While The CW's Batwoman gets ready to give Javicia Leslie's Ryan Wilder a serious batsuit upgrade in this Sunday's episode "Bat Girl Magic!," Shivaani Ghai's (Dominion) Safiyah is ready to make her debut after a first season's worth of teases- much as Alice (Rachel Skarsten) would prefer otherwise considering the "gift" Safiyah gave Alice to kick off the season. Now, Ghai is opening about the role, her character's dynamic with Alice as well as the overall Bat-universe, how she prepared for the part, and more in an interview with EW. Here are some of the highlights:
On the Safiyah/Alice: "It's really interesting actually. Sometimes you think it's one thing, but it's another thing. I know that Alice had been very afraid of Safiyah whenever she'd been mentioned in season 1. Coming into episode 3, that fear isn't dictating her. When she comes to Coryana, we don't see a scared Alice, we don't see someone who's on her back. We actually see someone who has orchestrated it so that she can meet with Safiyah and she can speak to her and figure out what's going on because Alice believes that Safiyah is behind what's happened to Kate. But I think it's quite interesting when you do meet Safiyah. She's not Alice's big enemy. I think we also begin to see why Alice is the way she is, how she's come to be, how she transitioned from Beth to Alice. We'll start to see that through what unravels on Coryana [in episode 3]."
On Working with Skarsten and Shifting Power Dynamics: "She's [Skarsten] phenomenal. When I watched season 1, and I said this to her, I was just gobsmacked. She's such a fantastic actress. The layers to what she does and the range of emotion that she'll go through, it's really something. I met Rachel and she's such a gorgeous person, so it was very easy to connect and establish a relationship. In terms of working with her, it's been amazing. She's fantastic to work with. I'm really looking forward to doing more and seeing where we go on the next episodes. In terms of the power dynamic: Look, I think when Alice and Safiyah are in a room together, I don't know if Alice thinks that Safiyah's the most powerful person in the room. [They're both] very convinced of their own power. I think it'll be interesting to see how it'll play out. I myself don't know how those scenes are gonna come across. I'm also interested to see what the end result is.
It felt great. In some ways, I suppose it's almost like a game of chess. I will play one thing and [Rachel as Alice] will play another thing, and there will be these little maneuvers and these little shifts in the power dynamic. For me, it's gonna be interesting to see how that plays — who ends up with the upper hand? Who ends up being the one who seems to be manipulating everything? As Shivaani, I kind of feel like I know that. I know how Safiyah is manipulating things. But I suppose it's also interesting to see how Safiyah also sometimes allows Alice to take a little win or lull her into that false sense of security to get her to do what she wants her to do."
Safiyah Love the Women of Gotham- Including Batwoman: "Up until reading episode 8, I wasn't sure if my character was gonna have many dealings with other characters on the show. But episode 8, which is set up, you do see I have a little meeting with Batwoman [Javicia Leslie]. Also, there's a meeting with Sophie. I was just joking to my husband about this before actually: Safiyah loves a beautiful strong woman, and I think she loves the women from Gotham. She's getting to meet them all, and I think she's very taken with them. I think that's quite, quite interesting."
Batwoman Season 2, Episode 3 "Bat Girl Magic!": NEW HERO, NEW SUIT – As Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie) continues to prove herself as Batwoman, she encounters the challenge of every superhero — living a double life. Mary (Nicole Kang) is still Team Ryan, while Luke (Camrus Johnson) continues to have reservations — especially when Ryan makes some alterations and unveils a new Batsuit! Meanwhile, Victor Szasz (guest star Alex Morf) is slashing his way through the city streets, and Commander Kane (Dougray Scott) has The Crows trying to stop the flow of Snakebite through Gotham. Safiyah (guest star Shivaani Ghai) takes notice of Alice's (Rachel Skarsten) antics and Sophie (Meagan Tandy) finds herself in unexpected circumstances. Holly Dale directed the episode written by Nancy Kiu