THE PERFORMER | Frank Dillane
THE SHOW | Fear the Walking Dead
THE EPISODE | “Pilot” (Aug. 23)
THE PERFORMANCE | We’d only watched the first few minutes of The Walking Dead spinoff — the artful opening vignette in which Frank Dillane took junkie Nick Clark from drug-addled confusion to abject terror — before we knew: A star had been born.
The English actor was so in the moment, so vulnerable and palpably afraid, that we couldn’t help but be drawn in. It was as if, like his character, we were seeing a zombie for the very first time. (And, considering how many walkers we’ve seen by now, that’s no mean feat!)
Better yet, Dillane spent the rest of the premiere proving that our initial assessment of him was 100 percent on the money. (We do love being right.) Not only did the 24-year-old Harry Potter grad capture the pathos of addiction, he also let us glimpse the self-aware imp that Nick would be if he could just get — and stay — clean.
Dillane’s most impressive accomplishment, in our estimation, was making us believe that there was something that scared Nick even more than his flesh-eating girlfriend — the prospect of being crazy. However, any way you slice it, the guy killed and, in the process, brought Fear the Walking Dead to life.
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HONORABLE MENTION | A famous alien once told us, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one” — and it was with that thinking that Defiance’s Doc Yewll made her own sacrifice, in a series of scenes that allowed Trenna Keating to reveal new layers beneath the prosthetics. “For me, this was always a one-way trip,” the Indogene admitted to Irisa and Datak of her idea to “plug into” the Omec ship’s mainframe. As she argued, “An artificial person is a tolerable loss.” Yet no matter how dismissive Yewll was of her worth, Keating used her eyes and voice to reveal a fear and sadness beneath all that latex — especially when the doc bid adieu to her longtime frenemy, Datak, with a soft and not-at-all snarky, “I’m gonna miss you, pal.”
HONORABLE MENTION | Usually in pro wrestling, when a celebrity joins in on the tag team action, he gets in a few token licks. But Stephen Amell, who as TV’s Arrow has chiseled his body into one that rivals many a WWE superstar, wasn’t about to just be a pretty face. Rather, partnered with Neville against heels Stardust and King Barrett, Amell literally threw himself into his second gig, giving as good as he got — and make no mistake, he got plenty at the hand (or boot) of Stardust. Cementing his commitment to the clash, Amell sprang himself from the top turnbuckle, soared through the air like, well, an arrow, to hit his targets outside the ring. Rest assured, Stephen, you did not fail your WWE audience.
Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!