TVLine's Performer of the Week: Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett American Horror StoryA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars 

THE PERFORMER | Angela Bassett

THE SHOW | American Horror Story: Coven

THE EPISODE | “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks”

THE AIRDATE | January 8, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | It’s almost as redundant to single out Bassett for sparkling as it is to praise a diamond for the same thing: Neither one of them can help but dazzle. Still, this week’s Coven did afford the powerhouse an opportunity to show off different facets of Marie Laveau.

First, the actress depicted the voodoo queen as we’ve never seen her before: humbled. And not just humbled but ashamed — both to be accepting Fiona’s kindness and to be accepting that the Supreme might just be her equal. (Mind you, that look she gave at the end of the scene still makes us wonder whether she’s really committed to their truce… )

After that, Bassett careened from emotion to emotion, a human kaleidoscope evincing horror (at Papa Legba’s untimely visit), humor (while revealing that Hank was her hired gun), agony (recalling the loss of her newborn) and ferociousness (kidnapping this year’s sacrifice to Papa). Sometimes all at once. When she snarled at her mewling abductee, “I’ll give you something to cry about!” we didn’t know whether to laugh, shudder or both!

By the hour’s end, Nan wasn’t Marie’s only victim. Bassett had slain us, too. All hail the queen!

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HONORABLE MENTION | Many a Person of Interest viewer would be hard-pressed to ever root for Root, the uberhacker who has long taunted Finch & Co. But in this week’s episode, as The Machine’s primo conduit — nay, interface — faced off against Control (played by Camryn Manheim), Amy Acker made us feel her character’s plight. Sent on a pharmacological roller coaster by her captor, Root nonetheless held firm in her resolve to protect “her” aka The Machine with whom she is finding ever clever ways to communicate. But what really wowed us was Acker’s work when Root, fresh off a non-elective stapedectomy, straight out spoke for The Machine, torturing Control with the reality that she was in fact far from being in control.

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off in the comments!