TVLine's Performer of the Week: Sandra Oh

SANDRA OH, ISAIAH WASHINGTONA weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars


THE SHOW | Grey’s Anatomy

THE EPISODE | “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

THE AIRDATE | May 1, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | After allowing Cristina a moment of flusterment at being reunited with Burke, her onetime mentor and runaway groom, Oh let us know with her steely demeanor that her character’s heart was closed to her ex. At least she meant for it to be closed.

As both of them reached for his holographic heart, the moment played like love — maybe for each other, maybe for medicine, but love all the same. And Oh could scarcely contain Cristina’s smile as she shared with her ex her hope to print a beating heart, or her hurt when he revealed that he was now a married father.

Through it all, Oh strove to keep Cristina’s feelings just under the surface. Then, at last, when she turned down Burke’s job offer, she let loose, railing at him for dangling a carrot that he knew she wouldn’t be able to resist until he finally asked if she was done. “No,” she roared, taking a long pause before adding, “Now I am.”

RELATED | Grey’s Anatomy Contract Update: 4 More actors Sign New Long-Term Deals

When Burke explained that he wasn’t offering Cristina a job — and couldn’t, because, if they worked together again, she’d be the carrot dangling in front of him — Oh allowed her features to soften. Who wouldn’t weaken in the face of such a profound admission? Then came the shock: He was leaving and wanted her to take over. “You’re offering me your hospital,” she asked, incredulity furrowing her brow, “like you’re Willy Wonka and you’re handing me a chocolate factory?”

No wonder, when Cristina stepped off the plane back in Seattle, she didn’t need to tell Mer that she was moving to Zurich. Over the course of the hour, Oh had shown us a dozen times that she can say more with a look than many an actor can with a monologue. Pass the Kleenex, stat. We miss her already.

Modern Family SleeperHONORABLE MENTION | It’s easy to take Ty Burrell for granted at this point, given his myriad award nominations and Emmy/TCA Award wins. But if you were privy to the Modern Family man’s display of episode-long anxiety this week, you witnessed sitcom greatness. As Phil Dunphy labored to conceal a silly secret — he had purchased the vinyl single of the Carly Simon tune he lost his V-card to — every moment within every scene put on display stellar comedic timing. Whether using physical comedy to cover up a tell-tale blood stain (long story) or mistakenly taunted by Luke’s chess banter (“And the noose tightens”), Burrell reminded us, as the aforementioned song goes, “Nobody does it better.”

HONORABLE MENTION | Confession: Jimmy Fallon’s go-to shtick, crafted-to-be-viral videos, tend to make our eyes glaze over, they are churned out at such a McDonald’s-like pace. But Emma Stone‘s Monday-night appearance on The Tonight Show as a lip-synch battle contender left us doodling her name in the margins of our notebooks all week long. The whiskey-voiced movie star not only nailed the words to both Blues Traveler’s rat-a-tat-tat “Hook” and DJ Khaled’s manic “All I Do Is Win,” the facial expressions — and occasional bit of outright playing to an overhead camera — punctuated her rousing, must-hit-replay performance. Don’t let this one go, Peter Parker. (Relive the magical moment below.)

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