THE ARTIST | Michael C. Hall
THE SHOW | Dexter: new blood
THE EPISODE | “The Sins of the Father” (January 9, 2022)
THE PERFORMANCE | In the final of Dexter: new blood, viewers finally got to say goodbye to the brutal but beloved serial killer, and (MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!) the character’s swansong was only made possible through Hall’s masterclass of a performance.
The frantic hour gave Hall the freedom to flex both ends of his character’s spectrum, from the fake “Jim Lindsay” shock at Angela’s police work, to Dexter’s more evil tendencies that emerged after his arrest for murder. Once the reality of being unmasked as the Bay Harbor Butcher sank, he was forced to rely on his most cunning talents, which sadly led to the tragic but necessary death of Sgt. Logan.
Hall possessed every iota of Dexter’s monstrous nature, including his ability to easily ignore his broken code. After playing the tortured killer for nine seasons, Hall has perfected the art of rapid behavior change. His fiery, angry eyes spoke volumes, as did his commanding presence and body language. And when it came time to pack an emotional punch, the actor was more than up for the challenge, with his jailbreak serving as an appetizer to the episode’s main course: his final showdown with his son Harrison.
After the teen figured out that Dexter had abandoned his code and tricked Logan into escaping, father and son running off into the sunset was no longer an option. During the complex and heavy scene, Hall juggled her character’s feelings of panic, determination, fear and, most surprisingly, love. Harrison had seen his father for the monster he truly was, and moments before the boy shot and killed him, the titular villain told us in voiceover, “I never really felt like love. True love…until now. Even though its end was inevitable, the acceptance strewn over Hall’s face was heartbreaking, yes, but also beautiful to behold.
Were we happy to see the malevolent killer finally put down, or were we inclined to mourn the loss of one of Peak TV’s most compelling and wealthy antiheroes? Maybe it was a bit of both. But thanks to Hall’s terrific comeback, we won’t soon forget Dexter’s cheeky blaze. It’s the ending we – and he – truly deserve.
HONORABLE MENTION | Like queens‘say anything Lauren, aka Lil Muffin, Pepi Sonuga often provides comic relief from musical drama. But this week’s episode, in which Lauren admitted she was assaulted by a male music producer years before, found Sonuga on new ground with the character – and we loved what we saw. Sonuga showed off her range as Lauren was, by turns, resigned, resentful, ashamed and hurt by the way the industry professional had taken advantage of her. The part that struck the most? When Sonuga made Lauren whisper through bitter tears that the most difficult aspect of her ordeal was reconciling her inclination to protect her attacker. It was a difficult scene, incredibly well acted.
HONORABLE MENTION | Bridget Donovan’s tragedy was Kerris Dorsey’s triumph in Ray Donovan: the movie. In the wake of Season 7’s murder of her husband Smitty, Bridget drew a long-awaited line in the sand with her criminally inclined father and conniving siblings, giving Dorsey her best showcase yet. With the actress’ tear-drenched eyes expressing a mixture of anguish and exhaustion, Bridget interrupted their booze-fueled revelry with a simple question, “Why is it so easy for you to forget?” When she accused them of treating her unthinkable loss as a misadventure, they just have to ‘water it like someone’s life is just another bull tale to tell’, the face of Dorsey filled with rage. In the end, Bridget ended her family’s endless cycle of insensitivity by killing the madman in the middle of it all, her grandfather Mickey. “It had to stop,” she cried, Dorsey layering each word with the conviction of a performer twice her age. “It had to end.”
HONORABLE MENTION | Glynn Turman’s resemblance to Mose Wright, Emmett Till’s uncle, is uncanny. However, the accomplished actor isn’t resting on his likeness in the ABC limited series. Women of the Movement, which deconstructs how Till’s brutal and senseless lynching in 1955 galvanized the civil rights movement. Turman convinced us he’s a man with over 60 years of racial oppression resting on his hunched shoulders from the way he looked away from his character, muttered and completely compressed himself in deference to white people in all ages in order to survive. Wright’s instinct for self-preservation took a back seat when he became the first black man in Mississippi to testify against white men. Her portrayal brought this unwavering act of bravery to life with a slightly shaky but still determined pointing finger and enough volcanic contempt to slap a witness in frustration. With these gestures, Turman powerfully personified how the well-meaning elder couldn’t save Till’s life, but he was willing to risk his own for justice.
Which performance(s) made you crack up this week? Tell us in the comments!