THE PERFORMER | Maggie Siff
THE SHOW | Sons of Anarchy
THE EPISODE | “Huang Wu”
THE AIRDATE | November 12, 2013
THE PERFORMANCE | If hell hath any fury like a woman scorned, it’s a woman scorned and running out of options. With her elaborate plan to block monster-in-law Gemma from playing a role in the upbringing of her sons a certified flop, Tara found herself backed into multiple corners in Tuesday’s episode — and Siff conveyed her alter ego’s anger and desperation with heartbreaking precision.
The Mad Men alumna had at least a half-dozen killer moments throughout the hour, but three scenes stand out from the pack. First was the visit with drug-addled “ally” Wendy that made Tara fully aware of just how flawed her scheme was. Second was the confrontation with Gemma, during which Tara called BS on her archnemesis’ hypocrisy. “Guess I misjudged you,” she seethed, Siff drenching Tara’s faux grin with contempt. “I didn’t realize you had a line that couldn’t be crossed.” Last — and most notably — was her run-in with Jax — which began with her discovering him in bed with a prostitute and ended with her coming face-to-face with the unrecognizable person she has become.
Standing outside a brothel pointing a gun at the love of her life, a disoriented Tara cried out, “Look what you did to me! What’s happening to me? What happened to me?” You knocked it out of the park, darlin’. That’s what.
THE PERFORMER | Bellamy Young
THE SHOW | Scandal
THE EPISODE | “Everything’s Coming Up Mellie”
THE AIRDATE | November 14, 2013
THE PERFORMANCE | Recently hailed for her performance as a fun drunk, Scandal‘s Young this week got to embrace a gamut of emotions — including a character she never before inhabited, that of a younger Mellie loved by her husband Fitz. Yet soon enough, that sunny tone was darkened by a sinister cloud, when Fitz’s father Jerry drunkenly and brazenly raped his daughter-in-law.
Afterward, Young depicted a steel magnolia barely able to walk steady in the wake of the unspeakable, someone barely to utter the lie she would tell. And then, when the happy news of an awaited pregnancy was tainted by the truth that perhaps bore it? We saw the pain Mellie shall forever conceal.
Life wasn’t much easier in Mellie’s current timeline, as Fitz yet again forsake her. “If you knew the sacrifices that I have made, the things I have given up and the pieces of myself I have given up for you…,” she said to the mate who too often has left her alone. “You make me beg for scraps when I have done nothing but fight for you.” Though POTUS may forever be in the dark about Mellie’s scandalous secret, Young made sure that we the viewers are now all too aware.
HONORABLE MENTION | You’ll excuse us if we exhaled at the end of this week’s Vampire Diaries, because watching Nina Dobrev play not just two, but three characters in one episode was a breathless sight to behold — even in the era of Orphan Black. From empathetic and concerned (Elena) to sassy and defensive (Katherine) to downright crazy and tortured (Amara), Dobrev was a doppelgangin’ machine. And to top it off, her three personalities converged in one scene for the first time — casting a dizzying spell on viewers and solidifying Dobrev as one of the most underrated actresses of her generation.