Performer of the Week: Milo Ventimiglia

THE PERFORMER | Milo Ventimiglia

THE SHOW | This Is Us

THE EPISODE | “The Trip” (Nov. 29, 2016)

THE PERFORMANCE | With a tender heart underneath his tough-guy exterior, This Is Us‘s Jack Pearson has quickly shot up our list of TV’s best dads. And Ventimiglia’s stoic, sensitive portrayal is a big reason why, especially when Jack pulled double-duty in this week’s “The Trip.”

First, we saw Jack interact with his adult kids for the first time, thanks to Randall’s accidental magic-mushrooms trip. Randall was still reeling from learning that Rebecca kept him from his birth father William, but Ventimiglia warmed our hearts as a hallucinated Jack told his adopted son: “The moment I saw you, I knew you were my boy.” The real highlight, though, came in a flashback to an ’80s karate dojo, where Jack did a bunch of push-ups with a young Randall on his back. It was a touching demonstration of just how much Jack supported his son, adopted or not, and Ventimiglia played it beautifully.

Since Jack is dearly departed in the present day, Ventimiglia is mostly confined to flashbacks, so he doesn’t get to interact with most of the adult cast. But his scenes in “The Trip” underlined what a vital part of this outstanding cast he is — and put him right up there with Coach Taylor and Adam Braverman in the top echelon of TV dads.

Dominic Purcell Performer of the WeekHONORABLE MENTION | In a sea of superheroes, Dominic Purcell‘s hilariously dry performance as antihero Mick Rory (aka Heat Wave) during The CW’s #DCWeek crossover event was a standout delight. Whether giving Supergirl her new “Skirt” nickname on The Flash or deriding Nate’s Citizen Steel costume on Legends of Tomorrow, Purcell delivered every wisecrack in a mocking yet loving tone that was a breath of fresh air. And then there was this gem, shouted at the Girl of Steel, proving you never know what’s going to come out of Mick’s mouth: “Hey, Skirt. Call me!” The gruff ex-criminal doesn’t say much, but Purcell’s ability to make just a few syllables go a long way is his true superpower.

Gilmore Girls Netflix A Year in the LifeHONORABLE MENTION | She’s not a Gilmore, but Paris Geller is still one of our favorite Gilmore Girls, and Liza Weil knocked it out of the park in Netflix’s revival, A Year in the Life. Whether she was visually assessing Luke’s reproductive ability at her fertility clinic, terrifying a room full of Chilton students with quotes from Joseph Stalin, or karate-kicking a bathroom door closed, Paris stole every scene she was in, and Weil’s hard-edged, hilarious performance hasn’t aged a day since the show ended. Anyone else up for a spinoff sitcom about Paris Geller, divorced fertility guru?

potw-hm-wrightHONORABLE MENTION | Westworld‘s Jeffrey Wright may play a machine, but the tour-de-force performance he gave in Sunday’s episode was one of the most achingly human experiences we’ve seen in a while. Wright took Bernard from “compliant automaton doing Ford’s bidding” to “enlightened creature shocked at the atrocities he’d been forced to commit,” showing off an impressive spectrum for rage and betrayal. We were most impressed by his ability to bring out Bernard’s more vulnerable side, as the host was forced to relive his painful “cornerstone” memory — the death of his son, Charlie — and confront the fact that it was merely a fiction programmed to give him purpose. Even better: In the brief flashback scenes in which Wright played Arnold, Bernard’s human predecessor, the actor tweaked his performance just enough to let us know he was inhabiting a completely different person. It was quite a thing to behold. On a related note: Who’s with us in starting a #RepairBernardASAP campaign?

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. Sergio says:

    Not even an honorable mention for Arrows lead Stephen Amell? His performance in the crossover let alone the 100th episode alone was beyond outstanding.

    • Erik says:

      Yeah I’m really surprised with that. Since pretty much every review of that episode and everyone I’ve talked to about it has said that was his best episode ever.

      • clarice83 says:

        Maybe he had this honorable mention because amid all the drama most characters were having, a comedic relief came in handy, plus his comic relief is sarcastic, simple, and straightforward.

    • dave says:

      Let’s be honest, Amell is pretty to look out but he’s no great actor.

  2. Lisa says:

    I loved Iain de Caestecker’s performance from Agents of SHIELD this week. Especially the lab scene with Clark Gregg. de Caestecker proved once again that he is the best actor on the show.

  3. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Milo got performer of the week. He did a great performance in this week’s episode. Glad Dominic got honorable mention, He’s great as Mick Roy.

  4. Guess says:

    Stephen Amell desveres a shot out, he delivered his best acting in the 100th episode of Arrow

  5. Bwhit says:

    Awesome choices! I’m so glad Dominic is getting some love for Heat Wave :)

  6. Cate says:

    Paris is one of my big Gilmore favourites and after being fairly miserable most of the time as Bonnie on HTGAWM, it was so awesome to see her back to snarky powerhouse Paris.Liza Weil was brilliant

  7. melinae says:

    I laughed so hard with Paris, I love the character.

  8. Kevin says:

    Jeffrey Wright deserves to be one of the honorable mentions this week. His performance on Westworld is Emmy worthy.

  9. bluji says:

    Agreeing with everyone above saying that Stephen Amell should’ve gotten an honorable mention, but to be frank – /everyone/ was on their A game for the crossover.

  10. Carlos Alvarez says:

    Anna Farris for Mom should have been honorable mention for her dialogue in the final scene where she is speaking at the Al anon meeting. She was awesome

  11. ndixit says:

    I think Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin both deserve shout outs for their work during this week.

  12. Haddy says:

    Yay, very happy for Milo to get this recognition! His acting abilites are often overlooked by his looks or body. The last TIU episode was special and I’m glad he’s getting credit.

  13. fiberlicious says:

    I think you picked the wrong actor in This is Us. I like MV’s portrayal of Jack quite a lot, but his role was all about the writing, not the performance. Randall’s performance – from enraged to tripping – was the true accomplishment.

  14. LAwoman says:

    I love Jeffrey Wright on Westworld and I do hope they repair him ASAP, or at least show more flashbacks of Arnold. I need him on my TV. I thought he was good in Boardwalk Empire, but he’s been amazing on Westworld.

  15. jj. says:

    Milo is doing such fantastic work in this is us and I love hearing his insight in post show breakdown on nbc. Liza was a scene stealer in the revival, emmy worthy for sure.

  16. Ram510 says:

    Mick was excellent!! Him and Sara are the best.
    Stephen Amell did well too. I feel like he does his best work when he’s with Gustin however. They need more Flash/Arrow crossovers

  17. HTGAWMFan says:

    Liza Weil, finally!!!!!!!!! Even though, I need it for HTGAWM!

  18. Cmdr. Shepard says:

    Willa Holland has been doing a great job all season and Stephen Amell really hit it out of the park this week. I actually cried during their scene at the wedding. No one plays a more realistic brother-sister duo than those two.

    Paul Blackthorne has also been heartbreakingly touching for several seasons. It’s not like the Emmys will ever recognise the cast of Arrow, but I hope one week, TVLine will.

  19. Lilly77 says:

    I watch Legends every week for Dominic Purcell/Mick Rory. He is fantastic.

  20. Cas says:

    I love Milo. He is great. But I am not Team Jess 😉

  21. Dominique says:

    i’m glad dominic purcell got the honoroable mention, he’s been so good at showing the subtle changes in mick, especially this season. can’t wait too what else he’ll do the rest of this season.

  22. JC1 says:

    I too would have gone more with Stephen Amell’s performance. I love Mick, he’s one of my favorite characters on Legends, but he was the same Mick I watch every week. While I enjoyed it, I guess I just didn’t see anything unusual about it.

  23. A Fan of TV says:

    Jeffrey Wright is never an honourable mention, but I get it. There’s only so much room every week. That said, Jeffrey Wright is hands down one of the greatest actors of a generation, criminally underrated.

  24. So happy Liza got mentioned. I forgot how much I loved Paris. Still hilarious as ever.

  25. Excellent first choice. Milo was amazing in the last episode of TIU. He’s always very good but his scene with grown up Randall was fantastic.
    I don’t watch Gilmore but I’m happy to see Liza here. She’s excellent, and my favorite thing about HTFAWM after Annalise (Viola Davis).