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Scandal’s Katie Lowes on Quinn’s Suspect Logic and Her Surprising Turn in the Midseason Finale

Wait, since when Huck does get to unilaterally vote people out of OPA? At the end of Scandal’s explosive midseason finale, Quinn goes back to Huck, and instead of apologizing for removing her teeth, he banishes her. Okay, maybe Quinn deserves it for not fessing up sooner about being caught up in Charlie’s crap, and sure, she really liked stabbing that security guard — but Huck kills people. And he licked her face. Friends don’t slobber on friends! More than anyone else caught up in the maelstrom of Operation Remington and Mama Pope vs. Papa Pope and the vice president’s secret bid to unseat Fitz, it’s actually Quinn whose life has been turned completely upside down. So what if Olivia can’t pick between two hot guys? Quinn needs dental work, a new job, and probably a new boyfriend! Vulture spoke with Katie Lowes about how Quinn’s world got shot straight to hell.

Uh, shouldn’t Quinn be the one giving Huck a hard time for yanking her teeth out?
Sure! But as Quinn, I just think that’s their relationship. I always knew if she was going to get out of being tortured, she would try to get back to him. That’s her family, that’s her everything. You see those horrible stories where people still go back after awful things are done to them by their family. It’s that kind of situation. She has such stakes in her relationship with Huck and her home at Olivia Pope and Associates. In my mind, when she’s alone with Charlie, she woke up in the middle of the night and thought, How do I get back there? How do I make this okay? [She pauses.] It’s soooo messed up!

It really is.
In a way, Huck and Quinn are even closer now because of going through that situation together.

Hmm ...
I think she feels closer to him than ever. I’ve talked to Guillermo Diaz about this a lot. As actors, we got so much closer the day we shot all those torture scenes, and in a way, I feel like Quinn and Huck feel closer too. I know that’s really odd— but in the world of Scandal, where nothing is what you expect?

Here’s one thing that’s been nagging at me: As far as Quinn’s “betrayal” goes, why didn’t she tell Olivia and Huck she was in trouble with Charlie and B613 in the first place? They would have understood.
It all happened really fast. She was only in the office for one day working as a double agent where she could have said something to Olivia. In that day, I still think she felt like she could get out of it. On her lunch break, maybe she holds Charlie at gunpoint and says, “I’m not going to do this anymore,” you know? But she comes home that day convinced that no one at OPA can link her to the death of that security guard. She walks into her apartment and Huck is waiting there for her. The way I justified it is that he didn’t let her explain. I really think in two seconds, he throws that tape over her mouth and it’s just all over.

Yeah, he might have overreacted.
[Laughs]. But what I love about all this happening is that as much as we all love Huck, Huck is a killer. That’s how he gets things done. It’s very clear in Huck’s world: This is how you deal with someone who betrays you.

I think they’re even. Quinn “betrayed” OPA for a day, he took some teeth and licked her face. I’m not sure why Huck gets to banish her.
I was devastated at the table read in that moment when he says, “You’re not a gladiator anymore.” That’s far worse than ripping out a tooth. It’s probably the lowest blow he could have dealt her.

Do you think Huck and Quinn can come back from what’s happened? I’m thinking no. But then I look at what’s transpired between Cyrus and James …
What’s amazing about what Shonda Rhimes and the writers do, is that I truly believe anything is possible. They manage to write themselves into corners and then flip it all around and write themselves out of it. I don’t know if Huck and Quinn come out of it. We’re only one episode ahead of you, so I don’t really know what’s in store for Quinn or where she’ll go. I do think she is forever changed by the experience of being tortured. We took extra care to show that when she walks back into the OPA office. She’s in an army jacket, her hair isn’t curled, she’s not in her little high heels and fishnets and pencil skirts. It’s a whole new world for her. She’s lost her identity.

Do you believe Charlie is genuinely into her?
I do. Look, Charlie, Quinn, and Huck are all some messed up people, and no, Charlie is probably not capable of a normal boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. However, to the degree he is able, I think he does feel for Quinn.

Ever think to yourself: Wow, I’m making out with Bryan from Father of the Bride?
I literally call him Bryan MacKenzie all the time. I grew up watching both Adventures in Babysitting and Father of the Bride, so this is crazy to me.

Charlie’s going to have a new boss when he gets back to work.
I actually think of him as a free agent. I don’t know how he’ll feel about working with Jake — I don’t know how much he’ll care as long as the jobs keep rolling in and he gets to keep doing what he likes to do.

I’m probably missing something, but why couldn’t Fitz put Jake in charge over earlier?
That’s an interesting point. I think there were a lot of things that needed to get ironed out when he found out Rowan was Olivia’s dad. When Olivia says, “You can do whatever you like to my dad,” I think he needed that. He needed her sign-off so he feels he has her permission to do with Rowan what he needs to do.

Fitz has been so aggressive recently, yelling at Cyrus, taking Rowan hostage. But do you think he’s a good president? We don’t see him governing.
I believe in him. In the moments we’ve seen him talking to the press, and sticking up for Mellie … this is why the show’s so brilliant. I was just about to say how I think that morally Fitz is a good person, and then I remembered he killed Verna [laughs]. It’s a tricky world. Very complex.

When we last asked you if you were Team Jake or Team Fitz, you said Team Jake. Both men made big gestures in their bid for Olivia tonight. Still feel the same way?
I go back and forth every day. Some days, Fitz will say just the right thing to her in the right moment, and I’ll be all for him. Other days, Jake will call it like it is, or look really amazing in his uniform, and I’ll be like, Okay, Team Jake. I think she’s pretty lucky to have them both around.

So what’s next for Quinn? Has she gone back to B613?
It’s deliberately unclear. She goes back to Charlie, but you’re not supposed to be 100 percent sure about the rest.

You’re saying she’s unemployed.
She’s basically unemployed. She needs a gig.

Shonda mentioned that she was mulling a B613 spinoff, so let’s say Charlie vouches for Quinn and she’s back in with them. What if one day Shonda recruited you to that spinoff? Would you go willingly?
I will go into the fire for Shonda. Honestly.

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty