In Batwoman‘s series premiere, fans find out that Alice, the season’s primary antagonist is actually Kate Kane’s (Ruby Rose) presumably dead twin sister Beth. After experiencing a fatal car crash when she was 13 leading to the death of their mother, Alice is now seeking revenge against her father, who she thinks abandoned her after the traumatic ordeal with the help of her Wonderland Gang.
During the pilots final scene, Alice, holding a picture of a younger version of her and Kate says “I’ll win you over, my dear sister. The two of us will rule Gotham, together,”
Alice is played by actress Rachel Skarsten, notably known for her roles in Reign, Lost Girls, and the TV version of Birds of Prey. The actress spoke to Hollywood Life about her character and the show in general. Explaining that fans will get to see the story through flashbacks and from her character’s perspective.
“I think Alice’s ultimate desire is driven by love, albeit perverse love at this point. I think her underlying motivation is always her love of Kate and her desire to be reunited with her, in whatever capacity or what that looks like for Alice.” she added.
During the audition process for Batwoman, Skarsten explained that she didn’t know the role she was auditioning for in the beginning given that the character names on the sides were changed. After a while, the producers chimed her in on the big secret.
Batwoman has drawn some ire from viewers and fans alike, harping their suspicions as to how a Batman-less Gotham will work before it premiered. That and with the mild backlash regarding the plot revolving around Kate Kane being lesbian (Fyi, she’s actually lesbian in the comics) and the woman-centric cast shown in the show’s trailer, the show has actually started to recover after its seemingly slow start.
Ruby Rose’s performance as Kate Kane even improved over the span of three episodes though, people probably would disagree with this fact. The bright spot in this writer’s opinion is Skarsten’s portrayal of Alice. People have akin her performance to that of the Joker who according to her have been portrayed by prolific and amazing actors. The actress is aware about this though, saying in an interview that while to her it’s an honor even being remotely compared to them, she would like to make the role and her performance her own. This is fair though, as Alice has been one of the main reasons why fans remain hopeful about the show. And while it is understandable that people compare Alice to the Joker (specifically Ledger’s), one would assume if given the time to re-watch the first three episodes is the way the show is shot, which probably drew inspiration from the Nolan films.
The little details and nuances in Skarsten’s acting as Alice is a marvel to watch, which most television antagonists lack these days. Some people criticize her for overacting but you should keep in mind that Alice is a very disturbed, very snarky, and a very theatrical villain which proves to be a good spoil to Rose’s somewhat dry and seemingly detached Kate Kane. Her personality shifts between the maniacal Alice to the embittered Beth is just exquisite, which just overflows with depth in this seemingly generic show.
One can only expect better, even great things from this show if they play around the strong aspects of the show like the relationship and conflict between the twins, the dynamic between Alice and their father, and to maybe not overly focus on the love story between Kate and Sophie Moore (Meagan Tandy). These are the building blocks they could use to make the show more successful, just like what Gotham has done before them.