TVLine's Performer of the Week: Jessica Lange

American Horror Story CovenA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Jessica Lange

THE SHOW | American Horror Story: Coven

THE EPISODE | “The Replacements”

THE AIRDATE | Oct. 23, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | Ironic, isn’t it? In “The Replacements,” Fiona tried to come to grips with the idea that she might not always be the Supreme, and — at the very same time — Lange let us know in no uncertain terms that she would always be the Supreme.

Early on, the sorceress waxed nostalgic about the power her beauty gave her over men. Drawing them to her, seducing them, she said, “it’s my dance… I never suspected a night would come when the dance would end.” So, upon being informed that her failing health made her ineligible for plastic surgery, she could no longer hold back her tears.

Later, when not tormenting Delphine with her modernism (“I voted for [Obama],” she gleefully told the racist, “twice”) or shrugging off Madison’s knife toss at new neighbor Joan (“She has to work on her aim”), Fiona took the bratty starlet under her wing. On one hand, she couldn’t help but be impressed by the girl’s talent and looks. On the other, she was green with envy — a point driven painfully home when all eyes were focused on the younger woman during their evening of booze and billiards.

PHOTOS | American Horror Story Season 4 (and Beyond): 7 Possible Premises 

Finally, Fiona explained to her ward that she was dying — a process that was only being expedited by Madison’s proximity leaching away her life force. The ingénue eagerly offered up her connections — she could get Fiona a great oncologist! But the elder witch wouldn’t hear of it. “I’m not going out bald and shriveled and begging for morphine,” she scoffed.

Then, in the hour’s most shocking turn, Fiona handed Madison the very knife she’d used to murder her Supreme decades earlier and instructed her to “kill me for the sake of the coven.” When Madison refused, a struggle ensued that left her dead and bleeding on the floor. “This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme,” smirked Fiona, triumphant once more, “it needs a new rug.”

From the depths of despair to the high of victory, Lange — who’s already earned enough awards to necessitate an entire trophy room, never mind a trophy case — once again reminded us that, with or without a ritual sacrifice or a book of spells, she’s absolutely magical.

HONORABLE MENTION | In the span of one episode, Klaus and Cami’s twisted relationship on The Originals became one of the spinoff series’ richest thanks to Joseph Morgan and Leah Pipes‘ subtle, heartbreaking performances. Layered with sadness, kinship and a shared haunted spirit, their emotionally fraught scenes anchored the supernatural/vampy/witchy goings-ons with genuine human feeling. Klaus erased Cami’s realizations about her brother’s tragic death, but it’ll be a long time before we forget his devastation at what he had to do and her equally heart-wrenching pleas for him to let her hold on to her memories.

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jean says:

    Loved Jessica Lange this week! Amazing work, as usual. Also – Connie Britton in Nashville.

    • dude says:

      Love Connie Britton but she’s never been anything special on Nashville and this week was no exception. She plays a very blah, forgettable role and seems to just be going through the motions, collecting her money until it gets cancelled. Hayden is the one who brings it every week.

      • Jean says:

        I have to disagree, while Hayden is doing avery good job, Connie is delivering the best she can and I thought her conversation with Deacon in this episode was perfect. Her acting is always very subtle, but that’s the beauty of it IMO. She does the best she can considering the horrible horrible writing regarding her character.

        • Shanag says:

          Completely agree about Connie’s performance. However, don’t agree that the material is horrible. I do think that the writing has been uneven (to say the least) in the first season but this season it’s something completely different, and she has plently of opportunities to shine..And so she does. Also, in this particular part music is a big part, and big part of the acting is actually singing so it makes the role even more difficult and Connie Britton’ performance to even more exceptional. She is primary an actress and she still manage to convey all her emotions through the music and basically play two characters: Rayna the woman and Rayna Jaymes the icon. This week in particular the two characters merged in her performance and it was fantastic.

    • Jill says:

      Agree re Jessica Lange and Connie Britton. Thought Connie’s performance this week deserved at least a honorable mention. With her subtle acting she managed to take scenes that could have been over dramatic and made them believable and really moving. It was her scene with Deacon, her professional behavior and of course her comeback moment. Part of the reason everything worked so well is better she is been given much better material this year but it’s also her exceptional acting.

      Also, that song she performed. Who knew she could sing like THAT?? First time I fully understood why vocally her character is such a huge star.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      The only reason I watch that silly show is for Jessica Lange. It’s great to watch someone of that caliber just chew up the screen. She must be having a ton of fun playing this role. I also love Ms. Bates. Great choice!~

  2. iamkessuki23tw says:

    I agree with Lange but I think Christine Baranski should’ve got an honorable mention.

  3. RichieOnTV says:

    Christine Baranski deserved at least an honorable mention here.

  4. Shanag says:

    Think Connie Britton deserved at least honorable mention this week for her prtformane in Nashville. She was Amazing!!

  5. Maki says:

    She was tremendous. She really nailed it. The way she portrays strength, weakness, bitchiness. She is just over the top awesome. Agreeing with you about Klaus and Cami really an intense and perfect connection.

  6. Bella says:

    Lange was just outstanding! She killed my favorite character but still love her. Agree with the Honorable Mention as well. Joseph Morgan is the CWs gem at the moment. Really just a good actor

    • TD says:

      I wonder if Madison/Emma Roberts will be brought back to life, though–we have a character who makes that happen, you know!

      • WayneInNYC says:

        Emma name is in the opening credits (as opposed to Guest Star status) She’ll be around. You can count on it.

        • Lambsilencer says:

          Not necessarily. Last season, Chloë Sevigny was listed in the opening credits through the entire season, although she got killed off and never returned in the middle of it.
          I gotta say though, this is pretty early for Emma Roberts to leave. So there is a good chance she might be back sooner rather than later. I liked her in this role.

  7. Spoiler Junkie says:

    Completely agree. Jessica Lange, as always is mesmerizing to watch.

    Also, that Klaus/Cami scene was very well done. Really good acting there be Leah Pipes and Joseph Morgan

  8. Simonea says:

    The Klaus/Cami moment was so sad. I see them as only friends though.

  9. Rose says:

    Joseph and Leah were both great in that scene, but it’s like the show wants to force us to like the characters together….and that just turns me off!

  10. Shannon says:

    Jessica Lange should win every award ever given. She is just incredible to watch.

  11. Sally says:

    Joseph Morgan is so good.. and as much as I loved Leah in the scene, don’t want them to hook up just yet.

    Also, Claire Danes in the final scene of Homeland with Saul would be my honorable mention!

  12. Rachel says:

    Thomas Gibson deserved, at the very least, an honorable mention. His face when he saw his dead ex-wife again… Absolutely heartbreaking. I wish people would recognize the incredible amount of talent he possesses.

  13. Miles says:

    I agree with everything. Jessica Lange was absolutely incredible. The tears she shed at the thought of not receiving plastic surgery and realizing her age was heartbreaking. Joseph Morgan and Connie Britton were also fantastic this week. I find myself looking forward to The Originals each week more than The Vampire Diaries. Raynas performance on stage was very touching, she needed the audience to rally around her. Great week of television. Cheers!

  14. jerrired says:

    I agree with both! Jessica Lange was fantastic, but she kind of is every episode. And Joseph Morgan and Leah Pipes were surprisingly captivating on that episode of the Originals. I wasn’t buying Cami’s possibility as Klaus’s love interest or liking her as a character. But the writing and acting on the episode was so good, that I immediately became sold on everything the Originals was selling me on Cami.

  15. Yeah, she’s amazing in every episode, but ‘The Replacements’ was a standout, even for her. From her brave front at the plastic surgeon’s office to her tears and even horror as she watched the procedure (I don’t blame her. Even seen footage from a traditional facelift? Well, don’t unless you’re really bored and in a morbid mood), to her nostalgia when she went to the bar with Madison and getting more and more sad as her worst fear –or one of them(that she’s basically invisible to men when someone younger and prettier is around), to that last desperate scene… and that very last line! Also loved her with Kathy Bates, especially when Lalaurie was weeping at the news we had a black president- ah-Ha-HAH!) and Fiona loved it.
    She’s got S4 and then she’s out, I really hope the show can keep going without her. And she was robbed of that Emmy this year, goddammit!

  16. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    SInce Mrs. Horror Boom here is still writing the piece on episode 2, “The Replacements”, here’s an awesome piece by TVLine about Jessica Lange’s standout performance (as usual) this week on American Horror Coven. Supreme.

  17. Tran says:

    Jap… Jessica Lange it is. Connie Britton was outstanding as well.

  18. hetal says:

    Defi agree with honorable mention. Joseph Morgan is nailing it. He is a rare genuine gem.

  19. Jen says:

    Hard to believe Maggie Siff didn’t even get a mention for her performance on SOA last week. She may just be one of the most hated characters at the moment.Maggie was brilliant. Shame.

  20. Precious says:

    Lange was great, but I’d give it to the Minotaur. His role was a lot more challenging.

  21. Krys says:

    Lange is AWESOME she deserved the honorable mention :D

  22. Kat says:

    Much deserved to Jessica Lange.
    Josh Charles totally should have got an honorable mention though. He absolutely hit it out of the park on Sunday.