Getting a chance to talk with Lily Cowles was an absolute joy.
Isobel Evans-Bracken has had an incredible journey throughout the first three seasons of Roswell, New Mexico. And Lily speaks about her with so much candor and love.
We got to talk about everything from the incredible stunt work this season to her thoughts on the new alien and what awaits us in the final episodes of Roswell, New Mexico Season 3.
Hi Lily, how are you?
I’m well, how are you doing?
I’m doing great, thank you.
So, finding out that there’s been another alien Roswell really threw the audience for a loop. What were you thinking when you heard that there would be another alien in town?
I mean, I was like, finally. I’m ready for a little new alien blood in the mix, like let’s stir it up. We’ve had our little pod squad, and we have this super tight little dynamic, and it’s been pretty insular. They’ve had to keep everything to themselves, and so I think finding out that there’s another person that’s like them, another alien. How exciting.
What are the implications? This might change everything. I was really excited about it. I’m like, let’s go, plus he’s super cute, so.
That’s very true. Can you preview what’s next for Isobel and everyone as they process this new development?
Yeah, well, I think Isobel is…I think her initial reaction she’s excited to bring someone new into the fold. And it’s a little more complicated than that. We have a conversation you see with Isobel and Kyle, where he sort of is like, you might want to take this a little slow because this is a man of God.
This is a man whose vocation is faith-based. And to tell him that he’s an alien might kind of complicate his life.
So, how much do you really want to ruin someone’s life by telling them that they’re an alien or change it for the better but I think Isobel is looking forward to kind of bringing someone newer to the fold and wants to share everything and learn from him.
And she’s pretty enthusiastic about it. And it’s going to have to learn how to handle that with grace and tack, which I think can sometimes be difficult for her. I know she can sometimes be quite straightforward with things.
Beyond that, Isobel is going on a date in this episode, which is so exciting for her. And I think she’s going to be faced with having to break down some of the walls that she’s built up that she’s been working on. So, I’m kind of like personal internal conflict, but also a lot of opportunity.
And I think our writers handle it all so well, and it’s going to unfold in a very fun way.
Sure. So, family is very important to not only the fabric of Roswell but to Isobel in particular. Can you tell us a bit about what family means to Isobel?
Yeah. I mean, I think Isobel has always had to lean so much on her brothers. There may have been the small amount of codependency. You might say with the trio because they have this enormous secret, they can’t share with anybody else.
I mean, me personally, I have so many friends. I like to go around and talk about all my problems and everything with all my friends, but Isobel doesn’t have as many people, or she didn’t up until recently that she could talk about these things with, so her family was sort of everything for her.
These two people who understood who she was and saw her for who she truly was.
For the rest of the world, she had to, for many years of her life, kind of wear this mask and do a kind of performance of something that was sort of half-truth. Now, her circle has expanded a bit over the seasons of Roswell, which has been great—adding friends like Maria and Rosa and Kyle, Alex, and of course, Liz.
We’ve gotten all this new group of people that can support her. But I think the first 25 years of her life were basically just her and her brothers. And so, that loyalty goes really deep, and I think it will always be the trump card for her. I think it will always take precedent over everything else, which can be good, and it can be bad.
Yeah. And that kind of leads me into my next question, which is that Isobel has some of the best dynamics on the show. From Isobel and Michael and their brother, sister bond. And obviously Isobel and Max and this new bond now with Maria. What’s your favorite Isobel dynamic?
It’s hard to pick one because I love them all so much. I love working with Amber. I love the Isobel and Rosa dynamic so much because it’s…there’s so many layers in there. There’s definitely the ‘Oops. I’m sorry that I murdered you with your friends’.
But then also, Isobel kind of guiding her in Rosa’s journey learning about her powers, and I think Isobel really took her under her wing. And I think that means a lot to Isobel to be able to be a guide for someone and somebody’s mentor. But as time has gone on, the tables have also been turning.
There are lots of times when Rosa has been a mentor to Isobel.
And I love the female dynamics, that is… it’s so rich. There’s so much in there. Two women who are learning from each other and growing and supportive of each other, and challenging each other to be better. And it comes from this really complicated history that they were able to overcome.
So, to me, that sort of female dynamic is just like, oh, I love to see that.
I love Isobel and Kyle together too. It’s really fun. Isobel knows how to shoot. She comes in just with so much energy. And I think there’s something that happens. There’s some kind of chemistry there, right? There’s something, and it all maybe started at Planet Seven.
But, I think Kyle is someone that Isobel really trusts and leans on, and he’s like this solid foundation for her, like a real confidant. But then there’s more to it than that.
And there’s something that’s just, it’s hard to put your finger on with them, but whenever I’m working with Michael Trevino, the scenes just…we find these little places that things just kind of pop and these unexpected moments come up and it feels like a really complex dynamic.
And I’m excited to see where that goes.
For sure. I got to talk to Michael, and he said very similarly that you guys had a really great dynamic, and he’d like to see more Kyle and Isobel scenes.
You know, give the world what they want! How bout it, Roswell!
Yes! So, Isobel has gone on quite the journey throughout the course of Roswell, and throughout season three as well, we’ve seen as she’s dealt with Jones. So, can you speak to Isobel’s resilience and how we will continue to see her growth?
Yeah, absolutely. Playing Isobel has been such an honor because it’s a story that I think is so powerful for so many women. She began as this kind of Barbie doll. She was very performative, had this perfect little mask on. She was kind of closed off to the world but had this way of acting that seemed right.
And I think that’s the dynamic that a lot of women can relate to.
It’s like wanting to come off as being sort of perfect and having this veneer that seems like everything is good, but you’re really disconnected from this deep, authentic truth that might be a lot more complicated and maybe messier, but you know what Isobel had to go through in Season One with Noah, it just rips that all off.
I mean, it wasn’t by choice.
It happened to her. She was definitely victimized by the thing, and she had basically no other choice but to grow and adapt. And it gave her an enormous amount of freedom. And so often, suffering is terrible, you wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and yet it can also lead to enormous amounts of growth.
And that’s what I got to see with Isobel that she had to pick herself back up and connect with those deep parts of herself that she’d kind of been denying her whole life. And become strong. You have to find that strength within herself and not just leaning on the men around her.
She didn’t have any female friends, and she was pretty co-dependent with all the men in her life. And Season Two, we saw Isobel discovering herself on her own terms.
And I think it’s such an incredible gift that the writers gave to this show to see a female doing that, to find her way on her own terms and sort of have to relearn everything and say, “Well, who am I? What do I want? And how do I get that?”
And now we’re just seeing her continuing down that path, she’s becoming this warrior, she’s becoming this total badass, and I think there’s never like an end to it.
It’s not like she started out like this, and now it’s like the end of the story, ‘Hooray! She found herself, and now she’s like a badass warrior.’ It’s in Season Three, I think we’re seeing her struggling with what does it mean to be a warrior? What does it mean to try to be a strong female?
How much are we suddenly becoming too self-protective when we begin to build this armor where we’re making sure that no one’s going to hurt us again? Well, is that armor preventing us from also being vulnerable with other people?
And I think the writers have been so gracious to give this arc to a female character that’s been so multifaceted.
So, I’m just so grateful. I can’t wait to see where Isobel goes, and she just keeps evolving and changing and shedding her skin and becoming something new, and like I said, it’s never like a destination; it’s all about the journey. So that’s been really fun as an actor to be able to play with.
I have to ask about the stunts in episode eight because the scenes between you and Nathan were fantastic. How was it to shoot those scenes?
Oh my God, it was so much fun. Season Two, I had told Carina, our showrunner at the time, girl put me in some action stuff because I had some martial arts background. And after everything that had happened to Isobel, I was like it’d be great for her to become more empowered in her own physical body too.
So that, we started to kind of build the foundation there, and we’re seeing it now paying off, all of this training that Isobel is always talking about. We’re finally seeing her in action.
In that episode, in 3×08, directed by Benjamin Bray Hernandez, it was so incredible to actually be able to do this stunt work and with Nathan, who’s a great, great stunt guy too.
I mean, I swear in another life, he would like to be a stuntman, Nathan. But the two of us actually got to do most of our own stuff.
I mean all of the pool cue, all of the hand to hand. There were a couple of things that a stunt person came in when we did the backflip over the table. We’re like, yeah, that’s not to break your neck during that. But besides that, everything was us, and it was so much fun to work with a director who was himself a stuntman.
So, he knew how to really direct.
Every strike needs to be telling a story and the way that he filmed it on the actual film, the lens that he was using. All of this stuff was just, it was like a masterclass in stunt work. So much fun, I was so sore, and while I thought that we were using pool cues, I was like, “I’m sorry, I have never used a pool cue in a fight.”
And of course we got on the set, and Nathan from Texas, is there whipping it all around in his hand, spinning the pool cue, homie has been in like 15 pool bar fights, and I’m like, “How do you hold it?”
But I think we’re a pretty good match-up, and there’s more to come between Nathan and I. I’m so grateful. He’s an incredible partner to work with. I feel so safe with him. I did one time jab him with the butt of my pool cue pretty hard in the groin.
So, sorry for that, Nathan. But besides that, it was such a fun experience, and I’d love to do more of that.
That’s amazing. Outside of Isobel’s storyline this season, has there been another story that you’ve really enjoyed that’s played out in Season Three?
I mean, all of it is so compelling.
I’ve loved seeing, in this last episode, we saw Alex taking on so many of the demons that I think this beautiful parallel storyline of Alex and Michael, both working through the traumas of their parents, what they’ve inherited from their parents. Michael learning that he is the son of this evil dictator, but his mother is maybe this amazing hero.
And Alex working through the trauma of what his father was.
And I think that a compelling, compelling story is what we inherit from our parents and what we choose to move forward with or what we want to rebel against.
Do we become our parents, or are we given the opportunity to change them, fix their mistakes? And Kyle is dealing with this too with his father and the Valenti code and all of that.
So, I love that the lineage, the kind of questioning of how lineage proceeds through us and what our obligation is to the family line, I think that’s beautiful.
And last question for me, with the finale on the horizon, what can the audience expect from these last batches of episodes?
Oh my gosh. Stuff gets so crazy, Whitney! It pops off. I mean, filming it was some of the most intense work I’ve ever done. We were like Marines. We were like Navy seals. We bonded so hard over just the sheer physical, emotional, and psychological difficulty that we all have to go through over these next few episodes.
It’s full of action. It is full of suspense. It’s going to be such a roller coaster for the audience, and I cannot wait for them to see it. It’s going to be a huge payoff. Our writers did an incredible job, and yeah, I think it’s just going to knock people’s socks off.
I am so excited. Thank you for taking the time, Lily. I appreciate it.
Thanks, Whitney, it’s a pleasure.
Roswell, New Mexico airs Mondays at 8/7c on The CW.
***This interview has been edited for length and clarity.***
Whitney Evans is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.