THE PERFORMER | Brandon Micheal Hall
THE SHOW | God Friended Me
THE EPISODE | “17 Years” (Dec. 16, 2018)
THE PERFORMANCE | The thing about the TV characters that we warm up to (even over just half a season), is that when they hurt, we hurt too. So when the typically genial Miles Finer turned sour upon realizing what the God account was up to this week — by drawing him to the intersection where his mother was killed almost exactly 17 years prior and then suggesting the drunk driver (!) as a new Friend — it shook us, as Hall explored a whole new side to the character.
Miles of course wanted no role in helping this Friend, but Cara urged him to at least check in on the guy, who has been struggling to overcome his prison record and become a firefighter. And once face to face, Miles seemed poised to let Charles say his piece… until, that is, Charles’ fiancée came home, and it became clear that she was unaware of the tragic accident. “He doesn’t get to ignore the past,” Miles yelled at Cara behind him, as he stormed out. “He does not deserve a second chance.” Cara reminded Miles that he has an ability to “see the good in people” when others can’t, but he held firm. “You wanted me to come down here. I came,” he snipped, Hall dialing down the kindness in his eyes. “I’m done.”
Another bombshell then dropped, that Miles’ father vouched for Charles during a previous go at the fire academy. “How can you help the man that killed your wife?!” he roared at Arthur, launching into Hall’s best two-hander thus far with the mighty Joe Morton. When Arthur made note of his son still being angry, Miles shot back: “The real question is, why aren’t you?”
Arthur’s explanation of his actions would strike a chord with Miles, as did Miles seeing Charles bravely save lives in a local fire. Hall returned the earnestness and compassion to his face as Miles urged Charles to take back his fiancée and allow himself happiness. “You need to let go of the life you lost and starting living the life you have. It’s time both of us do that.”
HONORABLE MENTION | Goran Visnjic enjoyed quite a journey during Timeless‘ two-hour send-off as Garcia Flynn — introduced in the pilot as a Big Bad — came to realize his true role as perhaps “the greatest hero” of them all. For starters, there was that sweetly sexy scene at Sutter’s Mill, where Flynn teased Lucy about the part of her journal in which their future selves kiss, starting an affair that was, alas, not meant to be. But Visnjic most broke our hearts first with his narration of Flynn’s good-bye letter to Lucy, after he sneaked off in the Lifeboat to remove Jessica from the timeline and in doing so save Rufus, and then with his puzzled and pained reaction to Lucy’s arrival and revelations in 2014 Sao Paulo. Would he get his family back? No. But forging ahead anyway to save the day was cause enough for this wonderfully complex antihero.
HONORABLE MENTION | Only a real Grinch wouldn’t have been moved by Eugene Levy‘s magnificent work in the Schitt’s Creek holiday special. First — and for the longest time — he kept a twinkle in his eye as Johnny tried not to let his enthusiasm for family bonding through a Christmas party be dampened by… well, his family. When finally he snapped, his portrayer made plain the breaking heart beneath the outburst — then broke our hearts when his character confessed that all he’d wanted from their lavish bashes of yore was to end one with his nearest and dearest actually nearby. As you’d hope, Johnny wound up getting the Christmas miracle that he’d given up hoping for. And, thanks to Levy’s lovely performance, we got one, too.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!