THE ACTOR | Zazie Beetz
THE SHOW | Atlanta
THE RESULT | “Tarrare” (May 19, 2022)
THE PERFORMANCE | If acting is the art of reinventing yourself, then this week Beetz delivered the ultimate acting performance in the season 3 finale of the FX comedy. She showed us a shockingly different side of Van as Earn’s normally soft-spoken ex took center stage for once, leading her friends on a wild Parisian adventure before cleaning up and revealing the deep pain she’s been masking.
When Van’s friend Candice spotted her in a Paris bakery, she wasn’t even sure it was her — and neither were we. Beetz completely transformed Van into a plucky French heroine with a cute wig and a heavy French accent, and it was refreshing to see her having fun and mischief. (Her playful play with Alexander Skarsgard was a definite highlight.) Beetz boldly embraced Van’s new identity, peppering her performance with cheeky jokes… and surprising outbursts of violence. (We’ll never look at a stale baguette like that again.) As the surreal touches piled up — a dinner of roasted human hands? — Van was unflappable, and Beetz gave her an effortless continental flair that was, how do you say… “ooh la la”?
However, the mask began to fall when Candice Van asked about the daughter she left behind in Atlanta and snapped something in Beetz, causing Van to violently smash plates and weep hysterically. Van later reverted to her old self — dropping the accent — and tearfully admitted to Candice that she’s been feeling “really wrong” lately and is trying to adopt a new identity to escape her miserable life. It was an incredibly candid and vulnerable confession, one that was just as jaw-dropping as the goofy French antics that preceded it. Beetz has always shined Atlanta threw her into the spotlight, and this week she wowed us by taking on a completely different personality to show us more of who Van really is.
AWARD | How does she do it? How works This is us outstanding Susan Kelechi Watson always get to the heart of highly emotional scenes in the most natural and touching way? When Beth volunteered to go first and say goodbye to a dying Rebecca on Tuesday’s episode, we knew it was going to be bad. Still, we were blown away by how Kelechi poured Beth’s admiration for her mother-in-law into every second of the short scene. Looking back, note how Watson gracefully navigated the nod to Beth’s own mother (“it’s complicated”) — a great moment that’s symbolic of Watson’s work throughout the series.
AWARD | If they gave out Emmys for Hollywood premiere speeches, we’d give them one in a heartbeat barry‘s Sally, starring Sarah Goldberg, who delivers a mind-boggling, dizzying roller-coaster ride of monologue this week. Sally is finally achieving the stardom she’s always craved – she wrote and starred in an acclaimed new TV show – and at the premiere of her show, Sally deviated from her prepared speech to freak out over the glowing Rotten Tomatoes score. (“A ninety f—king eight!”) After an uncomfortably long pause filled with gasping sobs, Goldberg’s eyes lit up as Sally breathlessly thanked everyone in her life, and the magnitude of her success finally dawned on her. The orchestra eventually had to play them out (“I didn’t think they did that at premieres!”), but we would have listened further, if only to enjoy more of Goldberg’s wildly chaotic and hilarious work.
honorable mention | Jon Bernthal has exuded swagger in some of his small screen performances the Walking Dead to The Punisher. What differentiates his series in HBO and David Simon’s limited series We own this city, who follows the real-life corruption behind Baltimore’s Gun Trace Task Force, his character is Sgt. Wayne Jenkins’ intriguing blend of smug indifference and deep-seated neediness. The performer’s proud and snarling attitude increased in this week’s episode 4 as viewers watched Jenkins grow greedier and depraved while robbing drug dealers, looters and strippers alike. Nothing underscored Jenkins’ thirst for money, power, and respect more than Bernthal’s chilling Baltimorese speech at the end of the episode, telling the top cop’s subordinates that they were not only the law, they were way above it.
AWARD | Jinkx Monsoon gave a whole new meaning to “good Judy” in the second episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, which delivers one of the greatest feats in Snatch Game history. Completely finished off as Judy Garland’s character Meet me in St Louis, Jinkx created a masterful take on the Hollywood icon, throwing in her own brand of wacky humor just to keep things weird at their peak. That anecdote about Garland’s wild night with Frank Sinatra? Confused! Her Judy Fied performance of RuPaul’s “Don’t Be Jealous of My Boogie”? Inspired! But what really blew Jinx’s performance over the rainbow was her brilliant callback to Dave, the war veteran who appeared on the show Drag Race Season 5 and claimed to have accidentally caused Garland’s death. Her heartfelt message of forgiveness was as hysterical as it was impressive.
Which performance(s) knocked your Socks out this week? Tell us in the comments!