The Nevers spoilers follow.
The latest episode of HBO's The Nevers aired in the US last night (April 18), and it ended with a hint that all may not be as it seems regarding Olivia Williams' character Lavinia Bidlow.
While it appeared as if Lavinia was working to help The Orphanage by sponsoring Amalia and Penance's work, episode 2 'Exposure' ended with the revelation that Lavinia has actually been secretly working with Dr Edmund Hague (Denise O'Hare) the whole time.
Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy, Olivia Williams has shed a bit more light on Lavinia's goals, as well as discussing how the character's life experiences have shaped her.
"I don't know what you mean by sinister!" Williams said when asked about the ambiguous actions of her character.
"My character is extremely charitable. She is an ageing spinster with a vast fortune at her disposal. She's had some very unfortunate accident in the past, which has meant that she has never married. She has remained embittered and stuck in her very privileged but very narrow world.
"But she's chosen to spend her money in helping to build a refuge, and finance a refuge, for people who are cast out from society because of their terms or their extraordinary gifts.
"But, yeah, you are absolutely right – we don't really know why she's doing it. And, as I've come to say, we don't really know what's under Lavinia's blanket."
While it's still up for debate whether or not Lavinia is evil, Williams added that she finds it more interesting to explore what motivates people to do seemingly charitable deeds, especially during the Victorian period in which The Nevers is set.
"As in all folklore, the baddie is evil… Now, in the modern interpretation... we're given psychological insights into why people might be bad," she began.
"What I find more interesting, actually, is working out why people are good, and particularly this Victorian philanthropy, which was an even bigger thing, dare I say, in America, and continues to be – like the Roosevelts.
"You know, much of Eleanor Roosevelt's good work was based in this kind of guilt that they'd made so much money out of railways that they felt they ought to redistribute their wealth amongst the poor.
"But it's who they saw as poor, and what they felt the poor needed, in order to be made better and moral. You know, this idea of saving fallen people."
She continued: "One of our Prime Ministers of that time liked to go out and save fallen women. Quite how he went about doing that is open for debate. But it was an interesting sort of Victoria preoccupation, to do good.
"But now a lot of what they perceived to be doing good is doing something dreadful [laughs], like curing people of homosexuality or whatever they thought to be kind and the right thing to do at the time."
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