THE PERFORMER | Zoë Kravitz
THE SHOW | Hulu’s High Fidelity
THE EPISODE | Episode 7: “Me Time” (Feb. 14, 2020)
THE PERFORMANCE | As self-obsessed record store owner Rob Brooks in Hulu’s reboot, Kravitz gives the kind of performance that’s easy to overlook. Rob is cool and charming and fun to hang out with, but she keeps her emotions pretty close to the vest. It’s a sneaky great performance, though, and in Episode 7, when Rob had an unexpected run-in with the ex who broke her heart, Kravitz gave us a peek at the mixed emotions raging underneath Rob’s vintage band T-shirts, while keeping her charm and cool fully intact.
Rob’s brother Cam, suddenly panicked at the imminent arrival of his first child, threw himself a “Last Hurrah” party, and Rob was blindsided when she spotted her ex Mac there — along with Mac’s new fiancée Lily. When Lily cheerfully introduced herself, Rob fantasized about beating the crap out of her, as Kravitz tapped into the rage that’s been building up inside Rob since she found out Mac’s moved on. She invited her sorta boyfriend Clyde to make Mac jealous, and Kravitz played all the awkward notes of their meeting perfectly, from her overt displays of affection with Clyde to her not-so-subtle flirting with Mac. Rob got a rude awakening, though, when she accidentally blew off Clyde and her very drunk brother declared that “every relationship that you touch turns to s—t” (ouch), and Kravitz just about broke her hearts without saying a word as Rob sat on the curb, alone, contemplating her life choices before glancing directly at the camera — and us.
Season 1’s last two episodes saw Rob unpack some major emotional baggage, and Kravitz is excellent in those, too. But this episode let her hit all the aspects of Rob’s personality: the cooler-than-thou music nerd, the insecure mess and the introspective loner who’s fully aware of all the mistakes she’s made. Hulu’s High Fidelity wouldn’t work half as well without an actor as gifted and versatile as Kravitz at the helm; it’s almost enough to make us forget about John Cusack entirely.
HONORABLE MENTION | Consider Niko Terho an early frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. In Freeform’s swoon-worthy gay Valentine, The Thing About Harry, the newcomer not only nailed the title character’s initial jerkiness — and his obliviousness to that jerkiness, which only made him jerkier! — but made believable the cad’s evolution into the kind of stand-up sweetheart for whom we could root. And can we talk for a second about the off-the-charts chemistry that Terho cooked up with his leading man, Jake Borelli (Grey’s Anatomy)? The MVP packed enough longing into a single glance to fuel half a dozen romcoms and managed to make Harry’s vulnerability an even more disarming attribute than his abs. In short, Terho’s one to watch, and you can bet we will be watching.
HONORABLE MENTION | We don’t know why Outlander‘s Sam Heughan doesn’t get more recognition for his acting chops, but that oversight’s got to stop — particularly in light of Sunday’s season premiere. We’re talking specifically about Jamie and Murtagh’s sad parting at the end of the episode, a scene in which Heughan remarkably blended Jamie’s hurt, love and sadness. You could see the character’s resolve slipping throughout the encounter: By the time Jamie encouraged his law-breaking godfather to depart and stay out of danger, Heughan’s voice was husky and his eyes were full of barely restrained emotion. Once alone, Heughan allowed Jamie to break a bit, breathing roughly as the tears overtook him. The moment showed gorgeous restraint, proving once more how deeply Heughan understands his character — and how he’s the only one who could’ve played him.
HONORABLE MENTION | Rachel Skarsten was already a scene stealer on Batwoman, but for too a short while there, she doubled her haul as both Alice and Beth. The Feb. 16 episode started off with an electric sequence in which Alice surveyed her disappointingly “basic” other — and came to realize why her doppelganger was spared a tragic childhood. (Raise your hand if you squirmed on Kate’s behalf as that truth came out!) The hour’s final act, though, is where Skarsten dug in deep as each dying character lobbied, or didn’t, to be the one whose life Kate saved. As Beth, Skarsten was full of selfless understanding. Her Alice, meanwhile, was at first crestfallen to learn of Kate’s choice… and then explosively hissing with new levels of vengeance, as she rose from the dead ready to make her twin pay for this brand-new slight.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!