Post Mortems
Scandal Recap

Scandal Star Breaks Down Cyrus' 'Dehumanizing' Prison Experience, Previews Future Nightmares

In one of the most twisted episodes of Scandal to date, Thursday’s episode sent Cyrus to hell (and prison) and back — but he’s not out of the woods just yet.

Though the pseudo-bottle episode ended with an incarcerated Tom recanting his story to Cyrus (as another prisoner strangled a nearby guard to death with his own damn belt), Jeff Perry is quick to remind TVLine that not everyone was privy to that admission: “He still needs to survive the legal system. We haven’t seen him sprung just yet.”

Perry is, however, excited about the possibility of Cyrus being able to “actually face Frankie’s wife and daughter and truly say, ‘I didn’t do this. We didn’t do this.'”

Of course, Cy doesn’t know that Olivia — with whom he shared a devastating phone call, which Perry found “strangely fun” to act out — discovered proof of Tom’s innocence at nearly the exact same moment. Believe it or not, Perry still has hope that Cyrus and Liv’s friendship can survive this massive hiccup: “She’s very proud, and very much cut from Papa Pope,” he says. “But unlike her father, I think she’s actually capable of remorse and apologies.”

So, what’s on Cyrus’ to-do list moving forward — you know, besides becoming the first gay president?

“I would think he’d try to resurrect the marriage with Michael,” Perry says. “As much of a crazy monster as Cyrus is, there’s love there.” The same, however, might not apply to the other member of Beene family. “The audience always asks where Ella is — I don’t even think Cyrus knows Ella’s name,” Perry admits. “I believe that Cyrus is thinking, ‘Thank God someone like Michael is around with actual parenting instincts.'”

Below, Perry breaks down two of the moments that made this Gladiator squirm:

* Remember when Billy from Friday Night Lights straight-up spit in Cyrus’ face? It was quick, it was gross, and it was “dehumanizing.” Fortunately, the one thing it wasn’t… was real. “Magicians are never supposed to reveal this, but they have a little apparatus, sort of like the weirdest little homemade air rifle,” Perry says. “It shoots some sort of concoction at you. It took a few takes for it to land properly on my face, but it was great because when we got it, I heard [director Tom Verica] let out a whoop of, ‘Oh, that looks horrible — it was great!'”

* If you were thrown for a loop by that dream sequence — I’ll admit to briefly questioning whether it could be real — you’re not alone. “I was nicely fooled for a few pages at the table read,” Perry admits. “I liked what the writers did there, trying to subvert our expectations for a minute.”

* And if you — again, like me — thought this might actually be Cyrus’ final hour, Perry says he “empathizes” with you. “He deserves to be punished for everything he’s done, but the hardcore Twitter audience doesn’t want him killed yet. He’s too amusing! And I hope Shonda [Rhimes] listens, because I do love this work so much. Don’t kill me yet!”

Your thoughts on this week’s twisted hour of Scandal? Hopes for the madness still to come? Drop whatever’s on your mind in a comment below.