TVLine's Performer of the Week: Tatiana Maslany

Orphan Black Tatiana MaslanyA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Tatiana Maslany

THE SHOW | Orphan Black

THE EPISODE | “Ipsa Scientia Potestas”

THE AIRDATE | May 17, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | Sometimes, it’s the quieter moments that remind us Maslany’s work is about more than just quantity. In last Saturday’s episode, Sarah let down her guard in an uncharacteristically tearful exchange with Helena, revealing a vulnerable side of both sisters that’s rarely glimpsed.

While trying to stop Helena from offing Rachel so she could free Felix, Sarah pleaded with her sis: “I thought I killed you. I couldn’t tell anybody what I lost. Do you get that? Please, put down the gun.”

Maslany was so full of genuine sadness that it brought us and Helena – “You make me cry, sestra,” the Shakira-haired clone said – to tears. Sarah may have been trying to rescue Fee, but she ended up saving her relationship with Helena.

RELATED | Exclusive Orphan Black Video: Helena Makes Friends With Suits‘ Patrick J. Adams

Meanwhile, as more of Rachel’s ticks and kinks were revealed throughout the hour, Maslany gave us yet another performance to marvel at with awe. A total 180 from her many other characters, the actress imbued the proclone with cold detachment and suppressed emotion. That’s no small feat considering Rachel was also brimming with feeling – the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it look of love while watching video of her dead parents, her gentle caress of Daniel’s cheek, etc. – and very virile sexuality.

Maslany was absolutely fearless and daring in perhaps one of TV’s strangest sex scenes – Rachel reaching into Paul’s mouth? Whoa! – presenting a clone that was primal and guttural in a very different way from crazy, killer Helena. In the case of this young actress, we get the feeling that we may never truly know the depth of her talent because it seems to be limitless.

Penny Dreadful Eva GreenHONORABLE MENTION | After the first episode of Showtime’s thrilling, chilling Penny Dreadful, we doubted that we could be more impressed by Eva Green, so deftly shaded in was the portrait that she drew us of her character, tortured spiritualist Vanessa Ives. But only a week later, the actress hasn’t just shattered our admiration for her work, she’s turned it into an obsession. When a party at flamboyant Sir Ferdinand Lyle’s devolved into the séance of the episode’s title, Vanessa became possessed, and her portrayer, utterly transformed. She spoke in a foreign tongue, embodied her companion’s missing daughter with the maddest kid voice you’re ever likely to hear, spat vulgarities that would make a sailor blush and contorted herself into positions that even the most advanced yoga class would envy. Afterwards, Mr. Lyle called it “a riveting performance.” But that’s an understatement. Green wasn’t merely sublime, she was shocking. Emmy’s gonna need a whole new category for this s—.

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  1. Linstro says:

    I am totally loving the compelling Eva Green as well as Tatiana Maslany. Both wonderful actresses in two entertaining shows.

  2. Amie says:

    I nominate Meryl and Maks as the performers of the week. Their dances this week were AMAZING.

  3. Et al. says:

    Both excellent choices!

  4. Leigh says:

    Agreed. Then again, Tatiana Maslany deserves this EVERY week throug the show’s run.

    • Cheri says:

      I love Orphan Black. Tatiana is the most versatile and interesting actress on TV today. I’ve had favorite shows, but they’ve come and gone. Shows start out great then get stale and or just go down hill. But, Orphan Black is one of those shows that has all the pieces to make a show great. Great writing. Great performances. Comedy, drama, occult, horror all wrapped into one. There are more than one show that gets my attention to watch each week, but, none like OB. This one is special. Game of Thrones is too graphic for me. I love OB on all levels.

  5. DarkDefender says:

    Great choices. I would have given a shout out to Simon Baker for his “I love you and it scares me” speech on the plane.. Tons of raw emotion with that. He was brilliant this week.

  6. Spoiler Junkie says:

    Eva Green as Vanessa Ives has been a revelation. An amazing performance during the seance scene. I have watched that scene many times and each time I find her performance utterly captivating.

  7. dude says:

    Tatiana Maslany is just on a completely different level from anyone else on television. She’s magnificent. I thought episode 4 was her best performance but last week she was marvelous as well and she really just deserves every award ever.

    • Maggie says:

      Yes, Tatiana Maslany is on a different level from everyone else on TV. If she doesn’t win an Emmy for Orphan Black, then the Emmys are a fraud. Oh wait, Hugh Laurie never won an Emmy for House, so I guess they already are a fraud. But, I still hope they recognize Maslany.

  8. redjane12 says:

    Tatiana Maslany playing 3 to 5 characters per episode is a tour the force in itself and every week that Orphan Black airs… but yes this week with Helena back in action and Sarah losing the plot, it was particularly strong.

    And yep, Eva Green is incredible in Penny Dreadful, a completely crazy but fabulously shot and written show…

  9. Mel says:

    Yes!!! Finally. Tatiana is amazing, and I love the fact that others are cuing into her talent. The fact that she makes viewers forget that the same actress is playing all these characters, is testament her considerable skills.

  10. Babybop says:

    I nominate everyone from Hannibal because I’m still not over the finale.

  11. diogomsilva says:

    Maslany deserves all awards!

  12. Patrick Maloney says:

    I would’ve switched the two actresses’ positions in this article, not that Tatiana was bad, I just believe Eva deserves the bigger spotlight

  13. Gem says:

    Eva Green is so talented and was amazing last week!! And Tatiana Maslany of course, she’s amazing all the time.

  14. Alex says:

    I nominate Hugh Dancy and Mads M. from Hannibal. Outstanding performances.

  15. Nate says:

    YES to both especially Eva. That scene was fantastic

  16. rob george says:

    pretty sure sarah’s words were “I thought I killed you. I couldn’t tell anybody what I lost. But you came back! Please, put down the gun.” fits better with the heartfelt plea. tatiana and the writers of orphan black are more than genius!

  17. Keisha says:

    She is amazing. Hopefully she’s not schizophrenic in real life lol.

    And hey!! Mads Mikkelsen from Hannibal deserves some lovin’ too. Awesome finale!!!

  18. rachelle says:

    Well, well, well deserved! I cried during Sarah and Helena’s exchange. I had to rewind it a few times because it was so beautiful. I’m so happy that Tatiana got this recognition. She rocks!

  19. Shaun says:

    Gah,how did Eva get beat!!Tatiana has won this event a bunch!I prefer actors who bust a gut a certain week and deliver something huge,and Tatiana’s characters always get great moments.

  20. linds says:

    more like performer of the year

  21. JM says:

    Yes, she is amazing and totally deserved this recognition. And now I nominate Mads from Hannibal for next week!!!!

  22. Tee says:

    The other day, I was watching a clip of Jordan Gavaris and Tatiana Maslany talking about Allison in rehab, and in the back of my head I wondered why they had Sarah’s actor there when it was Allison…. oh. Yeah, then it clicked. Sometimes I forget I’m watching one actress, she’s amazing.

  23. Vanessa Ives says:

    I love Tatiana Maslany and I agree about her being on point every episode but this week belongs to Eva Green. Everything about the séance scene and her portrayal of Vanessa Ives blew me away. Her incredible range and dedication (shot the séance scene for two days with each day doing 10 ten minute long takes without cuts for different angles while horror music plays in the background and going off to repeat the scene for the green screen for Vanessa’s bending) and stamina (in doing the séance scene alone) makes her a great contender for Tatiana’s every episode run throne!

  24. Bob Smith says:

    She should win every week that the show is on. No one else can match her performances.

  25. LadyBGlam says:

    I already know that actress Eva Green doesn’t care at all about “awards”. She is such an amazing talented woman that any kind of award would never make her play any better than she already is, and wouldn’t stop her deep honest commitment to her art of acting.
    & by the way, I feel the same about actress Tatiana Maslany whose performances are all just perfect so far in Orphan. I’ve been following Eva Green’s career since she’s started and she’s still getting better and better. So, whether she gets (or not) an Emmy wouldn’t stop me from admiring her anyway.
    Nothing’s gonna stop me from floating…