Regé-Jean Page in Roots

Performer of the Week: Regé-Jean Page

THE PERFORMER | Regé-Jean Page

THE SHOW | Roots

THE EPISODE | Parts 3 and 4 (June 1 and 2)

THE PERFORMANCE | History’s lavish remake of the landmark 1977 miniseries was so rich in powerful performances that it was a challenge to single out just one. But, although strong cases were made for Malachi Kirby (Kunta Kinte) and Anika Noni Rose (Kizzy) in particular to be named Performer of the Week, the versatility that Page displayed as Chicken George kept us coming back over and over again to his star turn.

You see, the British-Zimbabwean actor didn’t merely nail the flamboyant showmanship that allowed his character to disarm and even charm white crowds before his masters’ gamecocks had entered the ring. He also shone in subtler, more sincere moments, which afforded us keen insights into both George’s deep devotion to Matilda, the wife from whom he was repeatedly torn away, and his conflicted feelings for Tom Lea, the white father in whom he desperately wanted — and was naïve — to believe.

When Tom finally gave George his freedom, then in the blink of an eye, took it back, the betrayal and rage that Page called forth were haunting to witness. However, the rawness of that pain made it all the sweeter when, near the epic’s conclusion, he radiated George’s joy at being asked by his formerly estranged son how to name his newborn daughter in the Mandinka tradition. (The moment was so moving, it still gives us chills.)

In all honesty, we had never heard of Page before this. (He’s better known overseas.) But now, we’ll be looking forward to checking out whatever he does next. He didn’t just make an excellent first impression, he made a lasting one.

HONORABLE MENTION | Person of Interest‘s person-of-interest-episode-100-ackerSamantha Groves aka Root went out with a bang this week, thanks to a stellar swan song by Amy Acker. Who else could sell us on the absurdity of discussing Schrödinger (and in doing so segue into ill-timed flirtation) amid a barrage of bullets? But Acker’s finest moment came when during a spectacular car chase — steering toward Root’s heroic death, it would turn out — she urged Harold to allow The Machine to be all that She needs to be in this final clash with Samaritan. “I walked in darkness for a very long time before you guided me to light. And I wouldn’t change any of it,” Root told The Machine’s maker. “But we’re not going to win this way. And we can’t afford to lose. Sometimes you have to fight a little.” Acker brought great passion to that moment as Her No. 1 cheerleader, in what would be Root’s final hurrah.

HONORABLE MENTION | A (very) funny detour-zea-performancething happened on Monday nights this spring: Natalie Zea quietly created one of TV’s most entertaining moms. As The Detour‘s Robin, the Justified alum ditched the “blow up your bangs” trope of the wife exasperated by her goofball mate and got in on the hijinks herself, whether (unwittingly) officiating the marriage of a pedophile or getting quite stoned on tainted candy. Zea was in particular fine form in the first half of the Season 1 finale, where Robin 1) was fascinated to discover husband Nate’s “Pull the trigger” credo, 2) inadvertently schooled her kids on the “Plan B” pill, 3) taught us how to “walk backwards” into an invite-only party and 4) got her flirt on with a very eligible billionaire (in the name of saving Nate’s job). Robin may not have gotten to first base with the aforementioned tycoon, but Zea’s comedic chops totally won us over.

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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37 Comments
  1. Trip says:

    #ImmortalRoot

  2. brooke says:

    Thank you for recognizing and honoring the amazingness that is Amy Acker! #ImmortalRoot #GodisaLesbian #PersonofInterest

  3. patrickmaloney33 says:

    With the exception of Amy Acker, Charlie Cox was better than everyone listed here!

    • Mel1975 says:

      While Charlie Cox is exceptional on Daredevil, it is not a weekly show. I would have expected to see him get a little appreciation after season two started streaming, not now.

      • patrickmaloney33 says:

        If it did air weekly, it would still be airing this week. That’s why I mention it!

        • James says:

          If Season 2 Episode 12 aired now, Karen and Elektra would have been this week’s honorable mentions, probably more so for Karen.

          I can’t wait to watch the finale next weekend. :)

  4. Mel1975 says:

    Amy Acker is my performer of the week. She has rocked that Root role from the beginning, but this week’s performance was stellar.

    I’ve been a fan since her Angel days and am going to miss seeing her on Person of Interest. That said, it was the perfect send off for the character. RIP Miss Groves. You will be missed.

  5. kirads09 says:

    Root totally deserves it. But can I get an Honorable Mention for Michael Emerson in POI too? THAT monologue where (we knew at least) he was actually talking to Samaritan. “I have played by the rules for so long” THAT is the greatness of Emerson in a nutshell. This “FInal Chapter” keeps making me so sad it is ending I can’t hardly stand it. Finch is gonna set the machine free to actually be able to defeat Samaritan. I think that much is clear now.

    • Buttercup says:

      finchtard is alive and Root is dead. he don’t deserve anything only to be forgotten and to die in the end preferably horrible death. she died because if him.

      #ImmortalRoot

    • angry la says:

      lol yeah a honorable mention for Emerson. here you go

      Root basically died so

      1. they could give emerson this pompous dumb speech
      2 to give the machine the voice

      poi made Root a disposable female character™ and I’m super happy they’re paying for it a big price by getting cancelled. ahahahahahahahahahahahahah

      • twerpina says:

        poi to root and finch: YOU ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLEBLEBLE
        poi to Root: DISREGARD THAT YOU AS A WOMAN ARE DISPOSABLE BYE
        /
        /kills Root off
        /
        what a good message to all young girls especially to those who love other girls.

        • Mary Lynn says:

          Shouldn’t you all be blaming the showrunners and writers and not a fictional character who had no control over the lines he was given?

          • twerpina says:

            I blame all of them. Characters included because they are tools for the showrunners and the writers to tell the story. Root died because of that jerkwad Finch. Period. He should die too. This will be a happy ending for everyone and prove that male leads on poi are this show are just as disposable as female leads. Actually, I hope both Finch and Reese will die. It would make up for Carter and Root’s deaths.
            Bye.

          • Really? says:

            It is a fictional television show–they are not real people–and there are three more episodes before it is concluded. Might I suggest coming out into reality and getting a life? SMDH

        • Jadzia says:

          It’s okay you guys. You totally have all the right to be angry and hurt. Root didn’t deserve to die so soon and in such disrespectful towards her fans manner.

    • Lauren says:

      there are still episodes left, I trust ME will do something special of land here somewhere!!!

  6. Kevin K says:

    Amy Acker deserves to be one of this week’s honorable mentions. RIP Root Groves :-(

  7. Shaun says:

    Natalie has always been funny,even on Justified.

  8. Vanessa says:

    Michael Raymond James deserved at least a honorable mention, his acting on this week 2 episodes of game of silence was amazing.

  9. I still think that Jamie Lannister’s horse thundering up the stairs of the sept was the best performance of the week. #equinediscrimination

  10. twerpina says:

    person of interest believes that Root is disposable and killed her off but CBS decided that person of interest is even more disposable and cancelled it in favor of Elementary. I want to kiss Leslie mothereffing Moonves in his lips and I’m not even straight.

    • callisto says:

      fyi Jonah is experiencing some troubles with an airdate for his Westworld.
      Payback’s a b**ch, eh? See, it’s all because Amy is secretly Illyria and you can’t just kill Blue Demon Goddess like is she was less important than the rest of the characters to make a male lead aggressively mainpain his mainpaining mainpains into the camera.

      • Name required says:

        just wait until it gets canceled. prematurely for some unknown reason because of bad ratings ;) how unfortunate it would be huh. it’s not like because he’s an arrogant selfish wanker or anything.

      • frak me sideways says:

        dude i love your theory. Whedon had some huge problems with his projects after he killed several Amy’s characters. i see the pattern here! he got better only after Much Ado. the movie where AA’s character survived! gosh.
        that’s why Amy is sort of okay with Root’s death. she knows that Jonhah will eventually get his punishment and pay for everything he did to her! she’s either a very wise woman or really Illyria or both.

  11. Isa says:

    Amy Acker is fantastic! #ImmortalRoot

  12. Et al. says:

    I missed Natalie’s performance. I ended up not watching the Detour because an entertainment site I trust advised: “Despite a few genuinely funny moments, you’re better off leaving this one on the side of the road.”

  13. Ugonna Wosu says:

    So well deserved ! In a movie of smacking performances , Rege Jean Page stood out with such charisma , range and versatility . Malachi Kirby was second best. I’m getting chills, thanks for choosing MY choice!

  14. ninamags says:

    Regé-Jean was great. He was very charismatic indeed. That scene where he was talking about his son and what a great blacksmith he was all to keep them safe? That was beyond gut-wrenching. To have to convince someone’s lose of their value? Damn. The whole series was fantastic.

  15. You guys SHOULD be watching The Girlfriend Experience on Starz. Last sunday’s episode delivered one of the best episodes of television this year. Plus, Riley Keough gives the best performance on television at the moment. She won the week. Hands down.

  16. dax says:

    Pinterest’s logic tho:
    ur not interchangeable. lol j/k lets kill Root and replace her with The Machine’s replica of her. who would notice amirite!? anyways how could Root help team machine fight samaritan? i mean what she can do besides the fact that she has a lot of different skills, can do and be anything and anyone and can fight and an amazing shooter and super smart and overall she’s more valuable to our society than ducktective fucso? her only way is to merge-ish with the machine and be the moral torture and guilt trip for others yo.

  17. mArS says:

    Totally agree with all 3 choices this week. Good job!

  18. Max says:

    The performances in Roots were all amazing. Rege definitely stole the show. I wish History or another network would also broadcast the original Roots as a comparison