THE PERFORMER | Paula Newsome and Regina Taylor
THE SHOW | CSI: Vegas
THE EPISODE | “The Promise” (March 30, 2023)
THE PERFORMANCE | We were promised the most emotional CSI: Vegas episode to date. And that, it was.
As Maxine’s team worked to identify the remains of a young girl found in a barrel at the bottom of Lake Mead, a woman named Raquel Williams showed up to put an actual face to “Jane Doe” — that of her daughter Phoebe, who was murdered 41 years prior. And for the next 45 minutes, Newsome and Taylor had us rapt.
Raquel, at first, had zero faith in the crime lab’s investigation providing any closure. After all, in the immediate wake of Phoebe being gunned down “in cold blood, in the middle of the street,” “The police wrote their damn report with a dull pencil on a cocktail napkin. The phone never rang,” she told Maxine, Taylor’s voice reflecting so much long-held resentment. “‘Sorry for your loss,’ my ass!”
Newsome in turn gave us a Maxine filled with resolve, to a degree we had never quite seen before. “‘They’ is me now,” she told Raquel, begging for cooperation. “Phoebe is on my watch. And my watch does not need winding.”
Raquel eventually warmed up to Maxine and recounted what exactly happened on that night in 1982, tears rolling down Taylor’s cheeks while Newsome’s face made clear that Maxine was absorbing every tragic detail. Raquel then revealed where a missing second bullet had landed. “I have it,” she said, pointing to a scar on her chest. “Phoebe died trying to save my life.” Maxine asked Raquel if she’d undergo surgery to retrieve the bullet, so that it could tell its “tale” and possibly ID the shooter. Raquel responded by rhetorically asking Maxine if she would risk her life for her own child. “I think we both know the answer to that,” the CI nodded.
Newsome and Taylor’s most beautiful work came at Raquel’s hospital bedside, where the episode’s title — “The Promise” — revealed itself. “I need something from you…,” Raquel said to her newfound ally. “If something was to happen [during surgery], bury my child in her rightful state.” “I promise,” Maxine warmly assured her. Later, in what would be the last words she’d ever say, a post-op Raquel handed Maxine the bullet, and whispered, “Go get the man.” Maxine did, and that promise was kept.
Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…
HONORABLE MENTION: Daniel Ezra
Though it’s been a tremendously tough loss to process, Billy Baker’s death on All American has allowed the cast to do series-best work as Billy’s loved ones mourn him. This week, Spencer’s grief was in the spotlight, and Daniel Ezra was stunning as he finally released his character’s long-suppressed pain. The bulk of Spencer’s emotion was unleashed in a moving scene late in the hour, as he wept to his therapist over the many losses he’s experienced in his young life. And yet, it was the way Spencer’s anger bubbled over with Coop earlier that day that’s stuck with us. With just three words (“Leave me alone!“) yelled at top volume, Ezra not only showed us his considerable acting range, but revealed how deeply Spencer’s heartache has run since Billy’s death. Is it too late to get in on that group hug at the James residence?
HONORABLE MENTION: Hong Chau
From go, The Night Agent‘s Diane Farr was a force to be reckoned with. Imbued with (oft-vicious) vim by Hong Chau, the White House chief of staff was someone you wanted in your corner — if at any given moment you thought you could truly trust her. Chau and that dynamite wig stole every scene she was in, but it was Episode 9 of the Netflix hit where she explored the widest range of material. In an opening flashback, Chau showed us the conflict that Diane felt upon being given a sordid task, before caving to protect her POTUS. Mid-hour, we got a delicious face-off between Diane and the VP, as she held Redfield’s feet to the fire yet again. Then, when confronted at home by Peter, Chau amazingly made us feel for Diane, who had been blindsided by the veep’s true agenda. Season 2 is coming, and we hope The Night Agent gives Chau another call.
HONORABLE MENTION: Angela Lewis
Say what you want about Louie’s actions on Snowfall, but there’s no denying that portrayer Angela Lewis delivered a compelling emotional journey in this week’s episode. Reeling from Jerome’s surprising death last week, Wednesday’s installment found Lewis navigating complex emotions as the grieving widow prepared to lay her husband to rest. Louie’s anguish as she refused to be parted from Jerome’s corpse was gut wrenching, her zombie-like state while speaking with Cissy was chilling, and the venomous rage bubbling beneath her calm voice as she called Franklin the devil was downright unsettling. With only a few episodes left, we’re invested in seeing where this grief takes her next.
HONORABLE MENTION: Juliet Mills
HONORABLE MENTION | Whether you fondly remember Juliet Mills from Nanny and the Professor or Passions, you had to have been tickled to see her turn up as Jules’ roommate Max in Thursday’s Grey’s Anatomy. The surprise guest appearance not only felt like reuniting with an old friend — Martimmies all around! — but the veteran actress gave an utterly delightful performance as Max, who’d only come to Grey Sloan to get a gal pal checked out, discovered that both of them had caught gonorrhea from the same womanizing loverboy! To top it all off, Mills beautifully rendered a bittersweet monologue about the upside of a woman becoming invisible after a certain age. Ironically, in that moment, we’d have sworn that we’d never seen her more clearly.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!