Actor of the Week: Kaley Cuoco
THE ACTOR | Kaley Cuoco
THE SHOW | HBO Max is the flight attendant
THE CONSEQUENCE | “Arrivals and Departures” (December 17, 2020)
THE PERFORMANCE | As intense as her performance was during the breakdown of episode 6, the eighth and final episode of the dramedic thriller gave Cuoco something new and different to do: play Cassie Bowden as someone who is just a bit more sober and therefore a bit those around them are more sincere. And we loved it.
Take the scene in which Cassie caught up with fellow flyer Megan in her hotel room in Rome to finally be honest and realize the fact that after so many years of traveling the world together, they are absolutely “friends”. What could have come out as a platitude was so much more because Cuoco played the explanation heartily. Similarly, Cassie’s “goodbye” to Alex (after clearing all the blood from himself!) Made us wish we’d seen more of her whirlwind romance.
The encounter between Cassie and her younger, guilty self (played by Audrey Grace Marshall) was arguably one of the best scenes of the Cuoco season. Ineffective as her words may be, Cassie, no, begging, advised the tween never to blame herself for her father’s drunken death, revealing so much about the pain she has lived with for decades.
The last, but sweetest, was Cassie’s dialogue with Enricos Nonna, who suspected that his grandfather’s sudden need for his gun was to help his “shining” friend. Working with simpler words as she navigated Italian, Cuoco showed a new level of Cassie’s vulnerability that only hinted at the crazy, dangerous odyssey she was in love with. Even though we had spent eight hours experiencing it to the full, her openness to Nonna broke our hearts again.
AWARD | It was only in 16 episodes of the Disney + series that Pedro Pascal was able to give his best to be “exposed” as The Mandalorian. Let’s just say that the season two finale was a very special occasion. When Mando met the Jedi calling out for Grogu, he was rightly the protective pop. But when that stranger declared that he would protect the child’s life with his own, Mando agreed to part with his powerful community, telling him, “Who do you belong with? He’s one of you, “added,” I’ll see you again. I promise. “Then, when Din took off his helmet at the child’s insistence, the expression on Pascal’s face added volume to the mere 10 words to come.” All right, mate. It’s time to go, “he said, as the big ones Eyes of the child saw the true face of his protector, which his little hand then touched. “Don’t be afraid.” This is the way … to our hearts.
AWARD | The most groundbreaking aspect of Lifetime’s first LGBTQ vacation film, The Christmas Setup, wasn’t that it featured a gay couple. It was really very good. Yes, all the Christmas tropes were present and omitted, but there was real warmth instead of cheese, and a large part of the leisurely earnings goes to Fran Drescher. Drescher’s Kate played the mother of a gay son (Arrow’s adorable neurotic Ben Lewis) and supported him without deceiving, loving but not suppressing. And when her pride and joy found love under the proverbial mistletoe with his high school crush (played by Lewis’ passed out husband Blake Lee), Drescher layered the undisguised joy of her alter ego with notes of genuine happiness. Drescher gave us a true Christmas miracle in a sea of indistinguishable, outstanding film matrices: a real person.
AWARD | JK Simmons only had one scene in The Stand’s opening hour, but for our money it was the most compelling of the episode. As General Starkey, the enigmatic and little-seen soldier who oversaw a CDC facility in Vermont, Simmons brought with him a ceremony that pained our hearts for this character we had just met. With no more men to command – they were all dead from the Captain Trips virus that Starkey himself had contracted – the general was both determined and devastated by the impending death. Simmon’s recitation of the Yeats poem “The Second Coming” is one of the most exciting line readings of the year today, and the tears in his eyes as Starkey prepared to commit suicide softened a man we initially considered intimidating and powerful looked at. Of the many characters who died in the first hour of The Stand, Starkey quickly became the one we will miss the most, largely due to Simmons’ episode heist.
Which performance (s) blew your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!