Sterling K Brown This Is Us Performance Jack Pearsons Son

Performer of the Week: This Is Us' Sterling K. Brown

THE PERFORMER | Sterling K. Brown

THE SHOW | This Is Us

THE EPISODE |Jack Pearson’s Son” (Feb. 14, 2017)

THE PERFORMANCE | There are the rare times you watch a TV show and worry a little about the performer, so fully does he or she embody a character’s pain. This Tuesday’s This Is Us was one of those times, and Brown was the actor in question.

We’ve known Randall’s breakdown was coming, sooner or later, ever since Beth told William about her perfection-seeking husband’s problems in the past. But that preparation did nothing to blunt the despair Brown conveyed as he continued his character’s slow spiral into despair. Every small piece of Brown’s performance — the shaky hands, the distractedness, the manic memorization of facts, the unusually short fuse with William — let us know that Randall was in no way OK, and that the tumult in his heart was about to spill into his daily life.

When everything finally became too much for Randall and he blanked during an important work call, Brown artfully expressed his alter ego’s anxiety with small gestures: a hastily dashed-away tear, some hitched breaths, a carefully blank face. But by the time Kevin arrived to find his brother on the floor, Brown gave his entire body over to the moment, letting Randall’s anguish flow out as he slumped against his sibling.

Hold that visual in your mind a minute, then compare it to the finely restrained performance Brown gave as People v O.J.‘s Christopher Darden. Goodness gracious, is there anything this man can’t play?

GREY'S ANATOMYHONORABLE MENTION | You’d swear Grey’s Anatomy was trying to make us miss Jerrika Hinton before she’s even concluded her five-season run. “It Only Gets Much Worse” providing her with arguably her most compelling material to date, she was able to initially take Stephanie to the highest of highs, at the prospect of performing her first start-to-finish operation. “If you’ll excuse me, children, Mama’s gotta go do surgery,” she adorably teased her fellow residents. Then, after the young doctor lost her 9-year-old patient, the actress beautifully depicted her character’s shock and despair. When Richard tried to reassure her that she wasn’t to blame, she cut him off. “But I am responsible,” she insisted, Hinton’s voice choked with emotion. It was a painful (in the most impressive way) performance that, whether the show intended it to or not, certainly made it clear that, in this supporting player, it had long had a star.

Criminal MindsHONORABLE MENTION | Criminal Minds‘ Spencer Reid is so brilliant and so well-spoken that when he is forced into a mental fog, fumbling for words, our heart can only break — especially given the performance of Matthew Gray Gubler. The original cast member so immersed himself in Reid’s fugue state, it was as if he was playing an entirely different character. Quiet. Tentative. At a loss for answers, even a cogent thought. Throughout Reid’s stint in a Mexican jail, Gubler made us feel the tragedy of a genius lost in an amnesic morass. That in turn made Reid’s abrupt spark to life, when he sobered up enough to assist his team, a bittersweet turn. Where Reid goes from here, we shall see. And Gubler undoubtedly will continue to impress.

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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45 Comments
  1. Wes says:

    Russell Tovey’s monologue on Quantico was amazing.

  2. Leo says:

    Did Jeff Perry just won this recently? Because his work this week is amazing. And this is coming from someone who’s not a fan of Cyrus.

  3. Al says:

    No Jeff Perry?

    He was as good or better than Sterling

  4. kirads09 says:

    Gubler does it for me. He totally knocked it out of the park.

  5. Grey'sFan says:

    Thought the actress who plays Laurel on HTGAWM should’ve received a mention – she was awesome in her scenes in 3×13.

  6. syla says:

    You should have considered also Margaret Avery. this week on being mary jane i wanted to applaud her. great performance. she was a delight to watch

  7. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Sterling got performer of the week. He did great in this week’s episode of This Is Us, he’s always great on the show.

  8. Kevin says:

    Sterling K. Brown deserves to be the POTW. Truly Emmy worthy.

  9. TvPeong says:

    Poor Randall! Sterling K. Brown did such a great job this week, and has been doing an amazing job since Thanksgiving. Well deserved

  10. Cate says:

    How about Connie Britton on Nashville. Quite a range for her to play with Rayna’s hostage situation.

  11. QueenB says:

    Matthew Gray Gubler gave an excellent performance this week.

  12. Dominique says:

    i’m so glad to see Jerrika’s name here, cause she was amazing in this episode! i’m going to miss her when she’s gone. stpehanie might not be the most interesting character but she has a lot of potential that sadly the writers didn’t feel the need to explore, and hinton is certainly doing a fantastic job with what she’s been given.

  13. Lori says:

    Sterling K Brown could be performer of the week every week. He is truly incredible and I am glad to see his performance recognized.

  14. Carlos Alvarez says:

    Russel Tovey on Quantico was amazing.

  15. Rod says:

    Louie Anderson on Baskets.

  16. Maria says:

    I definitely think Amiyah Scott deserved some love for her work on Star. Cotton’s scene with the pastor was truly heartbreaking.

  17. kmw says:

    Sterling K. Brown always deserves this one he is so good. Honorable mention to Bones Emily Deschanel and Ryan o Neal. Such a lovely last scene between this great father daughter combo.

  18. Alice says:

    Sterling K. Brown’s performance each and every week is award worthy. The scenes between Randall and William are memorable and heartbreaking.

  19. Angela says:

    I’d hoped Gubler would make the list this week :). Spot on description of his performance. I just wanted to hug the poor guy so much throughout the episode.

  20. It’s a tough call between Sterling K. Brown and Matthew Gray Gubler. They were both excellent this week in their roles as Randall and Spencer respectively. I think Sterling K. Brown has a slight edge, though. It literally broke my heart watching him spiral into deep depression. Since he was cheated out of an Emmy for The O.J. Simpson Story, he should win one this time for his excellent performance on This Is Us

  21. Tamaca Harris says:

    I totally agree, Sterling K. Brown is amazing! I’ve been where he was, and his performance was so real.

  22. Mommaknowsbest says:

    Thanks for highlighting Matthew Gray Gubler.

  23. Alec says:

    Sterling K. Brown and Russell Tovey were magnificent.

  24. Joey Cormier says:

    I know it’s a CW show, but I thought K. J. Apa was great in this week’s episode. The scene where he broke down in his dad’s arms was great!

  25. Jimmy says:

    Yes brown gets my vote. I hope this is us does not have a miracle lifesaving operation or drug treatment for brown’s character’s father. I don’t think they will but it’s a possibility in my mind because their relationship is so compelling.

  26. Jamie says:

    Yes yes yes yes to Sterling K Brown – he was so quiet, yet stole every single scene.

  27. Ally says:

    Sterling Brown deserved POTW but I think Justin Hartley could have gotten honorabe mention. His charater went from being self centred, anxious and nervous to concerned, sacrificial, growing, thoughtful n sad… in one episode.

  28. RichieS says:

    If the Lennon girl who plays Maddie on Nashville is a real-life very nice person, then her 180 degree turn to stone cold bitch on the show is one of the year’s best for sure.

  29. JMark (formerly JM) says:

    ‘Is there anything this man can’t play?’ No, there isn’t. He’s absolutely incredible. So glad to see him acknowledged for his brilliance. Too bad he didn’t win the Golden Globe.

  30. mzglorybe says:

    Sterling K. Brown is an awesome actor. That last scene in Tuesday’s episode of This is Us… of Randall with brother Kevin running to his side was so emotional and moving. Sterling, Justin Hartley and yes, all the other guys are amazing in their performances. Love this show.

  31. Betty Scott says:

    OMG !!! This is Us has me an emotional train wreck. I love,love,love this show. It has no offensive language. No crude sexual scenes. And everyone in it are my new best friends. The story is a runaway hit on every level.