Who thought Red could go black hat on Scandal?
Not star Darby Stanchfield! The actress told Yahoo TV that last week’s reveal that Abby Whelan had a connection to the new mystery power players — and played a part in Huck’s shooting — was “the most shocked I’ve ever been in all five and a half seasons of shooting Scandal.”
Could Abby really have turned on her former colleague and gladiator? Has she gone totally rogue? Did she know about the plan to assassinate President-elect Francisco Vargas? All (or at least some) will be revealed in Thursday’s Abby-centric episode, which looks at election night from the point of view of the flame-haired White House chief of staff.
Here’s what Stanchfield had to say about Abby’s moment in the spotlight:
Yahoo TV: Let’s talk about the end of last week’s episode, when Abby is revealed to be the mole in Olivia’s circle and involved in Huck’s shooting. How shocked were you?
Darby Stanchfield: That’s the most shocked I’ve ever been in all five and a half seasons of shooting Scandal. I was really speechless. I would’ve guessed anybody else at the table but Abby. Anybody! Even a guest star! We were all shocked, but I was especially shocked.
So, has Abby gone evil?
That was my first question. She’s obviously turned evil on some level, but how evil? My question was, how far does this go? How involved is she? It’s all so very vague. But she definitely seems to know this mystery woman. There’s no question they’ve had some sort of history or past or relationship. So, I was really excited when Shonda [Rhimes] insisted that I read the next script before I shot that scene, that OMG scene, of Abby being the mole. They had me read it so I could have a sense of it before I shot it.
What can you preview about this episode? It focuses on Abby, right?
It does focus on election night and leading up to it, Abby’s involvement and decisions. We get the beginnings of answers of how involved Abby is and how dark she’s turned. For me, the episode really examines Abby’s relationship with power. Also, we find out what Abby’s weak spots are.
How did you react to this new mystery group coming on the scene?
I sat straight up in my chair! If anybody can manipulate or bully or win over Eli/Rowan/Papa Pope, then you know they have no fear. Because he’s always the one who has the last move or putting other people in checkmate — you can never, ever pin this guy down. So the fact that they’ve been playing him like a puppet, you never thought there was anybody who could top Rowan’s craftiness. That’s why I was so shocked that Abby was involved with these people.
As you mentioned, Abby has acquired a taste for power. How far is she willing to go to maintain it?
That’s a very good question, and I’d say Abby struggles with that answer. It gets her into trouble, and it’s not something that’s put to rest in just this next episode. It’s something that Abby has to continue to deal with. It just gets messier.
This season has had a different structure than years past. How have you enjoyed it?
I love it! In the last few years, this is probably one of the more interesting ways of structuring of the season. I love the way they deal with the use of time, the way they keep going back to election night, and to see it from different points of view. It’s really neat. It’s also something that, if you go back and watch older episodes in the season, now that you know what happens, you’ll read different things into the scenes. There’s something puzzle-like about it that I really enjoy, and it’s really well thought-out.
‘Scandal’ airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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