TVLine's Performer of the Week: Melissa McBride

The Walking Dead The GroveA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Melissa McBride

THE SHOW | The Walking Dead

THE EPISODE | “The Grove”

THE AIRDATE | March 16, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | On just about every level, this was a big episode. There was a big outburst (Lizzie had an epic meltdown after Carol dispatched her walker playmate). There were big shocks (Lizzie murdered her sister, then was put down by Carol). And there was a big turning point (not only did Carol confess that she killed Karen, but Tyreese forgave her). Yet what was most impressive about it all was something very small: McBride’s sublimely quiet, nuanced work.

Whether drawing a prescient parallel between sweet Mika and poor, ill-fated Sophia or struggling not to let her post-apocalyptic alter ego buckle under the weight of Tyreese’s trust, the actress so subtly shaded her performance with apprehension and regret that it’s no wonder Carol’s makeshift family didn’t notice her mixed emotions. They all crossed her face as swiftly and silently as shadows. Even when Carol’s voice betrayed her anxiety, McBride kept it just beneath the surface, as distinct as a scream but as faint as a whisper.

In perhaps the hour’s finest moment — certainly one that was a long time coming — Carol pushed the gun she’d used to euthanize Lizzie across a card table toward Tyreese and admitted that it hadn’t been “some stranger” who’d killed his girlfriend, it had been her. “Do what you have to do,” she said, at once begging for release from their miserable existence and asking for a reason to fight, to live, to hope. And indeed, Tyreese did do what he had to — he forgave her. Now it’s our turn to do what we must — applaud McBride for a performance that could stand as a master class in the merits of restraint.

Community Danny Pudi HONORABLE MENTION | We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: If Abed Nadir was our dungeon master, we’d play a lot more D&D — and that’s because Community‘s Danny Pudi brings such world-creating, fate-deciding zeal to his occasional turns as the study group’s game-master. But this week, Pudi was afforded an opportunity to bring the graph paper adventure even more to life, in a brilliant and hilarious scene in which Professor Hickey (an equally excellent Jonathan Banks) interrogated two trolls, tough cop-style, for information, ultimately playing them against each other. Pudi gave Klem and Gobak colorful yet distinct personalities — for trolls — as they slowly but surely succumbed to Hickey’s mind-frack and gave up the goods. It was so funny, you could 20-sided die.

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off below and let us know!

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. KCC says:

    Honorable mention: Jeff Perry as Cyrus Beene in Scandal

    • Gwen says:

      Absolutely. I hope his press conference scene is on his Emmy submission reel.

    • enri says:

      Yes, very much so. Jeff Perry was amazing.

    • dax says:

      I usually find the long wordy fast speeches by Jeff’s Cyrus a little over the top, but the RAW emotion in the last episode during his press conference… someone was definitely cutting onions near me :P – Honorable Mention is a must for Jeff for the last episode!

      • Nicole says:

        I’m surprised that Jeff Perry Cyrus did not get an honorable mention or performer of the week. This is the first time that we actually saw him actually cry and show emotion other than anger.

    • Mike says:

      YEEEEEP! Was expecting him to tie Melissa McBride for the perf of the week… or get an honorable mention at least.

    • Jim! says:

      ABSOLUTELY. The weight he carried in this episode, and the press conference scene, were nothing short of award-worthy

  2. Haley1020 says:

    What about crystal reed or sasha pieterse they had great performances!

    • Leo says:

      Yes. Crystal was so great at her last scene and Sasha was fantastic when telling the liars about getting buried alive.
      But both of them can’t be compared to Jeff Perry’s performance. Cyrus is a demon but when he had that meltdown, damn I need some tissues.

  3. D'Arcy says:

    Well deserved!

  4. Azerty says:

    That scene in Community was the best of the episode but Melissa Mcbride nailed it during 42 minutes. It would have been a real mistake to get rid of Carol when she was bannished earlier, we can say whatever we want the original characters of TWD are the best.

  5. Jenna says:

    VCR Maintenance and Educational Publishing is definitely the name of the Community episode and not the Walking Dead one haha

  6. steve says:

    weren’t they goblins, not trolls?

  7. Elyse says:

    Look at the flowers.

    SUCH a good episode this week. Melissa McBride was awesome! Community was amazing too :)

  8. oliverhearst says:

    The episode title Melissa McBride is stated to have starred in is wrong. It is called The Grove. The title on this article is from last weeks article, when Yvette Nicole Brown from Community won.

  9. Jim says:

    Sorry, but I have to go with Jeff Perry over Melissa McBride. I was actually in tears when Cyrus broke down during the press conference.

  10. Sharunya says:

    Julianna Margulies ???

  11. alistaircrane says:

    Melissa McBride for the win!

  12. Katie says:

    Jeff Perry was robbed— he rocked it on Scandal this week! Not even an honorable mention??

  13. Ryan says:

    I agree that Jeff Perry was great but this win is well deserved by Melissa McBride. She was perfect the entire episode. She is a phenomenal actress and deserves the recognition.

  14. Brian says:

    Melissa McBride needs a supporting actress Emmy nom just for this episode. Her performance was the best one out of that show this season.

  15. Maria says:

    Leslie Bibb in this week’s ep. of the Following was amazing.

  16. Vicky says:

    Jeff Perry!!! Always amazing, but the press conference scene had everybody in my Scandal party in tears.

  17. Mike R. says:

    McBride definitely earned it this week, but honestly everyone on the episode put out great performances, including the two girls, it was just an all around amazing episode. I also want to mention Crystal Reed, while I am still getting over her death, while maybe not performer of the week, she put out a great performance in both her final scene and when saying goodbye to her dad, Allison will be sorely missed.

  18. Joni says:

    Brian Dietzen as Jimmy Palmer in “NCIS”. The pain of loss the character suffered was so beautifully acted by Mr Dietzen that it left me in tears.

  19. buzg says:

    Jeff Perry, this was his episode of the season! OMG the raw emotion, the flashbacks, EVERYTHING!

    Cyrus Beene was as human this week as we’ve ever seen him!

  20. Emily says:

    The perfect choice with Melissa McBride. Brighton Sharbino was also fantastic this episode.

  21. Gaby says:

    Savannah and Xolo as Sydney and Viktor on Parenthood!

  22. Spencer says:

    Completely agree about Melissa, she totally deserved it. I think that Lizzie and Tyreese (dang I don’t know the actors names) also brought chilling performances.

  23. Jonic Itskov says:

    Umm, anybody in Hannibal

  24. Very deserved. Melissa Mcbride was phenomenal the whole episode. ‘Look At The Flowers’, will be in my memory for a long time.

  25. loverbird says:

    JEFF PERRY? Have you seen this week’s Scandal? Haha

  26. An Irrelevant says:

    Should’ve been Amy Acker from Person Of Interest. She blew it out of the water this week!

  27. Drew says:

    Max from Parenthood was phenomenal this week! That scene in the car with his parents had me bawling!

    • mo says:

      THIS!!!! I watched Parenthood on my DVR right after I watched Cyrus on Scandal. I have two boys with autism and when Max was in the car wondering why the other kids hated him I wanted to run in to my boys’ room and cry on the floor.

    • Kim R says:

      This is exactly what I was going to say. :)

  28. Titoveli says:

    the chick from POI did better and even Max and his parents in the car scene will crush any scene from the walking dead even thou i love the walking dead more and overall they had a better episode

  29. Aly says:

    Melissa McBride was amazing in that episode. Definitely well deserved.

  30. Matt C. says:

    Melissa McBride has always been one of TWD’s greatest assets. Carol’s character development over the last 4 seasons has been incredible to witness, and I hope and pray that she survives into the next season.

  31. neko says:

    Special mention to Toby Stephens on Black Sails. He plays a man teetering over the edge of obsession to madness very well. I was shocked when he broke down and killed Gates and then lost himself to despair afterwards.

  32. Juan says:

    Not even an honorable mention for Jeff Perry, thats ourageous. That last scene alone was worthy and so freaking amazing.

  33. Mary says:

    Jeff Perry! Amazing performance this week.

  34. You failed to mention the parallel to when Rick had to put Sophia down, it’s like Rick was showing Hershel that the walkers needed to be put down or they would destroy the living. Now it’s Carol showing T and maybe Rick through him – that the living can destroy the living too, so someone has to do something about that.

    Clear as mud?

  35. Joey Padron says:

    Great picks for this week. Melissa and Danny were great on their show’s episodes this week.

  36. Jen says:

    Melissa was so amazing in this episode. Her character has shown so much growth from season one and I can’t wait to see her continue to bring it. Watch out Rick. And Beth. And maybe Darryl.

  37. Angela says:

    Great pick from “Community”. Danny Pudi is so good with the physical comedy-just one facial expression or movement from him can make the scene that much funnier.
    And I’m really enjoying Banks on the show, too. He’s fit in with the cast incredibly well. His reactions to their crazy moments are perfect.

  38. jenferner8 says:

    George Blagden on Vikings had one of the extraordinary episodes I’ve ever seen. Athelstan is easily a fan favorite, even though the characters are very different from each other George has done with Athelstan what Tom Hiddleston has done with Loki and made it his own. What Athelstan endured in that episode has literally haunted me all week, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever sat through, it was Passion of the Christ all over again.

  39. rachelle says:

    There was NO contest. Melissa slayed this week. Absolute perfection.

  40. Marco says:

    They shouldn’t kill them at all ! They were both great actors and their storylines was interesting…
    I tough that they will replace comic book Sophia and just live as long as that stupid Carl…
    That would be a better storyline for the girls than geting killed off … I dont know why producers done that… Better make this episode a dream or something !!!

  41. H.Houston says:

    Wow… to leave off Jeff Perry as Cyrus Beene in Scandal as the performer of the week or even the honorable mention is a travesty. To watch Perry in the present scenes and the flashbacks was heart wrenching… and when he lost it at the podium, to see his soul breaking on screen – THAT is what makes the performer of the week and that is what should be the criteria for an Emmy nod.

    • SeanC says:

      I agree that he should have been received an honorable mention, but nothing beats Melissa’s performance this week.

  42. tealeaves says:

    “the actress so subtly shaded her performance with apprehension and regret that it’s no wonder Carol’s makeshift family didn’t notice her mixed emotions.”
    It really was an amazing acting job particularly because of the subtlety.

  43. Lindell says:

    Melissa McBride’s (and Chad Coleman’s) performances last week on TWD were so amazing and nuanced, they kind of emphasized how melodramatic and/or mediocre some of the rest of the cast’s acting can be. The Grove compared to Still or Alone? It felt like completely different shows.

  44. Olive says:

    I agree McBride being this week’s choice but Vera Farminga needs at least an honorable mention.

  45. Shroom says:

    Another woman as Performer of the Week. Surprise!