Penny Dreadful

Performer of the Week: Billie Piper

THE PERFORMER | Billie Piper

THE SHOW | Penny Dreadful

THE EPISODE | “Ebb Tide” (June 12)

THE PERFORMANCE | It’s no wonder series creator John Logan has written one blistering monologue after another for Frankenstein’s prettier “monster”: Piper tears into each of Lily’s diatribes with the ferocity of a wolf being served the rarest of steaks.

In last Sunday’s episode, the actress delivered the former Brona Croft’s mad speech to her army of fallen woman with such intensity and conviction that we didn’t just nod along as she decreed, “We must be bloody or nothing else!” No, Piper had us so drunk on her character’s power that, had she given the order, we, too, might have marched into the streets to retrieve Lily the right hand of a bad man.

But the hour wasn’t merely an opportunity for the actress to remind us of how thrillingly she releases the reanimated prostitute’s rage. The opening scene, in which Lily visited her daughter’s grave, allowed Piper to hint at the pain that gives the rebel’s indignation its righteousness. And the closing scene, in which Lily realized that lover Dorian had set her up to be “cured,” gave her portrayer a chance to register horror of such magnitude that the screen nearly shuddered along with her.

It may be Eva Green who tops all the critics’ lists (even our own). But in Piper — alternately elegant, bewitching, coarse and frightening — the show has a second leading lady who is, in fact, second to none.

Animal KingdomHONORABLE MENTION | From the get-go, Shawn Hatosy was such a menacing presence in the premiere of TNT’s Animal Kingdom that, when his freshly-paroled Pope asked nephew J, “Who are you?” we prayed the kid would answer, “Whoever I need to be to get out of this room alive.” Following that tense introduction — during which even the ex-con’s mother appeared scared to go near him! — the Southland alum continued to freak us out by making it clear with every gesture that the character was more than dangerous, he was dangerously unhinged. By the time he’d carried J’s passed-out girlfriend to bed, terrorized the driver of the car he’d ordered the boy to steal, and challenged Mom to play their twisted “game,” we knew that we’d have Hatosy to thank for our nightmares.

IMG_0470HONORABLE MENTION | Hosting the Tony Awards is no easy feat — we get exhausted just watching it — but it’s safe to say that James Corden on Sunday solidified himself as one of the (instant) all-time greats. Whether he was declaring a heartfelt dedication to those affected by the Orlando massacre, blowing our minds with countless mid-performance costume changes (move over, Beyoncé), or just yucking it up with his parents in the audience, Corden’s infectious energy and charm kept us engaged for the entire 3-hour+ ceremony. Not bad for, as Hamilton’s Anthony Ramos introduced him, “that chubby dude from Into the Woods who played the baker.”

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

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. dan says:

    James Corden was great on The Tonys!

  2. kirads09 says:

    As a fairly newbie Whovian – ♥ Billie Piper – a Rose by any other name ♥

    Can I put in an honorable mention for Lou Diamond Phillips as Richard Ramirez in Lifetime’s The Night Stalker movie? He was so downright creepy and 100% spot on throughout. The rest was so so tbh – but it is worth a watch just for his performance.

  3. Kevin K says:

    Don’t know if Corden should host the Tonys next year.

  4. Sandy says:

    “Piper tears into each of Lily’s diatribes with the ferocity of a wolf being served the rarest of steaks.” Well, she is the Bad Wolf… (Whovians know)

    • David4 says:

      Are we sure she isn’t just ‘bad’. (Rose is over rated!)

      • kirads09 says:

        I don’t want to take the conversation off POTW. But I think every companion, just as every Dr, has brought their own uniqueness to the role. Every fan has their special ones that they prefer. That is part of the wonderfulness and longevity of the franchise of Whoville

      • Shaun says:

        She took the tardis energy into herself to save the doctor,by far the most selfless of the bunch.

  5. Shaun says:

    Very good list I think.Piper is a lead actress for a reason.Maybe would have added the Swede from Hell on Wheels or Dougal from Outlander.

  6. LAwoman says:

    Billie Piper is stunning. She really does inhabit that character.

  7. Amanda says:

    Totally agree about Billie Piper and James Corden. I didn’t watch “Animal Kingdom” but it’s more because I loved the original and Ben Mendelsohn was amazing as Pope, as was the rest of the Australian cast, so I’m not sure anyone could top it. I have heard good things about the show and will check it out soon.

  8. B says:

    James Corden was fantastic. That was possibly the best awards show I’ve ever seen. He could host any of them (Emmys, Oscars, Tonys again.) The caliber of the speeches and the entertainment segments helped as well (**LOVED** the Broadway Carpool Karaoke) – so much better than Emmys or Oscars, and better than I remember the Tonys being too.

  9. Melissa says:

    I like Billie Piper but am bored with the endless Dorian and Lily dance scenes as well as all of her marble mouth speeches. Supposedly her accent changed because she was a new person who learned to speak like Frankenstien, but then Lily was all a scam she played on him so why is she still talking like she has a mouth full of cotton? She also admitted she chose to be a prostitute, granted her other option was marrying an abusive jerk, but her “this all just happened to me and I want revenge for it like I didn’t pick this path” attitude is either a martyr complex or poor continuity….as is her forgetting her love of Ethan in her hatred of all men and Vanessa the great seer not knowing Lily was Bronna when they met. Her story is too divorced from the main plot. I keep waiting for it to tie in, but it is just more of her endless blathering.

  10. Becca says:

    YESSSSS so glad to see Billie here. That monologue was gold and my second favorite moment of PD. The only thing that tops it was Vanessa at the seance (which was also recognized as performer of the week if I remember)

  11. Nice mention of Shawn Hatosy. I’ve never felt so icky after that awesome performance!