THE PERFORMER | Dominique Fishback
THE SHOW | Prime Video’s Swarm
THE EPISODE | “Only God Makes Happy Endings” (March 17)
THE PERFORMANCE | We’ve been impressed by Fishback before in supporting roles on The Deuce and The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey… but nothing could’ve prepared us for Dre. In Prime Video’s stunning and surreal horror thriller, Fishback gets a shot at the spotlight and knocks it out of the park, blowing us away with a fascinating portrait of a obsessive fan who gets pushed over the edge and goes off on a deranged killing spree. Fishback was phenomenal throughout the series, but she saved the very best for Swarm‘s final episode, shape-shifting before our eyes to show us yet another layer to Dre.
When we first laid eyes on Fishback in the finale, we almost didn’t recognize her. Dre has cut her hair short and goes by “Tony” now, employing a masculine swagger that allows her to act on the desires she’s repressed for so long. It was a remarkable physical transformation, and Fishback gave Tony a chilled-out ease that Dre never had. She fell for a girl named Rashida, and Fishback was unexpectedly tender as their romance blossomed. Dre’s lingering obsession peeked through at times, though, with Fishback compulsively biting her nails as Dre caught a stray glimpse of a Ni’Jah video. And when Rashida screamed at her for blowing all of her money on Ni’Jah tickets, insulting Dre’s idol in the process, “Tony” faded away, and Dre roared back with a vengeance. Dre ended up strangling Rashida to death, and on Fishback’s tortured face, we could see the two sides of Dre battling for control — with the dark side ultimately, tragically winning out.
We’re still not sure what happened to Dre in the end — the finale ended on a wild fantasy sequence with Dre storming the stage at a Ni’Jah concert and seeing her dead sister Marissa’s face on Ni’Jah’s body — but we are sure that Fishback’s towering performance will stay with us for years to come. Yes, Swarm has warned us about the perils of extreme fandom… but go ahead and sign us up for a lifetime membership in the Dominique Fishback Fan Club.
Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…
HONORABLE MENTION: Sam Claflin
As Daisy Jones & the Six came to an end, Sam Claflin delivered a standout performance that was as devastating as the fictional band’s breakup was for their fans. With his marriage on the verge of collapse, Claflin’s Billy was heartachingly vulnerable in a tearful phone message for his wife Camila, pleading for another chance. Claflin then switched to wild abandon as Billy embraced his worst qualities, falling into booze and oozing recklessness on stage with Daisy. Fittingly, the songstress contributed to one of Claflin’s best scenes, when she urged Billy to go after the light, aka Camila. The actor’s face crumbled as Billy was so overcome with emotion that he couldn’t even sing, so allow us to pick up the mic and sing Claflin’s praises instead.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brett Goldstein
Ted Lasso‘s Brett Goldstein is a comedy dynamo whose praises we’ve previously sung for his ability to imbue every cuss word that comes out of Roy Kent’s mouth with a sense of what he’s feeling. Before now, it was the only way Roy knew how to express himself. But in Season 3’s second episode, Roy opened up emotionally in a way we haven’t seen before — and Goldstein effing delivered. As the ex-footballer spoke about what it was like being back at Stamford Bridge — how he regrets that he left the second things got hard, a character trait we now realize propelled him to end things with Keeley — Goldstein dug deeper than he ever has before. Not only could we see the sadness in Roy’s eyes, but we could feel his pain in each and every breathy syllable he spoke aloud. It was all we could do to keep from reaching through the TV to give him a hug — and we all know how that would have gone.
HONORABLE MENTION: Ken Marino
When an “events legend” attended a Party Down affair, Ken Marino‘s Ron Donald jumped at the chance to dazzle her. The actor succeeded in making us squirm with his awkward social missteps, until some rotten sea urchins transformed Ron into “a lobster being boiled while having a heart attack” (Roman’s words, of course). Marino sold us on the ailment, as his character attempted to hide a swollen face with make-up before deliriously walking into a wall and performing the wildest of pratfalls. Luckily for us, his pain was our pleasure… at least until he defecated into a pot. (RDD, much?) It may have been one of the most digusting things on TV this week, but the panic and prowess Marino served up had us immediately craving seconds (of the comedy, not the urchins).
HONORABLE MENTION: Elizabeth Tulloch
Just rip our hearts out, why don’t you? Tuesday’s episode of Superman & Lois revealed that the latter has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, an inherently sad topic guaranteed to strike a nerve in any context. But thanks to Elizabeth Tulloch‘s hauntingly grounded performance, there was nary a trace of exploitation — just raw, unadulterated, well-earned heartache. Her confession at the end of the hour, brilliantly worked into a powerful speech about the importance of perseverance, was chill-inducing, but kudos must also be given to her quieter scenes throughout the episode. Not only did Tulloch’s vacant stares project the fear, disbelief and numbness of someone reeling from such a diagnosis, but she also nailed the struggle of having to pretend like nothing was wrong when her entire world had just been shattered by a single word.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!