THE PERFORMER | Sofia Vergara
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THE SHOW | Netflix’s Griselda
THE EPISODE | “Paradise Lost” (Jan. 25, 2023)
THE PERFORMANCE | Remember when Breaking Bad came out and everyone was like, “Wait, Bryan Cranston isn’t just funny. He’s also… incredible?” Well, it’s time for us to embark on a similar journey with Vergara, who turns in a career-defining performance as the titular drug lord in Netflix’s true-crime drama Griselda.
Never again to be thought of as simply a comedic powerhouse, the Modern Family star fully disappears into the role of real-life cocaine queen Griselda Blanco, infusing the murderous mobster with the fearless ferocity of a loving mother seeking a better life for herself and her children. (Not to mention a wardrobe fit for Alexis Carrington.)
The only thing more entertaining than watching Griselda claw her way to the top of Miami’s criminal underworld is watching her completely unravel, which is exactly where the limited series’ fifth episode finds her, indulging in an explosive cocktail of power and paranoia. Just ask her husband, whose birthday ends with Griselda lighting up his beloved car, then forcing random party guests to have sex at gunpoint. Gloria Pritchett would never.
Whether she’s silently sucking down a cigarette while contemplating her next power move, or choking out her no-good rat of a best friend on the floor of her gorgeous walk-in closet, Griselda is a woman of extremes, a roller coaster of complexity that Vergara rides with both arms proudly raised.
Vergara’s unwavering commitment and out-of-left-field gravitas elevates Griselda to one of those rare edge-of-your-seat TV experiences. If you don’t yell at the screen at least once during this episode, you’re not watching hard enough.
Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…
HONORABLE MENTION: Todd Lasance and Georgina Haig
As NCIS: Sydney wrapped its season, Todd Lasance and guest star Georgina Haig were like chocolate and peanut butter — each oh-so-good in their own right, and then damn delicious together. Upon the abduction of JD’s son, Lasance shed his lawman’s laid back demeanor and ratcheted up the intensity, leaving us seconding his every emotion. (When that van went boom with maybe Jack inside? Our hearts dropped right along with the distraught dad’s.) Haig, meanwhile, made a meal of her encore as “Ana Niemus,” weaving in and out of accents and being wickedly evasive in the interrogation room. (TV’s erstwhile Etta/Elsa as a chilling villain? Sold!) As the finale built to its climax and JD warily aligned himself with Ana, Lasance and Haig shared a special chemistry that had you rooting for their unlikely team-up. And when JD finally got to give Jack an “all clear” hug? Lasance had our hearts cheering. — Matt Webb Mitovich
HONORABLE MENTION: Nicole Kidman
Playing a mother who endures the tragic disappearance of her youngest child, Nicole Kidman did what she does best: she delivered. In the premiere of Amazon’s Expats, her character Margaret had already suffered the loss, giving the actress ample opportunity to showcase a wide spectrum of emotions. She was both lost and sullen as she tried to pick up her family’s pieces, yet overly sentimental when it came to her other kids. Before even knowing the details, we strongly sensed her dark feelings of longing. When she later spotted the woman responsible for losing the boy, Kidman’s body tensed and her eyes widened, as Margaret grew manic. The nightmarish event had yet to unfold before our eyes, but Kidman’s stellar performance teed up the devastation to come, putting every empathetic bone in our bodies on high alert. —Nick Caruso
Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in the comments!
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