Performer of the Week: Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington Scandal Performance

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Kerry Washington

THE SHOW | Scandal

THE EPISODE | “Run”

THE AIRDATE | January 29, 2015

THE PERFORMANCE | Even when grabbed from her home and (seemingly) whisked off to a dingy destination unknown, Olivia Pope has it handled. On-screen for nearly the entirety of the midseason premiere’s 43 minutes, Washington walked the fine line between fierce fixer and Marvel-caliber hero, as Liv slowly took stock of her environs and abductors, never acting too hastily and, for better or worse, never superhumanly seeing too many steps ahead.

Even when Olivia taunted Otto about his obvious No. 2 status, Washington showed us a woman strong in observation yet not foolhardy enough to fancy herself a one-person TAC Team. Similarly, she conveyed Olivia’s prioritization of prudence and patience over impetuous pluck, as bathroom break after bathroom break she processed information about the world around her. Even when Liv attempted that first great escape-via-underwire, Washington made clear this was not some superspy seizing on a surefire plan, but a well-tailored D.C. power player who perhaps Netflix’d Alias on a recent night.

Did the unusual, break-from-format episode at times come off as “Emmy bait”? Perhaps. Still, Washington is POTW-worthy for maintaining the Olivia of it all, for never letting us forget that as far (or not!) removed as she may be from home, this is the Gladiator we have spent three-and-a-half seasons with, only this time under extreme, different circumstances. Now if only Liv hadn’t dropped that gun….

HONORABLE MENTION | Thursday’s POTW-ElementaryElementary was very much Kitty’s hour, but we couldn’t help but be impressed by the subtle yet moving performance of star Jonny Lee Miller. As much as Sherlock saved Kitty (played by Ophelia Lovibond), she also saved him, and the sight of his rare tears in flashbacks showcased just how far on the brink of relapse Sherlock was when the two met. In the present, Miller replaced that vulnerability with gratitude and compassion as he helped Kitty confront her attacker. “You will always be special to me. You will always be my friend,” he told her. And when Kitty said her goodbyes, one didn’t need a magnifying glass to see the love in Sherlock’s eyes.

HONORABLE MENTION | Ever since Gotham-ep113_scn36pt3-3_21722_hires2Danny DeVito grossed us out in ’92, who’d have thought a Penguin would have us rooting for him? And yet Gotham‘s Robin Lord Taylor had us pulled off that feat, no more so than when Oswald Cobblepot set hobbled foot in Fish’s club to claim as (almost) his own. Taylor showed us the rising criminal as proud son… and then a half-instant later as hair-trigger offspring, maddened when mother spoiled his surprise. He reminded us of Oswald’s misplaced sense of self, when “friend” Jim Gordon paid a visit and again during a speech to the “crowd.” But Taylor’s most revealing moment came during a trippy montage, where he literally caressed the bar counter within Oswald’s small new empire. With Taylor as Penguin, nothing has been black-and-white.

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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66 Comments
  1. TAL says:

    Reblogged this on Cerulean Chronicle and commented:
    Attention ‘Scandal’ fans! TV Line has named Kerry Washington the “Performer of the Week” for her performance in ‘Scandal’ episode 4.10 – “Run.” Kerry’s performance was one of her best of the season, and almost certain to garner her an Emmy nomination this year. Congratulations Kerry!

  2. spindae2 says:

    Kerry killed it! Best performance I saw in a long time.

  3. TAL says:

    Yes, yes, yes! One of her finest performances to date on this show. Emmy-worthy!!!

  4. Joey says:

    Robin Lord Taylor is one of my very favorite things about Gotham. Funny, I started watching the show because Batman is fun, plus I think Donal Logue is great, but its really Taylor’s Penguin that keeps me coming back week after week.

  5. Brian says:

    Great choice. Kerry was awesome this week!

  6. Though I thought Kerry Washington’s performance was phenomenal, Jonny Lee Miller was so impact full and more emotional

  7. Dennis says:

    Olivia is the worst part of this show, I just binged watched it over winter break seeing it for the first time and at first I liked her but as I continued to watch I saw how weak and pathetic she is instead of the strong character I first saw he as. How can she still give a crap about Fitz he’s treated her horribly and yet he still cares for him? wtf. She’s like a battered woman that keeps going back to the man that beats her because he keeps saying he’s sorry and loves her.
    I will say that she started to show a little strength in this episode and I would like to see her save herself instead of being yet another damsel in distress, where the Heck is the Gladiator within her?

    • Carol says:

      The weakest character on the show if Mellie Grant who sits around CONSTANTLY WHINING about being bored and bragging about how brilliant she is with her Ivy League education and yet does NOTHING to show us this brilliance.

      Mellie needs to get a life – get a divorce and start her own political career. She is pathetic clinging to a man who does not want her and a life in which she is miserable.
      I want to see a different Mellie. This one is boring even with her well written zingers.

      All the other the women (Abby, Quinn, Sallie, Lizzie Bear, etc.) on the show have careers and are out in the world kissing ass even with bad things happening to them.

      • Dennis says:

        I see Mellie as a tragic damaged character. I think she’s with Her husband until the end of the term and then she’ll use him for her own political gain, they seem to be a parallel of the Clintons, she was raped by her father in law at the beginning of her marriage and Fitz has treated her like crap for a long time, she’s a very damaged person and if Fitz weren’t a selfish PoS he would be trying to help her even if their marriage is over

        • Dennis says:

          Mellie was raped by her father in law not Hillary lol I should have worded that better

        • Carol says:

          Fitz has been kind to Mellie considering the state of their marriage even before Olivia appeared on the scene (more than 10 years of no emotional or physical connection).

          Mellie made poor life choices – concealing her rape for political gain and then sending her children away. She cannot blame Fitz for her misery when she had the resources and opportunity to fix it by telling him and/or getting counseling.

          I’m amazed at the excuses people make for Mellie. How can Fitz help her if she does not accept help? He helped her with Jerry’s death and she went back to being her usual power hungry self.

          BTW, everyone on Scandal is a selfish POS even Olivia whose weakness is always trying to save people. At least she has a conscious and tries to do good while most others don’t try.

        • Drew says:

          PLEASE! “Tragic Damaged Character” Everyone on this show is damaged and by the way since Fitz is so pathetic why hasn’t Mellie divorced Fitz or even made an attempt yet? Because last time I checked, given how Fitz treats her she can divorce him but as usual no one actually talks about that. Yet you can harp on about how Olivia is the worst character in the show but ignore Mellie’s power hungry and scheming nature.

          • Dennis says:

            Drew asked and answered. She has political ambitions of her own she needs her marriage to achieve hers, it’s just like the Clintons
            Olivia is supposed to be this tough as nails Gladiator but she’s not she’s weak, she should have moved on and away from Fitz a long time ago, Binge watch the series and you’ll see

    • Drew says:

      So Mellie riding Fitz coattails for her “political ambition” without starting hers in her stride does not make her “weak” but Olivia exhibiting human attributes and being flawed makes her weak. Is Liv meant to be a robot or something because you’re talking about her saving herself from this predicament like she’s James Bond or she’s been in hostage situations all her life. I just don’t get you but it’s your opinion anyways

      • Dennis says:

        you can say the same thing about Hillary Clinton She’s riding the coattails of Bills political career now that his is over hers has started. their marriage doesn’t look like one based on love just like Fitz and Mellie.
        If you watch the show like I did for the first time by binge watching it you see a strong woman that is made a fool of and mistreated repeatedly my the man she loves. She’s like a battered woman that keeps going back to the guy that beat her (emotionally) because he keeps promising to stop and give her what she thinks she wants and then he does it again. a strong woman would have stopped the abuse long ago. try bnge watching it and you’ll see

    • taim says:

      lol. its makes sense she cares for fitz, they have known each other for several years, their relationship is intense,.

      It makes less sense that she cares for jake, a guy she knows for a few months, who choked her once and was payed to spy on her but then slept with her.

      • Jenny says:

        Thank you!!!! Yes, her devotion to jake makes absolutely no sense. Her love for fitz doesnt make her weak, but makes her flawed. Yes Olivia was convincing but after season 2 she became less convincing due to the fact that the character was marginalized when the writers decided to devote their time to building up her father, b613, jake, and mellie. All those characters were lifted up at Olivia’s expense. nevertheless, Kerry killed it on Thursday.

    • David4 says:

      I agree. She was so strong and then became so so weak the last couple seasons.

    • scmiller60 says:

      Olvia started out strong but became this pathetic, needy, indicisive idiot that was unrecognisable to me in season three. I stopped watching the show midway through season three because it became insulting, not just her acting but the entire show! I heard that her performance was good on Thursday but still am not inclined to watch further.

    • B says:

      Olivia is the worst part of this show?! Really?! Are we watching the same show? She’s the lead and she’s not only beautiful she’s one of the best actresses of our time!

      • Gloria says:

        Olivia is beautiful and a good actress but she is not written as the lead. Millie at her worst was at the WH and quite cute in her UGGS etc. Liv is held in a dirty cell lying on the floor why ? She could have been held any where.

  8. lkh says:

    Good choice. She was really good. Story kinda funky though.

  9. Carol says:

    I find it interesting that TV line mentions Emmy bait for Kerry Washingtons’s performance which felt organic to the storyline but not for the ridiculous rape episode which retro Bellamy Young’s character on the show. That episode and performance felt more like obvious Emmy bait to me.

    Also was the Huck episode called Emmy bait for Guillermo Diaz?

  10. Dude says:

    Agreed! That was Kerry’s finest performance ever. I couldn’t help but think “WOW” She is really talented.

  11. ChicagoDan says:

    Kerry Washington was outstanding. It’s too bad they didn’t do something like this s/l when KW announced she was pregnant and, instead cut S3 short. This could’ve worked for end of last season and kicked off this season. (All the other stuff could’ve followed.) The real downside is that this would’ve been better as a standalone type episode where Olivia freed herself. Instead, it looks like one of the guys will have to rescue her. Oh, and can we just go back to Olivia fixing scandals for DC’s most powerful.

    • scmiller60 says:

      AGREED!!! I remember saying this to a firend of mne, that instead of cutting season 3, they could have had a kidnap plot in place. It would have made more sense but the season n t’s entirety was a disaster

  12. Drew says:

    Great Choice! Kerry Washington was PHENOMENAL.

  13. angela says:

    Thought Craig T Nelson deserved a not for his scene with Ray Romano

  14. Betisa says:

    I agree, Kerry was amazing on “Run”, her acting was much better than the episode, I’d like to know where this show is going. :/

  15. Boiler says:

    Don’t watch Scandal but would be hard to beat Jonny Lee and Ophelia in Elementary

  16. bj says:

    I agree with all your choices. I also said, as I was watching Scandal, that I could see the whole point of the episode being some Emmy fuel.

    I’ve also found myself rooting for the penguin. lol

  17. mc says:

    I thought the title of the episode was “Five Minutes.” lol

    This is spot-on. And this better be the episode Kerry submits for an Emmy nom. I can already see her nominated alongside Viola and Taraji.

  18. awful says:

    Kerry was amazazing, reminds me why I watch this show. Shonda should really focus on Olivia instead of 3rd tier characters like Mellie.

    • scmiller60 says:

      The thing is though, Bellamy Yooung is far superior an actress than Kerry Washington, hands down!!!! She may be a third tier character but she shines bright with the few lines she has

      • Carol says:

        LOL – the Bellamy/Melliestans are hilarious. Kerry Washington has had a successful stage and movie (co-starred in numerous Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, Sundance and Independent Spirit nominated movies) career while Bellamy Young has been completely forgettable in a 25 year career.

        Mellie is a one note caricature – constantly whining. Bellamy Young is also one note – gritting her teeth, growling, swiping her face. I can predict all her mannerisms and whenever Mellie appears I know it is going to be her taking a dig at someone and whining. Mellie is actually quite predictable and boring. Bellamy needs to learn to act with her eyes and ease up on the Botox for facial movements. She has dead eyes which do not convey emotions. Being given zingers to say does not translate to great acting.

  19. Sunshine1 says:

    She was awesome. I was so impressed with her and so proud of Kerry. She made me feel and understand Liv’s desperation and situation. I’m so glad tvline has finally recognized her.

  20. rachelle says:

    I love Scandal, but Kerry is not a great actress. I cringe through her performance almost always and this week was no exception.

  21. Paul says:

    How could you leave out the Parenthood cast? Glaring omissions

  22. Jerry says:

    I really love Kerry Washington’s performance this week. I didn’t think the episode was all that bad, Broadcast TV almost always have certain filler episodes, and this is a perfect “filler” episode. I think it showed different sides of Olivia, instead of pursed lips and heavy breathing stereotype which we have known. It almost feels like a Walking Dead episode to me, and I’m glad to see Scandal change up a bit and give us a different kind of episode here and there.

  23. whowho says:

    When I finished watching Scandal, my first thought was “what on earth just happened?”
    The performance was great, but I found the episode very confusing.

  24. Domenica says:

    I can’t be the only person who thinks Kerry Washington is quite bad on Scandal … her performance is so over the top! My friends and I can’t help but laugh when we watch the show – she overacts in ever scene…. Cyrus and Mellie are so much better

  25. MTB says:

    Give me a break. I like the show but can’t stand her. Those STUPID faces she makes. She is unlikable.

  26. Bellamy Young stans are so pathetic and transparent, lol, in this article.
    You can keep on hating Kerry all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that Bellamy Young isn’t going to be nominated at the the Emmy’s anytime soon.

    • Joe says:

      At the last Emmy’s who got a Emmy nom between Young and Washington ? The answer is Bellamy, as calling people pathetic for liking one actress over another that is just juvenile. Olitz fans seem to be confused between reality and fiction when it comes to Young.

  27. greysfan says:

    Totally agree. Kerry killed it this week. She is incredible.

  28. B says:

    Kerry Washington deserves an Emmy Award for her work in this episode! She gave an Emmy Award caliber performance! She was riveting and heartbreaking! She showed a range of emotions that made me feel what Olivia was feeling!

  29. B says:

    Bellamy Young deserves a Best Supporting Actress Emmy and Kerry deserves the Best Actress Emmy!! These two actresses are at the top of their game! Kerry should have won when she was nominated!!! Even the actor who plays Fitz deserves to win an award!!! Is his name Tony Godwin? Another actor that deserved to win was the actor that plays Papa Pope for his your not a man, your a boy tirade!

  30. Jillian says:

    Definitely one of the strongest performances (and episode) to date for Kerry Washington. If there was a director of the week award it would have to go to Tom Verica for his work on this episode of Scandal.

  31. Chris says:

    This episode was horrible, and I think Kerry overacted. Not a great choice for the week.

  32. NotBri says:

    I’m glad to see JLM getting some love on here. He is brilliant and his performance in this episode was one of his best to date.