Actor of the Week: Javicia Leslie
THE ACTOR | Javicia Leslie
THE SHOW | Batwoman
THE CONSEQUENCE | “What happened to Kate Kane?” (January 17, 2021)
THE PERFORMANCE | There was a lot of fanfare around Leslie, who makes history as the first black woman to portray Batwoman on screen. She had the difficult job of carrying that responsibility while introducing an original character to a show that was full of already established characters and a full season. Handled this immense pressure like a pro, Leslie provided a personable hero on her standout debut who deserves to continue Batman’s legacy.
Put simply, Leslie’s Ryan Wilder is a breath of fresh air. She’s vulnerable, determined, a little goofy, and empowering – even as she shakes off a page’s sobering stats. “I’m the 327th baby to a black woman who died in childbirth this year,” Ryan told Mary and Luke in one scene. Leslie shines as Batwoman because of her strong commitment to the words given to her and her undeniable charisma that shines across the screen.
The scene that really got Leslie over the edge this week came at the end of the episode when she literally slapped the face of the prosthesis on the man who shot her. It was just as devastating and satisfying to see Ryan, seething with rage, deliver one hard blow after another. It never felt forced or excessive; You understood where she came from, and you felt her pain in every millisecond of that scene.
In less than an hour, Leslie proved that she could do almost anything. Whether it’s the agony of losing a loved one or the wonder of discovering a cool superhero suit, she made us believe every line and emotion with remarkable ease. She might just be getting started, but on her first outing, Leslie did.
AWARD | This week’s episode of Prodigal Son was perhaps the scariest appearance on the series yet, thanks in large part to the terrifying performance of guest actor Adam Langdon. In his lonely scene as Norman, a murder suspect who believed he was possessed by a demon, Langdon was initially calm and measured, troubling us with the slow, quiet way he spoke. But after Bright stepped over the salt line that was supposed to have kept Norman’s demon at bay, Langdon was a whole different kind of fear, and lowered his voice much lower than a creepy grin crossed his face. “He wanted it out, but it doesn’t want to get out. It’s in my blood! It’s in your blood! “Norman mocked with insane glee and crouched on the floor as he turned into a demonic frenzy. In the end, Norman wasn’t the killer despite his annoying behavior – but Langdon’s performance was sure to be murderous.
AWARD | And just like that, Yara Shahidi reminded us of how much we missed growing up and the now signature and comedic fourth wall of her character Zoey. The collegiate freeform comedy returned Thursday for season 3, allowing Shahidi to unfold a whole range of relatable emotions. She gave us a stiff posture, flipping hoodies and pouting for shadows at work with her pushy new client Indigo (rapper Saweetie) and nervous energy and dizzying giggles at the thought of going back to Aaron (Trevor Jackson) after finishing her fashion styling work unite. Sad for Zoey, her expectant mood turned into a dejected disappointment when she flies back to Los Angeles after a month and learns that Aaron has rightly moved on with a new friend. So much for that steamy goodbye kiss they shared. Given the story of Zoey and Aaron, they will romantically reconnect. But until they do, Shahidi’s limitless expressiveness makes them the perfect conduit for that roller coaster of love.
AWARD | For Chunk Palmer, it was the best time this week (when he braved his first medical malpractice case) … and it was the worst time (when he was at a critical point earning Bull’s wrath). And with this roller coaster ride, serial veterinarian Christopher Jackson had one of his most interesting episodes to play. From the start, Chunk was confident but prudent in approaching the case, and Jackson found just the right balance between measured bravado. But when Chunk dismissed his boss’s suggestion to take a break instead and cross an unpredictable witness, he was later hit by Bull’s proverbial horns. With that setback, Jackson just had to play the notes of conviction and remorse. It was an important episode for Chunk as he wants to improve his status as a “climber”, but also a nice showcase for his portraitist.
Which performance (s) blew your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!