Lucifer Tom Ellis Performance

Performer of the Week: Tom Ellis

THE PERFORMER | Tom Ellis

THE SHOW | Lucifer

THE EPISODE | “My Little Monkey” (Nov. 7. 2016)

THE PERFORMANCE | The devil is in the details of Ellis’ portrayal of Lucifer Morningstar, as well evidenced in an episode that leaned heavily on a humor rooted in melancholy.

In the wake of taking his brother Uriel’s life and then “truly scaring off” Dr. Linda in the course of sorting through his guilt (by revealing his true face), Lucifer was frozen out by Chloe, for being “too you.” “Being me seems to be a problem, doesn’t it…,” Lucifer sighed, the mighty being again emotionally wounded. “Everywhere I go, someone gets hurt.”

As Lucifer latched onto the idea to thus be someone else —”Detective Douche,” specifically — Ellis went all in, to increasingly comedic effect, spending much of the hour mimicking Dan’s every mannerism (and fashion choice), even trying on a “dude” accent. (Just watch the fellas’ scenes in the interrogation room, where Lucifer subtly apes Dan’s posture and tics, as his “Dansformation” takes hold. Hysterical.)

But when the tables got turned and Lucifer caught Dan spoofing him at an improv class, the narrative delved back into the Devil’s issues. Invited by the detective to explain how he’s not living some charmed life, Ellis switched his face from the usual playful to pensive, as Lucifer lamented, “That’s just it, Dan — the last person I opened up to, I hurt. A lot. Let alone how I’ve hurt my own flesh and blood.”

Capping Ellis’ work this week was an atypically warm moment where Lucifer demonstrated some learning, saying the things Chloe needed to hear after having the wound of her father’s murder reopened. As she pulled him into a tender hug, Ellis registered Lucifer’s (pleasant) surprise at having apparently righted some of his personality’s wrongs. All told, the Brit’s performance was a helluva good time.

1HONORABLE MENTION | In the premiere of Netflix’s ultra-classy Queen Elizabeth II biodrama, The Crown, Winston Churchill is almost immediately called “outrageous” for stealing the spotlight from the bride at her future highness’ nuptials. “But,” it’s quickly added, “you have to admire him.” Similarly, we must give props to John Lithgow for so thoroughly expanding to fill the larger-than-life role. Whether scheming to ascertain King George’s condition or dissing his predecessor as prime minister (“An empty taxi pulled up to the House of Commons, and Mr. Attlee got out”), the veteran actor’s take on the Parliamentarian wasn’t just what Great Britain needed (as Churchill blustered to his wife), it was exactly what the series needed as well. By the end of the hour, we didn’t wonder why wedding guests cheered upon Churchill’s entrance.

MomHONORABLE MENTION | Allison Janney has never been funnier than she was in Thursday’s Mom, as Bonnie and Adam dealt with trouble in the boudoir. Worried that she could no longer arouse her beau, Bonnie became completely unhinged, first losing her cool over breakfast, then completely cutting loose in a hysterical AA rant about wanting to punch all men “in the penis.” The true root of her frustration, however, went beyond sex, as proven by the few moments they were broken up, and Bonnie, in her first healthy relationship — possibly ever — became teary eyed thinking that she in some way screwed things up. Janney was superb, as much as we’ve come to expect excellent dramatic work from the West Wing and Masters of Sex alum.

HONORABLE MENTION | good-girls-revolt-genevieveFew Good Girls Revolt with as much pluck as Genevieve Angelson‘s Patti, who in Episode 7 of the 1969-set Amazon series reach a new clarity about her want to be a journalist. Having learned that the men at News of the Week make three times as much as the “girls,” Patti was already fired up. But when sometime-beau Doug shared that he was nearing a book deal based on her research, the expression on Angelson’s face made clear that Patti had reached her limit. “I want what you have,” she declared, when asked why her love for him is now “sort of” qualified. “I want to be a reporter.” Because of the zeal Angelson brings to the role, we want that for her, too.

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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31 Comments
  1. No Chyler Leigh? She absolutely knocked it out of the park this week on Supergirl.

    • Lauren says:

      ITA but i think i read (here?) she has a huge episode coming up maybe they seen it. crossing fingers that gets her more than a mention!!!

    • Cate says:

      Agree 100% I though she was a sure thing for the TV Line performer of the week or at least an honourable mention. Absolutely terrific performance by Chyler.

  2. Yes at the Good Girls Revolt mention! That show is amazing. Episode 7 is probably the best episode too.

  3. Stephane says:

    WTF where is Ellen Pompeo ??!!

  4. Maria says:

    John Lithgow killed it, episode 9 of The Crown was beautiful and tragic. He should have been performer of the week (and i love Tom Ellis mind you)!

  5. jj says:

    Lithgow gave a great performance in the Crown. Whoever did the casting for the Crown should give themselves a pat on the back, the entire cast really nailed it.

  6. Leo Berry says:

    Um why did you ignore the Shonda shows ? Ellen Pompeo and Charlie Weber were great

    • Anne says:

      Frak, Charlie Weber knocked it out of the park this week. Daaaaaanngg. To hold ones own against Viola Davis is no small feat and yet he did it.

  7. arial2 says:

    Tom Ellis rocked this week.

    John Lithgow is good in The Crown, but every time he enters a room I see John Lithgow, American actor. I should not recognize that. For the life of me, I don’t understand why, with all the wonderfully trained British actors out there, they chose to use an American in such a pivotal role.

    • Cate says:

      As a Brit I was a bit sceptical about American Lithgow but he is actually superb in this role (ep 9 especially.) Terrific cast for the whole show. Claire Foy does so well in a difficult, unshowy role. Vanessa Kirby is gorgeous and sparky as Margaret. Prince Philip has always seemed like an old idiot to me, but Matt Smith is making me re evaluate him!

    • LOL, I’m sad to admit it took me five episodes to realize that was John Lithgow. Oops.

  8. Et al. says:

    Perhaps she’s already won here recently but Thandie Newton in this past week’s Westworld gave an incredible performance.

  9. Pablo says:

    Where the hell are Viola Davis, Charlie Weber and Liza Weil ?? They were astonishing

  10. Iris says:

    Well deserved! Tom Ellis is fantastic.

  11. HAP says:

    Good Girls Revolt is worth the price of admission to Prime, as is Goliath. Genevieve Angelson is awesome and she is also a very nice, sweet person.

  12. HTGAWMFan says:

    No one from HTGAWM, seriously TvLine???

    • Nichole says:

      I thought Frank would be worth a mention at least, the actor that plays Frank covered so much emotional ground this week, which made his painful breakdown to Annalise all the more powerful.

  13. Brian says:

    Eh, should have gone to Chyler Leigh.

  14. lifeofanoddball says:

    Where is Adina Porter and Taissa Farmiga??

  15. DarkDefender says:

    Yes. Tom Ellis was fascinating this week.

  16. Reatha says:

    For the past few episodes, Mr. Ellis has been amazing in his role as Lucifer. He can show so many sides of histt

  17. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Tom Ellis got performer of the week! He did great in new episode. He’s always great on Lucifer.

  18. Tiffany Landry says:

    I love Lucifer best series ever just as good as under the dome don’t get rid of these series

  19. Temperance says:

    Lucifer is a GREAT show. Great writing, great acting, great characters.

  20. Mar says:

    Love Tom Ellis!

  21. chyler leigh??? are you freaking serious?, she did an amazing job this week. …

  22. Anne says:

    I’ve enjoyed Lucifer since the start….but when did it legitimately become excellent television?!
    .
    Hahah. Like it’s far more layered and complex than it needs to be. And how they have all their characters interact with one another, not just keeping them in bubbles…and heck, they manage to make the child an interesting element (uncommon on tv!). I love it

  23. Erica Silva says:

    What about Thandie Newton? Seriously? Tom Ellis excelled LAST week. Thandie Newton delivered the greatest performance of the season so far in ep. 6. Unfair…

  24. fiberlicious says:

    James Spader’s performance on Blacklist was masterful. Why doesn’t he ever get the respect he deserves?