‘Batwoman’s Rachel Skarsten Says Alice Feels ‘Great Vindication’ After Kate’s Decision
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1, Episode 15 of Batwoman, “Off With Her Head.”]
Another part of Alice’s (Rachel Skarsten) traumatic past was revealed in Sunday’s episode of Batwoman as her sister and father tried to find her.
When Alice found Mouse (Sam Littlefield), he surprised her by turning on her and hooking her up to the fear toxin because “my greatest fear is you.” “You destroyed our family, and now your greatest fear will destroy you,” he said. And so she was forced to remember the trauma she suffered at the hands of Cartwright’s mother, as Cartwright (John Emmet Tracy) filled Kate (Ruby Rose) in.
While Jacob (Dougray Scott) rescued Alice, his other daughter learned that Cartwright had their mother’s head in a refrigerator; his mother wanted her face. Hearing that prompted Kate to attack — and kill — Cartwright. (Alice burned and killed the “Queen of Hearts” as soon as she’d found her mother’s head.)
Here, Skarsten breaks down “Off With Her Head” and reveals which of Alice’s relationships changes the most going forward as a result.
This episode was so heartbreaking for Alice, in the flashbacks and the present. Will everything that happened change anything about her and her plans going forward?
Rachel Skarsten: Yes and no. Most of what we see that is heartbreaking as the audience, Alice has lived with throughout the entirety of the show, so that was always a part of her. The one thing that changes — but more for Kate probably than for Alice — is that Alice has always felt very justified in what she does because of the trauma that she went through. She’s wanted Kate to understand that, where Kate feels given different decisions and different choices, things could have ended differently or they could still end differently.
But of course we see Kate make a choice she can’t come back from and a decision that inevitably is going to change her and ultimately one that Alice would’ve made. I think Alice feels this great vindication in the equalization of the sisters. It definitely changes things for Kate and it definitely justifies Alice.
Does Kate killing Cartwright change Alice’s relationship with her?
It does for Kate. [That] relationship was probably changed in the earlier episode where Kate chose once again not to save her. That was more of a turning point for Alice than this episode. But definitely for both of the characters from that point for Alice and this point for Kate, we’ll see a different evolution in their relationship going forward than we’ve seen in previous episodes.
Are we going to see Alice coping with Cartwright being dead but not being the one to kill him?
No, but we will see Alice deal with the fact that even though she’s physically freed from Cartwright, she is not emotionally freed from him, which so often is the case with revenge. She will continue to grapple with the effects of all the things he and the Queen of Hearts did to her. It was part of her plan to have Kate kill Cartwright, to prove to Kate that she was no better than Alice.
Will Alice and Mouse’s dynamic change after he betrayed her?
Absolutely. Up until now, Alice has really been the dominant figure in their relationship and we’re going to start to see more of Mouse standing on his own and that definitely upends the dynamic of their friendship and causes a lot of problems in their relationship. He’s upsetting the status quo that Alice feels entitled to.
We had a really great moment between Alice and Jacob in this episode. Is that relationship going to change at all?
Yeah, I can’t say enough nice things about Dougray Scott. I really love him as a person, and I love getting to work with him. That scene on the staircase broke my heart when I watched him do it because he is a father in real life and it was just so heartbreaking seeing him interact with his daughter.
If any relationship in the show shifted after this episode it’s probably that relationship. However, without giving too much away, it’s hard to really say how much.
That moment for me was so beautiful because ultimately when Alice experienced all that trauma, there’s a part of her that was frozen in time as that child and all she wanted was to be rescued by her father and expected to be rescued by her father, like most children, and was so deeply disappointed. There’s just this really beautiful bookend to their relationship that he did rescue her, where given the same opportunity in episodes prior, Kate chose the opposite.
We just keep learning more and more disturbing things about Alice’s past. How much more is still to come?
There is more to come for sure, but the more disturbing things that are coming are in Alice’s present day, at least for this season.
Alice’s dynamic with Mary (Nicole Kang) is so interesting. There’s respect there from Alice, right? Is there more of that to come this season?
Yeah, Caroline [Dries], our showrunner, told us the crux of the show is this love triangle between the three sisters, and I think that’s very interesting because both Mary and Alice share this real jealousy of affection from Kate and they both so desperately want the love of that sister. So they’re very similar in that way, but of course very different in terms of their moral code. However both are incredibly smart and eccentric and funny.
Nicole is so talented, and people sometimes ask me, “If you could play another character, who would you play?” I wouldn’t choose her because she does her character so well, but I really love Mary as a character, so it would probably be that one.
We never worked together, and it was really fun the last couple of episodes to get to play on set with Nicole because she’s really, really fun to play off of. She’s an actor who gives you a lot to bounce back off of. But going forward, yes, they will continue to be involved just because of their shared desire to be around Kate, and so they will crash into one another.
You were in some really sweet scenes as Beth with Luke (Camrus Johnson), so will we see some Alice and Luke scenes to contrast that?
Cam and I loved playing those scenes because we’re good friends in real life and so we were joking around, low-key hitting on each other in the show, so that was really fun. Again, because of their mutual involvement with Kate and Batwoman, they crash into one another.
Truthfully I would love to have more scenes with the two of them, but Alice’s path takes her on another adventure and she will interact with some new characters that are coming in and coming back and that’s where she’s headed right now.
Where does the next episode pick up? Family burying Cartwright’s body?
Yes and no. While Alice’s family is an Achilles heel for her and ultimately there’s nothing more that she wants than their love and acceptance, she’s also so focused on this ever-evolving revenge that she has that is going to prevent her from “teaming up” with them because ultimately it still lies in direct conflict with their moral code.
Batwoman, Sundays, 8/7c, The CW