TVLine's Performer of the Week: Anna Paquin

Anna Paquin True Blood Finale

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Anna Paquin

THE SHOW | True Blood

THE EPISODE | “Thank You

THE AIRDATE | August 24, 2014

True Blood’s series finale may have been divisive — the fan war continues to rage — but there’s no two ways to look at Paquin’s heartbreaking final performance.

Sunday’s episode found Sookie Stackhouse bouncing between both ends of the emotional spectrum, as she first struggled to accept Bill’s death wish, then helped him grant it, only to ultimately move on and find happiness with someone new.

RELATED True Blood Finale Post Mortem: EP Defends Big Death, Explains Sookie’s Future

The panic Sookie experienced when she discovered she could hear Bill’s thoughts — though that was never fully explained — was felt by the audience, who shared in her concern for the suicidal vampire.

Her speech to him, as he was lying desperately in his grave, was probably the most intense performance we’ve ever seen from a fairy princess holding a ball of deadly light. And the aftermath, the sight of Sookie bawling in a heap of Bill’s goopy remains, was simply devastating. Paquin has always excelled at selling the Bill-Sookie romance to the audience, so it was only fitting that her biggest moment was also the couple’s last.

Bill’s justification for meeting the true death may have had cracks, but there was nothing flimsy about Paquin’s performance.

Performer of the WeekHONORABLE MENTION | Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston may have won their 2014 Emmy Awards — as Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Lead Actor in a Drama Series — fair and square. But make no mistake, with their crazy-committed and utterly hilarious podium shtick, they pulled off a felony-level theft of positive buzz during the often low-key telecast. Louis-Dreyfus kicked off the bit by telling Cranston that he reminded her of an actor who played her dentist love interest back in her Seinfeld days, then blithely ignored the Breaking Bad star’s efforts to convince her that he was, in fact, the guest-star in question. But the duo wasn’t about to settle for merely upgrading their delivery from the usual “straining off cue-cards” brand of awards-show presenting. Later, when Louis-Dreyfus made her way back to the podium to collect her third straight trophy for Veep, Cranston “ambushed” her with a smooch so long and passionate, it was practically sponsored by Harlequin. “Yeah,” the actress said all woozily as Cranston stroked his lips in comically sensual triumph, “he was on Seinfeld.” And here’s hoping he’ll snag a Season 4 arc on Louis-Dreyfus’ HBO comedy, as well.

RELATED  Emmys 2014: The 20 Best, Worst and Most Inappropriate Moments

Performer of the weekHONORABLE MENTION | We here at TVLine don’t throw around the words “scary as [bleep]” lightly, so when we use those words to describe Billy Magnussen in the finale of WE tv’s excellent The Divide, trust us – that’s exactly what he was. As the noose tightened around the neck of his character, homicidal junkie Eric, the rising star delivered a performance that was twitchy, manic and terrifyingly believable. Never mind the brutality of the double murder Eric committed upon realizing he was being set up, it’s the uncorked rage that his portrayer displayed in his final scene – when the killer attacked Christine with the force of a charging bull – that’s going to give us nightmares.

What 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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52 Comments
  1. Walter Freeman says:

    No. Sorry, but really, no.

  2. Tran says:

    In my opinion, Dexter and True Blood were the worst series finales I have ever seen.

  3. Dana says:

    I think Peter Capaldi deserves an honorable mention. No one knew what kind of doctor to expect, but, he did show that he is capable of following Tennant’s and Smith’s footsteps.

  4. Ameer says:

    People may not have liked the finale but yeah, she was fantastic.

  5. Alex says:

    Well deserved for Anna. Amazing actress.

  6. I just finished watching the last season of True Blood and overall the show used to be much better than this last season would lead someone to believe. It was just flat from start to end. It feet like a very long denouement.

  7. christine says:

    The finale blew but Paquin did a very fine job

  8. Sheryl says:

    The Divide…scary as [bleep] doesn’t being to describe it. I would say I was no the edge of my seat, but I literalky had to stand up to watch.

    • Sheryl says:

      *literally

    • Annie says:

      WORD, so much word with excited arm flailing for emphasis. The whole show sort of snuck up on you – gripping and moving to be sure but in a quiet kind of way, boiling just under the surface, just out of view – so when the finale got going, I’d say within the first ten minutes or less, YOU were the frog in the pot of cold water on the stove, not realizing you were about to get cooked until it was too late to hop out. (Pardon the overblown imagery and yes, I know frogs don’t really stay in the pot – it’s a metaphor, and the best one I can think up right now.) I didn’t stand up – I just kept leaning forward until it was all over and I sank back in the couch, literally sore from tensing up the entire hour.

  9. Dark Defender says:

    Totally agree. Anna was awesome this week. Great choice TVLine!

  10. ladydidean says:

    Um, were we watching the same show? Anna’s “acting” has gotten progressively worse during her years on True Blood and her very obvious fake crying during the scene mentioned made the death of Bill seem even more ridiculous and drawn out. I hope her future work is better than her portrayal of Sookie. If anyone’s acting should be called out as good for this show, it should be Alexander Skarsgard, Kristen Bauer, Ryan Kwanten, Deborah Woll, or Nelsen Ellis. All of these actors can act circles around Anna Paquin.

    • TL says:

      Ummmm, I have to sadly agree here. Glad I’m not the only one who noticed.

    • Merideth says:

      Unfortunately I agree as well. I used to like true blood, but that finale was atrocious(tied with Dexter for all time worst), and Anna paquin was equally awful. Her accent alone is cringeworthy. There are many more deserving actors on that show let alone other wonderful shows.

    • Alicia says:

      Totally.

      • sal says:

        Another vote for Alexander Skarsgard (even though Brian Buckner tried to destroy Skarsgard’s character). Skarsgard was the ONLY watchable thing about that episode. Really looking forward to his future projects.

  11. CBWBDK1 says:

    One of the worst finales i’ve ever seen.

  12. LABete says:

    I agree that Anna Paquin was really moving in her scene with Bill at his end. The scene had an old school TB feeling to it, and I have to admit I teared up a little when they kissed goodbye for the last time.

    However because the whole premise of his asking Sookie to kill him to free her was so eye rolling to me, I couldn’t really feel as badly as I should have for Bill.

    Oh, and as to the fan war raging, I think it is pretty one sided on the Just No side for the finale.

  13. B says:

    Thanks for mentioning The Divide and Billy Magnussen. He gave an incredible performance as a truly frightening character. I really hope WE renews this series. Looks like they’re starting late-night repeats beginning Wed night/Thurs morning at midnight. Set your DVRs!

  14. Wtactualf says:

    Lol. This is a pity nod, right?

  15. Love The Divide mention, plus it’s great seeing Billy Magnussen getting some love. Very good actor.

  16. raineetoneme says:

    I thought Sookie reading Bill’s thoughts was a beautiful moment. Her final scene with him had me in tears.

  17. Jon says:

    Should have been Justin Theroux for that bulge.

  18. Grey says:

    How was Margaret Qualley from The Leftovers not a winner or honorable mention? Seeing “happy Jill” the day before the departure was jarring

  19. Mia says:

    ty for the screencap son of the b…

    now i know sookie will kill bill

    mf ..

  20. IMHO says:

    I think Bryan Cranston and Julia Louis Dreyfuss should take the top honors this week.
    The True Blood Finale was horrible ! I mean Dexter Finale Horrible .
    I was sooooo tired of Bill by the Finale I just wanted to beat the crap out of him and stake him myself.

  21. Erin2 says:

    Liev Schreiber should have got it this week IMO!!! He went from verbally destroying his older to drunk goofy dancing with his son with ease… it was a great performance!

  22. Jenna says:

    Thanks for The Divide nod. Excellent show, and Billy M was crazy good!

  23. Zenobia Jackson says:

    Is this is April Fool’s edition? True Blood was a disaster and Anna Paquin is a horrible actress and was equally bad in the finale.

  24. sal says:

    I tried to post a comment earlier, but it didn’t post. I don’t know why. Anyway…I was wondering if Paquin’s/HBO’s PR firm put you up to this. Gotta sell those TB box sets. Gotta sell the HBO/Paquin/Moyer production deal. Gotta sell Bill the Rapist as “noble” and Sookie’s “self-sacrificing twu wuv” and Eric as a distant memory “greedy human trafficker.” Paquin cares about pleasing her much-older husband, not her artistic/career integrity.

    • redjane12 says:

      Didn’t think of that possibility but this ‘performer of the week’ came so from out of left field that you may be right… So many other deserve it more…

    • LW says:

      Indeed. Buckner’s attempts to completely rewrite earlier seasons in order to retcon Bill the serial killing rapist and abuser were embarrassing and pathetic.
      No one but the most delusional Bill fans bought that idiotic and insulting ending to what was once not such a bad show.

      • mollie says:

        Ok, just stop with the abuser, rapist blah blah blah. HBO had declared in June that Bill& Sookie have The Greatest Love Story of TrueBlood. So no one saw Bill that way. Only some Eric shippers. Sookie was never going to have a great love with Eric on the show. That was clear. And even though she and Bill did not have the HEA together, they were still shown to truly love each other. Sookie did not want anyone but Bill. The finale was a convoluted crapfest. But it was spelled out pretty clearly that Bill& Sookie’s love was intense and real.

    • Junie says:

      Sal =JERK

  25. Alicia says:

    Michael Sheen was excellent in this week’s Masters of Sex. But then again, he always is.

    • sal says:

      A second perennial-vote for Michael Sheen, as well as perennial-votes for his co-stars Lizzy Caplan and Annaleign Ashford (and guest-star Sarah Silverman).

  26. guest says:

    What about Maggie Gyllenhaal in the Honorable Woman? She deserves recognition… she is spectacular in this role.

  27. Fran says:

    I actually thought this was a joke or something….I do feel that Anna’s acting has gotten progressively worse through the seasons and the finale didn’t seem any different. That scene felt cheesy to me and I didn’t buy her crying at all. I’m not a Bill hater by any means but I actually yelled at my TV to just hurry up and end the scene because it was painful to watch.

  28. jake says:

    Whine whine

  29. redjane12 says:

    Seriously? Arguably there isn’t much on TV this time of the year but was the week such a dearth of good acting that it went to TB? I do not particularly enjoy Masters of Sex or The Leftovers but there is actual good acting in those shows to name but two current shows… At a stretch David Bradley who plays Setrakian (and played the infamous Walder Frey in GoT) does better acting in the otherwise mediocrely acted The Strain

  30. FtheFrey says:

    Pffff! The performances on True Blood are underwhelming not due to the actors but because of the material. This was just a send off award for a show that was once good. I would have gone with an actor from The Bridge, Masters of Sex, Ray Donovan, the Leftovers, the Honoruable Woman, or even Defiance

  31. Buck says:

    My dear lord you are WAY of base here. Anna Paquin was terrible. That ending was terrible. That show was terrible. The only interesting characters were Pam and Eric. By the end everyone else was so full of angst I just wanted to puke. I kind of think that This entire show has damaged Ball to the point I won’t watch anything else he does. Even if it is an American Beauty sequel.

    Made Dexter’s Finale look like Breaking Bad’s finale!!!

  32. Brigid says:

    I thought Anna did a great job and that scene to me, was very well done. I also enjoyed the finale and it was not even close to the worse series finale. They all wound up having some happiness at the end, what’s bad about that? How should it have ended? I honestly don’t get the anger.

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