TVLine's Performer of the Week: Nina Dobrev

tvddobrevA weekly feature in which we spotlight a shining star

THE PERFORMER | Nina Dobrev

THE SHOW | The Vampire Diaries (The CW)

THE EPISODE | “Stand By Me”

THE AIRDATE | Feb. 21, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | Dobrev was fantastic from the start of the episode, but when a trembling Elena lifted the blanket covering her dead brother’s face, she went for broke, rolling out what would be a tour de force display of acting. Just like that, you could see the tiny cracks in Elena’s facade give way to the emotions she’d been trying to keep out.

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“He’s dead! And he’s been dead this entire time, and I…. How long has he smelled like that?!” she cried, covering her face at the horrifying and shameful realization that she’d been so in denial, she had let Jeremy decay.

With nothing left to lose, Elena presented her shocking plan to burn down the house with Jer’s body in it, as a cover story. Without abandon, Dobrev took her character to the edge as Elena swept through the rooms, ready to destroy her childhood home and the memories of those she’s loved and lost, in a manner so reckless and wild, Caroline yelled that she was scaring her.

What followed was gut-wrenching. Unable to cope with her magnified grief, Elena collapsed to her knees. “It hurts. It hurts. Just make it stop. Please make it stop. It hurts,” she pleaded. The pain behind Dobrev’s sobs was so palpable, it felt like they were coming from the innermost part of her soul.

Then, the scene that was so captivating it made us temporarily forget to breathe: When Damon told Elena to turn off her humanity, Dobrev’s eyes ever-so-subtly, but powerfully, went blank. To see the actress go from feeling everything (and too much of it) to not feeling at all was impressive. Yet by going void of emotion, Dobrev made us feel oh so many things, including empathy, despair for all that’s been lost and, most of all, awe at her ability.

What performance knocked your socks off this week?

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114 Comments
  1. maki says:

    she was really good.I usually don’t like Elena’s character that much but in this ep just like in the Jenna dying ep she was tremendous. I really felt with her. I felt the blackhole which started to eat her up. .

    • ' says:

      I admit that was a good acting from Niuna, but she didn’t deserve this spot, Nathan, in Castle, was the best he ever been, and Marguilles in Good Wife was on fire. I love TVD, but, unfortunately, it wasn’t better than Nathan or Marguilles.

    • Josh says:

      She’s a great actress but the role usually so thankless. The character of Elena has stopped being a character and started being a point in a love triangle Julie Plec strangely enough, writes really bad women(Caroline has been downgraded a down since Julie took over) and Bonnie is a plot point….But this episode, written by Julie, has restored by faith in her…Elena was finally a character. She’s finally on her storyline that isn’t defined by Damon or Stefan. Now if only we can see that happen to the other female characters.

    • Annajoy5 says:

      She really did put on her A++ acting well deserved

  2. Sally says:

    Absolutely amazing performance, brought tears to my eyes.

  3. tvgirlccc says:

    For the very first time, i was in awe. Nina Dobrev delivered the performance of her life this week and oh my good how great was it! I hope we continue to see that in the future.

  4. ivaddj says:

    I started watching the show about 4 months back, did not know anything about her. Was straight up excited with her acting on Elena vs Katherine and the impersonations. This is just a new high. They should give her challenging materials whenever they can because she really makes it an experience. Wonderful

    • kavyn says:

      Did you start watching from season 4 or season 1? There’s a lot of Katherine in the earlier seasons and you can see how well she plays the two roles. Katherine is probably my favourite character on TVD, which is hilarious since Elena is one of my least favourite (although I’m digging the idea of an emotionless Elena).

  5. Nicole says:

    The entire cast of Parks and Recreation were amazing this week in the wedding episode. Every actor brought their A game!

  6. iMember says:

    Nina Dobrev on TVD and Emily VanCamp on Revenge were the standouts this week. They deserve all the awards!

  7. I’ve been somewhat on the fence about this season, it really hasn’t been as good as the previous ones, but this episode was definitely one of the best they’ve done and Nina Dobrev carried it well. I myself am still in shock that they actually killed Jeremy.

    • B says:

      Me too. I think that some of Dobrev’s acting was lost on me because I didn’t think it was real. And I still don’t. I think we’ll get through this loss-of-humanity plot line and he’ll be back. When Elena started rampaging, I was like “Wait, is this serious?” because it seemed so silly that Jeremy could die.

  8. Nathan Fillion SNUBBED says:

    This should have gone to Nathan Fillion tbh.

  9. Tlc19 says:

    Definitely agree that this spot should have been occupied by Nathan Fillion… Maybe next week? I hear the 2nd half of that 2-parter is just as good! #savealexis

    • goldfish says:

      Fillion was great, I agree, but Dobrev pretty much left me speechless.

    • Kayla says:

      Nathan was awesome but I thought nina was define rlly better the raw emotion and heartache she displayed it was guy wrenching and it felt so real the entire ep was amazing and the whole cast was great but she was absolutely perfect in this ep i felt like I was there watching her and couldn’t do ne thing 2 help and it was heart breaking and like they say in the article when she shuts off her humanity n u see her eyes go void of emotion it was chilling she rlly deserves a bunch of awards 4 this performance in my opinion

  10. B says:

    Her acting was certainly powerful, but the writing in this article got so editorialized and cheesy at points. In any case, she was good.
    I don’t even know if I can appreciate death episodes as much as I should. I know Dobrev and this episode were good, but I am so very spoiled by Dan’s death on One Tree Hill. It was executed so perfectly, it’s my favorite ever and probably always will be, with Grey’s elevator scene and O’Malley’s death being the runner-up.

  11. Amanda says:

    No matter how any of us feel about Elena’s character at this point – and I fall into the category of pretty much hating Elena – no one can deny how AMAZING Nina was this week. To watch her grow from Degrassi to where she is now has been a joy for a long time fan.

  12. sophie says:

    Nina was great but it was Zach Roerig who made me cry. Matt showed more emotion with one look then with 1000 words. Incredible acting!

    • Faster says:

      Agree. super sad

    • Jenny says:

      You know I agree. I actually teared up for the first time during the episode when Matt walks in and looks at Jeremy. One look was all it took. Perhaps it’s the fact that he’s human? Idk but it got to me.

      But yes I was very impressed with Nina. Didnt know she had it in her to be honest. :)

      • sophie says:

        Honestly, me neither. But Zach surprised me the most, maybe because his character is so underused and boring at times but I was really amazed by his skills. If you think about it, Matt indeed is right now the only really bright character and I wish he stays human and alive. In their crazy world they really need someone down to Earth who will tell them IT’S NOT OK to kill 12 people to bring supernaturals back and that Jeremy wouldn’t want that for sure.

      • Stephanie says:

        Ditto. I felt the exact same way, tearing up only for Matt’s scene. Zach was perfect. But still a great job by Nina.

    • Ruby says:

      Yes. He was amazing.

    • Yep I totally agree, Elena made me get choked up, but Matt had me sobbing. He was the last ‘normal’ person in the group with Jer turning into a hunter…and now…he’s just the last human. It’s heart breaking (and I kind of wanted a Matt/Jeremy romance…)

  13. Dee says:

    Nina dobrev, Emily VanCamp and Nathan Fillion! Bravo and brava this week! I mean damn, they really brought their best shot to act so real, it made us cry so hard.. Always love the middle eps of the series I watch.

  14. I had about given up on the series until that scene where Elena loses her mind. I agree – Nina Dobrev nailed it!

  15. shuayb says:

    Nathan was good, but Nina stole the show here. In fact everyone in this ep was at their best. Paul and Ian were great. Zach Roerig was also good when he broke down in the car. I welled up at that moment. Candice was her usual-Brilliant. Trying to take charge but also loosing it as she tries to take in d fact that another Gilbert is dead. Kat Graham also brought it with her insane ideas.

    • Jenny says:

      With you till the kat comment. I think her acting is the worst on the show.

      • Jenna says:

        IMO…Kats an amazing actress. I always think back to the scene when grams dies in s.1…..it’s heartbreaking. Honestly I think it may be that the writers jus don’t give her the goods to work with that she deserves.

  16. A says:

    Nina was fantastic! She was definitely the MVP of this weeks Vampire Diaries, but I have to say Zach Roerig really impressed me, as he did in the Season 3 finale when he reacted to Tyler’s “death”. When he was crying in the car on Thursday’s episode I felt almost uncomfortable watching, like I was witnessing someone’s very private grief, it felt so raw and real. When he came in to Jeremy’s room, that was the first time I started to feel upset during the episode. I get why it can be hard to incorporate Matt in to some of the story lines, but I wish they would give him more to do. Zach is so underused on the show which is a shame because he is one of the better actors.

  17. Mary says:

    I don´t watch Vampire Diaries, but for me this week belongs to Nathan Fillion! I´m sure Nina Dobrev (and others) were great, but for me Nathan´s acting was absolutely amazing!

  18. lilu says:

    Perfomer of the week was def Nathan Fillion!!!

  19. WHAT Nathan Fillion was so awesome this week showing the distraught father. The emotions he showed were so realistic and made me tear up throughout the episode. Big FAIL tvline.

    • Ashley says:

      I love Castle and Nathan Fillion, but Nina definately deserves every accolade she is receiving about this episode. His fear was palpable, but her grief…….I’ve been there. I lost my brother/best friend a few years ago, and it was hands down the worst part of my life. Nina took me there again (though trust me, I wish she hadn’t). No actor in any show has ever captured the pain I remember feeling, the hopeless, unending grief. She did it. She was real.

  20. Alexis says:

    I am so excited that you showcased Nina this week because as I was watching the episode I was thinking that she should be in the running for this spot. She was amazing this episode, as was everyone in the cast. From the moment she realized Jeremy was dead to the end of the episode I cried.

  21. Penny Tration says:

    Another Degrassi alum excelling! Degrassi is the new Mickey Mouse Club, ya’ll.

  22. onlyakb says:

    it was an amazing performance ,indeed!! and so so so heart wrenching!!

  23. Astrid says:

    Nathan ftw!

  24. Jenn says:

    no better choice for the winner this week. but emily vancamp should have been runner up!

  25. martina says:

    I understand this week was extremely tough since you could’ve chosen between Emily VanCamp, Jennifer Morrison, Julianna Margulies and Nathan Fillion, but Nina Dobrev? Mmmm.

    • hillary says:

      Maybe you don’t follow The Vampire Diaries and are judging without watching the scene the article is referring to? The other four actors you mentioned definitely brought their A game this week – Nathan Fillion was astounding – but Nina Dobrev was just as incredible (this coming from a fan of the show who really dislikes her most weeks). My thinking is that Nathan Fillion will probably get the title next week for the back half of this two-parter.

    • nathgjo says:

      I agree with you, but I`d choose Julianna Margulies. She was jus aweome, and that was the best episode of TGW so far.

  26. Nathan Fillion was phenomenal this week. Runner up for me goes to a guest performer, Sarah Shahi on Person of Interest.

  27. Gilda says:

    She was really great. It’s been nice to see how she’s grown as an actress over the years. My personal pic for this week is definetly Nathan Fillion, specifically for the season where he was waiting for the blood type. But Nina Dobrev nailed it too.

  28. Tonde says:

    She was powerful .. Her best acting to date

  29. Seriously?
    Like Martina says above, so many good performances this week, but you pick TVD?
    Oh, good grief, as President Bartlet once said.

    • Rivera says:

      anyone who has lost someone near and dear to him/herself could have related to the way Elena reacted .. and Nina portrayed it perfectly! Not a fan of Elena but always liked the way she plays Katherine and how versatile she can be with both characters in the same scene.

  30. Babybop says:

    Best acting on TVD all four seasons. I would give Zach runner-up.

  31. YowzaPowza says:

    First time I’ve ever cried watching this show.

  32. Leah says:

    This week for me it was the Parks cast. I was working on a steady cry for the whole wedding episode. But, as I have never watched more than two seconds of The Vampire Diaries, I won’t judge your choice.

  33. Spencer says:

    I’m sure Nina was fantastic, but I really think someone from the cast of Parks and Rec should’ve gotten some recognition. Ron and Leslie and Ben and Chris and Andy all had me sobbing. It was my favorite episode of any show I’ve ever seen.

  34. Ash says:

    The last half of TVD was just phenomenal period! Lol yes Nina was amazing but I really have to agree with some of you all on Zach being the scene stealer of the night! The look on his face when he sees jeremys dead body on the bed was fantastic! I started bawling my eyes out right then when Elena ran over to conmfort matt and all he can do is stare at jer! So sad :( why can’t it be march 14th already!?

  35. skrable2 says:

    Fillion should have won, but Vampire Diaries is more of a hipster must-see at this point than Castle, and that’s how these things get selected … they have to keep their pseudo-cool cred in good standing

    • YowzaPowza says:

      There is nothing “hipster” about The Vampire Diaries. Based on past performers of the week, your misunderstanding of the word hipster, and clear lack of knowledge of The Vampire Diaries, your comment doesn’t make any sense.

    • Ruby says:

      That’s crap. I watch both shows and love BOTH actors, and Nina deserved it hands down this week. She was PHENOMENAL.

  36. Jo says:

    Let’s not forget Steven R. McQueen. That episode was the best performance he’s ever delivered too.

  37. Jellymoff says:

    I still have a lot of TV to watch this week, but I was impressed by Alyson Hannigan this week on HIMYM. Rarely does she get to really flex her acting chops on that show, but her scene with with Jason Segal where she breaks down about her career was great. Not saying she was better than the others (i haven’t seen them yet) but I thought she was fantastic.

  38. omabin says:

    I so much agree with this. She was incredible in her scenes this week. When she breaksdown and wants to set the house on fire.. Oh my god. It was her best performance yet on the show IMO! Runner up with Emily Van Camp for me. Even if we didn’t feel much for Fauxmanda, her reaction left us all in tears, it was so intense!

  39. gabr923 says:

    some people has a strange way of watching tv. NO WORDS

  40. Ariadne says:

    I would totally hand her all the awars out there if i could.Maybe even sneak in the academy awards tommorow take all the 24 statues and give them to Doberv (JK)!…She was THAT phenomenal!Not every actress out there can cry their souls out and after a second can change in an expression of emptyness that still shows all the emotions!

    AND if there was an awards for best ensemble…i would still give it to TVD!

  41. I Heart Damon Salvatore says:

    Nina was phenomenal. My favorite part was when she was rattling off the list of all the people she loved who died. That really hit me as it forces you to see that, as obnoxious as Elena can be at times, she’s just a teenage girl who has lost more in the span of a few years than most people do in a lifetime. Definite runner-up to Zach, though. I’ve never thought much of Matt either way, but Zach was incredible.

  42. S. from E. now says:

    Her performance gave me goosebumps! Brilliant acting!

  43. J says:

    The Pizza Box Shark is the only correct answer.

  44. ollie says:

    while nina was great it should have been nathan for castle.

  45. emma says:

    ditto, I’m crying just remembering this

  46. Nancy says:

    Nina’s acting was outstanding; she brought tears to my eyes through out the whole episode.

  47. This week belonged to Nathan Fillion. His performance was one of his best ever. I can’t wait to see him continue the brilliance in next week’s conclusion.

  48. dude says:

    Very undeserved. She was acceptable but very forced. She was trying way too hard to be heartbreaking and it just looked like acting. I wasn’t at all invested in her scenes and I feel like she was the only thing keeping it from being a truly great TVD episode. The only scene that broke my heart was when Matt walked into the bedroom and saw Jeremy’s body. Zach spun gold from 5 minutes of screentime (and giving Matt this kind of praise isn’t something I usually do). HE should have been your performer of the week.

  49. Erin says:

    I whole heartedly disagree, guy’s your making your site a joke.

    She WAS good but hardly deserves plaudits. I felt like I was watching an acting class, she went through the motions well and she sold it but she did not move me to tears nor evoke any emotion from me. Unlike Emily Van Camp who I have never liked as Emily in Revenge and been really meh about her – she however blew my socks off and really sold Amanda’s death. I wasn’t even that much a fan of Amanda but both of them did that scene so well. They deserve plaudits – they brought the tears, that grief was damn well sold.

    Seriously maybe It was because I watched Revenge beforehand or the fact that I’ve been watching movie likes Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty but actingwise, she was very average there. Maybe it’s unfair to compare her to Oscar worthy actors but that’s what I’ve been watching these past few days and look, people are saying that TVD here tried to do what The Body did but seriously that was one big fail. It left me bored and a bit depressed. I liked Jeremy but still, was totally unmoved due to a combo of script and acting I guess. The MVP that brought it here IMO was Zach/Matt in his last scene breaking down in the car.

    • Cathy O. says:

      I agree Erin, I also felt that Zach/Matt’s scene was more heartbreaking than Elena’s.

      Does anyone else think the hug between Bonnie/Damon and Elena saying to Matt that Damon really loves Bonnie could mean something coming down the line? Remember Damon was in love with Elena and Bonnie in the books and with Jeremy gone…. I’m just saying that was kind of weird to me coming out of the blue all of a sudden. That would also mean that Elena will be going back to Stefan. I hope I am just speculating.