Carrie Coon The Leftovers Finale

Performer of the Week: Carrie Coon

THE PERFORMER | Carrie Coon

THE SHOW | The Leftovers

THE EPISODE |The Book of Nora” (June 4, 2017)

THE PERFORMANCE | We would’ve felt perfectly justified in naming Coon POTW if she’d done nothing more as Nora in the HBO drama’s uber-romantic final episode than flash the hard-won smile that said, astonished, “I can’t believe I’m getting a happy ending.” But the series’ conclusion gave her a zillion opportunities to remind us why she’s earned this distinction time and time again, and as is her wont, she seized every one of ’em.

Over the course of the 75-minute installment, the actress navigated insanely unpredictable terrain, as Nora went from bidding a poignant farewell to the brother who’d been such a “good gecko” to her, to being reunited years (decades?) later with Kevin, the true love that she thought she’d left in her past life. As soon as he showed up on her doorstep in Australia, Coon plunged her character heart-first into a tsunami of emotions — shock, panic, regret, anger, sadness and, above all, love.

If Coon didn’t reduce you to tears with the push/pull of hesitation and longing that played across Nora’s face as the reunited couple shared a dance neither of them had dared to dream they’d ever have, she had to have taken your breath away along with her alter ego’s when, as the show drew to a close, Kevin took her hand in his, and she realized that yes, they really were getting another chance. Emmys be damned, you will not see a finer performance this or any year.

HONORABLE MENTION | Madeline Brewer has been captivating all season as The Handmaid’s Tale‘s one-eyed Ofwarren, the most rebellious and (let’s be honest) erratic of the maids. This week, though, that rebellious nature betrayed her. Brewer was almost feral as Ofwarren refused to hand over her new baby to her commander’s wife, and she made Ofwarren’s misplaced faith in her commander — the poor girl is convinced he loves her — deeply sad. (“He’s coming for me,” she stubbornly insisted.) Later, when Ofwarren snatched the baby and threatened to jump off a bridge, Brewer played the nail-biting scene with an eerie calm. Ofwarren endured a horrible fate by episode’s end… but we hope it’s not the last we see of Brewer’s heartbreakingly raw performance.

HONORABLE MENTION | A quiet pleasure of Fox’s noisy Gotham is its deep-dive into the Bruce/Alfred relationship, and as Season 3 closed, Sean Pertwee made us feel the latter’s fight to lure his ward away from the darkness, and toward a destiny as, you know, the Dark Knight. “[The sensei] could not touch the love that your mum and dad gave you… the same love I have for you,” Alfred argued, chipping away at Bruce’s brainwashing. Later, after Bruce nearly killed him at Ra’s al Ghul’s urging, Alfred counseled the rattled lad to find his “north star.” And what is Alfred’s? “You. It’s always been you,” he shared, as Pertwee’s expression matched that of a loving father. This was a case where the butler did it — and by “it,” we mean “broke our hearts.”

HONORABLE MENTION | We’re still sweating after watching Michael Mando’s marvelously composed, nearly silent work on this week’s Better Call Saul. Mando’s character, drug-cartel henchman Nacho, plotted to knock off his boss Hector by slipping poison into the old man’s heart medication. And the scene where he made the switch was unbearably tense, with Mando beautifully playing both Nacho’s quiet determination and his frayed nerves, his hands betraying him by shaking uncontrollably. Plus, Mando got to show us the love Nacho has for his father — the innocent man he’s trying to keep out of Hector’s evil grip — in a short but powerful scene. Bravo, Nacho!

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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21 Comments
  1. Joey says:

    Quick question: Am I going to have to wait 4 weeks to see Danielle Brooks get Performer of the Week for episode 5 of OITNB (“Sing It White Effie”)?

  2. kirads09 says:

    Thank you for including honorable mentions Sean Pertwee and Michael Mando (did he take lessons from Jonathan Banks?) Incredibly impressed by both this week.

  3. Tim says:

    Carrie Coon is always great. I was distracted though by the “old age” make-up

  4. I’d have to give an honorable mention to Justin Theroux for his performance in the Leftovers finale as well, he and Carrie together made those final moments just magical. I’d also give ones to Matthew Rhys for the season finale of the Americans. Watching Philip deal with the realities of what that tape meant for him and his family was heart-breaking.

  5. Joey Padron says:

    Happy Madeline, Sean, & Michael got honorable mentions. They all did great on the latest episodes on their own shows.

  6. TvPeong says:

    Jessie Graff

  7. Morgan says:

    Given the nature of The Handmaid’s Tale, couldn’t we maybe address the character as Janine, her actual name, rather than primarily as Ofwarren?

  8. Cate says:

    Good picks this week. Carrie Coon is consistently excellent, Madelaine Brewer broke my heart, Michael Mando carried that almost silent scene very well.
    I’d put in a word for Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a thrilling Fargo as well

  9. LAwoman says:

    I was hoping for a Michael Mando mention!

  10. Carrie Coon was the reason I stuck with The Leftovers throughout its 3 crazy seasons. Every ep that focused on her and the loss of her family was devastating, but amazing. She’s an awesome actress.

  11. Thank you for the Michael mention. I was so nervous for him. I love actors who can say everything without uttering a single word. Bravo.

  12. Karen says:

    I cried my eyes out during Gotham this week, mostly due to Sean Pertwee’s incredible performance.

  13. Jec says:

    Honestly though if the Emmys don’t acknowledge the leftovers and pretty much all the actors… they’re an actual sham. It was the best show with the best performances this year. No question.

  14. Rod says:

    Yes! Carrie Coon!!!

    Michael Mando is doing great work on Better Call Saul as well – great mention.

  15. jeanna says:

    Completely agree with acknowledging the performances of Sean Pertwee and Madeline Brewer. Would also like to give a shout out to Pearl Mackie who’s performance in last weeks Doctor Who episode, The Lie of the Land, really showcased her talent and was her strongest episode yet.

  16. jack says:

    I have never watched Leftovers before but did see the finale (as I did with Lost)
    It took me a few minutes to realized Carrie Coon was the same person as Chief Burgle. but after that, I was astonished at her performance.
    She must be a great person to know. A person with no depth or warmth, could not play that character.
    Even though she plays somewhat older than her actual age, I think we’ll be seeing her on the big screen soon, and for a long time.
    And yeah…..I dropped more than a tear.