THE PERFORMER | Zoe Kravitz
THE SHOW | Big Little Lies
THE EPISODE | “The Bad Mother” (July 14, 2019)
THE PERFORMANCE | All season long on HBO’s addictive drama, Bonnie has been like a simmering pot of emotions slowly but surely heating up, as she wrestled with her guilty conscience over Perry’s death. This week, she hit her boiling point, and Kravitz was mesmerizing as she unleashed a torrent of repressed feelings, not only from the past year, but spanning her entire life.
Bonnie has been restless and haunted throughout Season 2, her eyes tired, perpetually squirming in her seat, the lies seemingly eating away at her from the inside. This week, she sat alone next to her ailing mom’s hospital bed, and Kravitz had a steely determination in her face as Bonnie decided that “it’s time… I have to confess something that I’m not so proud of.” She began by berating her unresponsive mother for physically abusing her as a child, for ruining her self-worth and her future relationships, and Kravitz brought a stunning fragility to Bonnie’s confession, choking back tears. But she took it to another level as Bonnie confessed to pushing Perry down those stairs — “when I lunged at him, I was pushing you… and that push was a long time coming” — her voice becoming steadier as Bonnie could just feel that huge burden lifting off of her shoulders.
Big Little Lies is ridiculously blessed with great performances, and Kravitz might not even get any Emmy attention next to her more celebrated co-stars. But Bonnie has been an essential part of the show’s central storyline — the Monterey Five’s nagging conscience, you might say — and Kravitz proved this week that she has the chops to stand alongside any one of them.
HONORABLE MENTION | No matter what, Fear the Walking Dead fans would have been horrified by Alicia’s slim chances of surviving her brush with radioactive zombie splatter; since mom Madison’s demise, the heroine has been the show’s biggest badass. But portrayer Alycia Debnam-Carey still went and turned our anguish up to 11 by giving an altogether heartrending performance in Sunday’s episode. Every syllable that she spoke as Alicia pleaded with young Annie (Bailey Gavulic, a real find) to accept her help carried the weight of the character’s blood-soaked past. Hell, every growler that she felled on behalf of the kids was steeped in remorse. So when the hour — and Debnam-Carey’s tour de force — ended with Alicia wondering how long she had left, we were as stricken as she refused to admit she was.
HONORABLE MENTION | Hard as it was for Krypton’s Seg to process Lyta’s murder at the hands of Jax, Colin Salmon made quite clear how deeply the loss affected the deceased’s son. We’re still shook from Zod bellowing upon realizing the citizenry was still “watching repeats of my mother’s execution” on the PBS. Val then felt Zod’s wrath when a plan to censure Jax fell way short in her son’s eyes. “Perhaps you doubt that I possess the capacity for large-scale destruction?” challenged Zod, Salmon’s eyes signaling a need for vengeance. “That would be unwise.” That rage was stoked when Zod acquired the means to jerry-rig a WOMD. Zod’s armourer warned that the Big Gun may be imperfect, but the general would not be deterred. “I will test it in the field,” he asserted, before marching off to do just that — against the ultimate target, Doomsday.
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