THE PERFORMER | Jeffrey Dean Morgan
THE SHOW | The Walking Dead
THE EPISODE | “Here’s Negan” (April 4, 2021)
THE PERFORMANCE | It’s an odd testomony to how persistently superlative Morgan’s work is on The Walking Dead that we have by no means earlier than acknowledged it in this column. Instead of asserting, “Wow, that was wonderful! We should single it out!” we have all the time mentioned, in essence, “Ah, there goes JDM being JDM, sensible as all the time.”
That grievous oversight is on us.
Thankfully, in the AMC drama’s Season 10 finale, Morgan was given a showcase that was too nice to be shrugged off. In flashbacks to Negan’s marriage to Lucille —the lady (well-played by Morgan’s real-life spouse, Hilarie Burton Morgan), not the bat that he finally named after her —the actor superbly illuminated sides of his iconic character that we might hardly ever if ever seen. The mild aspect. The candy aspect. The unsure aspect, as regretful and afraid as anybody’s.
Particularly spectacular was the vulnerability that Morgan dropped at Negan’s interactions along with his cancer-stricken missus. Utterly absent in these moments was the wisecracking alpha d–okay who as soon as bludgeoned Abraham and Glenn to demise — after which laughed about it. In his place was a delicate soul humbled by Lucille’s love and ashamed of his shortcomings.
This man would’ve, as we did, cried watching the episode. He would’ve been left a sobbing mess by the positivity that Morgan radiated as Negan, attempting to distract from the results of Lucille’s chemo remedy, held her shut and softly sang “You Are So Beautiful.” And he would’ve been scared s–tless by the emergence of the Negan we first met again in Season 6.
After Lucille’s higher half did not make it house with substitute chemo therapies in time to avoid wasting her, Morgan gave a efficiency that was nothing in need of stunning. We’ve by no means been knifed in the abdomen, however we will think about it feeling a bit like watching him rework Negan from ne’er-do-well man baby right into a gleeful killer who sees the world via blood-red-tinted glasses.
In the top, our hearts had been left as demolished as the pinnacle of the biker who’d value Negan treasured time. Morgan had made them race. He’d made them ache. He’d made them really feel as a lot as an hour of tv presumably might. So possibly it was OK that we might by no means acknowledged his Walking Dead work beforehand. He’d deserved plaudits, for certain. But arguably, he’d by no means deserved them extra.
HONORABLE MENTION | The brilliance of Shantel VanSanten’s work in this week’s For All Mankind was the refreshing lack of disgrace that she dropped at Karen Baldwin’s tryst together with her BFF’s college-age son Danny (GLOW‘s Casey W. Johnson). Her alter ego wanted this roll in the hay, and VanSanten (of One Tree Hilland TheBoys fame) exquisitely rendered that overwhelming thirst when she demanded horn canine Danny “cease speaking” and begin kissing her. When issues began to spiral post-coital, VanSanten’s Karen remained in full management, informing the hopelessly lovestruck post-pubescent that their impulsive romp was a one-time factor, whereas on the similar time conveying glimpses of remorse and concern for unwittingly main him on. “It was nice — you had been nice,” she assured the oh-so-fragile Danny, VanSanten layering her phrases with a maternal heat, earlier than deftly shifting into tough-love mode with a assured, stern and unmistakable, “But it is over.”
HONORABLE MENTION | Yes, Billy Magnussen’s Made for Love tech billionaire Byron Gogol is controlling, manipulative and hopelessly narcissistic… however he can lay on the attraction, too, as we realized this week once we flashed again to Hazel and Byron’s first date. Byron swept her off her ft, whisking her away on a virtual-reality tour of your complete globe, and due to Magnussen’s romantic aptitude, we might lastly perceive why Hazel fell for Byron in the primary place. But Magnussen — who’s been making us giggle ever since he popped up as Kato Kaelin in The People v. O.J. Simpson — additionally let Byron’s creepy aspect peek via, and it bloomed totally when an obsessed Byron angrily flailed about on the lookout for a technique to win Hazel again. (He must study what donut holes are first, although.) Made for Love has a uniquely offbeat tone, however the cast is nailing it to this point, and Magnussen’s hilariously dense, genuinely scary efficiency is actually one in a billion.
HONORABLE MENTION | As The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Zemo has instructed, Sam sees Karli Morgenthau as only a “child” who might be reasoned with — and possibly she can be. But make no mistake, Karli’s wheels are all the time turning, as Erin Kellyman makes clear in each scene. Episode 4 of the Disney+ sequence toggled between either side of the Flag Smashers chief, exhibiting her combating the choice to place extra Super Soldiers into the world… but in addition cooly hitting Sam’s sister with an unveiled menace. We noticed Karli converse fondly of the late Mama Donya and all that the group chief had finished for these displaced by the Blip, after which she gave Sam a correct viewers. But we additionally gasped when she scurried away like a rat after by chance killing a hero. If Karli and her rhetoric are laborious to pin down, it is as a result of Kellyman ably imbues the terrori–, sorry, freedom fighter, with nuanced layers.
Which efficiency(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!