TVLine's Performer of the Week: Rory Kinnear

Rory Kinnear Performance in Penny Dreadful

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Rory Kinnear

THE SHOW | Penny Dreadful

THE EPISODE |Grand Guignol

THE AIRDATE | June 29, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | Although Penny Dreadful has dazzled us with everything from vampire attacks to demonic possessions, the series’ most resonant moments may also have been its most human. Hear Read us out. In the first season finale, Frankenstein’s monster – Caliban to his friend, singular – was shown compassion once too often by his crush, Grand Guignol starlet Maud, setting in motion a series of events that allowed Kinnear to shine a spotlight not only on the lost soul’s rage but also, memorably, his loneliness and despair.

Cast out of the only home he’d ever known after kissing (and then, oops, throttling) the object of his affections, Caliban turned up on the doorstep of his maker. Not because he hoped for understanding — if only! — but simply because he had nowhere else to go. Why did Victor allow him to feel, the Victorian Lazarus wanted to know. Why hadn’t he fashioned him of steel? So intense was his sadness that, despite the fact that the mad scientist had discreetly pointed a pistol at his head, even he couldn’t pull the trigger.

Instead, Victor set about expediting Brona’s demise and resurrecting her as the companion for whom Caliban longed — Kinnear watching the procedure with the unabashed wonderment of a child observing Santa Claus in his workshop. And, while we have a sinking feeling that Brona won’t swoon when she meets her “match,” we couldn’t love Caliban — or Kinnear — more.

HONORABLE MENTION | “That just came from heaven!” shouted Mary Murphy, as she critiqued Ricky Ubeda and Jessica _W5A0080Richens’ contemporary routine during the first live telecast of So You Think You Can Dance‘s eleventh season. And the hyperactive judge’s choice of words to describe the duo’s execution of a Sonya Tayeh piece was far from accidental. Indeed, as Ricky and Jessica leapt, stretched and glided to the otherworldly sounds of Meredith Monk’s “Vow,” their eye-popping extension and stunning synchronization took a back seat to an even more impressive achievement — taking the audience on an emotional journey that was equal parts haunting, hypnotic and, yes, transcendent. The vivid, beautiful pictures Jessica and Ricky created with their bodies landed at the rare intersection of artistic and sacred; if they can maintain this level of excellence, their march toward the finale should be all but guaranteed.

HONORABLE MENTION | We knew (or at least hoped) the moment was coming, and 24: Live Another Day‘s Yvonne POTWStrahovski made it very much worth the wait. The instant that CIA agent Kate Morgan learned that station chief Navarro had framed her husband for selling secrets to the Chinese — a traitorous charge that ultimately led Adam to take his life — Strahovski let surface the despair of a wife needlessly widowed. But that mood quickly shifted when Kate had Navarro in her sights, and she lunged forward hungry for a pound of flesh. She would wait, though, later pulling her gun on Navarro in the infirmary, seemingly defiant of Jack (“Back off, Bauer!”) and poised to, as she told her target, “put a bullet in your head!” Yes, the heated confrontation was revealed to be an orchestrated ruse to make Navarro divulge intel, but Strahovski made clear the genuine hurt and fury behind Kate’s litany of grievances roared at her bad-man boss.

Which performance knocked your socks off this past week?

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. Chlojack says:

    Yvonne was amazing in this episode. That was easily one of, if not the best performance of her career so far.

  2. bj says:

    I thought Yvonne was fantastic in that one too.

  3. Jess says:

    Still no love for Eva Green? She brings Oscar worthy performances every week.

    • Simon Jester says:

      Even Green received an “Honorable Mention” performer-of-the-week nod in May.

    • Temperance says:

      Somebody hand Eva Green a Emmy now, please. And Penny Dreadful is one of the unfortunately few TV shows that truly illustrates why someone should watch TV. Rory Kinnear and Timothy Dalton were spectacular this week as well.

  4. christine says:

    The cast of Penny Dreadful is amazing

  5. B says:

    What is up with TV Line being 100% Ricky all the time? Is he a phenomenal dancer? Absolutely (that last solo during callback week was one of the best in the show’s history). That being said, the way TV Line is always tooting his horn almost makes it feel like someone on the staff is somehow related to him or something crazy like that. There are tons of great dancers on the show, and Ricky is in no way a shoe-in for the final four, as was mentioned in the questions of the week a couple weeks ago. Avid SYTYCD fans know that almost every season at least one of the obvious top few dancers goes home before the top 10. It only takes one bad number to get eliminated on this show, and I would bet that Ricky would stumble with the personality aspects of a hip hop number, as many white, golden-boy contemporary male dancers do on the show. The point is, TV Line needs to consider that this kid isn’t invincible, even if he is fantastic.

    • Temperance says:

      I think the point is that he’s is actually incredible, and regardless of the outcome, he’s made himself a star already. We just get to watch him dance for a few weeks for free -and that’s a treat in itself. There are just some of those dancers out there that are extra special – as I always say, a day that I get to see Robert Roldan dance is always a good day. His movement is perfection to me, and I think Ricky might be right up there with him.

      • Lexi says:

        So true! Always in awe with great dancers as Ricky and Robert. Go on you tube and watch Ricky dance Slide. Fun and amazing routine

  6. LenaR says:

    Rory Kinnear is always amazing. He keeps a low profile yet over the last couple of years he has scored roles on film such as Skyfall, a month or so ago won an Olivier award for playing Iago at the National Theatre, narrowly missed out a Bafta award for television for his extraordinary performance in Southcliff and also turned in a bravaura turn in Lucan and now knocking off socks in Penny Dreadful. UK’s most versatilevsctor without a doubt.

  7. Dinah says:

    Caliban’s self-pitying speech was elegantly written. It fit the moment and character. Sadly, conversations between characters on this show are all touched with the same bit of exaggerated appeal to emotions and when this dialogue style doesn’t fit the moment conversation comes off as absurd and stiff and the show as presumptuous.

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