Post Mortems

Roswell, New Mexico's Lily Cowles on Isobel's Painful, Desperate Decision: 'She's Finally Stepping Into Her Power'

Roswell New Mexico Isobel

Heads up, humans! We’re about to spoil the events of Monday’s Roswell, New Mexico. Not caught up? Turn back while you can.

Still terrified of the being growing within her, Isobel made the decision to perform her own abortion on Monday’s Roswell, New Mexico, a risky endeavor that nearly cost the alien her life. As hinted at the end of last week’s episode, Isobel began micro-dosing with Liz’s toxin to terminate the pregnancy, planning to give herself the antidote once she was convinced the process was complete.

Actress Lily Cowles vividly recalls the phone call from executive producer Carina Adly MacKenzie during hiatus that set Isobel’s life-changing journey into motion. “I was walking up Seventh Avenue when I got the call, and she was like, ‘Listen, I have an idea, but I want to run it by you because it’s pretty hardcore,'” Cowles tells TVLine. “She laid out the whole storyline for me. My gut reaction was that Isobel had already been through so much, including the death of her brother, the person who knew her better than anyone in the world. I was already intimated by what coming back to that would mean, so on top of that, now she realizes she’s pregnant? Things had suddenly gotten really rough for Isobel.”

“Carina asked me to think on it for a night,” Cowles says. “We were aware of what a sensitive topic it is, and we took it very seriously. It’s not something people want to address. It’s not pleasant to look at, and it’s incredibly divisive. I was definitely intimidated by [this story], but a deep part of me knew that we had to tell it.”

Cowles explains that Isobel is “allegorical in the way that she can speak to the experience that many women have had to face. She’s an alien, so she can’t go to a doctor. She can’t find medical resources. There are so many women that face an unwanted pregnancy and can’t get access to medical assistance, either because they don’t have the finances or because they’re underage and it would require going to their parents. Maybe they’re not legal citizens and they fear the risk of deportation, or maybe they live in a state like Texas that’s trying to make abortions non-essential. We wanted to use Isobel as a way to tell that story for all the people who have been through it — and also for people who haven’t been through it, so they can understand the humanness of what that situation is. Hopefully we can get a loving dialogue going versus something that’s so loaded and often divisive.”

In Isobel’s darkest moment, she came to a realization about herself that took even Cowles by surprise. “The only person who will always love me and come to my rescue is me,” Isobel told her hallucination of Max. “That’s what this is about.”

“The whole episode [written by MacKenzie and Deirdre Mangan] is so beautiful, but that moment was such a revelation for Isobel,” Cowles says. “Her circumstances are so dire, and she realizes it’s her own life in her hands. It’s not up to anybody else to come and rescue her. Previous versions of Isobel have always relied pretty heavily on other people, and I don’t think she ever really learned how to stand on her own two feet. She’s never going to be the same again. She’s going to become a self-empowered, self-sufficient person and take control of her own autonomy. She’s finally stepping into her power. Ironically, through this really painful, traumatic circumstance, she’s been given the opportunity to start anew and to redefine her own life on her own terms. That’s what this is. Her choosing to end this pregnancy is her removing the last vestige of that traumatic relationship. I’m so happy that she’s on the other side of this and she’s OK.”

Thanks to a last-minute warning by Max to Rosa, Liz arrived on the scene in time to administer the antidote, narrowly saving Isobel’s life. The harrowing rescue was followed by a powerful bonding moment between the two women, one of several female friendships in Isobel’s future.

“True, deep female bonds are lacking in Isobel’s life,” Cowles says. “After losing her husband and brother and being on her own, she’s going to suddenly have to reach out to females. They’re the ones who can relate to what she’s going through. Even Liz was like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me? I could have helped you.’ There’s a lot of room for Isobel to start forming meaningful bonds with other women. And it’s going to get really interesting if she ever happens to cross paths with Rosa.”

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