Post Mortems
Scandal Recap

Scandal's Darby Stanchfield Laments the 'Blood on Abby's Hands,' Breaks Down That Sick Olivia/Fitz Burn

Warning, Gladiators: This article spoils the many twists and turns of Thursday’s Scandal. Proceed at your own risk…

A lot of words come to mind when Darby Stanchfield reflects on this week’s Abby-centric Scandal, but “relieved” seems to top them all.

Following last week’s revelation that Abby is the OPA mole, fans all but condemned her as a villain — only to discover that her strings are being pulled by a bigger, badder, more pony-tailed puppet master. As we learned Thursday night, the Shadowy Organization™ approached Abby during the election about her own political aspirations (#Whelan2020!), offering access to a $300 million fund to advance her position.

Of course, things took a pretty dark turn when the Shadowy Organization™ started making demands of Abby, including swapping out the bullets from Frankie Vargas’ corpse with three fakes provided by Meg. (Ugh, Meg!) We also know now why Abby was so determined to keep Fitz and David from sending Cyrus to the electric chair — and why she remains determined to free him from captivity.

“I was relieved in that it makes sense for the character and the arc,” Stanchfield tells TVLine of Abby being the mole. “For me, it’s more plausible than if we find out five-and-a-half seasons in that she’s been the axis of evil this whole time. It also makes sense how [Marjorie Ruland] and [Mr. Payas] manipulate everybody. They get under everybody‘s skin.”

Below, Stanchfield answers a few of TVLine’s burning questions from the episode, including the fate of Huck, which Stanchfield says will be revealed soon:

TVLINE | Abby seemed surprised when she was told how powerful she is. Did she really not know that?
It’s kind of like when someone says, “You don’t know how beautiful you are right now,” and it’s not for another 20 years that you realize how beautiful you were in that moment. I feel a little bit of that for Abby. Fitz tells her, “You have every option in the world after I’m done with my presidency,” but she doesn’t trust that. She doesn’t trust herself. Or maybe she’s just seduced by that large, shiny object that says, “You can have instant power! Here’s $300 million!” [Laughs]

TVLINE | Do you think “President Abby Whelan” is really a possibility?
I wrestle with that, and I love that Abby wrestles with it. There’s nothing easy about where Abby’s at in this place. She makes a lot of difficult decisions, and not in her traditional moral compass kind of way. It’s also the first time we’re seeing blood on Abby’s hands. Ever.

TVLINE | Literal blood on her hands! Was that fake Frankie corpse as gross as it looked?
[Laughs] Oh my goodness. Let me tell you, the people who make these organs and this body do such a good job. I really, truly was gagging. It was pretty intense. We shot that scene at the end of a 17-and-a-half hour day. I was so tired and shaky. It was so easy to act because I really was grossed out.

TVLINE | Speaking of corpses, though I hope that’s not the case, can you offer any insight on Huck’s condition?
He’s in trouble. He’s a mess. I’m really looking forward to that eventually coming out. It’s pretty serious.

TVLINE | Switching gears a little, there’s been a ton of time jumping this season. Like, more than usual. Are you having trouble keeping up?
The producers and writers have been great about giving us the tools we need, and I personally love the way they’re playing with time. They keep going back to this one night, this key moment in time, and drilling down on different characters’ points of view. And a unique thing happened to me this season: Shonda [Rhimes] told the head writer to give me this week’s script, even an early draft, before I shot the scene where you find out Abby’s the mole. She wanted me to be informed about what happened in the past — and that never happens! We never get to look at scripts until the table read.

TVLINE | I know how rare that is. You must have been so excited.
I was like, “Wow, I’m an insider now! What’s going on?!”

TVLINE | I’d like to know “what’s going on” with Cyrus and Abby. Will freeing him remain a priority for her?
Oh yeah, the storyline with Cyrus isn’t over by a long shot. It’s all she has left, really. I mean, she literally had someone killed to get Cyrus out. Jeff Perry and I always talk about this relationship. It’s such a dark, twisted one, but there’s also a subtle mentor/mentee vibe. They have each other’s back in a weird way.

TVLINE | I also have to ask you about Abby telling Fitz that Olivia will never go to Vermont for him. Does she believe that?
Abby’s trying to get what she wants out of the president in that moment, and she’s taking it personally that he wants to move to Vermont and do his own thing because it’s not what she wants him to do. She’s definitely gotten caught up in the power and the fast lane that she’s in. It’s lashing out with a purpose. She’s trying to get him to wake up.

TVLINE | And do you believe that?
I always think there’s hope for Olivia and Fitz. It might be the optimist or the idealist in me, but this was set up as a true love story from the beginning. To me, it’s still one of those relationships where they can never say goodbye.

Are you relieved to learn that Abby isn’t acting of her own accord? And do you forgive her for trying to sink the show’s eternal ‘ship? Whatever’s on your mind, drop it in a comment below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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21 Comments
  1. Daniel says:

    That was my favorite episode of the season so far. The David and mystery woman dating twist actually surprised me LOL. I’m a little confused on why Abby is so desperate to save Cyrus, and leave innocent others dead tho. Did they have a good relationship in the past? Cant remember.

  2. Al says:

    Easily the best of the season

  3. AJ says:

    Not a bad episode. A lot better than the last three with Jake, Rowan, and Huck that killed Scandal ratings. Darby is a wonderful actress and I’m rooting for Abby to get what she wants. But don’t step on Fitz or Olivia to do it. There is nothing wrong with Fitz wanting Vermont and wanting Olivia and his kids there with him. I also loved what Darby said about Olivia and Fitz, some many fans are still waiting for them to finally get together for good this time around.

  4. Cheyenne says:

    Don’t tell me she was offered access to a $300 million fund and expected nothing in return. How naïve can you get?

    So is David supposed to be.a part of this shadow org too?

  5. Brian says:

    I still like Abby and the actress that plays her, so I thought this was an ok episode.

  6. Pinky Bruno says:

    Yes, I am relieved that Abby was seduced by the power and isn’t pure evil. She in the same clutches as Papa Pope, albeit for different reasons. I have hope after tonight’s episode that Huck will live! (Ya know – Huck, Hick, Hulk, Hank, etc.)

    Can’t wait for next week’s show!

  7. Kailani says:

    It seriously can’t get any more ridiculous, and yet, I know it WILL.

  8. jml says:

    Did they actually just do a whole episode without Olivia in any new scenes? I think everything she was in was repurposed from previous episodes.

  9. kn1231 says:

    I stopped watching Scandal a few weeks ago, as I don’t find myself drawn to any of the characters or the story anymore. It’s sad to see a once great show fall like this. I remember when the recap/post mortem for a Scandal would have so many comments the same night it was posted, now it’s the next day and I’m the 10th. Really sad.

    • Lisa Echerd says:

      Yes, it is. They got a great start after the new year only to fizzle fast. Plus ABC has spent all their time promoting the truly dumb Imaginary Mary show and almost nothing on their bread and butter Thursday shows. Scandal has been so tedious because we still don’t know who will be President and we are tired of elections IRL.

  10. Lisa Echerd says:

    So we are supposed to believe that Abby is smart and savvy enough to become President but she is dumb enough to believe that someone will hand her $300 million without expecting her to commit a serious crime? She knows about Olivia’s father, right, not in connection with this but just in general what he has done? She knows the kinds of things that go on. Darby did an excellent job; it is just the writing that has serious holes in it.

  11. Eric7740 says:

    First let me say, it was an entertaining episode, but I’m sorry, you cannot have Scandal without OLIVIA POPE!!! Kerry Washington was in the episode for maybe 10 seconds and that was from a scene from a previous episode. Yes I understand they were making these episodes to accommodate Kerry’s pregnancy, but they did not have to do that the last time she was pregnant. I just can’t have Scandal without Olivia Pope. That’s just my opinion.

    • Ram510 says:

      I actually forgot all about Olivia until you just mentioned it. I feel Olivia this season as been overly mean and aggressive to the point where I find her not likeable. Abby did great tho

  12. S. C. says:

    Yes I liked the episode and how it explained Abby’s actions but I’m still upset with her because she only accepted their offer cause she didn’t get her way with Fitz. Now all this has happened and Huck is in grave danger.

  13. Kayla says:

    Abby is so weak to have to be run by someone else. She is definitely no Olivia Pope. Thats evident. That was absolutely the dumbest episode ever. A waste of time. Is Huck alive?! That’s what we want to know.

  14. Kayla says:

    I am getting bored with Scandal. I am SO sick of these election episodes. It’s overkill. You need to step it up and get more people interested in staying with the show.

  15. Nanirockpayne says:

    I was mad that we still don’t know what happens to Huck. This episode frustrated me, about Abby and her connections with these villains. It seems like Olivia is going to have to come in for the rescue as usual. Next week better have it set straight. Huck better live and Abby better get exposed for the traitor she is.

    • Kailani says:

      Yeah, one more episode without a Huck resolution on will he live or not, and I’m done. It’s clear they are just milking the whole damned thing and gotten super lazy and stupid on the plot and dialogue.