Sunday, March 6, 2016

Series: This Week's TV MVPs - Week 30

We're back at it again, friends! Welcome to another week in the TV MVP Series — our 30th, actually! This week we got the chance to see some fantastic dramatic work on television, as well as some really great late night television hosts delivering truth tea by the gallon. Without any further ado, let's check out our TV MVPs this week. And joining me are:

  • The marvelous mama and friend, Mer
  • My world-traveler, Lizzie
  • The delightful and adorable Isabella

Let's get to it, friends!


Jenn's MVP: Patrick J. Adams as Mike Ross (Suits)

Why he's the MVP: This week was the Suits finale, and in spite of the fact that we have spent five years waiting for Mike Ross to get caught for fraud, have experienced countless near-misses and constantly wondered when the law would catch up to him, "25th Hour" finally gave us the answer we have been building toward since the pilot. Mike Ross was sent to prison at the end of this season finale, and while that moment should have been the least surprising moment in the show's history, it was startlingly emotional. That was because of Patrick J. Adams' performance.

Occasionally I will forget that Mike Ross is supposed to be the protagonist of this show. I generally forget this because so often Suits functions really well as an ensemble drama, focusing on the dynamics between the partners. But what "25th Hour" demonstrated was just how stellar Patrick is as Mike. He carried the entire emotional weight of this episode on his shoulders and navigated every scene with such ease — from the pent-up aggression during his fight with Harvey to the heartbreaking conversation with Rachel on their wedding day, and finally to the resignation with which he walks into prison. Patrick doesn't get nearly enough credit for his work on this show in general, and I can't praise him enough for making Mike so completely human and accessible in this episode. Suits' entire premise is built on the fact that Mike is a fraud and even though he helps people, we are asked to contemplate whether we think he's a good person. And in spite of the fact that he has done some things I disagree with, I've always liked Mike.

But this was the episode in which I finally saw him clearly for the first time — all of his pain and anguish; all of his fear over going to jail; all of his stoicism and loyalty. Mike loves the people he works with and this episode was so amazing because we got the chance to see his devotion and loyalty. Patrick played every nuance and beat of Mike's emotional development as the episode progressed so well. I started crying when he walked into the prison, and I wasn't sure why until I realized something: Patrick J. Adams made me genuinely care about something I've seen coming for five years. He raised the stakes and he brought to life a character who — in the hands of a lesser actor — would have bee stale by this point. He made me root for Mike even though I knew he was in the wrong.

Thank you, Patrick J. Adams and thank you Suits.

Lizzie’s MVP: Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein (Legends of Tomorrow)

Why he’s the MVP: Dr. Martin Stein saved the day in this week's episode — by himself. Not as Firestorm, not with superpowers, but with his brain and a gun. And he did all this all in a beret. I cannot underscore the importance of the beret. You can be cool, and then you can be "Victor Garber in a beret cool," okay? Those are just two different levels of cool.

Legends of Tomorrow is a very complex, complicated... oh, who am I kidding? This is a messy show, whose nonexistent plot lends itself to great character moments. I’m serious. All they have right now with the show are the great character moments — what else are they gonna do? And this week, it was Victor Garber’s turn to save the day as Stein.

Victor Garber is one of those amazing actors who’s convincing at anything he does and any character he plays. CIA agent? Check. Double-maybe-tripe agent? We’re good. Lawyer? Yes. Superhero? Why not? Seriously, Victor Garber brings certain legitimacy and depth to Legends of Tomorrow than a lesser actor just wouldn’t. He plays the role of a very smart man, who just happens to be half of a superhero, and there’s total conviction in his performance that every other character in the show should envy. He doesn’t just play Martin Stein — he is Martin Stein. And that’s why, when he shows up to save his incompetent captain Rip Hunter and superhero buddy, armed with a big gun and a beret, as an audience member, you just roll with it.

That’s what Victor Garber does.


Mer’s MVP: John Oliver as himself (Last Week Tonight)

Why he’s the MVP: This past week, John Oliver used his weekly show, Last Week Tonight, to issue the epic take-down of Donald Trump that liberals have been waiting for. Not only was he hilarious, as always, but he was also on point, savage, and unrelenting. Oliver addressed, in detail, a number of Trump’s claims about himself and his business, and essentially obliterated them all, proving Trump to be a liar — among other things.

The clarity, thoroughness, humor, and wit with which Oliver delivered his take-down has left many (rightfully, in my opinion) hailing him as the country’s best journalist. But he’s a comedian. Not a journalist. He addressed issues and put forth facts in a way that mainstream media has failed to do thus far, identifying a number of areas where Trump has made false claims. Without rehashing all of them, Oliver shattered Trump’s claims that he is independent and self-funded, dissected his supposed rampant success as a businessman, proved he’s not quite as tough as he makes himself out to be, and very obviously demonstrated that Trump has lied about being asked to appear on Oliver’s own show.

The most impressive part of John Oliver’s epic Trump take-down isn’t the clear, in-depth, well-researched manner in which it was presented — though that is, in and of itself, incredibly impressive. No, the most impressive part is that Oliver delivered this segment — which when you think about it is actually quite scary in that this is likely a man who will soon be a presidential nominee — while making people laugh. The absurdity of some of the things Oliver discussed about Trump would make people laugh regardless, but Oliver added his unique and unmatched deadpan style to the segment, making it relatable and entertaining while still delivering serious blows to Trump’s character (and, one can hope, campaign).

This segment is must-see TV for anyone who is interested in politics, wants to know more about Trump, and enjoys being entertained. John Oliver is always funny and on-point, tackling important issues with humor and wit on the regular. But this particular segment takes the cake, and for doing what nobody else has dared to do yet, John Oliver is this week’s TV MVP.


Isabella’s MVP: Alycia Debnam-Carey as Commander Lexa (The 100)

Why she’s the MVP: I don’t think I can even do a good job of portraying how amazing of an actress Alycia’s been as Lexa these past two seasons, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Lexa’s been an incredibly divisive character among the fandom. She’s been loved and she’s been hated. But I’m pretty sure there’s one thing we can all agree on: Alycia has played Lexa incredibly and for that, the LGBT+ community is forever grateful.

This week’s episode focused entirely on Polis and the events that led to the radiation of the entire world, but the standout performance came from Alycia. It’s incredible how Alycia depicted every possible emotion in the span of an episode — visible shaking anger at the mention of Costia from Titus, quiet vulnerability as she says goodbye to Clarke, anxious relief as tears stream down her face while kissing Clarke, utter happiness while in bed with Clarke, strong determination as she gives her last commands to Titus, courageous fear as she realizes this is her last time looking at the woman she loves.

I knew Lexa was going to get shot before the episode aired at my time, but that didn’t stop the chills from appearing on my arms and the hot tears from running down my cheeks. I know a lot of people were angry at the way that Lexa was killed, and even about the fact that she was killed off at all, but Alycia really brought it during the death scene. These last few moments between Lexa and Clarke are some of the most beautifully honest moments I’ve seen on TV. It hurts even more that in one moment, we were able to see Lexa at her happiest and in the next moment, at her most vulnerable.

Alycia will be successful in every role she’ll ever play. She proved it in The 100 and is continuing to prove it in Fear the Walking Dead.

I know that Lexa’s death hurts and I know so many are mourning her. But I also encourage those same people to take the time to appreciate Alycia and the work she’s done as Lexa. She’s connected with so many people through her acting. She deserves all the praise she gets.

Reshop, Heda. May we meet again.

Who made your cut for TV MVP this week? Hit up the comments below and let us know!


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