Gina Rodriguez

Performer of the Week: Gina Rodriguez

THE PERFORMER | Gina Rodriguez

THE SHOW | Jane the Virgin

THE EPISODE | “Chapter Forty-Seven” (Oct. 31, 2016)

THE PERFORMANCE | As the centerpiece of The CW’s telenovela-style rom-com Jane the Virgin, Rodriguez is a constant marvel. Each week, she infuses the supremely levelheaded Jane Gloriana Villanueva (now Cordero!) with incredible humanity, effortlessly shifting between comedy and drama. But she must love being able to let loose and explore a more outrageous character — like she got to do this week in “Chapter Forty-Seven.”

This was the much-anticipated “Jane loses her virginity” episode, which saw Jane and new husband Michael finally consummate their marriage. (They’ve waited long enough!) And the palpable angst Jane felt as she tried to make their “first time” perfect — along with the screwball hi-jinks that ensued when she accidentally emailed a sex tape to her writing advisor — would’ve been enough to honor Rodriguez this week. As usual, she struck each happy/crazy/sad/funny note with supreme skill.

But she also got to play Alba’s evil sister Cecilia, as Jane drew inspiration for her romance novel from her abuela‘s life. Telling her side of the story while giving Jane sex tips, Cecilia was hot-tempered, vulgar and horribly selfish — basically, everything Jane is not. And just like when Rodriguez inhabited the party-girl “Bachelorette Jane” last season, she clearly relished the chance to play someone a little less admirable than Jane. (OK, a lot less admirable.)

It can be challenging to single out Rodriguez’ strongest episodes because she’s so consistently stellar. But in this week’s one-two V-card/Cecilia punch, she truly outdid herself — and that’s no small task.

unnamedHONORABLE MENTION | Oh, it’s fun to watch Adam Scott play a total dick, isn’t it? We know him as the low-key nice guy from Parks and Rec and Party Down, but on this week’s episode of NBC’s The Good Place (“… Someone Like Me as a Member”), Scott unleashed his inner douche as Trevor, the obnoxious demon from The Bad Place. Intent on hauling Eleanor down to the eternal damnation she deserves, Trevor was a total jerk, mocking all the do-gooders and referring to Eleanor as “Ding-Dong” and “Trash Bag” — when he wasn’t suggesting that she smile more. Trevor was completely insufferable… but Scott was so devilishly funny in the role that we wanted him to stick around anyway.

AtlantaHONORABLE MENTION | Donald Glover has been consistently amazing as Atlanta‘s down-on-his-luck Earn Marks, a guy with a dream he doesn’t quite believe can come true. And the actor topped the season with his performance in Wednesday’s finale, which found him quietly channeling Earn’s mounting frustration as a search for his elusive jacket proved fruitless. It seemed like another surreal journey for the hapless protagonist… until the reveal that Earn needed a key in one of the jacket’s pockets in order to gain access the storage unit where he — unbeknownst to the audience — had been living. Earn doesn’t say much. But Glover’s face as he lay on his cot, holding the remnants of his first payday as Paper Boi’s manager, broadcast the resignation to circumstances, blended with a slight glimmer of hope, and was a dazzling snapshot of the actor’s abundant talent. Glover, you done good.

Black MirrorHONORABLE MENTION | While some Black Mirror episodes can be haunting, even terrifying, Season 2’s trip to “San Junipero” was alternately heartbreaking and then reaffirming, thanks in great part to the work of Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Her Kelly, at first, was just a free spirit looking to have the best time possible in the titular place. But then came Yorkie, an awkward sweetheart who slowly but surely showed Kelly how to love — and commit to — someone again, having already suffered great loss. Mbatha-Raw’s performance was most compelling during the last couple of San Junipero sequences, as Kelly convinced Yorkie, and us, that their undying (so to speak) love was not meant to be — until, as their and our hearts swelled, it was.

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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23 Comments
  1. Nicolás says:

    Gina deserves another GG and an Emmy.

  2. z says:

    Gina Rodriguez always gives a stellar performance every week and Jane the Virgin still hasnt had a bad episode, 47 episodes in.

    • dude says:

      Agreed. It may be one of the most consistent shows in television history and that seems to work to their detriment as the great episodes dont stand out and it gets lost when it comes to recognition.

      • Papandreou says:

        “in television history”. Over (or in the same breath as) Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, 3 or 4 more HBO shows, at least 3 FX shows and more I don’t even have the energy to write? Not to even speak about British shows.

        • z says:

          Well yes. It just has this stigma becaise its a CW show.

        • Anna says:

          You do know that when someone says “one of the most” that isn’t the same as saying the most, right? They are clearly saying this show is amongst those other shows, even if people like you put it down because it’s on the CW.

  3. Cate says:

    Great picks this week. Gina Rodriguez is always fantastic but I loved her fun bad girl too.

    Glad San Junipero and Gugu Mbath-raw was mentioned. That was one of the best hours of tv of the year and Gugu and Mackenzie Davis were both wonderful in it.

    I’d also put in a mention for Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula on Crazy Ez-girlfriend who was brilliant as Paula has her dream of being a lawyer complicated. The scene where she is surprised by oh-so-sweet Darryl with an office celebration was fantastic

  4. digitalred93 says:

    Clare Foy’s performance as Elizabeth in The Crown secured her the title of a best actor of the decade, IMHO. She manages to generate a heartbreaking connection with the audience with so little dialogue. I’ll be shocked if she doesn’t win the Emmy next year.

    Jared Harris as her father — King George VI — was equally stunning (and sympathetic). I hope you mention them in next week’s performer(s) of the week because, my god– they both brought the art of acting to an entirely higher level. Mind you, Matt Smith was damn good, too!

  5. I was hoping for Justin Hartley or Matt Lanter. I thought they were great!

  6. Joey says:

    I usually never do this, since I think comments should be made on the picks shown, but I must wonder at the lack of Adina Porter from American Horror Story. She carried that entire episode and was great to watch the entire time.

  7. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Adam and Donald got honorable mentions. They are great actors.

  8. Phil says:

    Ben Hollingsworth from Code Black deserved an honorable mention this week. From resenting his absentee and screwed up father, to hating him for returning just to die in front of him, and initially resisting being comforted by Angus, only to end up sobbing “I’m ok” on Angus’ shoulder when he finally breaks down, it was beautiful.

  9. Sean says:

    Second to the person who thought Adina Porter would get a mention. She was absolutely riveting this week! I’ve always loved her in the parts she plays, especially Tara’s mother in True Blood. Glad to see her getting meaty roles, no pun intended.

  10. Kerk says:

    (now Cordero!)

    She didn’t change her last name.

  11. Pablo says:

    Where the hell is Tom Ellis, DB Woodside and Charlie Weber?, those three deserved at least a honorable mention!

    • cjinsd says:

      They never give props to Lucifer. In addition to Monster, I can think of at least three other times Tom Ellis deserved it…Favorite Son, A Priest Walks into a Bar, and Take Me Back to Hell.

  12. Bob says:

    I think a worthy mention is Dr. Ken’s Jonathan Slavin. Thought it was great to see him stand up for himself and the nurses at the hospital. I have to say season 2 of Dr. Ken has improved a lot.

  13. Jordan says:

    I know Rachel Bloom was just performer of the week two weeks ago, but her performance in this weeks episode was possibly her best ever. Donna Lynne Champlin was wonderful as well.

  14. Ram510 says:

    Donald Glover did a really good job. He’s been consistently great the entire run of the series. Can’t wait for season 2. In the meantime I hope he puts out some more music

  15. J says:

    Gina Rodriguez is incredible