Performer of the Week: Sarah Paulson

Sarah Paulson Freak Show

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Sarah Paulson

THE SHOW | American Horror Story: Freak Show

THE EPISODE | “Tupperware Party Massacre”

THE AIRDATE | December 10, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | Performer of the Week doesn’t seem like a sufficient accolade to bestow upon Sarah Paulson after this latest Freak Show. Maybe, since she blew us away as not one character but two, we should name her Performers of the Week?

First, as the Tattlers argued about whether to undergo the surgery that would separate them — and possibly kill one of them — the actress reminded us of how cold Dot could be about their “infinite, intolerable arranged marriage” and how sweet Bette could be. When the latter revealed that she was willing to go so far as to give up her life in order to secure her sibling’s future happiness, even her twin was moved.

Later, after heading back to the fairground, Dot finally confessed to Jimmy that she was in love with him. “You are the only man for me,” she said, bravely dropping her and Bette’s top, “’cause you’re like us — different but special.”

Throughout the scene, Paulson’s eyes glistened with a hopefulness that was so sincere and intense that eventually it couldn’t be contained — it had to spill out in tears. (Top that, CGI!) And, though Jimmy rejected the Tattlers’ offer to make him the rare man with both a blonde and brunette wife, the sisters’ portrayer left us all in, wholly impressed by the ultimate special effect: her skill.

HONORABLE MENTION | Throughout POTW_BrittonNashville‘s third season, Connie Britton has been playing Rayna as a woman doing the smart thing, no matter what. So we’ve seen her bite back a lot of words and swallow a bunch of objections, the mounting realization that Luke was wrong for her evident in the set of Britton’s jaw and the weary look on her face. But in Wednesday’s winter finale, Rayna finally decided that enough was enough, and Britton soared. Our favorite moment: When Rayna drove off, Britton exuding peace in a way she hasn’t been able to all season. We can’t wait to see what either woman will do next.

HONORABLE MENTION | POTW_Once_MitchellConceal, don’t feel? Not a chance. As Once Upon a Time‘s Snow Queen, Elizabeth Mitchell gave Storybrooke the cold shoulder for much or her stint, ultimately casting the Spell of Shattered Sight to bring out the very worst in these mostly good people. But when Ingrid was faced with proof that Gerda, the sister who epically scorned her, ultimately had a change of heart, Mitchell delivered a sweeping, emotional “death bed” performance. “All I wanted was to have my sisters’ love — and now I do,” she gushed, her “happy ending” in hand. Yep, in her final moments, Mitchell’s ice queen thoroughly melted us.

What performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off 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. Rosy says:

    CONNAAAAAAAAAY. Connie Britton is so under appreciated ….

    • Shira says:

      Hell yeah Connie Britton on Nashville this week!!! She nailed it and the closing scene was perfect!! She managed to convey the entire journey of Rayna just by using her face. This woman is the queen of nuance and subtlety and it’s about time she gets proper recognition.

    • Shazzer says:

      I love her too. I watched The To Do List last night and realized I need her to be in more movies. I love Nashville, I’m surprised none of my friends watch it.

  2. I know Grant Gustin was already named Performer of the Week for the pilot of The Flash, but his performance this week was spectacular. POTW jumped the gun on him, but to not even get an honorable mention is wrong.

  3. Kat says:

    Last ep of Sons of Anarchy, tons of people could have had an honorable mention, Tommy Flanagan, Kim Coates, both amazing. AHS is a bunch of disturbing images strung together like Faces of Death in the 80s. You should be ashamed of yourself. Sarah Paulson, though talented, is the same exact character over and over. I love Connie Britton as much as everyone else, but that show is a nightmare. Standing out amongst a bunch of idiots and horrible writing should be normal, not rewarded. Worst choices ever. Like really ever. You guys have been leaning toward cheesy and super sponsored for a while, but this is serious evidence of crazy selling out.

    • Rebecca says:

      Matter of your opinion… Everyone is entitled to theirs. no one can see everything the same. Remember that before you start throwing things around like sell out.

      • Lauren says:

        LMAO and didn’t two SOA stars win this thing in the past few weeks? Yeah, a real “prejudice” going on. I want the drugs this Kat is on please.

      • Stephanie says:

        You do realize how hypocritical you are being for calling Kat out for expressing her opinion by saying everyone is entitled to their’s? Like you said, she’s entitled to her opinion. You should remember that as well.

        • Rebecca says:

          Maybe I didn’t say it correctly, I meant the writers at Tvline are entitled to their opinion. So why would they be a sell out if that’s what they thought the best performances were?

    • Joey says:

      If you’re only referring to Paulson’s roles on AHS, I think you might have some explaining to do. Billie Dean Howard wasn’t much of a presence on Murder House, but even that was quite different from Lana Winters in Asylum, Cordelia Foxx in Coven, and both Bette and Dot on Freak Show (who are different enough from each other!).

    • Network says:

      I love reading these things because it’s funny to see how freakin serious people take this. “Winning” this has the heft of any of you posting on your facebook your performer of the week. Everyone acts like this is some serious accolade.

      • Angela says:

        Seriously, this. This article is just something fun and light that the site likes to do each week, people. They always say if you disagree with their choices that you can post your own choices in the comment section. It really should not that big a deal.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I really enjoyed the winter finale of Nashville. You’re right Connies look as she was driving away was great! Can’t wait for January.

  5. Tran says:

    No love for one of the cast members of SoA this week? :-(

  6. angelwings1 says:

    IMO the tour de force that Charlie Hunnam delivered is SOA stores finale proved he deserved to be the POTW. He was phenomenal in nearly a one man show.

  7. Beth says:

    Charlie’s performance in “Suits of Woe” was so much more deserving though. Tvline got it right

  8. Alice says:

    No Charlie Hunnam? Automatic Fail.

  9. abz says:

    Great choice. Sarah Paulson is magnificent. I found myself getting teary-eyed (something I rarely expect to happen while watching AHS) during that scene where Bette said she would give her life up for her.
    Connie is great on Nashville, but I don’t really think her performance was deserving of being part of the performer of the week mentions.
    Elizabeth Mitchell was great. Really gonna miss her on OUAT. I hope we can see more of her in the future, possibly via some Emma flashbacks.

  10. Matt C. says:

    Sarah Paulson definitely deserves Performer(s) of the Week. The scene in the shed with Bette and Dot talking about the surgery brought me to tears, as did their scene with Jimmy near the end. I’m so glad they’re giving her such emotional material to work with this season, since last year they gave Cordelia nothing interesting to do until the finale basically.

  11. Ivo says:

    Well deserved!!! Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters, and this season Finn Wittrock, are clearly the best actors on the show, and had the most difficult roles, it’s very disappointing that Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates ar in many cases the only ones to take the credit only cause they are a movie stars.

  12. mc says:

    These women are all brilliant and exceptional.

  13. spindae2 says:

    Finally Sarah!! She was strong throughout the season, when she gets enough space.
    For the male part of PoW Grant Gustin deserved a mention. He nailed it, my heart broke when he meltdown in front of his father.

  14. Erin2 says:

    How was Charlie Hunnam not the Performer of the Week?

  15. Amanda says:

    No Charlie Hunnam?

  16. Alicia says:

    Connor britton is acting her socks off she is just pure talent xx

  17. Alicia says:

    Predict a text I meant Connie Britton is pure talent

  18. KalEpic says:

    Revenge’s Emily Thorne and Daniel Grayson. Such an incredible scene between those two. Very emotional, it was.

  19. Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    We definitely agree… though Michael Chiklis and Finn Whitrock were pretty impressiv in the “Tupperware Party Massacre” episode, they still didn’t have to deal with the intricacies of playing two different character’s heads stuck on one body, talking to each other. Ms. Paulson does it again!

  20. Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Rickards in the midseason finale were AMAZING!! Amell and Rickards both have flourished in their respective roles. For a character who was only supposed to be in five episodes, Rickards has fleshed Felicity out into an emotional rock on which Oliver can lean. Amell and Rickards’ chemistry is flawless as they deliver some of the best-acted scenes this show has ever seen.

    • kath says:

      Felicity was only supposed to be on for one episode, with the possibility of more appearances. Glad that went out the window. Stephen Amell and Emily Bett Richards add such levels to what are comic book characters.

      They were good this episode, weren’t they?

  21. The Carpooler says:

    She delivered great tears, and only tears. No way you can pass up Kim Coates for his stunning heartfelt scene with Walter Goggins and then give this to Ms. Paulson. Disappointing.

  22. The Carpooler says:

    My rant now over, the camera work on AHS this week was superb. The close up shots of Tattler’s hands as they sought and gave comfort was terrific, as was the editing to allow Bette’s face to position in front of Dot’s. Very cool to see them both onscreen like that!

  23. lemonlime623 says:

    Oh, this was a tough one, as usually is the case with winter/spring finales. Performers put it all out on the table, and this one was no exception. However, I’d have to say to not even mention a second honorable mention of Charlie Hunnam is a fail–I know that SOA had a lot of props from its performers these last few weeks, especially since it was its final season. But because it was the final season, Hunnam gave it his EVERYTHING in his last few scenes as Jax. It should’ve been recognized.

  24. Paul says:

    Christian Jules Leblanc Michael Baldwin The Young and The Restless Telling His Wife He Has Prostate Cancer. The Raw Emotion He Exhibited Gave Me Chills.

  25. She shoulda hooked up with Twisty for a whole new freak-baby!
    But seriously, Paulson was excellent as Miss Isringhausen on Deadwood, too.

  26. Jjb says:

    Yeeeees Sarah had me weeping. Elizabeth was fine as hell too.

  27. Aprilcot says:


  28. kath says:

    The performance that stood out for me this week was Stephen Amell on Arrow, especially as he was dying, in the fight scene going from hope to acceptance to off the mountain. Oh, the feels!

    I thought he should at least have had an honorable mention. Elizabeth Mitchell and Connie Britton were good but in a completely different way.