THE PERFORMER | Leah Pipes
THE SHOW | The Originals
THE EPISODE | “No More Heartbreaks” (April 29, 2016)
THE PERFORMANCE | From the moment Camille O’Connell first appeared in Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries to the moment she bid farewell on Friday’s The Originals, she never stopped looking for her purpose — and, ideally, herself in the process. In fact, during her three-season transformation from bartender to psychologist to vampire, the only constant was Pipes’ commitment to the under-appreciated role.
But she never played into her character’s insecurities. In spite of her dark surroundings, Pipes always infused Cami with a sense of optimism that only made her untimely death all the more heartbreaking.
Well, that and Pipes’ killer execution — so to speak — of her final scenes opposite Joseph Morgan. Every phase of Cami’s death was excruciating, and Pipes sold the hell out of ’em, from her initial strength (“I’ve made my peace with dying”) to her eventual breakdown (“I wanted to be brave”). And don’t even get us started on her “Maybe that’s just how you know you love someone” line, spoken to Klaus. Much like Cami after receiving Lucien’s fatal bite, our tear ducts never stood a chance this week.
Of course, the other tragedy of the episode was that we were given a glimpse into what could have been, but ultimately would never be, between Cami and Klaus. With their characters finally willing to drop all pretenses, Pipes and Morgan’s chemistry — previously inhibited by Klaus and Cami’s inability to make sense of what they had — got to shine for several glorious minutes.
We may never know Cami’s full potential as a character, but like ol’ Niklaus said, we’ll carry Pipes’ performance with us for a nice long while.
HONORABLE MENTION | Arrow’s Quentin Lance mourned his daughter Sara twice only to lose her a third time when she left town. And in his experiences with Team Arrow, he has witnessed the impossible, often. So in the wake of Laurel’s tragic death, Paul Blackthorne alternately illustrated the despair and desperation of a father who doesn’t know which way is up anymore. (Just look at his face searching for any alternative when Nyssa nixes the Lazarus Pit notion.) It was a painfully sobering exchange with Oliver, though, where Blackthorne made the surreal too real, as Quentin explained, “When I became a drunk, when no one else believed me, she did. She’s been my rock.” He then corrected himself, “She was my rock,” before crumpling to the pavement in sorrowful acceptance, us alongside him.
HONORABLE MENTION | Hannah Simone has repeatedly proven herself to be an undervalued part of the New Girl ensemble during the Fox comedy’s nuptial-heavy Season 5. Her stealth comedic talents were never more apparent than during Cece’s bachelorette outing in “A Chill Day In,” as her stoned alter ego attempted to shoplift a bread maker, momma-bear a mall cop and figure out why we’d ever need shoes if socks had been perfected. Also perfect? Her delivery of the line “I can not deal with Derek right now.” We, however, can’t get enough of Simone.
HONORABLE MENTION | Where does depression hurt? Surprisingly, on NBC’s Sunday-night comedy The Carmichael Show — thanks to a layered, heartbreaking turn by Loretta Devine. As family matriarch Cynthia came to terms with her months-long and very secret case of “the blues,” Devine managed to make her character’s deeply rooted denial both funny and poignant. When Maxine finally broke down in front of her entire family — admitting her own desires were so consistently put on hold in service of her family that she didn’t even know her own fast-food preferences — it brought a pin-drop hush over a studio audience that spent most of the installment in a state of raucous laughter. Later, though, as Cynthia hilariously learned the joys of unburdening to her therapist — slapping a wad of bills on the table to “keep the meter running!” and finish a tale of smoking cigarettes during both of her pregnancies — Devine underscored her versatility, and her comic timing, too.
Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!