Rachel Skarsten is a gift of a villain to television. It’d be foolish not to keep her around past season one of Batwoman.
“Hello, said Alice.” And with those three words, The CW introduced one of its best villains ever. We just didn’t know it yet.
Now, 16 episodes later, we know it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Alice, played flawlessly by CW alum Rachel Skarsten, has wreaked all kinds of havoc on Gotham throughout season one of Batwoman — and on her sister’s life, each scheme getting curiouser and curiouser. And every second of it has been a blast — sometimes literally — to watch.
But here’s the thing about villains on television: They almost never stick around for good. At best, they become a series regular for a season, maybe two. If they’re particularly nefarious and difficult to bring down, or even actually redeemed, they’ll resurface for a few episodes in later seasons.
This — and I cannot stress it enough — must not happen to Alice. Alice needs to be a permanent fixture on Batwoman.
While the idea of Doppleganger Beth surviving Crisis on Infinite Earths over Alice was alluring, it never really felt like the right outcome. As much as we loved her, Earth-Prime Gotham was not Beth’s Gotham. Her life would’ve been too hard.
The Beth we’ve come to know, and in a twisted way, love, is Alice. For as sadistic as she can be, she’s also deeply emotional and complex. She survived the unimaginable, and viewers have seen every gory moment of it. Just as soon as you’re horrified by Alice’s actions, you’re hurting for the girl she once was, cheering for her freedom. You never really know what you’re going to get from Alice week to week, making Batwoman that much more interesting.
Every great hero needs a great villain to keep people on their toes. But Alice does more than just keep our hero and her friends on their toes. As a result of Alice sticking around after Crisis, just about every other major character has grown in some way.
Mary is colder and more decisive, which has proven to be necessary in Gotham. And since she got to meet and spend time with Beth, Mary is more open to the idea of Alice having redeeming qualities.
Luke found a budding romance with Beth — something he never looked to focus on early on. Now it’s seems he and Mary might be finding a spark. On top of that, Luke has made Kate’s suit even better — multiple times over — to keep her ready to battle Alice’s henchmen.
Sophie hasn’t had many direct interactions with Alice, but like anything Alice does, she’s made them count. Our prime example: Sophie’s interrogation of Alice in “An Un-Birthday Present.” Though Alice’s words are meant to get a rise out of Sophie, they are part of what finally pushes Sophie to come to terms with her sexuality.
Jacob has been forced to reckon with how he handled Beth’s disappearance, as well as the woman he chose to spend his life with after Beth and Kate’s mother. He’s been sent to prison, stabbed, and still, he’s a better father for it.
And then, of course, there’s Kate. She’s continued to fight for the good in Alice — no matter how many times Alice tries to prove that it no longer exists. She holds out hope for her sister.
Now, because of Alice’s actions in recent weeks, Kate is a killer. She crossed the one line that Batman drew. Yes, Kate did it because of Alice, but she also did it for Alice — and for Beth, for herself, and for everything her family lost.
Kate feels not one bit of remorse for her actions, and that’s what scares her. It’s also what leads her to team up with Alice, and subsequently lock Alice in Arkham. It was joyous and heartwrenching to watch, and I want to keep watching it.
I want to keep seeing the Kane sisters team up, betray each other, forgive each other, and go round and round. Thor and Loki have built a whole series on that process, so why not the Kane sisters?
Fortunately, Kate’s decision to lock Alice in Arkham means Alice will be around a bit longer (even if there is a 99-percent chance that Alice will escape).
At the start of “Through The Looking-Glass,” it looked as though Alice might be leaving Gotham, thanks to a not-so-subtle threat from someone she once wronged: Coryana. And Coryana must be intimidating, if even Alice is scared of her.
Then again, this just provides another opportunity for Kate and Alice to begrudgingly team up.
Take out Coryana and let Alice be the reigning villain of Gotham. After all, how long has the Joker been part of Batman lore? No matter how many times he ends up in jail, or in Arkham, he’s a presence that’s always been around.
Let the same be true of Alice. Because Alice isn’t just meant to be Kate’s foil; she has a much bigger role in this universe.
Yes, she’s entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret: All the best people are.
Do you think Batwoman should keep Alice around permanently? Tell us why or why not in the comments below!