Performer of the Week: Joelle Carter

Joelle Carter Performance Justified

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Joelle Carter

THE SHOW | Justified

THE EPISODE | “Sounding”

THE AIRDATE | Feb. 17, 2015

THE PERFORMANCE | As FX’s Kentucky-fried drama unspools its farewell run, steering Raylan and Boyd toward a final showdown, Ava Crowder is woefully caught in the middle — and this week, you deeply felt it via Carter’s performance.

As much as acting can be about words and how they are spoken, Carter demonstrated the power of a furled brow or pursed lips. Take the breakfast scene, where Ava’s face barely conceals high anxiety as she engages in what otherwise is a bucolic moment with Boyd. Seconds later, when Boyd slips the diamond back on her finger, Carter showed us a woman pained by the memory of the joyous original engagement was, seeing as now any future has a pall cast upon it by so many things, including her obligation as Raylan’s CI and the threat of death, if in fact Katherine is putting the pieces together.

Carter also made Ava’s growing desperation clear, whether haggling with Raylan over WITSEC options or leveraging her complicated past with Limehouse in the name of laying hands on a simple car.

With the final scene, opposite Timothy Olyphant, Carter crystallized Ava’s most basic want: to come out of this alive. Yet no reassurances seem able to soothe her, especially in the wake of Boyd reneging on the plan to leave Harlan. “There’s gotta be a place in Hell for a man who breaks a promise to a woman,” she lamented. Then, “You gonna take care of me, like you did after Bowman?” she asked Raylan. “The answer to my prayers?” Ava doubled down on that loaded callback to the pilot and surprised Raylan with a kiss — perhaps hoping it’ll seal the deal for her survival.

HONORABLE MENTION | 138090_8646Cicely Tyson resoundingly entered the Emmy race for Guest Actress with her turn as the disapproving mother of How to Get Away With Murder‘s Annalise. While her intro to the Keating 5 was a crowd-pleaser (as she vividly defined her “VIP” status), it was a subsequent pair of scenes — first, admitting she’d known about young Anna Mae being molested under her roof, and then her confession to burning down said home (and abusive Uncle Clyde with it) — that blew our minds. As Ophelia brushed her child’s hair and calmly related her tale of revenge, Tyson reflected the remorse and even menace of she who helped form HTGAWM‘s flawed, fascinating protagonist.

HONORABLE MENTION | Over POTW-Noel_Fisherthe course of five seasons, Noel Fisher has become Shameless‘ surprise MVP, and this past Sunday’s episode displayed yet again how the actor has transformed Mickey from closeted thug to Ian’s loving partner. Reuniting with his boyfriend in a sweet embrace after Ian’s bipolar breakdown, Fisher displayed a tenderness and a depth of emotion that took our breath away. Mickey still bends the rules to make a buck, but thanks to Fisher’s revelatory performance, there’s no doubt that, unlike his criminal activities, his love for Ian is always pure and true.

HONORABLE MENTION | For years, The Middle‘s Eden Sher has eclipsed the sitcom trope of the POTW-Eden_Sher middle child haplessly vying for the parents’ favor, instead portraying a bright-eyed, relentless optimist. But this week, Sher took advantage of an out-of-character moment as Sue got down on her knees, crying to Mike to help end an unintentional engagement, conveying the character’s desperation without ever becoming untrue to who Sue is. Later, she superbly communicated the guilt behind Sue’s eyes, feeling awful as she did for breaking Darrin’s heart (though for all the right reasons). It was a growing moment for Sue, and a fantastic performance from The Middle’s unsung comedic marvel.

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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58 Comments
  1. Matt C. says:

    Cicely Tyson lit up every scene she was in. If anybody could steal a scene away from Viola Davis, it’s her! It’ll be a sin for her not to receive an Emmy nom for that episode.

    Speaking of Shondaland, Kerry Washington absolutely killed it in the last episode of Scandal, especially in the ending scene with Fitz. I had chills during her monologue.

  2. nikki says:

    Paul Blackthorne – Arrow

  3. Deb says:

    Joelle Carter deserves a Emmy for her performance this season. She should have been nominated in previous years also. I hope the powers that be take notice in Justified’s final season.

  4. Tran says:

    Cicely Tyson should have been the performer of the week. I have a feeling she gets Emmy nominated for guest starring in a drama series.

  5. rachelb says:

    cicely should’ve gotten performer of the week and viola should’ve gotten mentioned too

  6. Matthew Weber says:

    Nathan Fillion killed it this week on Castle. His range of emotions was incredible.

  7. trickster says:

    Marina Squerciati (Burgess) on this week’s Chicago PD was phenomenal.

  8. Eva says:

    Nathan Fillion for me.He was fantastic..

  9. Regina says:

    Nathan Fillion played a roller coaster of emotions in “Reckoning” to a tee. He carried that episode on his very talented and capable shoulders.

  10. Luiza says:

    Nathan Fillion!!

  11. webly3 says:

    Emmy Rossum, Cameron Monaghan, and Noel Fisher all absolutely killed it on Shameless last week. Lena Dunham also did a great job on Girls. I didn’t see the new HTGAWM yet, but I’m not surprised that Cicely Tyson is on the list. And, Eden Sher also did a great job on last week’s The Middle.

  12. Bryan says:

    Nathan Fillion is performer of the week! Hands down!

  13. Nikki R. says:

    Castle’s Nathan Fillion

  14. Joelle Carter’s performance in the pilot episode was truly Emmy worthy. TV Line is right to showcase her again in this new episode of Justified’s final season, as it ties Raylan, Boyd, and Ava back to the very beginning. Carter once again hit it out of the park.

  15. ashley says:

    Anyone that watched Castle this week can tell you that Nathan Fillion deserves performer of the week!

  16. WKW says:

    Excellent choice! Joelle Carter has been hitting it out of the park so far this season on Justified. I hope she and the rest of the fine cast, starting with the under appreciated Timothy Olyphant, get the recognition they deserve for this final season.

  17. Susan says:

    Brilliant performance from Nathan Fillion this week. He had to play Castle’s fear and uncertainty in such a way that it became real for us because it felt so real for him.

  18. gretchen thad says:

    Somewhat surprised that Nathan Fillion didn’t make your list. I know you are down on Castle right now, but Fillion’s performance was perfection.

  19. Jenna says:

    Carter, Fisher, and Sher…yes!
    You nailed it this week.

  20. Angela says:

    Cicely was stunning. Watching her and Viola play off each other…you just had to take a step back and go, “Whoa.” No surprise she’d make the list this week, now here’s hoping Emmy voters are taking notice, too.

  21. Edward says:

    i would give an honorable mention to The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg and Lena Dunham from Girls

  22. Graciela says:

    Nathan Fillion was awesome.

  23. Runner says:

    Joelle must have turned in one heckuva performance to beat out Cicely this week. Cicely was a Master’s Class in acting. Sublime.

  24. Hege says:

    I’m so glad Joelle Carter got the nod for preformer of the week. She is outstanding this season!

  25. Fran says:

    Fantastic picks! Joelle has been fabulous this season and Noah Fisher continues to make me cry. There’s so many great performances every week that I’m glad you’re spreading the love around.

  26. bj says:

    Cicely Tyson was amazing. I would have made her performer of the week.

    And Nathan Fillion really showed his acting chops this week too. As much as I love Justified and Joelle, I didn’t think she outshone these two.

  27. Sammy says:

    All Michael Mosley, Stana Katic, Nathan Fillion and Annie Wersching deserved a little mention in my opinion, they did a great job in last Castle’s episode.

  28. LAwoman says:

    Joelle Carter was fantastic. Great choice! The entire Justified cast is brilliant.

  29. Larc says:

    Cicely Tyson should be #1. Hands down!

  30. Joey says:

    Noel Fisher has been fantastic in every single episode of Shameless he’s appeared in. It takes a lot of talent to make the internet collectively cry at the drop of a hat.

  31. Dakota60 says:

    Jensen Ackles no contest. After 10 years Jensen still puts everything he has into his character. It was an incredible performance by a hugely underrated actor.

  32. Lena says:

    Great choices !

  33. Shaun says:

    The guy who plays Choochoo on Justified

  34. c-mo says:

    You really should have given, at least, an honorable mention to Nathan Fillion, Stana Katic, Michael Mosley and Annie Wersching this week, each was magnificent in their roles in Castle’s Reckoning this past week. Beware Team TVLine, the ghosts of Jerry Tyson and Dr. Nieman might visit in protest…

  35. Jeanna says:

    Cicely Tyson and Viola Davis. That final scene when there was no dialog was stunning . Honorable mention to Paul Blackthorne, Arrow and OMG Jada Pinkett Smith, Gotham, has given us a completely new side of Fish Mooney in the last few episodes – but especially this week. Amazing.

  36. Jules says:

    I wish the readers could nominate actors for POTW. The second “Shameless” was over, I wanted to tell anyone that would listen how amazing Noel Fisher & Cameron Monaghan were. They both killed it! And ditto Cicely Tyson although I had no doubt about her being recognized.
    She was amazing.

  37. matt says:

    Cicely should have been #1!
    Props for including the talented Eden from The Middle. Where’s her Emmy nom??

  38. Noel Fisher honestly deserves an Emmy for the work he’s done on Shameless over the last three seasons. It’s a shame this show is so unrecognized. When it does get recognized, the recognition tends to center around William H.Macy. Nothing against the guy, I’ve seen him in many roles over the years and he’s a great actor, but his role in Shameless is actually one of the least interesting and non-challenging roles in the show. But Noel Fisher and Emmy Rossum are the most talented members of the cast, and carry a lot of the dramatic weight, and they get zero recognition other than from critics and tv reviewers.

    • HAP says:

      Don’t argue with what you say about Fisher, but I really think the bigger Emmy snub is of Emmy Rossum. After all, along with Macy, she is the other main lead, and her work has been consistently outstanding.

  39. Gaia says:

    After watching this week’s Chicago P.D. I thought that Marina Squerciati would be named in this List. She was outstanding.

  40. Gopher says:

    Noel Fisher just deserves an Emmy.

  41. viola d on how to get away with murder, was amazing as usual!!!!

  42. Bob says:

    For Joelle to play as well as she does, given that most episodes are written to make the male cast look stronger, speaks volumes to her ability as an actor. Brava, M’Lady!

  43. Mary says:

    Nathan Fillion! And seeing that he didn´t even get an honorable mention was a shock for me:(