TVLine's Performer of the Week: Sandra Oh

SANDRA OH, ISAIAH WASHINGTONA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars


THE SHOW | Grey’s Anatomy

THE EPISODE | “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

THE AIRDATE | May 1, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | After allowing Cristina a moment of flusterment at being reunited with Burke, her onetime mentor and runaway groom, Oh let us know with her steely demeanor that her character’s heart was closed to her ex. At least she meant for it to be closed.

As both of them reached for his holographic heart, the moment played like love — maybe for each other, maybe for medicine, but love all the same. And Oh could scarcely contain Cristina’s smile as she shared with her ex her hope to print a beating heart, or her hurt when he revealed that he was now a married father.

Through it all, Oh strove to keep Cristina’s feelings just under the surface. Then, at last, when she turned down Burke’s job offer, she let loose, railing at him for dangling a carrot that he knew she wouldn’t be able to resist until he finally asked if she was done. “No,” she roared, taking a long pause before adding, “Now I am.”

RELATED | Grey’s Anatomy Contract Update: 4 More actors Sign New Long-Term Deals

When Burke explained that he wasn’t offering Cristina a job — and couldn’t, because, if they worked together again, she’d be the carrot dangling in front of him — Oh allowed her features to soften. Who wouldn’t weaken in the face of such a profound admission? Then came the shock: He was leaving and wanted her to take over. “You’re offering me your hospital,” she asked, incredulity furrowing her brow, “like you’re Willy Wonka and you’re handing me a chocolate factory?”

No wonder, when Cristina stepped off the plane back in Seattle, she didn’t need to tell Mer that she was moving to Zurich. Over the course of the hour, Oh had shown us a dozen times that she can say more with a look than many an actor can with a monologue. Pass the Kleenex, stat. We miss her already.

Modern Family SleeperHONORABLE MENTION | It’s easy to take Ty Burrell for granted at this point, given his myriad award nominations and Emmy/TCA Award wins. But if you were privy to the Modern Family man’s display of episode-long anxiety this week, you witnessed sitcom greatness. As Phil Dunphy labored to conceal a silly secret — he had purchased the vinyl single of the Carly Simon tune he lost his V-card to — every moment within every scene put on display stellar comedic timing. Whether using physical comedy to cover up a tell-tale blood stain (long story) or mistakenly taunted by Luke’s chess banter (“And the noose tightens”), Burrell reminded us, as the aforementioned song goes, “Nobody does it better.”

HONORABLE MENTION | Confession: Jimmy Fallon’s go-to shtick, crafted-to-be-viral videos, tend to make our eyes glaze over, they are churned out at such a McDonald’s-like pace. But Emma Stone‘s Monday-night appearance on The Tonight Show as a lip-synch battle contender left us doodling her name in the margins of our notebooks all week long. The whiskey-voiced movie star not only nailed the words to both Blues Traveler’s rat-a-tat-tat “Hook” and DJ Khaled’s manic “All I Do Is Win,” the facial expressions — and occasional bit of outright playing to an overhead camera — punctuated her rousing, must-hit-replay performance. Don’t let this one go, Peter Parker. (Relive the magical moment below.)

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. Donnamour1959 says:

    Simon Baker was amazing in last weeks “The Mentalist.” Wish you had mentioned him.

    • enri says:

      Absolutely. Simon Baker’s face in that last scene said so much. I’ve watched that clip so many times since last Sunday. He and Robin Tunney nailed that scene.

  2. JJM says:

    Very well deserved. I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel with these last two episodes. Surely Oh will rock them and be up for performer of the week in her last episode (as a series regular).

  3. bj says:

    “Oh had shown us a dozen times that she can say more with a look than many an actor can with a monologue.”

    How true this is! It’s one of the reasons I love this amazing actress.

    That was a fantastic exit. I loved it.

    • trainwreck says:

      Sandra Oh is an amazing actress beyond words! She has been one of the key reasons Grey’s has always been in top 3 shows to watch for me in last 10 years.. Cristina, we miss you already! Please make sure you drop by every now and then at Grey Sloan!

  4. SL says:

    Emma Stone!…And they call Spiderman amazing!

  5. DarkDefender says:

    Sandra Oh.. Yes! Well deserved. Couldn’t agree more.

  6. Omar says:

    Sandra and Emma were amazing this week. Oh is one of favorites actors of all time!

  7. Patrick Maloney says:

    I think that Mark Pellegrino should have gotten an honorable mention just for the look he gave in the final moments of this week’s Tomorrow People.

  8. GeoDiva says:

    You need to call this “The Tatinana Maslany Performer of the Week Award”.

  9. daniel says:

    Tatiana Maslany deserves this honor every week! She is beyond amazing!

    • Ugonna Wosu says:

      Oh deserves it this week, but I would be delighted to see Maslany get it! Best actress anywhere right now!

    • Regina says:

      My dream is to see Tatiana as performer of the week and honorable mention and second honorable mention all at once for each different role she plays! It’s just amazing how she can make each one of them so distinct! Love her.

  10. MP says:

    I enjoyed the shades of old school Grey’s this week. It made me realize how wonderful the early seasons were. Sandra Oh is an amazing actress and it was nice to see her play off Mr. Washington this week. I will really miss watching her.

    • david says:

      I agree completely! I was watching some of the episodes from the first couple of seasons and it really is shocking how much the show has changed and how some of the characters are completely evolved and different from who they were. I still love the show and am glad it’s going to presumably keep going for at least a couple more years, however it has definitely changed a lot from what it initially was. I can’t think of another show (maybe outside of Glee) that has suffered through so many loss of cast members – many of whom were so essential to the show (Washington, Heighl, Knight). I think those cast members coming and going have really forced some pretty major changes that I don’t think they would have done had some of them stayed on for longer. When Sloan and Lexie were killed off that was really a turning point too.

      I get that people change and when a show is on for that long that there are going to be big differences between the original and present character’s personalities. I like how Karev has evolved and it was a true progression. Meredith and Derrick have evolved nicely as well. But some of the decisions on how some of the other characters have evolved haven’t been as appropriate. I think Richard should still be Chief and always will be. And Bailey has changed in a way that is completely out of character for her. Since they did the storyline of her divorce and sleeping with people in the on call room it’s been a complete spiral. She used to be the moral compass of the show and still should be. She was supposed to be “above” all of the sleeping around and all that and they shouldn’t have changed that. It really lost a huge dynamic on the show that isn’t there anymore.

    • jencolefluke says:

      I realized how much I missed the Oh/Washington acting dynamic. They are truly masterful together. Even the writing was uplifted, the nuances of how these actors, while portraying usually buttoned-up characters can convey their happiness, desperation, anger, passion & sadness by just a blink or facial tick.

  11. dude says:

    Hahaha! Emma Stone was THE performer of the week! I’ve watched that video t least 5 times. I love her so much more for it. Those are skills.

  12. Deb Saine says:

    while sandra was busy shining, washington simply sucked. has his acting always been that bad? it was obvious he no longer knew how to portray burke …

    • david says:

      I didn’t get that at all from this week! He had a very supporting role and I thought that it was just right. Creatively him leaving in season 3 at the time was a mess and not really the right thing for that show at that time. However I totally understand why his contract wasn’t renewed and ultimately it was a difficult call that under the circumstances needed to happen. However I think looking back at that him coming back for the one episode under these circumstances was very rewarding creatively and worked out.

    • Ugonna Wosu says:

      I sort of agree with you. He could have been better.

    • jo says:

      I disagree, his final scene with sandra was brilliant and there was so much depth as burke spoke about how his love consumed him. Somehow I was able to get more insight into the decisions burke made in s1-3, I agree with a previous poster I missed the Oh/Washington dynamic

  13. david says:

    Sandra Oh did a great job this week and it appears that the arc they have for her character leaving seems to be very well written and what I would definitely consider to be a “happy ending” for the character. When Burke was talking about how people like them needed someone that wasn’t the same as them at home he was completely right and that’s why it wouldn’t work for them to be together, or for her being with Owen being the right thing. It’s tough when such a central character leaves a show like this, and they have the same type of dilemma that Good Wife had with the Will Gardner character. Since Christina will still “exist” out there in the world, she obviously will still be Meredith’s best friend and all so it will be interesting to see how they deal with that and if they still acknowledge the character. I would think that they will still from time to time.

    • Chels says:

      I hope they do still acknowledge Christina, she was/is such a pivotal character. I loved the twisted sisters especially in the early days. Definitely going to miss this character.

    • jo says:

      when burke mentioned them needing someone to keep the home going I saw that as being true for the life both burke/owen want (family and kids) however since that isn’t the life cristina wants I see her being with someone equally busy and driven

  14. Simon says:

    Tvline always poo poos Jimmy Fallon’s abundance of ready to be viral videos. But really it’s still a million times better than any Leno sketches, not to mention the celebs look like they are always having so much fun!

    • JLK says:

      I agree with you there. I’m not a huge fan of Fallon’s endless string of videos either, but I’d much rather see any one of them than anything Leno ever did.

  15. Ugonna Wosu says:

    the carrot for her was the job, not Burke. Just in case the writer didn’t get that

  16. Shira says:

    I miss Sandra oh already on Grey’s… Well deserved choice for this week.

    Would have given an honorable mention also to Clare Bowen on Nashville that her Scarkett went through hell and back this week and basically broke my heart.

    • Agree completely. Sandra Oh was masterful this week. Clare Bowen also realistically portrayed the situation her character was placed in. Not many can go through a breakdown and still look like a real person. She should have, at the very least, gotten an honorable mention.

      • HRG says:

        I so agree with you about Clare Bowen. She was brilliant and should have received an honorable mention.

  17. Coal says:

    Burke reminded me of how arrogant and how the Attendings (Shepard, Burke, Addison, Sloan) had a God complex in the early seasons. Its was fun back then, the medical stuff had a prominent role then. These days it seems like an after thought. Much like the crisis management in Scandal.

  18. Shar says:

    I may be prejudiced being a Canadian and all but looking over the years of Gray’s it seems that Meredith was simply the narrator of other people’s lives, Christina being one of the stars. It’s only recently that Meredith has actually been a doctor and you finally see her doing doctor things like surgery. It’s almost a How I met you mother thing… the show is not so much about the mother ( Meredith ) but her person, Christina and a few “co-stars.”

  19. Steve Z says:

    Now that Sandra Oh has some free time (hopefully) I WOULD LOVE a Three Episode Arc with her on “The Good Wife.” I think Sandra & Juliann or Archie would be INCREDIBLE!!

  20. webly3 says:

    Seeing that lip sync video definitely made me respect Emma Stone.

  21. Pity the title of the episode for a performance of the week is a reference to such a terrible song, no matter how thematically it fits…

    Yeah I don’t watch Anatomy so I can’t speak to the performance, but nice to see someone whose been doing the same role for many years now get a nod. Martin Freeman hopefully will be on the docket for next week since it looks like the next Fargo episode will be quite something…

  22. Rich Abey says:

    – Sandra Oh is widely acknowledged as a great actress regularly but Ty Burrell, despite his many awards & nominations, remains greatly underrated to this day (in contrast to Oh’ or even co-star Sofia Vergara’)..somewhat due to the nature of his character (soft-spoken-man-child-husband vs Vergara’s loud-hot-fashionable-colombian-mom or Oh’s hard-as-nails-extremely-talented-hot-cardiosurgeon). He has been my favorite character on Modern Family for a while now and Ty is always pitch perfect.
    Just take last week’s Australia episode for example: who else can make 1. getting bitten by a jelly fish & 2. getting your stuffing knocked out by a Kangaroo such fun!
    – TVLine should have 2 awards: One set aside permanently for Tatiana Maslany and the other for the rest of the mortals to compete for.

  23. Shaun says:

    What about Mrs S from Orphan Black?

  24. Kimm says:

    Sandra Oh was did a phenomenal job this week. The scenes with Washington were excellent. Washington did a great job in his guest spot. I loved it. As a fan of Grey’s, and these two characters, I needed that.

  25. Jess says:

    What about Clare Bowen as Scarlett??? She was so good this week!

  26. The Irrelevants says:

    Once again,everybody from Person of Interest gets the shaft. Did you all even see Michael Emerson’s heartbreaking scene on the steps of Grace Hendricks apartment, telling Reese that if they hurt her in any way, to kill them all? And when they were doing the exchange on the bridge, when Grace stumbled and Finch caught her and she said ‘Thank You’! The look on Michael’s face was heart stopping. The actors/actresses on Person of Interest continue to be under-appreciated.

  27. whyohwhy says:

    Loved the Tonight Show clip! Thanks! And go Emma!!