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 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. meah says:

    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.

  2. Yes. Acker is really bringing it. I do have one question, though. During all these existential crises and confrontations, who has been feeding Bear?

  3. Monica4185 says:

    Boy do I agree with this, Angela Bassett is a powerhouse. She is incredibly talented.

  4. Sarah says:

    Hope Bassett returns next year as well!

  5. mandy says:

    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

  6. Quentin says:

    Angela Bassett was the meat, potatoes, and dessert of this episode! I laughed, feared, and almost cried as her baby was taken from her.

    • abz says:

      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.

  7. KCC says:

    Yay Angela Bassett!!

  8. twilight123 says:

    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!

  9. ahmet says:

    Brendan Dooling (Walt from Carrie Diaries) such a good job in recent episode.

  10. Patrick Maloney says:

    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

  11. Amykinz13 says:

    What about Dylan O’Brien’s performance as Stiles on Teen Wolf?? He did such a good job during all the nightmare sequences.

  12. Kyle says:

    She’s great, Coven… meh… not so much.

  13. Apples says:

    Seamus Dever knocked it out of the park on Castle this week too.

  14. kate says:

    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.

  15. willhowcoop says:

    Everyone knows Angela Bassett can read a Thesaurus and display an acting tour-de-force. The woman is freaking brilliant.

  16. lll says:

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. Wendy Testaburger says:

    Angela Bassett—Supreme Forever!!

  19. Mikael says:

    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.