WARNING: Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t watched the January 25th episode of “Scandal” titled “Good People,” proceed with caution.
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Following the heart-wrenching events of the previous episode, “Robin,” in which Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and QPA mourned the apparent loss of Quinn (Katie Lowes), “Scandal” finally delved into the past to reveal the harrowing experiences Quinn endured after she walked into her office wearing her wedding dress, only to vanish without a trace. Shockingly, it was revealed that Rowan (Joe Morton) was not the one responsible for her disappearance.
“I had a feeling Quinn wasn’t gone for good, and it was truly special and incredibly emotional to have an episode like ‘Robin’ where I could revisit those pivotal flashback moments in Quinn’s life and witness how she has evolved and transformed over the past seven years,” Lowes shared with Variety. “It was a rewarding experience in a rather twisted way.”
Because Katie Lowes was indeed pregnant during production, the show decided to film episodes in a non-sequential order, with “Good People” being filmed before “Robin” to accommodate her maternity leave. However, even though she was aware of her character’s actual fate, shooting the episode didn’t come without its challenges.
“I remember walking onto the set on the first day of filming and having a conversation with the director, where I wondered, ‘How on earth am I going to pull this off?’ It felt like my life, my baby’s life, and my wedding day all rolled into one. In reality, I was nine and a half months pregnant,” Katie Lowes shared, reflecting on the challenges of filming while expecting. “Luckily, our director, Nzingha Stewart, was amazing and provided strong leadership. What set her apart was her efficient directing style, which meant I could give it my all and leave everything on the table three to five times, rather than having to repeat it 30 times.”
In the episode “Good People,” it was revealed that Rowan had kept Quinn in a bunker, where she desperately pled for her life while clutching her pregnant belly. She emphasized that in B613, the rule was “mothers and children first,” but then chastised Rowan for his failure to see that Olivia would never make a trade, ultimately sealing both her and her unborn daughter’s fate.
Katie Lowes remarked, “The stakes couldn’t have been higher in ‘Good People.'” When Olivia arrived at Rowan’s location, a tense standoff ensued between the father-daughter duo. As Quinn used a hairpin to free herself from her handcuffs, she seized an opportunity to attack Rowan. This time, when she implored him not to harm her until after her baby’s birth, it became clear that the reminder of “mother and children first” had struck a chord with him.
Initially, the idea of engaging in such physical scenes while pregnant was “horrifying” for Lowes. However, when the actual day of shooting arrived, she felt “very well taken care of” and supported on set.
“We had a medic present on set throughout filming, and we were fortunate to have an obstetrician guiding me on how to execute everything safely, which was truly remarkable,” Katie Lowes shared. “Our stunt coordinator was also there, and I had a stunt double. We took things at a deliberately slow pace, and I felt incredibly secure.”
Following the staged shooting, Quinn went into labor and delivered her baby, with some assistance from Rowan and his salesman friend, who had previously worked as a war medic. Along the way, she experienced hallucinations involving her friends.
“The most surreal part of the episode was that I was actually nine and a half months pregnant, sitting with a blanket over my knees. They placed a real baby between my legs and simulated the process as if it were really happening,” Lowes recalled. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, guys, this is going to be my reality in just a few weeks!’ They had both a real baby, to capture authentic crying sounds, and a prop baby covered in grape jelly and cottage cheese. That’s how they create the illusion of a newborn baby.”
The new mother and her daughter settled into Liv’s former room within Rowan’s residence, adopting a low-profile existence. This move was essential to maintain Olivia’s belief in Quinn’s demise, preventing her from actively searching for her with intentions to harm her.
“Nzingha was very focused on finding moments where, especially when the baby arrived and Rowan had bought all the baby clothes, Quinn filled a significant void for Papa Pope,” Katie Lowes explained. “Similarly, Quinn lacked a father figure. They both ultimately align in the end by adhering to the B613 rules, prioritizing the safety of a pregnant woman above all else.”
Lowes emphasized that Rowan and Quinn have formed a strong bond because they “undoubtedly need each other at this moment.” Future episodes of “Scandal” will explore the dynamics of this unique relationship. In the last scene featuring Rowan in the present day, Charlie (George Newbern) confronted him over the presence of the baby in his house, demanding to know the child’s parentage. According to Lowes, the eventual reunion between Charlie and Quinn is “unexpected,” even by “Scandal” standards.
Regarding whether Quinn and Rowan will collaborate to take down Olivia and potentially involve Charlie in their plans, Lowes hinted at complex loyalties and family dynamics that will unfold. She stated, “It’s not a dynamic you’ve seen on television before.”
Quinn’s loyalty to Olivia was once unwavering, and in many ways, she even held onto the hope that Olivia would eventually come to her rescue while she was trapped in that bunker. However, after overhearing Olivia’s callous acceptance of her and her baby’s murder, her feelings toward her former mentor have become profoundly complex.
“It’s extremely challenging for her to reconcile the fact that Olivia is accountable for the plane explosion, which tragically took the life of that young girl. Quinn finds it exceedingly difficult to accept that the Olivia she knew and cared for is absent in this moment,” Katie Lowes explained. “I think the line from the show is, ‘Olivia’s a bitch,’ but honestly, I think that’s a gross understatement. It’s a moment I appreciate because how do you find the words to describe someone who is responsible for the death of you and your unborn child and is unapologetic about it in the name of the Republic? I genuinely don’t know if a relationship can ever recover from that.”
Despite the emotionally charged faux death episode, Katie Lowes doesn’t harbor strong sentiments about whether Quinn’s character survives until the series finale in April. She recognizes that she’s been a significant part of this extensive journey for seven years and trusts Shonda Rhimes to make the most fitting decisions for the characters.
“I’ve played Quinn for so long, but she’s also Shonda’s creation, and I’m just ready to accept whatever Shonda envisions for her,” Lowes remarked.
“Scandal” airs on ABC on Thursdays at 9 p.m.