TVLine's Performer of the Week: Bones' Emily Deschanel

Bones The Lance to the Heart

A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Emily Deschanel

THE SHOW | Bones

THE EPISODE | “The Lance to the Heart

THE AIRDATE | Oct. 2, 2014

THE PERFORMANCE | Bones fans, think back to Season 1’s Brennan, who offered  scientific rationale in every situation and never encountered a belief at which she couldn’t scoff. Now, consider this week’s episode, in which Brennan nimbly centered her husband as his emotions spun him out of control and delivered a heartbreakingly beautiful tribute to her recently killed colleague, Sweets.

The reason we can believe that both of those Brennans are the same person is that Emily Deschanel is damn good at her job.

RELATED Bones Post Mortem: EP Talks Missing Funeral Guests, That ‘Furious’ Booth-Brennan Fight, Sweets’ Twin and More

Chalk the episode’s success up to the way Deschanel has subtly changed Temperance over the years. It was easy to accept that the formerly emotion-challenged scientist would find the right words to calm an irrational Booth — all the while not giving an inch in her stance that he was acting like a crazy person — because Deschanel tempered Brennan’s frustration and fright with care. The mix of emotions was something the Brennan of earlier seasons would not touched; in Deschanel’s hands now, it seemed as natural to Temperance as cataloging bones or dressing down interns.

Later, as Brennan gave a poignant eulogy for Sweets, Deschanel’s voice broke while pointing out how the psychologist had affected all of his friends’ lives. Her ability to convey Brennan’s grief, love and hope — all at once — was a lovely piece of acting years in the making. Deschanel knows Brennan right down to her osteoblasts, and it shows.

TONY GOLDWYN, JON TENNEYHONORABLE MENTION | Regardless of your politics, Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn clinched your vote as President Grant went off-script during the State of the Union to lay bare the First Family’s heartache. Prompted by Olivia to “be honest” with the country, Fitz spoke of the “unspeakable” tragedy that Mellie and he are still grieving, one that “no parent… should ever have to experience.” Throughout this detour, Goldwyn showed a pained man, not just president, searching for words to possibly illustrate the inexplainable. And with the look he gave as Fitz acknowledged his “amazingly strong wife,” we saw that, no matter what marital muck these two have trudged through, Fitz wept for his tormented wife. Goldwyn then moved us to recall real-world school shootings as Fitz argued, “The right to bear arms seems indisputable.. until the shooter comes,” and a person is left “watching the light go out of [a child’s] eyes. That is when the debate is over.”

POTW2HONORABLE MENTION | Long before this week’s episode of Parenthood aired, Mae Whitman had established herself as one of the series’ most emotive actresses. Still, we weren’t fully prepared for the stirring performance she gave in Thursday’s episode as Amber revealed her pregnancy to Sarah and Zeek. Throughout the hour, Whitman put such a variety of emotions on display — fear, embarrassment, guilt, hope, relief — that Amber’s inner turmoil was almost palpable. By the time Amber confessed her news to Zeek, it only took five words for Whitman to move us to tears: “Are you disappointed in me?” We’re used to getting verklempt while watching the NBC drama, but Whitman’s honest performance ranks among the series’ most heart-tugging.

What performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off below and let us know!