Iain De Castecker Performance

Performer of the Week: S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Iain De Caestecker

THE PERFORMER | Iain De Caestecker

THE SHOW | Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

THE EPISODE | “Laws of Nature” (Sept. 29, 2015)

THE PERFORMANCE | “‘Tis better to have loved and lost…” is a piece of prose no one should lob at Leo Fitz anytime soon. Because as made painfully clear by way of Iain De Caestecker performance in the Season 3 premiere, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent’s world has been rocked by Jemma’s vanishing.

Shattered by whatever it is the Kree stone did to Simmons, Fitz was far from his usual, mild-mannered self. When we first catch up with him in Morocco, chasing down another “last lead,” De Caestecker showed us the courage cobbled together by Fitz as he played a very dangerous game with some extremists in possession of a critical ancient scroll.

Summoned back to the Bus, Fitz was a bit more familiar, struggling to wield logic in the face of Coulson’s somber words of reason. In this more quiet moment, De Caestecker let surface the anxiety coursing through Fitz’s veins, as he privately feared that this lead — a parchment on which was written the Hebrew word for “death” — would be the last. And thus the last hope for finding Jemma.

And then came the scene, De Caestecker’s portrayal of a primal Fitz one could barely imagine existed beneath that soft Scottish voice. Counseled by Coulson to face facts and alert Jemma’s family, Fitz purposefully strode down the hall to the off-limits Kree stone, blasted open its lock with a shotgun and went mano a monolito with the towering rock, bellowing at the top of his lungs, over and over, for the inanimate object to “Do something!” (Watch clip here.) With his rousing about face, De Caestecker made this much clear: If anyone is to track down Jemma, this Fitz is the man to do it.

Ray POTWHONORABLE MENTION | Ray Donovan‘s entire third season had been building to the moment in Sunday’s finale when Ray climbed into a church confessional and uttered these heartbreaking words: “I did it be- cause I cared for him.” The seminal sequence was made all the more emotionally resonant thanks to Liev Schreiber‘s stunningly authentic and gut- wrenching tour-de-force. As Ray opened up about the childhood sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of Father O’Connor, it felt like we were bearing witness to an exorcism of sorts. “I see these f—ing pictures in my head,” Ray cried out, his voice and body trembling. “Every f—ing day and night I see these f—ing pictures.” One week later, we can’t get Schreiber’s penetrating performance out of our heads.

HONORABLE MENTION | kumail-nanjiani-grinderWhile Rob Lowe is most certainly the star of The Grinder, it was Kumail Nanjiani who proved to be Episode 1’s scene stealer. As prosecutor Leonard, the Silicon Valley actor played up just the right amounts of both amusement and bewilderment as the eviction trial went from an easy win to an embarrassing loss for his no-good client. Whether he was asking a tongue-tied Stewart whether he had “ever talked before” or questioning the entire justice system when Judge Rossmyre ruled in Dean’s favor, Nanjiani perfectly filled the role of an outsider looking in as the life of a TV lawyer somehow became a reality.

FTWDHONORABLE MENTION | If ever a first impression was built to last, it would have to be the one that Colman Domingo made in his Fear the Walking Dead debut as silver-tongued mystery man Strand. “I can sell anything,” the self-proclaimed closer said early on in “Cobalt.” And before we had finished the scene, much less the episode, we had indeed bought his portrayal of the smooth talker whose eloquence only made his cunning sound nicer. Even more impressive? As wicked as we know the charming devil is (given the mind game that he played with poor Doug), Domingo still made us like the guy.

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

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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51 Comments
  1. Daniel says:

    Priyanka Chopra in Quantico was excellent! Also, Viola Davis was amazing in HTGAWM, as were Liza Weil and Famke Janssen. NCIS had some great performances too, most notably Mark Harmon and Michael Weatherly.

  2. Eden Sher (The Middle) again for me.

  3. O.M. says:

    Iain de Caestecker was phenomenal. So good to see him recognized for his tremendous work.

  4. peterwdawson says:

    Saw this one coming.

  5. Shannon says:

    Iain was definitely awesome but the Dominion cast did phenomenally again in this week’s finale!

  6. justtobesane says:

    Iain de Caestecker is a wonderful choice, he was incredible in this last episode. Thank you for picking him!

  7. Fran says:

    He was awesome !!!!!! Totally heartbreaking :(

  8. silveraynea says:

    Yes. 100% agree. Ian has been the best thing on SHIELD since last season.

  9. mollytanner says:

    Constance Wu and the cabbage baby speech I thought was awesome.

  10. Iain de Caestecker seriously deserved all the praise for this episode and last season as well because the character has gone through so many changes and Iain still manages to make Fitz lovable.

  11. Katherine says:

    I’m so glad Iain got this! His character’s transformation over the years has been incredible.

  12. Mr. Tran K says:

    Priyanka Chopra (Quantico) was great as did Sophia Bush (Chicago PD) this week.

  13. ndixit says:

    De Caster has been excellent on the show. He and Dalton have been the two breakouts in terms of performers on the show for me. He killed me in the premiere as he did in the premiere last season as well.

  14. Slicklet says:

    I go with Fitz!

  15. LAwoman says:

    I don’t watch Agents, but I love the honorable mention choices.

  16. Kimberly says:

    Mano a monolito. Brilliant! Most definitely agree that Iain’s performance was outstanding! I got chills when I first saw the episode!

  17. Revenger says:

    Also everyone on HTGAWM! Viola Davis, Liza Weil and Famke Jansen!

  18. Carrie says:

    Good choice. I was blown away by his entire performance, especially at the end. He’s quickly becoming my favorite character on the show. It made me think of Wesley on “Buffy” & “Angel” and the way he went from a nerdy Watcher to a serious badass. I think Fitz will continue to grow in the same way.

  19. Cate53 says:

    Iain de Caestecker’s Fitz has been much more interesting since his unfortunate brain injury and I liked the way the relationship with Simmons has become so complicated. He was good in this episode, but the railing at the rock scene in this week’s episode made me cringe – far too over the top and actors-going-nuts stuff that people seem to see as great acting.

    This week’s picks seem to be guys in showy roles.

    How about Jennifer Morrison as dark Emma in OUAT?

    • O.M. says:

      With all due respect, I think you’re one of very few people who thought that Iain was overacting. What I saw was genuine, raw emotion – rage and desperation. Just because it was big doesn’t mean it was too much. Not to mention that he was incredible in the whole episode; the scene right before this one was so heartbreaking – when Coulson told him to let go – you could feel Fitz’s emotions yourself. Iain deserves this.

      • Brigid says:

        Agree 100%! There was no over acting in this scene, completely genuine. I felt every emotion as my tears spilled out. Just incredible!

    • Isobel says:

      Probably because in this example it was good acting, it’s hard to not be embarrassed or make it look obviously fake screaming and hitting something, and he made it look believable and emotional

  20. lkh says:

    I don’t watch any of the other shows, but I do (did) watch Ray Donovan. Liev Schreiber was amazing!

  21. niloofar22 says:

    Liev Schreiber was the best of this week’s performers.

  22. Laura says:

    Iain really deserved this. Fitz is easily one of the best developed characters on the show thanks to both the writers and Iain’s memorable performance, one which he gives week after week despite his character being in so few scenes, especially in the second season. I look forward to Fitz’s scenes every episode.

  23. You are kidding me? Iain de Caestecker? lmao! His performance was way too over the top! He was trying too hard! Just no!

  24. Melita says:

    He was amazing totally well deserved!
    The dude brings it every episode with so little screentime
    It’s amazing the depths he has brought to Fitz whomwas just the nerdy comic relief in the first season.

  25. Chloe says:

    Iain de Caestecker elevated a really good episode into an excellent episode. He was the MVP.

  26. Steve F. says:

    “DO SOMETHING!!!”

    You sure did, TVLine! I was hoping that Iain de Castecker would get Performer of the Week, and he sure did!

  27. kirads09 says:

    I totally 100% agree with the choice of Iain for POtW. Well deserved.

  28. Ray says:

    Iain DeCaestecker is an example of an actor who deserves all the awards he can get but will never be nominated because AoS is a genre show. It’s too bad, really.

  29. DanielleZ says:

    Nice to see Liev Schreiber recognized for his performance in Ray Donovan’s Season 3 finale. Well deserved.

  30. juliana vitello says:

    IAIN DE CAESTECKER HAD THE BEST PERFORMANCE!!!!!

  31. Platynum says:

    Iain was exceptional..I actually was almost in tears during this scene.His character has been through so much….

  32. AmritaM says:

    I think Jesse Williams & Sarah Drew were great this episode of Greys. Their fight was so uncomfortable to watch because it seemed so realistic & seemed as though I was intruding on something very private. Loved their performance!

  33. Fen says:

    Excellent Choice! He is a tremendous actor who totally embodies the character of Fitz! Love him!

  34. Cathie says:

    I’ve been a Fitz fan since the beginning and his growth is amazing. The feeling he brings is spot on. Anyone who thinks he was over the top has obviously never felt they hit rock bottom. Fitz, May and Coulson are why I watch.

  35. Liz says:

    This is why Fitz is my favorite character on SHIELD. He’s got a lot of depth to him, he’s sweet, loyal, smart, and doesn’t give up.

  36. Allie says:

    I Wonder when the people who but the Emmys together will realize there needs to be a separate category for acting in fantasy shows, because if they refuse to recognize all the amazing actors in the fantasy Genre such as Iain, Elizabeth Henstridge, Grant Gustin and Jennifer Morrison, then SOMEONE needs to recognize them because they deserve all the awards.