The Forged of the Week (TIE): Rosario Dawson and Billie Piper
THE ACTOR | Rosario Dawson
THE SHOW | The Mandalorian
THE CONSEQUENCE | “The Jedi” (November 27, 2020)
THE PERFORMANCE | In one of the coolest television scenes of the year, Dawson made quite an appearance as Ahsoka Tano, the Togruta Jedi of Clone Wars – and from that auspicious start, she didn’t disappoint.
From the start, Dawson sold us her physicality when Ahsoka and her two lightsabers mowed through a platoon of Calodan guards. Then, when faced with the steel judge Morgan Elsbeth, the Jedi didn’t give in an inch, determined to get what they came for – the 411 to no less than Grand Admiral Thrawn. But in Ahsoka’s scenes with Mando and the child, Dawson really embodied the hero animated so far.
With every line delivery, every thoughtful pause, Dawson made it clear that this Jedi had a story – one that resonated with the viewer, even if they had never mentioned Clone Wars. From the moment she looked at the child, her concern for the essence of it only increased in our own eyes, from adorable mate to something much more. We don’t know exactly what they “talked” about in their silent conversation, but Dawson’s nuanced expressions pointed to the ups and downs of the subject. Similarly, we could feel her flinch at the words as she summed up her dialogue for Mando – specifically about how Li’l Grogu’s memories darken when they are taken.
When Ahsoka later brought the news to Mando that she couldn’t train Grogu, it hurt – we, the viewer, were concerned when we wanted to see the child reach their potential, but so were the Jedi. All in all, Dawson had an unenviable job to do with Clone Wars fans who know Ahsoka Tano too well. But according to most of the statements, the role fit her like a glove.
THE ACTOR | Billie Piper
THE SHOW | I hate Suzie from HBO Max
THE CONSEQUENCE | “Acceptance” (November 19, 2020)
THE PERFORMANCE | HBO Max’s British import I Hate Suzie was sure to give Piper an impressive platform to display their stuff. After her celebrity Suzie leaked naughty photos online, Piper ran the gamut of emotions as she endured and illustrated the various stages of grief, from shock and denial to fear, shame, and more. But it was in the season one finale that Suzie finally accepted her own role in her destiny that allowed her struggle to go deep.
The leaked photo scandal would have been difficult for anyone to navigate, but the event also revealed Suzie’s affair with her husband and the world, adding more drama and strife than the imperfect, selfish woman could handle. After Suzie took responsibility for her own mistakes and misconduct, Piper got us on our toes, turning Suzie’s feelings of anger and guilt into an eerie calm, less about depression and hiding and more about harnessing stoic resolve that would help her move away from her dark cloud once and for all.
But that doesn’t mean that Suz didn’t take a few brutal blows in the process. In her last argument with her husband Cob, he kicked her while she was downstairs and told her to “face what she did” and realize that she is not a good person. In addition to playing against her costar, Piper also worked with her character’s internal monologue to give us front-row access to Suzie’s conflicts and complexities. Is she “crazy” as Cob accused her, or is she a flawed woman who holds onto her faded celebrity while trying to do good? For all of their lies, wrongdoings, and manic behaviors (which were plenty) the fact that we were still so devastated to them is true evidence of Piper’s dark and multi-layered accomplishment.
AWARD | It was the fourth episode of Industry, “Sesh,” which was really hot for Harper Stern. Delicately portrayed by relative newcomer Myha’la Herrold, Harper’s appearance at a prestigious London investment bank went from being very stressful to panic after the youngest graduate discovered she made a $ 140,000 mistake. In trying to hide the mistake, she made it worse, crossed the line with important clients, and went head to toe with the colleague she found out. Herrold showed strength and control as the typically collected Harper used her quick thinking and demeanor to clear her mess, and later tried to calm herself down in a world that cared about emotion. As soon as fear had settled in, Herrold endured it when the small crack in Harper’s composition finally broke. When she got to her boss and learned that a new business was covering her losses, we felt Herrold’s expression of relief deep in our souls.
AWARD | The Princess of the Crown, Margaret, largely faded into the background in season 4, but Helena Bonham Carter was stunning in the seventh episode of the season when a fading Margaret struggled to maintain her place in the monarchy. She was still snappy and glamorous, of course, but her health was clearly deteriorating, and Bonham Carter let us see the decades of disappointments and failed romances in Margaret’s psyche – a weary warrior whose time flies quickly. After Margaret learned that she was about to lose her royal privileges, Bonham Carter broke the princess’s hard shell during a therapy session. Her lower lip trembled when she confessed that she couldn’t “muscle” her creeping depression. She later turned her poison on her mother in a combative confrontation on the beach, accusing her of throwing aside her mentally ill cousins … and so did she. We’re glad The Crown didn’t throw Margaret aside entirely because Bonham Carter was just sensational.
AWARD | It’s hard to say what more we wanted to do after we picked up Hal Cumpston’s heartbreaking work in The Walking Dead: World Beyond on Sunday – give him praise or a hug. Whether in flashbacks to the moment when Silas terrified his mother so much that she looked at him as if he were a monster, or in the present when the broken teenager faced possible exile, the newcomer painfully conveyed the feeling of a soul, too shaken to even imagine being put back together. Often the actor pulsed with anger, with fear, tears stung Sila’s eyes. But his most haunting moment was probably also his simplest: A faint smile crossed his face when Silas said to the crushed Iris: “I’m sorry that you met me, but I’m glad I met you.” .
Which performance (s) blew your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!