Millie Bobby Brown Stranger Things

Performer of the Week: Stranger Things' Millie Bobby Brown

THE PERFORMER | Millie Bobby Brown

THE SHOW | Stranger Things

THE EPISODE | “Chapter Eight: The Upside Down”

THE PERFORMANCE | Though critics — including us — have quite rightly raved about Winona Ryder’s star turn in Netflix’s retro drama, c’mon. The show was really all about those awesome kids. And, in the final Season 1 episode, Brown totally stole that show.

First, as Mike (the also-excellent Finn Wolfhard) struggled to explain to Eleven the difference between a sister and a Snow Ball date, the 12-year-old adorably — and with very little dialogue — conveyed the confusion of a girl who has no frame of reference for either concept. And, after El’s crush finally clarified the distinction with a kiss, her portrayer’s slight smile shone more brightly than the Christmas lights that have become synonymous with the series.

Later, Brown channeled her tormented character’s rage, shooting a look that should’ve killed her pursuers even if her psychokinetic abilities failed her; her fear, as she was most reluctantly reunited with her evil “Papa”; and her sadness, as she made Mike promise that all the dreams he’d put in her head would come true.

Which, tragically, they wouldn’t. (Not until Season 2, anyway.) That leads us to the two moments of Brown’s performance that have haunted us the most since we binged Stranger Things: the heartbreaking one in which El paused her suicide mission to dispatch the monster just long enough to gaze back at Mike and say goodbye, and that soul-tearing scream as she destroyed herself along with the creature.

Thanks to the talented youngster (and her castmates), we finally understand why actors say never to work with children: There’s a good chance they’ll outshine you!

the haves and the have nots angela robinsonHONORABLE MENTION | Exciting as it is when The Haves and the Have Nots‘ Veronica explodes, Angela Robinson does even more thrilling work when Mommie Dearest issues threats as quietly as a ticking time bomb. So “I Am a Wolf,” in which she squared off with the son she’d recently driven to stab her in the breast implant, was a treat. No sooner had she informed Jeffrey that, his sexual orientation be damned, he’d be attending the engagement party she was throwing him and the woman he had no intention of marrying than she warned that the next time she had him beaten would be worse than the last. Yet, through it all, Robinson remained so poised, she gave us nightmares. Calm, scary-as-s— nightmares.

VPHONORABLE MENTION | Sunday’s episode of HBO’s Vice Principals lit a fire under Kimberly Hebert Gregory’s fierce, formidable principal Dr. Brown, and watching the theater vet tear into the material was something akin to a religious experience. During the HBO comedy’s first three episodes, we looked on as Danny McBride and Walton Goggins’ despicably childish and mean-spirited duo attempted to destroy their new boss’ spirit, even going so far as to burn down the single mother’s house. Episode 4 was the first time we saw Dr. Brown crack under the strain, and Gregory made us feel every bit as angry, sad and overwhelmed as her character. And when she fought back we cheered. And man, did she ever fight back. In an Emmy reel-worthy scene, Dr. Brown hijacked the high school’s pep rally and delivered a mic-dropping sermon that formally heralded Gregory’s arrival as a comedic force of nature.

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. Rock Golf says:

    I can’t see how Winona Ryder can be denied at least an Emmy nomination as Lead next year, but I hope there’s room for Millie Bobby Brown in the Supporting category. A brave and convincing performance.

    • Jenny says:

      I think there will be room for Mille Bobby Brown to get an Emmy nomination. Game of Thrones is going to miss the next Emmy deadline, and Maggie Smith won’t be in the field with Downton Abbey now being over.

  2. ibjbyron says:

    I’m kinda shocked here – thought surely there would be a nod to the full cast of “Tyrant”. This weeks episode featured stand out performances by everyone, especially Noah Silver and ESPECIALLY especially Melia Kreiling.

    And while I’m griping: No way Wrenn Schmidt gets ignored in the season finale of “Outcast” – is there no mention of her because she’ll be recognized next week? I was transfixed.

  3. Shaun says:

    Portia Doubleday,Mr Robot!

  4. Tim says:

    Millie Bobby Brown is pretty good, but a couple of those other kids in the group are horrible!

    • Anne says:

      I thought they all did really great work. I normally can’t stand kids in shows/movies, but I liked all of them in this show.

  5. Mommaknowsbest says:

    I would’ve sworn Michael Phelps was the POTW . .

  6. Karyn Mucklow says:

    Millie Bobby Brown.

    Remember that name.

    Millie stole, “The Intruders”, and she is stealing, “Stranger Things”.

    This won’t be the last time you hear that name. In fact, Millie Bobby Brown has moved to the top of my, “I’d watch her read the phone book” list.

  7. Mo says:

    I can’t believe I am saying this but this summers best performers may be our 2 crazy presidential candidates? The drama and their commitment to their crazy messages as truth is impressive.

  8. Overrated says:

    This show is so overrated! Ugh ugh … there is nothing or orginally here folks. The band of misft kids, the over worked stressed white trash single mom, the government secret experiment, seriously everything about this show is blender mix of 80s and 90s film tv. Even the lame “typical” horror film ending was cliche!

  9. matraupach says:

    There are three types of people:

    1. Those who love Stranger Things and their really talented cast
    2. Those who haven’t watched Stranger Things yet.
    3. Haters, who just dislike the show out of personal reasons, simply because they need the attention!

    I am category 1! I love the show and I thing all the actors were great.

    Good child-actors are really rare and this show seems to have hit the jackpot where even the worst of them is still really good (I won’t tell who I thing wasn’t as good as the others, but it isn’t one of the main cast ;))
    But Millie Bobby Brown hit it out of the park! She clearly performed on a different level!

    Well deserved Performer of the Week!

    And I think it might even be worth an Emmy nomination!