TVLine's Performer of the Week: Mistresses' Jes Macallan

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Jes Macallan

THE SHOW | Mistresses

THE EPISODE | “Til Death Do Us Part

THE AIRDATE | September 1, 2014

You can hate Josslyn Carver for (finally) succumbing to her feelings for ex-brother-in-law Harry on the Season 2 finale of Mistresses, but you’ve got to applaud her portrayer Jes Macallan for bringing humor and heartbreak, agony and (most definitely) ecstasy to a story arc that — without her deft performance — could’ve easily been dismissed as soap-opera cliché.

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Macallan first had to capture her character’s utter shock when Harry — trying to make amends for their blowout fight the episode prior — declared there were “no words” to explain his actions and kissed Joss in a decidedly un-brotherly way. In the aftermath, while downing boilermakers and giving the play-by-play to pal Karen, Macallan never abandoned Joss’ delicious goofball streak, hilariously describing the smooch as “on the lips… on the mouth… in the mouth!” and allowing viewers a moment of levity before a hurricane of devastation arrived.

With nice-guy fiancé Scott’s ring on her finger, Joss returned to the scene of the lip-lock to tell her sister’s former hubby that she was quitting her job at Wunderbar — and quitting their too-close bond, as well. Tears streaking her face and voice crackling with emotion, Macallan made it palpable just how much her former party-gal character was sacrificing as she drew a line in the sand and a fortress around her heart: “We can’t be friends anymore, OK?” (Um, no, not OK!) It was, without question, the most emotionally gripping moment of the show’s 26-episode run.

RELATED Mistresses EP Talks Shocking Season 2 Finale: ‘Soap Operas Live and Die on Unforgivable Acts’

Later, at her engagement party, you could sense Joss’ cleared conscience and newfound determination to make it work with her Scott — until he shared a selection of wedding gowns and noted there was a preacher on the premises. Just like that, the air began leaking from Joss’ chest, Macallan physically transforming her character from a mood of ease to one of eventual panic. By the time Joss discovered it was Harry who’d tipped off Scott to the meaning of her late father’s record collection, and Harry arrived on the scene and locked eyes with the bride-to-be on her second-floor balcony, it was clear how the season would end (though one might not have predicted Harry literally losing his shirt and Joss’ white gown getting some seriously ground-in sand stains).

What made the subsequent “runaway bride”/”forbidden embrace” moment so stirring, though, was the fact that Macallan and co-star Brett Tucker had been planting the seeds for ’em since at least as far back the Season 1 finale: their casual physicality, easy laughter, and moments of unexpected emotional intimacy made the shocking (and to some, unforgivable) combustion of their chemistry feel like a true payoff rather than a cheap cliffhanger gimmick. That’s not just the stuff of a terrific summer guilty-pleasure, that’s simply terrific television.

POTWHONORABLE MENTION | When Betsy Brandt made her Masters of Sex debut a few weeks back, it was easy to write off her bumbling, self-deprecating secretary Barbara Sanderson. She was ill-suited for a job in Masters’ office, and seemed relegated to a promiscuous relationship with Dr. Greathouse. But in the weeks since, Brandt has pulled back layer after heartbreaking layer of her character, culminating in Sunday’s episode, when Barbara unleashed repressed memories of an incestuous relationship with her brother that led to years of sexual dysfunction. As Barbara crumbled under the weight of her past “sins” — “God knew what we had done. And that is why He did this to me.” — our hearts felt just as heavy for a character that Brandt has made complex, flawed and completely human.

POTWHONORABLE MENTION | When the truth about J.R.’s death was revealed on Monday’s Dallas — the cancer-stricken oil tycoon arranged for his own murder to frame nemesis Cliff Barnes — no one’s world was rocked quite as hard as Sue Ellen’s, and Linda Gray delivered a powerhouse performance as a woman coming to terms with her scheming ex-husband’s last lie. Her tear-stained journey was the ultimate (non-alcoholic) cocktail of shock, grief and, eventually, forgiveness, unquestionably inspired by her own three-decade working relationship with actor Larry Hagman. A stark contrast to J.R.’s funeral, in which the Ewing family patriarch was praised for his loyalty and sense of duty, this scene focused on the late philanderer’s darker truths; in a way, it was the perfect epilogue of J.R. and Sue Ellen’s tempestuous love story.

POTWHONORABLE MENTION | When Finding Carter‘s beloved best friend – and our favorite character – Max was shot in this Tuesday’s episode, there was only one response: crushing fear and tears, both of which the show’s star, Kathryn Prescott, delivered in spades. Holding a bleeding Max in her arms, Carter’s voice shook with terror as she dialed 911, sending panic through our own veins. Although our thoughts were with Max and his fate, we felt for Carter, too, as the pressure of the cops and her sister’s anger came crashing down on her, triggering an impressive display of waterworks and a trembling lip that would make Carrie Mathison proud.

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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  1. spindae2 says:

    Jess really nailed it the last 2 weeks. And even though I don’t approve her choice she was brilliant! Great choice TvLine Team!

    • Nichole says:

      With Savi looking around for Joss, I was groaning at the expected cliché moment of Savi stumbling on the forbidden embrace scene, so was just as glad that the show’s powers that be decided to cut it before that happened. I also thought that the lady that plays April did a very good job this week in showing the mixture of grief and relief at her “dead” husband now actually being dead, that was played very well also. Mistresses is not the sort of show I would usually watch, but some of the acting this season has been fantastic, even if the story lines are often eye rolling :P

  2. nobildonna says:

    I just know that Harry and Joss have been a dream came true, nothing less… Genius have been authors, I watched and watched soooo many times episode and till now I do not try to stop..Crazye? Maybe but this is the best love story ever.. AMAZING, Love wins actually.

  3. Mika says:

    I love Joss. She’s my favorite and I hope we get to see a season 3 of more adventures.

    • Dorothy Lancaster says:

      I agree – I’m anxiously awaiting news that there WILL be a season 3 – Mistresses is definitely my summer guilty pleasure, has been since day one – and I LOVE where the show has dared to go – I somewhat expected Joss and Harry and I was so happy it happened and that Savi DIDN’T walk up on them – Love what’s happening with April – in fact the “adventures” and happenings of the entire cast. I’d thought they were intentionally making Savi look rather unattractive, and then I realized she was pregnant and kudos for her for keeping up with what must have been a tough role. Please tell me this show IS returning!!!!!

  4. tvgal says:

    Jes killed it this week on mistresses,although Joss isn’t my fave character anymore after what she did,she totally broke her sisters heart and scott’s heart.I just can’t get past it
    Linda grey killed it this week on dallas,I cried with her.

  5. webly3 says:

    If Max dies, I’ll be so upset!

  6. GeoDiva says:

    Both Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy killed it on this week’s Dallas. Thanks for noticing!

  7. Vikram says:

    Predictable that MoS would get a mention while fx shows like the Bridge and the strain keep getting ignored.

    • Lexi says:

      The Bridges Ted Levine had honorable mention recently.. but you are right it is such a powerful show with an amazing cast. Kudos to Demian Bichir.. in English and in Spanish he delivers… wow

  8. DarkDefender says:

    Not a lot on TV right now to choose from, but I’d give a nod to Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) for showing the multi-layered angst of the Doctor as he rediscovers himself and comes to the sad realization that he may just be a “good dalek”..

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  10. Frank says:

    Linda Gray was phenomenal this week. Linda has taken Sue Ellen to a whole different level. Great performance. I’m really hoping to hear good news about a Season 4 renewal soon. Dallas is must-see TV!

  11. Cas says:

    I love Joss. And I loved the idea of Joss and Harry from the moment Savi was an idiot and chose that other guy. However, I do wish that they could have made Scott less likeable and maybe not cast an actor that I want to stick around for the long haul ;) But Joss is amazing in her role!

  12. Name That Tune says:

    Well, it’s still summer. Nothing better to choose from. But Mistresses is a stupid show and all of the characters are stupid.

    Didn’t care about the whole season. The women on the show are insipid and boring.

  13. pen says:

    I totally agree. Jes MacAllen was great all season but especially in her scenes in the season finale. That show was great. Love Joss and Henry together. Can’t wait for season three.

  14. pen says:


  15. wada says:

    As the knight of Indiana Jones would say… Joss chose wisely!! Jes is an incredible actress and she deserves an emmy for her performance this season. But of course that’s never going to happen.

  16. LAwoman says:

    I love Betsy Brandt and she was fantastic on Masters.

  17. me says:

    How much is MTV paying TVLine for the unrelenting Finding Carter promo anyway?

  18. Mayra says:

    I don’t really like Mistresses, but Joss, the character, has gotta be one of the best on tv right now. Jes does an amazing job with what she’s given, and even more so this week.
    Sometimes I wish Joss could exist in a better show.

  19. Alex says:

    Also, Jordana Brewster was amazing!