Aubrey Plaza Legion

TVLine's Performer of the Week: Legion's Aubrey Plaza

THE PERFORMER | Aubrey Plaza

THE SHOW | Legion

THE EPISODE | “Chapter 6” (Mar. 15, 2017)

THE PERFORMANCE | As mischievous sidekick Lenny on FX’s mind-bending superhero drama Legion, Plaza often taps into that rich vein of cynical sarcasm that served her so well as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation. But when Legion switched gears this week, it allowed Plaza to show off a whole new side to Lenny. (Two or three sides, really.)

With Syd trapped in a nightmarish alt-reality where she and the Summerland crew are patients in a mental hospital, the formerly loony Lenny stood in as their therapist. And Plaza played it admirably straight at first, with a calm, soothing approach to her patients. But we knew something was off, and we were right: Plaza got to kick up her heels (in fishnets, no less!) in a dazzlingly surreal dance sequence, as Lenny confidently boogied her way through David’s memories, proving her intentions aren’t exactly pure. And when Lenny revealed to David her horrible plans for him, Plaza was flat-out terrifying, planting her foot firmly in David’s crotch and then giving him a lapdance while telling him how she planned to use his mutant powers to her advantage.

We’re still not sure if Lenny is a real person, or just a jagged shard of David’s fractured psyche. (Honestly, there’s a lot we’re not sure of on this show.) But no matter who or what Lenny is, Plaza has been a wickedly funny delight every minute she’s been on screen — especially in this week’s well-deserved showcase.

Lenny James The Walking DeadHONORABLE MENTION | Since the 2010 premiere of The Walking Dead, Lennie James has done an admirable, at times breathtaking, job of portraying Morgan as an honorable man in a world where doing right can feel terribly wrong. And never was a greater challenge posed to the character’s innate goodness than in “Bury Me Here.” First, James let us see how the pain of Benjamin’s death reopened old wounds that brought Morgan to the brink of suicide. Then, upon learning that Richard was to blame, he confronted Ezekiel’s right-hand man in a scene made all the more impressive by the fact that James acted the hell out of it without uttering a word. Even more stunning, when Richard reneged on his promise to confess, James showed us not only Morgan’s commitment to what had to be done — kill the schemer — but also his profound sadness that it had to be done.

Becky Ann Baker GirlsHONORABLE MENTION | As Girls neared the end of its six-season run, Becky Ann Baker turned in another showstopper of a performance as Loreen popped pot gummies like they were regular candy to dull the pain of her midlife crisis — or to try to dull it, anyway. But we should all be glad that Hannah’s mom failed to go numb, because Baker’s handling of her character’s self-pity and rage was alternately heartbreaking and hilarious. For instance, she made Loreen almost scary when she hissed at Hannah to “stop f—ing saying” she might still meet someone. And did anyone not lose it over the absolute seriousness with which she told her pregnant daughter that “every time I look at your baby, I will see my own death” — then puked on herself? Talk about going out on a high!

HONORABLE MENTION | We here had known for a while that Josh Segarra‘s Arrow character would be revealed as Prometheus — and it always seemed an odd fit. But wow. As if with the flip of a switch, Segarra transformed mild-mannered D.A. Adrian Chase into not just a worthy adversary for Star City’s mayor and hero, but a really mean one. In his first “unmasked” scenes already, he has clearly, chillingly put Oliver on notice that he is neither a foe to be trifled with nor scared easily. Whether suggesting Oliver has been “asleep this whole time,” dismissing his threats as the words of an “impotent” man, deflecting a seething Lance and Rene with “shop talk” or gutting his plaintive wife, Segarra has convinced us that Chase is one stone-cold seeker of vengeance.

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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  1. unbb24 says:

    How about Susan Sarandon for Feud?

  2. No Josh Dallas? He absolutely knocked it out of the park in the scene where David finally broke in the police station. That scene still kills me a week later.

  3. CourtTV says:

    In the past, I have found Plaza the weakest link in ensemble work. However, with Legion I’ve been incredibly impressed by her and the mania of her character. This week she was the star of the episode.

  4. Kevin Tran says:

    Milo and Mandy were outstanding in the This Is Us season finale.

  5. Carlos Alvarez Jr says:

    Ray Liotta was amazing in Shades of Blue this past week

  6. Meek says:

    Damn, Legion is a great show, the ratings not so much.
    I think the problem is that the pace is too slow, and most super heroes/mutants series fans like to see action, like, mutants fighting other mutants flaunting their super powers and abilities, something we don’t get to see a lot here.

  7. selinakray says:

    Really sad Josh Segarra will be done at the end of the season. He’s such a great addition to Arrow, and his performance is amazing.

  8. Mary says:

    Chase is one boring seeker of vengeance.

  9. Garbo says:

    Really ? Not even an honourable mention of Nicole Kidman who had to play smitten lover, boss lawyer, battered wife, amused friend, loving mother all in one episode while pulling off, often with just one look, all the conflicting emotions she has for her husband while trying to come to terms with her desire to return to her career that her abusive husband resents ? Come ON, Team TVline !

    P.S. I hope this doesn’t mean that the recent blind item about the douche PR team of a certain movie star doing TV, was about Kidman. I mean she had done TV before (Hemingway & Gellhorn) and will do TV soon after Big Little Lies, too (Top of the Lake – S2), so it would be a surprise for sure if her team wouldn’t be OK with TV work.

    • Michael Scarn says:

      I mean they gave Reese Witherspoon the honour so I don’t think it’s the celeb doing a TV show thing. Although I do agree that Kidman deserves the honour before Big Little Lies ends. She’s just too good!

  10. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Aubrey got performer of the week, She did great in this week’s episode of Legion. She’s been doing great on the show. Happy Lennie James got honorable mention, he did a great performance on The Walking Dead’s latest episode.

  11. Btm says:

    Have Jesse L. Martin or Tom Felton been tagged this season for Flash?

  12. LAwoman says:

    Great choices! Plaza, James and Baker were all standouts this week.

  13. Michael Scarn says:

    Nicole Kidman needs a mention before Big Little Lies ends. She is just fantastic on the show. I will never underestimate her talents as an actress again! Just phenomenal. The whole cast pretty much knocks it out of park.

  14. TvPeong says:

    Yay Lennie James!

  15. kirads09 says:

    Been binging Jericho via Netflix. (First time seeing it – very late to the party I know). But Lennie James is extraordinary in that.

  16. David Hambly says:

    i know rupert friend isn’t eligible(rules) but he hit it out of the park last week.emmy worthy episode.

  17. Gensai says:

    The Acting of Aubrey Plaza is amazing!

  18. Russ says:

    Aubrey Plaza is giving an Emmy performance in Laegion. She is incredible!