Something wicked – and witchy – is coming to Supernatural. In the Oct. 21 episode “Soul Survivor,” viewers were briefly introduced to a twisted new player, Rowena, played by Scottish actress Ruth Connell. The powerful witch nonchalantly sipped a drink while blood dripped from two dead men nailed to the ceiling.
That nasty streak continued in her next appearance, in the Nov. 26 episode “Girls, Girls, Girls,” as she attempted to form a new coven. Rowena displayed no qualms about employing her magic to torture, terrorize and transform innocent people who crossed her path. However, the big kicker came when she was captured and chained up by Crowley's minions. As the bewildered King of Hell looked closely at her, he took a second before muttering, "Mother?"
Rowena's disturbing family reunion continues in tonight's midseason finale, “The Things We Left Behind.” The day after “Girls, Girls, Girls” aired, Connell spoke with Spinoff Online about joining Supernatural, Rowena's bond with Crowley and her diabolical intentions.
Spinoff: How does it feel to be the new big bad in town?
Ruth Connell: It's kind of amazing. It's slowly dawned on me. I've been on Twitter for hours and hours. Since last night, I started tweeting the West Coast. When I took the role, I was being very professional. The casting office actually said to my agent, "We don't think Ruth is quite understanding the scale of her role on Supernatural and how big of an impact it is going to have with her fans." They said I wasn't quite getting it. I'm so delighted. It's an absolute dream. It's honestly been the best job of my life.
Ever since that disturbing little teaser at the end of the episode “Soul Survivor,” fans have been speculating who this mysterious woman was. Did you even know at that point?
I had a good idea by that point. When I was auditioning, they were clever and messed around with a few of the names in the sides that I had. I had a few suspicions because I had been doing my research and had been watching episodes. I had seen Crowley's son, so I thought, "Maybe I'm his mom." When I got the role, they said, "FYI, you are Crowley's mom."
The thing with Supernatural is it never fails to surprise. It just delighted me to be actor Mark Sheppard's mom. From the time I filmed that first episode I knew. Then I wasn't actually back in Vancouver filming for six episodes. I had a bit of a sabbatical there and when I got the next episode, I was pretty thrilled. I had guessed a few ideas. Maybe Rowena is a single mom. Maybe she had to turn to witchcraft to survive. When I read that new episode's script, it made my jaw drop. One of the things I say in the next episode is so outrageous.
I thought I had an idea about how diabolical she was and then it just got better. The writers have really gone to town. That's what I like about Rowena. There's humor in there. She's not just a big toughie. She's not evil for the sake of being evil. There are lots of different shades to her.
Supernatural has featured witches before. How are they approaching magic and the craft differently this time?
I think they are taking it more seriously and giving it more space to develop. I've seen episodes where witches appear, but I think they are going to go more deeply into the folklore of witchery. That's good. It ties in well with angels and demons.
Were there certain traits or nuances that you wanted to bring to the character?
There was so much in the script. There was so much detail. It was important to me to get all the nuance. I really concentrated on the woman that she is. I don't want to play a generic witch or a generic baddie. I was looking at the story and the fact I had this son. It's been really cool to get the backstory and to find out exactly what went wrong with the Grand Coven. What did she do to get thrown out? It's going to be interesting to see how it unfolds.
Rowena's been off the grid for a while. What brings her out in the open?
There's a line in the next episode that will tell you a lot, so I'm not sure I can say right now. I thought it was interesting. The first episode I appeared in was called “Soul Survivor.” The episode's title worked really well because there is a theme. Rowena is definitely a survivor. She's come through certain things and I feel she's escaped death a few times. I keep joking that maybe she has nine lives. I'm not sure. That's about as much as I can say right now.
Rowena does some pretty nasty things in the episode “Girls, Girls, Girls.” What's your sense of how powerful she is?
The interesting thing about witches and Rowena is that it's a craft. It's a skill. How powerful you are depends on how good you are at the craft. Maybe you are born with certain talents or maybe you inherit certain things. It will be interesting to see just how powerful Rowena becomes and the scale of her spells. The thing in the restaurant was an everyday trick. Those are bits and bobs. I don't think too much of that. There's bigger, more integrating spells to come.
How would you describe the Rowena/Crowley relationship? Does he have mommy issues?
I mean, who doesn't? That's going to be fun, isn't it, discovering what their relationship is, and has been, and how it might evolve.
How many episodes have they locked you in for?
I'm not going to say because there are a couple of cliffhangers coming up. It's so nice to do this role. I really feel like The CW and Warner Bros. are quite protective of Rowena. There really weren't a lot of spoilers. They've kept her under wraps. That's exciting for the fans in this day and age where there is so much online and so much information. They've done a good job of keeping some suspense growing around Rowena.
What else can audiences expect from tonight's midseason finale?
It will be interesting to see what position we find Rowena in now that Crowley has realized he has his mom there. The thing is when I saw him at the end of the last episode, Rowena doesn't recognize him because he's not in the form he should have been. There's a lot to discover. There will be a lot of revealing.
Supernatural airs tonight at 9 ET/PT on The CW.