TVLine's Performer of the Week: Nina Dobrev

tvddobrevA weekly feature in which we spotlight a shining star


THE SHOW | The Vampire Diaries (The CW)

THE EPISODE | “Stand By Me”

THE AIRDATE | Feb. 21, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | Dobrev was fantastic from the start of the episode, but when a trembling Elena lifted the blanket covering her dead brother’s face, she went for broke, rolling out what would be a tour de force display of acting. Just like that, you could see the tiny cracks in Elena’s facade give way to the emotions she’d been trying to keep out.

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“He’s dead! And he’s been dead this entire time, and I…. How long has he smelled like that?!” she cried, covering her face at the horrifying and shameful realization that she’d been so in denial, she had let Jeremy decay.

With nothing left to lose, Elena presented her shocking plan to burn down the house with Jer’s body in it, as a cover story. Without abandon, Dobrev took her character to the edge as Elena swept through the rooms, ready to destroy her childhood home and the memories of those she’s loved and lost, in a manner so reckless and wild, Caroline yelled that she was scaring her.

What followed was gut-wrenching. Unable to cope with her magnified grief, Elena collapsed to her knees. “It hurts. It hurts. Just make it stop. Please make it stop. It hurts,” she pleaded. The pain behind Dobrev’s sobs was so palpable, it felt like they were coming from the innermost part of her soul.

Then, the scene that was so captivating it made us temporarily forget to breathe: When Damon told Elena to turn off her humanity, Dobrev’s eyes ever-so-subtly, but powerfully, went blank. To see the actress go from feeling everything (and too much of it) to not feeling at all was impressive. Yet by going void of emotion, Dobrev made us feel oh so many things, including empathy, despair for all that’s been lost and, most of all, awe at her ability.

What performance knocked your socks off this week?