Batwoman's first season has officially come to a close -- but not before completely shifting its status quo in the process. Tonight's Season 1 finale (which, due to shutdowns tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, is two episodes earlier than originally planned) featured an epic blend of drama and character moments, many of which surrounded Elizabeth Kane/Alice (Rachel Skarsten). Alice's role as an Arrowverse antagonist has subverted expectations quite a lot throughout Season 1, culminating in two epic moments tied to characters that are close to her. Obviously, major spoilers for the Season 1 finale, "O, Mouse!", below! Only look if you want to know!
Part of the episode saw Alice focused on her efforts to get a shard of Kryptonite, which is confirmed to be the only thing to completely puncture Kate Kane/Batwoman's (Ruby Rose) Batsuit. This was diametrically opposed from what Mouse (Sam Littlefield) wanted them to do, which was to leave Gotham as soon as possible to avoid being caught or killed. Alice resisted, however, especially after learning that a Kryptonite shard is being held in Wayne Tower.
Midway through the episode, she suggested that she and Mouse do a "trauma bond exercise" - destroying the thing that bonds them to the trauma of their past, so they can move on. This seemed to only involve burning their cherished copy of Alice in Wonderland -- but ultimately culminated in Alice fatally poisoning Mouse, for making her have to choose between both sides of her life.
In the episode's final moments, Alice took her search for Kryptonite into a whole new direction, giving Tommy Elliot/Hush (Gabriel Mann) his long-awaited new face. As Tommy soon realized, his new face was a replica of that worn by the presumed-missing Bruce Wayne (Warren Christie), and Alice wanted him to pretend to be Bruce, in order to walk into Wayne Tower and get the Kryptonite.
In honor of the finale, we spoke with Skarsten about Alice's epic arc in the episode, and what it will mean for the series when it returns in 2021. We also spoke about what it was like to be a part of that Batman-themed cliffhanger, how Alice would respond to the Arrowverse's other heroes, and how she's keeping busy during quarantine.
Life in the Pandemic
ComicBook.com: How are you holding up at the moment, given the current circumstances?
Rachel Skarsten: I think the uncertainty affects everyone, and I'm not immune to it. I do feel that actors are acutely well prepared for times like this, in the sense that our job makes it so that much of our life is an unknown. We're used to being out of work at a moment's notice, and sitting around in our sweatpants waiting for someone to call us. So in that sense, I feel I've adjusted to it, maybe a little bit better.
Also, I've started, with an actor friend of mine, this virtual comic con called HomeCon, and so we did one a month ago. We were raising money for first responders first, and it was really successful. So now we're doing another one, and this go around, we have 60 actors and all these different shows. So it's actually taken up quite a bit of my time. My husband jokes that I'm busier now than I was when I was actually working.
Yeah, it's been okay. It's an adjustment in some ways. But then, in other ways - like getting to be with my husband so much, which when I'm filming, I don't get to do that - those things have been really nice. I think it's focusing on the positives that is working the best for me right now.
I obviously have to ask about this episode's cliffhanger. What is it like to essentially help introduce the Arrowverse's Bruce Wayne?
Yeah! Okay, I have to tell you: all the love and respect to Batwoman. I love her, but I was like a diehard Batman fan growing up. And if I was ever asked the question - this was long before I was on Batwoman - "What superhero would you want to be?," I'd go with Batman. To introduce Bruce Wayne is so cool. I was so excited. I just feel like they cast him so perfectly. He just looks exactly like what a Bruce Wayne should look like. He played it so well. That one's a tough one, because you're essentially playing two characters. You're playing one character trying to be another character.
I'm actually really happy for all the fans of our show, because no one anticipates that your show's just going to get cut off mid-season with two episodes left. And luckily, we are the beneficiaries of the genius mind of Caroline [Dries], our showrunner. She constantly is dropping these crazy bombs in every episode, and this one just really lends itself quite nicely to being a season finale. And, lucky for me, I got to be a part of it.
I've really loved the whole Kryptonite plotline, because having Alice be a street-level villain searching for this alien space rock feels unexpected in this really great way. What's it like to play that, and to have Alice dip into more of the sci-fi aspect of the DC world?
I love how Caroline does that, because it marries the sci-fi, which is such a cool element of the DC world, with this sort of incredible groundedness of what is more the Batman side of it. I was wondering in the crossover, how are they going to bring Kryptonite in, and I think she did a really great job with it. I just want to hold the Kryptonite to see what they do for it.
The final scene between you and Mouse almost made me cry. You guys both did such a good job, and it's such an emotional moment. That is clearly such a turning point for Alice as a character, I was wondering if you could kind of speak to that a little bit more.
Yeah, that wasn't acting. I was genuinely so sad that Sam was dying off of the show. He became a really dear friend of mine throughout the season as we were filming. I so enjoyed working with him, both on a personal level, but also just on a creative and professional level. It's been really nice for me as Alice, to have sort of the consistent player to always play off of, to have someone who brings as much crazy.
And also, just it's been interesting from the perspective of the story, because Mouse has sort of served as her check-in or her barometer for things. And now she's a bit of a loose cannon that he no longer is there. I'll be very interested to see how that affects Alice and her decisions and what she does going forward. That's number one.
Number two: it was also just an emotional day in general. We got a call that morning that the production would be shutting down for the coronavirus, and we were going to finish the day that was scheduled so that they could finish the episode. We were all basically going into work, and so I think there was just all this uncertainty of the day, and kind of not knowing what was going on, but also really just realizing, "Wow, not only is this his last day, but now we're all shutting down." I was just sort of really relishing that day, because I didn't know when I'd get to be on set again.
I love the bit of Alice burning the book. I feel like this whole season has had such an interesting approach to her processing her trauma, and that was such an interesting escalation of it.
I think the first season was all about exploring Alice's backstory, in terms of what happened to her after the accident, and all the sort of injuries that she suffered, and how she came to the point of really having that sort of break with reality that is all tied into Alice in Wonderland and that book. I think even just going forward into the next season, when we are going to dive into "How did Alice, after leaving that house, become the leader of the Wonderland gang? How did she learn all these fighting skills and really become the Alice that we know today?"
That book, what that book represents, I really love the symbolism of burning it and that Alice was trying to move past it. Not just in terms of her relationship with Mouse, but from a sort of a more overarching perspective as saying goodbye to that storyline this season, and then moving forward into next, and everything that's going to happen with Safiyah and Coryana and all of that.
That goes perfectly into my next question, which is that I really love how Safiyah and Coryana has been established as more Alice's story than it is Kate's, when, in the comics, it's kind of the reverse of that.
It's Kate's, yeah. Totally.
I was wondering what you could tease about that going into Season 2, and how that aspect of the storyline affects Alice.
I don't know a whole lot. I do know that they are going to be bringing Safiyah in. I do know that Alice has had dealings with her in the past. I'm not sure how much they're going to touch on Kate's relationship with her. Because obviously, Kate, in the comics, goes to Coryana and has a relationship with Safiyah. But I do know that for Alice, Safiyah Is one character that she is truly and genuinely terrified by. And someone who is, for all intents and purposes, probably an even bigger evil villain than Alice. So I think that's going to be interesting as well, because she will, in essence, be the big bad of the season. So for me, as an actor, it's kind of fun, because it changes Alice's position in a way. I'm really looking forward to doing that, and getting to work with that different dynamic.
I think she would think he was just such a goody-two-shoes. I feel like Alice would be so annoyed with Superman. Yeah. No time for him whatsoever. That's truly how I feel that she would feel. That's about it. Just annoyed. Alice is annoyed with most people most of the time, but definitely, anyone who thinks that they are so good or embodies goodness, Alice definitely turns her nose down at.
Part of me really wants Alice to meet the rest of the Justice League, because I feel like just getting her in the room with those people would be hilarious.
I know! And I love that aspect of Alice, that sort of comical side of her when she is just so peeved off with people. It's really fun to play. I hope so, too.
You mentioned that you're busy dealing with the HomeCon stuff, but is there anything you're getting into in quarantine? Shows you're watching, or books you're reading, anything like that.
One show I've actually really gotten into and become completely obsessed with it in the last couple of days, and I have to discipline myself to only watch one episode a day, is this French series, Call My Agent! It's actually Dix Pour Cent, but it's called Call My Agent! in English. It's on Netflix. My husband is French, and I've been learning French for the last two years, so I've been really endeavoring during this time off to watch French programming. This show is so great. It's about agents and actors, and they actually have very famous French actors sort of playing the farcical versions of themselves. And, being in the business, it's really funny to sort of see actors take the piss out of themselves and do it in French, so it's entertaining and educational for me.
That's awesome. I'll definitely have to check that out - probably with subtitles, because I don't know a lot of French - but I will definitely check that out.
I watch it with subtitles as well, because they speak so fast. But it's good both ways.0comments
Batwoman will return with new episodes in January of 2021.