Ruth Negga's Preacher Performance

Performer of the Week: Ruth Negga

THE PERFORMER | Ruth Negga

THE SHOW | Preacher

THE EPISODE | “Call and Response” (July 31, 2016)

THE PERFORMANCE | Preacher‘s Season 1 finale served up to its larger-than-life heroine some great, big moments, and as we expected, having been sold on Tulip’s portrayer from the get-go, Negga nailed ’em.

For instance, when Tulip’s true love Jesse insisted that it wouldn’t bring back their baby to kill Carlos — the double-crosser who’d caused her to miscarry — Negga poured all of her character’s sorrow and rage into her response of, “I know, and someone’s gotta pay!” Later, when “God” balked at taking part in Jesse’s Q&A session, the actress erupted hilariously, as Tulip ripped into Him for being a “sick, stuck-up… ” Well, you get the idea.

Yet, as thrilling as those explosions were, the rising star shone brightest during Tulip’s quieter scenes. When Jesse at last said he was sorry for breaking his girlfriend’s heart, Negga responded, “You should be,” but without a trace of attitude — exactly the way the tough chick would accept an apology. And when he agreed to shoot Carlos, Negga’s subtly softened expression let us know that Tulip wouldn’t really make him go through with it.

Such a dynamo is Negga that smitten Cassidy might have best put her effect on us when describing Tulip’s effect on him: “It’s like one look, and you’re done. She’s burned herself into your brain.” That being the case, the actress deserves more than just Performer of the Week, she also deserves French fries.

unnamed-2HONORABLE MENTION | Oh, to be a fly on the wall as Mary Elizabeth Winstead read the script for this week’s BrainDead. We can only imagine her reaction when she learned how Laurel would attempt to get deadly space bugs out of her brain — that is, by getting drunk, belting “I Think I Love You” at the top of her lungs and chowing down on salami and chocolate while having sex with Gareth (a delightfully skeptical Aaron Tveit) for the first time. In the hands of someone less capable, this wacky, awkward, uncomfortably funny scene could have been painful to watch. Instead, Winstead’s comedic timing — and her commitment to letting the typically-reserved Laurel lose all her inhibitions  — made it impossible for us to look away. (Or look at a slab of salami the same way again.)

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