THE CONTRACTOR | Elizabeth Moss
THE SHOW | The maid’s tale
THE EPISODE | The “intersection” (April 27, 2021)
THE PERFORMANCE | Just when we think we’ve seen the bottom of Junie Osborne, the drama Hulu shows us how many more terrible things they can get. That said: How great was Moss in the very harrowing Episode 3?
Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that the stunning hour is also her directorial debut – a well-executed task in itself. But we can’t stop thinking about Moss̵
Against Lawrence of Bradley Whitford, Moss made defiant and angry in June, not wanting to give up the location of the runaway maids, no matter the cost. She peered at him from the end of a long table, gutting him with June’s grim gaze. Long before June told her ex-commander what exactly she could do, her body language told her she was unwilling to help the investigation: It was as if all her hatred of Gilad had been focused on a laser beam trained solely on him.
So when June was unexpectedly taken to see Hannah, the shock of realizing that her daughter was afraid her gave Moss the opportunity to play a sudden naval change in his character. In a word: devastating. The Emmy winner led June from stubborn to obliterated, barely able to utter a word or two between her tears. Moss gave himself completely to the devastation of June, and although we wished she had not been brought to the point of acknowledging the whereabouts of the maids, Moss helped us to understand in all parts why she had done so.
HONORARY MEMORY | As the father of Erin McMenamine Kenny, Patrick Murney has so far had a terrifying presence on HBO Mare from Easttown. But this week, this horrifying country gave way to grief when Kenny learned that his daughter had been found dead. Murney pounded like an animal in a cage as the enraged Kenny had to be stopped by the cops and unleashed a primary scream that doubled as an explanation: “This is my daughter! This is my daughter!” This is my daughter! After calming down, Murney spoke with chilling precision, while Kenny declared his belief that the former Erin Dylan had killed her. And he followed that certainty as Murney patted a powerful vein of revenge as Kenny methodically chased Dylan and threw him away in cold blood. Perhaps an unforgivable act, but also understandable, thanks to the bright depth and shadows that Murney brought to Kenny’s grief.
HONORARY MEMORY | The penultimate episode of The shadow and the bone the first season pulled the layers all the way to Kirigan (played by Ben Barnes), revealing how Darkling eventually created the fold in the first place. Shaking between flashbacks to the much younger shadow-conjurer fighting for Grisha’s defense and the stone-faced power-hungry villain we know today, the hour when Barnes takes advantage of the various nuances of his tortured character, and delivers a true statement. Whether serving a rage with a large volume, or keeping it calm and sinister through sharp exchanges with Alina, Barnes excels in capturing the spirit of the book’s hero while adding his own natural charm. He understood the task and passed with floating colors.
HONORARY MENTION | Makena Grace is 14 years old. We raise the issue because after the way she carelessly destroyed A tale of the maid audience with her image of the traumatized child bride Esther Keys, it’s really easy to forget that she wasn’t a lot older. During the season’s premiere, Grace’s performance – in particular her spiritual retelling of Esther’s repeated rapes – hurt us. She balances moments of supernatural gravity with bursts of childish play (such as this scene with Janine during a meal), all backed by Esther’s nascent bloodlust for the men of Gilead. Such a complex character, played by such an active prodigy – we look forward to the possible return of Esther.
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