Spotlight on DCTV ladies: Rachel Skarsten

(contains Batwoman Season 1 spoilers)

With International Women’s Day coming up, it’s a good time to start a new series here on Fandomopolis that focuses on ladies – specifically the DCTV women, and their characters on TV.

This first piece will shine a spotlight on Rachel Skarsten, who is currently portraying the diabolical and twisted Alice in the CW’s Batwoman. 

Playing Alice, leader of the Wonderland gang, who is also Beth Kane, (Batwoman) Kate Kane’s sister, the character borderlines between sinister and enthralling.

It is no wonder that watching Alice with her taunts and evilness makes your blood boil. However, the backstory that was created for this version of Alice, where she was abducted and essentially kept as a toy for August Cartwright’s son, Mouse, inevitably makes your heart aches for the little girl that was trapped in the basement. It certainly did not help when later in the season came Beth from an alternate Earth, living a blissful life with her sister Kate because the latter managed to save her from the car crash. Yup, the exact one where Batwoman’s Kate did not, leading Alice to be seized and kept locked up.  

With only Mouse as a friend, a copy of Alice in Wonderland as company, and being used for her nimble hands in creating faces for the disfigured Mouse, the tragic backstory shaped Alice into this deranged and maniacal character you could not help but pity even at her worse.

So far throughout the season, with the criss-cross between Skarsten’s portrayal of an unhinged Alice and Ava Sleeth’s young and innocent Beth, viewers were able to take a better look and even sympathise with some of the actions taken by the adult Alice. 

Skarsten, a Canadian actress most known for her portrayals of Dinah Lance on Birds of Prey (2002), Tamsin on Lost Girl (2013-2015), and Elizabeth of England on Reign (2015-2017), has been acting since she was 12. With her role as the Valkyrie detective Tamsin, Skarsten became a fan favourite on Lost Girl, especially among the LGBTQ+ community, for her enthralling portrayal of her bisexual character. 

No stranger to challenging roles, Skarsten has since shown a captivating performance as both Alice and Beth on Batwomen.  

Skarsten’s portrayal of Alice/Beth took a turn for the better at the end of 1×10’s “How Queer Everything Is Today!” when a second Beth, displaced from her Earth after Crisis, appeared. The two episodes after, 1×11’s “An Un-Birthday Present” and 1×12’s “Take Your Choice”, see Skarsten seamlessly portraying both Alice and Beth, two of the same “persons” that have vastly different backgrounds, demeanour, and relationships with Kate. 

Skarsten’s compelling performance in delivering the soft and trusting Beth, especially in the scene where Beth, impersonating Alice, was trapped in a burning car, touching Kate’s face and letting her know without words that she did not blame her if Kate had to leave her to die, tugs at the audience’s heartstrings. Likewise, Skarsten’s captivating delivery of Alice, particularly in 1×12 where the devilish leader showed a moment of weakness after knowing Kate chose to save Beth over her, then smoothly transit into the revenge-seeking, vicious Alice when she got to live, keeps viewers on the edge with her every move.

Skarsten’s Alice might be the season’s villain, but we hope this will not be the only season with her. It will be curious to explore the relationships between Batwoman and Alice, as well as Kate with Beth, how these could be both a strength and a tripping stone for Batwoman in later episodes or seasons. 

MUST-WATCH:

Batwoman’s Season 1 Episode 12
Batwoman’s Season 1 Episode 13

Post Author: Wenting Ang

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