THE PERFORMER | Billie Piper
THE SHOW | Penny Dreadful
THE EPISODE | “Memento Mori” (June 21)
THE PERFORMANCE | Seething with jealousy after spying his betrothed out painting the town with pretty boy Dorian, the Creature intended to demand that his fiancée behave like his fiancée. But when push came to shove, it wasn’t the green-eyed monster who did the shoving but Lily. Careening from fluttery fear to blistering cruelty to righteous outrage, the erstwhile Brona at last exposed her true nature — and her awareness of it — to “Mr. Clare.” And her portrayer? Lord almighty, Piper spat out series creator John Logan’s brutal monologue with such power, such passion, that we were left as shell-shocked as the Creature. Seriously — damn!
Even more impressive than the ferocity of Piper’s performance was the absolute control she displayed. Though Lily’s diatribe against the indignities of Victorian womanhood called for the actress to veer from one emotion to the next at breakneck speed, she made the transitions seem as organic as the movements of a dance. So, suffice it to say, by the time the would-be bride of Frankenstein suggested that she and her fellow “corpse” show Victor exactly what kind of monsters he’d created — and kill their maker! — Piper already had slain us. She doesn’t just deserve an Emmy nod, she deserves a bloody altar! (Screen grab via Gamers Sphere)
HONORABLE MENTIONS | We dare you to watch the British rom-com Catastrophe on Amazon and not be won over by its stars (and creators/writers), Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney. Just minutes into the witty premiere, it’s obvious why their characters would embark on a week-long tryst with each other (that ends in a surprise pregnancy). Delaney transcends TV’s Perfect Man trope by infusing his visiting American ad exec alter ego with a playful sense of humor and distinct personality. Meanwhile, Horgan’s confidence and charm is so contagious, we’re almost jealous of Rob for snagging her. “Aren’t you supposed to fall in love first?” Sharon asks Rob when he suggests they get married. Oh, we’ve fallen hard.
HONORABLE MENTION | In a perfect union of real-world issues and pop culture persona, Joe Morton during a visit to The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore orated loudly on the Confederate Flag kerfuffle — as channeled through Scandal’s Papa Pope. To open, “Eli” cribbed from a Shondalogue, saying, “It’s always summertime and the livin’ is easy” for the “proud, Southern white boy.” But then he acutely tailored his message, while never dropping the Pope of it all. “I am a black man. I have… scraped for every inch of dirt I walk on; you cried yourself to sleep ‘cause Lincoln hurt your feelings!” he scoffed. “You think you love this country [but] what you love is the satisfaction that mess brings when people feel they need to give that flag some credence…. You. Are. A. Bigot.” Even Olivia would be proud.
Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!