Rupert Friend Homeland

Performer of the Week: Rupert Friend

THE PERFORMER | Rupert Friend

THE SHOW | Homeland

THE EPISODE | “Fair Game” (Jan. 15, 2017)

THE PERFORMANCE | For the past four seasons, Homeland’s Peter Quinn has been seemingly indestructible, repeatedly cheating death as a daredevil CIA operative. But in Sunday’s Season 6 premiere, actor Rupert Friend heartbreakingly showed us the massive toll that all those brushes with death have taken on Quinn’s body — and soul.

After a chemical-weapon attack put him in a coma last season, Quinn emerged alive, but a shell of his former self. And Friend looked the part in the premiere, almost unrecognizable with scraggly facial hair and darting, untrusting eyes. Ravaged by severe PTSD and refusing treatment at a VA hospital, Quinn even pushed away his good friend Carrie, and Friend was devastating as Quinn boiled over with rage and frustration: “I’m not getting better!”

Friend showed us a newly vulnerable side to the butt-kicking assassin, as a drug-addicted Quinn pitifully scrounged around for his next hit — and even, shockingly, took a beating from a two-bit burglar. (We’ve never seen Quinn lose a fight before!) And when Carrie tried to take him back to the VA hospital and he was manhandled by security, Friend let out an agonized wail that nearly broke us.

We’ve seen Quinn beat the odds so many times that it’s stunning to see him on the ropes like this. But it’s a credit to Friend’s raw, riveting performance that he’s making Quinn’s descent so authentic — and tragic.

Sherlock Season 3HONORABLE MENTION | Sherlock‘s Season 4 finale, “The Final Problem,” saw the legendary detective face off with maybe his most formidable adversary ever: his own long-lost sister, Eurus. Sian Brooke was deliciously evil in the role, taunting her brother and John Watson with a series of twisted mind games. But Brooke also revealed that the master manipulator had a wounded heart, as Eurus broke down sobbing like a scared little girl and embraced her brother in the end. We still don’t know if Sherlock will return for another season. But if it does, we’d love to see more of Eurus… and Brooke.

The Real O'NealsHONORABLE MENTION | The Real O’NealsNoah Galvin could have earned this distinction for the way that he had Kenny reveal to his dad in a single breathless, 41-word line that Brett had become his boyfriend. The actor also could have gotten it for managing to have the teen say with an absolutely straight face that his father’s dislike of Brett was worse than his aunt’s first boyfriend dying. But after the ecstatic, rainbow-colored song-and-dance number that opened “The Real Acceptance,” Galvin didn’t need to — he was a lock. The joy with which Kenny sang that Brett “puts the ‘twink’ in ‘twinkle in my eye'” was so contagious, not to mention sincerely silly, that it kept us dancing like him for days. Well, at least in our hearts!

potw-linden-ashbyHONORABLE MENTION | Trust us, no one’s more surprised than we are to say this, but one of this week’s most heartbreaking TV performances came courtesy of Teen Wolf’s Sheriff Stilinski, a man not exactly famous for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. Then again, it’s not every day you remember that you used to have a son and that your wife died of dementia in the span of a single conversation. In addition to being highly gif-able, Linden Ashby’s powerful performance as a father and husband at a devastating crossroad was an unexpected gut-punch six seasons in the making, one we’re immediately filing alongside the all-time bests. That final speech about Stiles may have felt a little too much like a eulogy for our liking, but only because of Ashby’s eerily genuine delivery. (Save some of those waterworks for the reunion, pops!)

Which performance knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in 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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27 Comments
  1. Yes! Linden deserves to be here so much. However, so does Ted Danson because his transition from Good Place Michael to Bad Place Michael in seconds was terrifying and amazing.

  2. JoannePistonFan says:

    Matt Mitovich is the Performer of the Week?! I had to. Sorry. (Not sorry.)

  3. mrs poofles says:

    Towering performance by Rupert Friend– so powerful and heartbreaking to watch.

  4. Alec says:

    Noah Galvin deserves so much more attention. He’s really good for his age!

  5. Ashley says:

    Sian Brooke definitely deserves the recognition here. All the actors were stellar in that episode!

  6. Devon says:

    Well deserved

  7. Mitsotakis says:

    I don’t think we should empower Homeland on their stupid Quinn story-line. Just my 2 cents.

    • Devon says:

      It’s painful for sure, but I think he’s going to make a decent recovery. They had to show him at his lowest point this ep so he can crawl his way back to the light.

      • Madison says:

        I agree with what you’re saying. I don’t think we’ve ever seen his character at “rock bottom” and it’s a refreshing turn for him on the show. I think his arc to recovery this season will be amazing to watch. Rupert Friend is just mesmerizing behind the camera no matter what role he’s taking on.

  8. kirads09 says:

    Sian Brooke – Absolutely. I would say the entire Sherlock cast for “The Final Problem”. How about that incredible rock star entrance by none other than Moriarity himself – Andrew Scott was perfection.

  9. Yay Rupert! I also think Ruth Wilson was incredible this week, along with Joshua Jackson. Their scenes are amazing.

  10. Kevin says:

    Rupert Friend deserves it this week. Peter Quinn is now a changed man since he’s recovered from the sarin gas that suffered him last season. Wonder if he was hallucinating this time around like what Carrie Mathison did back in Season 4.

  11. Sean says:

    Linden Ashby was so good this week. Watched the scene multiple times thanks to his heart breaking performance. Cheers to a Melrose Place alum making good🙂

  12. Ditzy-D says:

    I am so happy that Linden was recognized. He totally deserves this. I had tears in my eyes during his performance.

  13. Paul says:

    Mandy Moore and Gerald McCraney This Is US Played Their Hearts Out.

  14. LAwoman says:

    Yes! Rupert Friend and Sian Brooke were both stellar.

  15. redjane12 says:

    Good to see Rupert Friend getting recognition for his great performance… It’s terrifying to see how he’s gotten… You have to wonder what Homeland plans for the character as I have not seen him at all (I might have missed it though) in the promo for Season 6… Either they’re being cagey or he’s on his way out…

  16. Alicia C. says:

    I thought Alexandria Park and Tom Austen on The Royals were both excellent this week in an odd timed Christmas episode

  17. Tom says:

    I like Friend on Homeland, and he was great in the opener, but I feel like hes being wasted on that show. He really should be fronting his own premium show or films.

    • skyebright8 says:

      Agree he used to do film like pride and prejudice and the young Victoria, I thought he would’ve kept going and broken into Hollywood like Emily Blunt and Carey Mulligan

  18. Jodi says:

    Mandy Moore carried that episode of This is Us this week.
    I’m really surprised she wasn’t on the list.

  19. Funnibone says:

    Thank you for acknowledging Rupert Friend! He totally deserves recognition

  20. Benedict Cumberbatch in the “I love you” scene. I don’t know how he meant it but the second he said the first I love you, the look on his face. He did an excellent job.