THE PERFORMER | Cameron Monaghan
THE SHOW | Gotham
THE EPISODE | “The Last Laugh” (Oct. 5, 2015)
THE PERFORMANCE | Stabbed in the neck — and, metaphorically speaking, the back — by coconspirator Theo, Gotham psycho Jerome Valeska never got to finish choking out his last words: “You said that I was gonna be… ” (We knew, of course, that the sentence would end in “… a star.”) But, while the maniac died thinking that lasting celebrity had eluded him, Monaghan can sleep easy knowing that his spectacular swan song will live in infamy.
In fact, the actor was so good in his final episode of the Fox drama that it’s hard to imagine the series ever finding a better (actual) Joker. Whether tormenting Jerome’s blind father, Cicero, with cheap humor (“Long time, no see!”), hamming it up in magician drag to entertain the guests at Lee’s charity gala or getting pissed off when the audience wasn’t appreciative of the terrifying show (“Well, clap!”), Monaghan killed. Even Jack Nicholson would have to tip his purple hat to the whippersnapper, who loosed a laugh unhinged enough to give us nightmares.
At least, if there is an upside to Jerome’s demise, it’s that, on Monaghan’s way out, he made it clear that whoever is cast as the actual Joker had better not be kidding around.
HONORABLE MENTION | We’d have given Kelly McCreary this distinction even if she’d done nothing more in the “I Choose You” episode of Grey’s Anatomy than nail the hilarious monologue in which Maggie realized that her disastrous life choices had left her with nothing and no one. (And no, the doc’s newfound family and friends didn’t count. “I can’t have sex with you,” she all but sobbed.) But what really sealed the deal was the actress’ last scene, in which her blotto character threw herself at Andrew (McSmoldering?), broke away from their lip-lock just long enough to take a second look at him and, deciding that yep, he was that attractive, went right back to sucking face. In that moment, we went from liking the quirkily appealing Maggie and her portrayer to flat-out loving them.
HONORABLE MENTION | Grief is powerfully paralytic, and when Nashville‘s Beverly was pronounced brain-dead in Wednesday’s episode, we worried that Scarlett would shut down rather than make some very difficult decisions about her mother’s future. But Clare Bowen channeled a quiet, sad strength throughout the hour, allowing Scarlett moments of doubtful weakness (like that breakdown with Gunnar in the chapel) as well as pragmatic resolve (like when she gently but firmly nixed Deacon’s objections to removing life support). We’re sorry it took such a traumatic event for Scarlett to show the steel underneath the sweet songwriter, but we hope to see more of it in the future.
Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!