TVLine's Performer of the Week: Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett American Horror StoryA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars 

THE PERFORMER | Angela Bassett

THE SHOW | American Horror Story: Coven

THE EPISODE | “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”

THE AIRDATE | January 8, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | It’s almost as redundant to single out Bassett for sparkling as it is to praise a diamond for the same thing: Neither one of them can help but dazzle. Still, this week’s Coven did afford the powerhouse an opportunity to show off different facets of Marie Laveau.

First, the actress depicted the voodoo queen as we’ve never seen her before: humbled. And not just humbled but ashamed — both to be accepting Fiona’s kindness and to be accepting that the Supreme might just be her equal. (Mind you, that look she gave at the end of the scene still makes us wonder whether she’s really committed to their truce… )

After that, Bassett careened from emotion to emotion, a human kaleidoscope evincing horror (at Papa Legba’s untimely visit), humor (while revealing that Hank was her hired gun), agony (recalling the loss of her newborn) and ferociousness (kidnapping this year’s sacrifice to Papa). Sometimes all at once. When she snarled at her mewling abductee, “I’ll give you something to cry about!” we didn’t know whether to laugh, shudder or both!

By the hour’s end, Nan wasn’t Marie’s only victim. Bassett had slain us, too. All hail the queen!

PHOTOS | 15 Black Women Who Should Be on SNL’s Hosting Shortlist

HONORABLE MENTION | Many a Person of Interest viewer would be hard-pressed to ever root for Root, the uberhacker who has long taunted Finch & Co. But in this week’s episode, as The Machine’s primo conduit — nay, interface — faced off against Control (played by Camryn Manheim), Amy Acker made us feel her character’s plight. Sent on a pharmacological roller coaster by her captor, Root nonetheless held firm in her resolve to protect “her” aka The Machine with whom she is finding ever clever ways to communicate. But what really wowed us was Acker’s work when Root, fresh off a non-elective stapedectomy, straight out spoke for The Machine, torturing Control with the reality that she was in fact far from being in control.

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

Comments (28)

  • I’m obsessed with her!

    Comment by Joseph Azzi (@joeyazzi) – January 11, 2014 09:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t watch AHS,but Amy acker on POI made me a fan of hers after last week’s episode.the girl killed it!!!she was so freakin fearless.
    Still love shaw,she’s my girl.
    POI has been sooo good this season,it dosent get the praise it deserves.

    Comment by meah – January 11, 2014 09:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yes. Acker is really bringing it. I do have one question, though. During all these existential crises and confrontations, who has been feeding Bear?

    Comment by Raissa Devereux (@RaissaDevereux) – January 11, 2014 09:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THIS! I wondered where he was and who was taking care of him, also.

      Comment by opheliablack – January 11, 2014 08:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ^ Yes. This. Wondering the same thing.

      Comment by nella – January 12, 2014 05:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Boy do I agree with this, Angela Bassett is a powerhouse. She is incredibly talented.

    Comment by Monica4185 – January 11, 2014 09:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hope Bassett returns next year as well!

    Comment by Sarah – January 11, 2014 09:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m torn. Angela Bassett is awesome, but Jessica Lange absolutely crushed in the final scene with Stevie Nicks singing in the background. But then, I guess Jessica can’t win all the time. When will Frances Conroy get some love? Myrtle is a scene stealer. lol

    Comment by mandy – January 11, 2014 09:52 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, Myrtle was awesome this week!

      Comment by DL – January 11, 2014 10:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agreed. Myrtle makes me laugh every time she opens her mouth.

        Comment by abz – January 11, 2014 11:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Thought they were both awesome when they were negotiating with Papa Legba to take Nan. “She’s an innocent, mostly. She killed the neighbor, but the bitch had it coming.” LOL!

      Comment by nella – January 12, 2014 05:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Angela Bassett was the meat, potatoes, and dessert of this episode! I laughed, feared, and almost cried as her baby was taken from her.

    Comment by Quentin – January 11, 2014 09:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I love her. I think she’s the best part of AHS: Coven. That part where she went out of the house did that thing with her tongue and the sound she made to get the officers to kill each other creeped me out so much. It was awesome.

      Comment by abz – January 11, 2014 11:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Yay Angela Bassett!!

    Comment by KCC – January 11, 2014 10:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ANGELA!! ANGELA!! ANGELA!! She was the only reason I turned into Horror Story this year (I’m one of those who has started the series with “Coven”). Week after week, she doesn’t disappoint. But she really deserved top nods after this episode!

    Comment by twilight123 – January 11, 2014 11:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Brendan Dooling (Walt from Carrie Diaries) such a good job in recent episode.

    Comment by ahmet – January 11, 2014 11:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Stevie Nicks should get an honorable mention because she was able to epitomize all the themes and emotion of every scene she was in through her music

    Comment by Patrick Maloney – January 11, 2014 11:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What about Dylan O’Brien’s performance as Stiles on Teen Wolf?? He did such a good job during all the nightmare sequences.

    Comment by Amykinz13 – January 11, 2014 11:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I was going to mention his performance as well. I think Teen Wolf often gets overlooked for their acting and many of their actors give great performances each week.

      Comment by Jess (@CrashandBurn9) – January 11, 2014 12:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • She’s great, Coven… meh… not so much.

    Comment by Kyle – January 11, 2014 12:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Seamus Dever knocked it out of the park on Castle this week too.

    Comment by Apples – January 11, 2014 01:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am a little torn between the two but something they both had in common was taking two characters you get a kick out of but generally you side eye them both but this week you weirdly were like rooting for them both. I lean more toward Root though because she only did the taunting thing to Finch as a return to typical behavior and didn’t kidnap a baby or murder an innocent.

    Comment by kate – January 11, 2014 01:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Everyone knows Angela Bassett can read a Thesaurus and display an acting tour-de-force. The woman is freaking brilliant.

    Comment by willhowcoop – January 11, 2014 02:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Love the twist that Root is the “face of the machine.’ “She” chose Root because she is willing to do exactly what it says without question even if it means bending the rules a bit. This is great because the writers don’t have to bring an actual machine on screen; Root can be the machine for the viewers instead. Loved how Root evolved from an obsessed fan of the machine to the machine’s eyes and ears. This episode proved to me that Amy Acker isn’t going anywhere in the near future.

    Comment by lll – January 11, 2014 05:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Angela Bassett is wonderful and a perfect addition to the ensemble of American Horror Story. I hope she and Kathy Bates continue with the company for many years to come. And I worry that after this amazing season of COVEN if they’ll ever top themselves.

    Comment by Bobby Milford – January 11, 2014 05:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Angela Bassett—Supreme Forever!!

    Comment by Wendy Testaburger – January 12, 2014 02:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am absolutely OBSESSED with Angela Bassett as Marie Laveau!! I really hope she becomes a staple of AHS in future seasons like the rest of the cast has. I think she’s bested Jessica Lange this year.

    Comment by Mikael – January 13, 2014 10:12 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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