Performer of the Week: Rose Byrne
THE PERFORMER | Rose Byrne
THE SHOW | Physical
THE EPISODE | “Don’t You Go Far” (June 17, 2022)
THE PERFORMANCE | The death of her father, and the childhood trauma the loss dredged up, threw a tightly-wound Sheila Rubin off her axis in this week’s episode, sending the character on a mentally and physically tumultuous journey — and giving astoundingly nimble Byrne a sterling showcase early into the underrated Apple TV+ dramedy’s second season.
During the memorial service from hell, Byrne radiated subtle notes of nausea as Sheila was forced to exchange passive aggressive pleasantries with her estranged mother (played by Wendie Malick at her icy, barbed best), while simultaneously contending with a mysterious and worsening abdominal issue.
When her mother condescendingly referred to her buzzy aerobics video as a mere “dance tape,” Sheila decamped to one of A-list fitness instructor Vincent “Vinnie” Green’s (The White Lotus‘ Murray Bartlett) classes in search of a distraction. And man did she find it. Amid the unfolding exercise “experience,” Byrne deftly expressed Sheila’s overlapping bewilderment, judgment, irritation and, ultimately, ass-slapping abandon — all while burning hundreds of calories (and without uttering a word).
Upon returning to the memorial service, Sheila — now battling a fever — conflated her sexual abuse in the past with her MIA daughter’s well being in the present, and promptly lost it. Byrne grounded Sheila’s subsequent meltdown in decades of pain and resentment, making the somber, healing closing scene between her and her complicit-turned-contrite mother all the more resonant.
HONORABLE MENTION | Say what you will about how the Arrowverse’s years-long, multi-show “Will Diggle Become a Green Lantern?” arc ultimately played out, the fact is that David Ramsey showed up on The Flash this week to sell us on John’s difficult decision. In summing up Dig’s journey-to-date, Ramsey effectively conveyed both his alter ego’s frustration and his compulsion to see his through to the end, even if it meant grappling with a life/lives-changing dilemma. Once the cosmic “cube” cracked back open and that sliding doors moment arrived, inviting its beholder to say yea, or nay, Ramsey mined his years of playing Diggle to make the rejection of the VIP invitation make every bit of sense, and reaffirm the hero’s commitment to the family he always fought hard for.
HONORABLE MENTION | Funnyman Paul Reiser‘s guest spot on The Boys was, in a word, super. Showing up for an urgent consult as The Legend (it’s a level, not a name) aka Vought’s former VP of Hero Management, Reiser slipped into the role as if he’d been playing it for years, casually dropping names (Roy Scheider! Shannon Tweed! Army Archerd! Kelly “Big L, Big B” LeBrock!) and proudly alluding to his back-in-the-day sexploits with a very colorful array of terms. (He “butter-churned” half the cast of Falcon Crest??) If the late Stan Lee, whom The Legend was conceived in the comic books as a parody of, happened to be watching the four-minute sequence, we have to wonder if he was aghast… or laughing uncomfortably along with us.
HONORABLE MENTION | A father sending one last message to his daughter from beyond the grave is inherently emotionally exploitative, but when that father is played by Joseph Morgan, those emotions are well earned. His cameo, which lasted only a few minutes, was easily the biggest gut punch of Thursday’s Legacies series finale — made all the more impressive by the fact that Morgan recorded his speech separately from his scene partners. He brought incredible depth and palpable emotion to a devastating speech about living life to the fullest, and he was speaking to no one. And don’t even get us started on those perfectly-timed tears at the end of his monologue. Simply put, that’s how you do a cameo.
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!
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