Lindsey Morgan

Performer of the Week: Lindsey Morgan

THE PERFORMER | Lindsey Morgan

THE SHOW | The 100

THE EPISODE | “Nevermore” (April 14, 2016)

THE PERFORMANCE | Forgive the selfishness of this request, but is there any chance The 100 might consider shoving that A.I. chip back into Raven’s head? Don’t get us wrong, we’re thrilled she survived the world’s riskiest game of Operation, but Morgan’s performance (both this week and last) as an erratic, Alie-possessed sociopath was so satisfying, we refuse to accept that it’s really over.

And let’s be real: Possession isn’t the easiest look to pull off. We’ve all seen laughable examples, even on some of our favorite shows. But Morgan crushed this challenge, resulting in a performance that was both emotionally devastating and physically unsettling. (Need we remind you of when Raven ripped off a chunk of Clarke’s flesh with her teeth?)

It was also an emotional bloodbath as Morgan’s character, now an eerie marriage of Alie’s mannerisms and Raven’s natural inner fire, gutted her comrades using each of their individual weaknesses. Her accusation that Clarke “broke [Finn’s] heart and shoved a knife into it” was particularly brutal — not to mention proof that this A.I. chip had done an incredibly thorough Googling of Raven’s history since last week’s episode.

Morgan had already impressed us with her touching portrayal of Raven’s disability struggles, but this latest achievement raised the bar once again. (Extra points for pulling this whole thing off with both hands tied behind her back!)

Terrence HowardHONORABLE MENTION | “I did 17 years for a man whose real name I didn’t even know,” Cookie Lyon said to her ex-husband on this week’s Empire. But as Lucious went to his hometown of Philadelphia and filmed an autobiographical music video, Terrence Howard‘s deft performance made palpable the horrors he experienced growing up as Dwight Walker — and allowed us to feel unexpected sympathy for this monstrous music mogul. In one scene, as Lucious directed a young boy reenacting a moment where his mother attempted to drown him in a bathtub, Howard turned Lucious’ face into a frozen mask of panic and pain. Later, when he finally told Cookie that his bipolar mother had committed suicide in front of him, the actor’s halting cadence and tangible grief erased all of his character’s usual bravado, leaving us face-to-face with an innocent boy with a long way to go to heal from his trauma.

Maggie SiffHONORABLE MENTION | In theory, the highlight of the Billions season finale should have been Chuck Rhoades and Bobby Axelrod’s long-awaited confrontation — and don’t get us wrong, that climactic scene was as intense as expected. But in execution, the episode was an even stronger showcase for Maggie Siff, who spent the hour expertly walking Wendy across an emotional tightrope. In the course of 60 minutes, Wendy went from appalled (when Axe blackmailed her and accused her of selling him out) to furious (while kicking Chuck out of the house) to cool, calm and calculating (while regaining the upper hand over Axe, seconds before quitting her job at his company). Siff used the subtlest of acting choices to carry Wendy through that roller coaster, and as her character drove off in that swanky new car, all it took was one facial expression for Siff to communicate Wendy’s mix of uncertainty and relief at her bold career move. We’re not sure where Wendy is headed in Season 2, but thanks to Siff’s remarkable performance, we can’t wait to find out.

OutlanderHONORABLE MENTION | We’ve previously honored Outlander‘s Tobias Menzies for his ability to play Black Jack Randall’s calculating cruelty with chillingly debonair ease. But we’re recognizing him this week for his turn as Randall’s descendant, Claire’s 1940s-era husband Frank, in the Starz series’ season premiere. Menzies was called on to convey pretty much every emotion in the spectrum as Claire suddenly returned after her mysterious absence; he layered Frank’s joy about his wife’s safety over tamped-down anger, sadness and confusion that all bubbled to the surface when she told him the truth about where she’d been… and to whom she’d been married. But the pinnacle of the scene for us was the nadir for Frank: Menzies looked absolutely over the moon upon hearing Claire was pregnant, then increasingly devastated as Frank realized there was no way he could be the baby’s father. It gutted us — in the best way — and made us anxious for the time Menzies shows up again (either character will do!) later this season.

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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  1. Fogh says:

    She deserved this honor so much!!

  2. Maureen says:

    Maggie Siff is the best part of Billions! Can’t wait to see what happens in Season 2! Loved her in SOA too!

  3. Shar says:

    Ashley Johnson on Blindspot again. Also, I not sure where Shondaland finds them but the actresses who played Mother & Daughter on this week’s episodes were amazing as the accident victim and her daughter with so much courage.

    • Dave says:

      Apparently, none of the TVLine Team saw last week’s episode as I thought she was also most deserving of this honor.

  4. Lucky says:

    I’m glad you recognized Lindsey Morgan’s amazing performance this week. She is absolutely wonderful as Raven!

  5. spindae2 says:

    She was so amazing. The writing was on point and Lindsey delivered those lines with such eas’. Enjoyed every single minute. Hoping the writers won’t forget Lindsey and continue to give her great material.

  6. Murica! says:

    Tobias Menzies was amazing!!

  7. Bryan says:

    Lindsey Morgan!

    also, iZombie’s Rose McIver! and Diane Guerrero on Jane the Virgin

  8. SassyAF28 says:

    Joan Allen was terrific in this week’s family episode

  9. Patrick Maloney says:

    The fact that Terrance Howard in Empire got mentioned before any of the performers in Daredevil Season 2, Deborah Ann Woll in particular, makes me really lose faith in this column!

    • Wordsmith says:

      Daredevil is a tricky show to put in a “performance of the week” column, seeing as the specific episodes don’t actually sync up with specific weeks. So the Deborah Ann Woll performance that one person loved this week, somebody else (like me) may have watched nearly a month ago.

    • JM says:

      What do have against Howard? He was fantastic this week. He rarely gets recognized with Taraji getting all the attention anyway, so let the man have his due. You can be angry about Daredevil without slamming Howard in the process.

      • Patrick Maloney says:

        Umm when I have a problem with that show getting any recognition above better shows, I feel the need to include it in my complaint.

  10. TBL says:

    James Spader on The Blacklist.

  11. Rebecca says:

    She’s come a long way since General Hospital. Good for her!

  12. Michelle says:

    Thursday ep of The100 is exactly why this show (despite its recent errors and faults) is a fantastic show. And certain fans who are actively trying to sabotage it should stop. I was SO happy the crew was back together. Being separated for so long did this show an injustice. Better together, than apart. Everyone was fantastic, but Morgan put on a masterclass. I’m so happy we got a s4. And I’m optimistic now this show is back on track.

    I cant be the only one thinking “Give that girl an Emmy” because she was fantastic.

  13. Lukas says:

    I never thought I would say this but Paul Wesley was brilliant in last episode of The Vampire Diaries.

  14. How in the world could you overlook Freddie Highmore’s performance this week? Best performance of the year, let alone the week. Of course, the other choices were solid (at least the ones that I actually saw–Tobias M, Maggie S), but did not even approximate Freddie’s. P.S., I am definitely going to have to take a week and binge watch “The 100” one of these days.

  15. BlackBirdSinging47 says:

    Hoon Lee on “Banshee” this week turned in an incredible performance as Job, wisecracking transvestite turned tortured prisoner with massive PTSD- talk about range! I know this show doesn’t get a ton of coverage on this site, but he deserves a mention for absolutely killing it in his titular episode.

  16. Breo77 says:

    Tobias hands down. He is my favorite part of Outlander these days because of the layers of literally different emotions he has to portray and he is so good as both characters. Also love Clare and Jamie but well that scene last season and this first episode back. Brilliant actor.

    Billions has been such a let down for me with the poor writing and it’s such a shame considering the stellar cast.

  17. kukumo says:

    All hail Maggie siff! She is AMAZING

  18. Babygate says:

    I am so glad that Lindsey’s phenomenal performance has been acknowledged. The ill-conceived and shamefully manipulated death of Lexa has eclipsed anything else going on in the show, including the fact that this young and excellent cast is working very hard and very well to honor their commitment to the show and their craft. Lindsey’s performance has been outstanding reflecting a maturity and instinct that is well beyond her years. Kudos to her and may she have a bright, succesful future.

  19. ? says:

    In a show full of exceptionally attractive young people, Lindsey Morgan is somehow on another level altogether. And it turns out she can act, too!

  20. So well deserved 2 weeks in a row she could have been performer of the week she was amazing last week to

  21. Lindsey was so incredibly amazing in that episode. She’s always great, but she slayed it in this episode!

  22. Leo says:

    I hate not seeing Rose McIver here, right after she delivered so many emotional scenes in the iZombie finale.. The confession with Clive, the whole zombie massacre thing and the one where she had to kill Drake. And does she ever get recognition here? I mean the girl switch up personality every week and I think TVline never appreciate her.

  23. Dude says:

    I’m impressed that Lindsey has grown so much as an actress cause she was truly terrible when she was on General Hospital.

  24. mc says:

    Is there a runner-up honorable mention for Empire’s Trai Byers? Guy’s a solid for most of this season, last episode was yet another proof. (And also, congratulations on his wedding to co-star Grace Gealey.)

  25. K says:

    Tobias Menzies deserved the top honors and Tatiana Maslany should’ve been recognized. I think Beth might be more interesting than Sarah.

  26. Jeanna says:

    So glad you chose Lindsey Morgan – she was fantastic! Tobias Menzies, though, is simply unbelievable. I’ll have to catch up with Empire – thank goodness for Hulu!

  27. Angus says:

    Unfortunately Morgan’s performance will not be recognized by the emmys. This genre, and particularly the CW, is doomed when it comes to awards shows. Well done Lindsey.

  28. Phil says:

    I’m torn whether I want to see Liam James from The Family featured soon. He’s given some performances worthy of POTW already, in particular the one where we saw Ben and Adam together through the years. I hope there’s a future episode that earns him a POTW.