he gets to return.
THR: How will seeing the lengths Olivia went to in order to elect Fitz change how Quinn feels about their relationship?
Lowes: How do you dedicate allegiance to a woman who rigged the national election, which could be the worst thing you could do? Even though Quinn signed up to fix this situation, is she 100 percent done questioning Olivia? Quinn, more than anyone else, isn't done. How do you sign on to help someone who rigged a national election? But Olivia Pope for the most part does the right thing and wears the White Hat. Quinn is the moral consciousness and growing stronger in her conviction and in that role, and we'll see that continue.
THR: How much more will OPA learn about how high up the election rigging scandal goes? Will Abby learn Olivia and Harrison sabotaged her relationship with David?
Lowes: By the end of these 13 episodes, all of these secrets are going to come out. We're on a fast train of shame spiral, and this episode cracks it open, where everyone comes clean. When Olivia comes in and says she'll start fresh and tell everyone everything, there's only one way to go from there, and it's to continue that.
THR: How will Olivia and company respond when the baby comes? Will mom and America's Baby be healthy?
Lowes: All of those questions about how it plays out now that Fitz seems to be back being a family man will be answered. Is he really back with Mellie? Was that real? He's sort of had a readjustment of where his brain was at [after the shooting]. Mellie took a terrible risk, and we've yet to see the repercussions of the baby being born too early.
THR: Shonda Rhimes told us that next week's episode, the 13th of the season, feels like a finale. How will the election-rigging story wrap up and kick off the back nine?
Lowes: This 13th episode answers and wraps up everything; it does feels like a season finale. When we came back after the holiday, it felt like we were starting a new miniseries. But next week's episode, like every Scandal episode, will end with cliffhangers and unanswered questions. There always has to be the moment where you get to the end of the episode and scream at your TV. I will say that where we go is territory we haven't been in before. After the election rigging, where do you go? It doesn't mean this back nine has forgotten the character developments of the first 13.
How do you think Olivia and company will get out of this one? Who do you think wired the money to Becky? Hit the comments with your thoughts. Scandal airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC. Watch a promo for next week's episode, below.