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This Week’s Most Noteworthy Performance

February 5-11
“They Came First” | Emerald City
Adria Arjona 

Adria Arjona continues to shine beautifully as the best Dorothy in my book thus far. The characters strikingly raw emotions cobbled with the way she rises to challenges are outstanding. There’s never been a dull moment on Emerald City so far, but in this week’s episode Arjona broke me with the organic display of adoration cobbled with great strength even in the presence of intense fears.

In “They Came First” Arjona’s Dorothy went through a plethora of disparate emotions allowing the Arjona to rise gorgeously as an actress. For instant, at the realization that Sylvie’s in real danger, Arjona’s display of acute panic was met with a raw, mother like force that showcased immense adoration. Sylvie may not be Dorothy’s, but that doesn’t mean she sees her as anything but hers. And while the scene in the meadow would’ve been enough to land Arjona on this list, it’s the heartache Arjona wore throughout the episode that’s left me most in awe. Even while Lucas was professing his feelings to her, you could tell she was uneasy — she is broken. She cares deeply for him, but Kansas is still on the back of her mind. She is safe in his arms, but she is still worrying about Sylvie and who’d take her away from them. Dorothy has yet to find serenity, and Arjona makes it clear that the character’s mind is often in a battlefield.

It’s easy to care about Dorothy because Arjona’s portrayal ceaselessly manages to showcase the character’s heart everywhere. It’s in her eyes. It’s in her smile. And it’s been an absolute delight to watch her character grow because whatever challenge is presented, Arjona rises beyond it.

Honorable Mention: 

“Chapter Fifty-Four” | Jane the Virgin 
Gina Rodriguez 

I don’t watch Jane the Virgin (I know, I know. I’ll get to it one day. It’s a must.), but when an actress can evoke real, heart wrenching emotions through “gifs” and then force you to go watch the scene, you know they’ve done superlative work. Rodriguez’s cries were daunting — achingly realistic. Even without the context of what’s happening, you knew right away that whatever it is, it destroyed her. It broke her. And that cry was as organic as it gets. For Rodriguez to sell it so intricately that even those who aren’t aware feel pain is truly impeccable. Unbeatable, actually. Because sometimes, no matter how intense the scene, in silence, you can’t feel it as effortlessly, but for her to manage that speaks wonders. It reveals that whatever she’s feeling, she’s experiencing it with every fiber of her being. The cries would’ve been enough reason to give her constant praise, but because the breakdown was evocative in silence, too, Rodriguez’s work makes the performance groundbreaking.

“I Remember Her Now” | Chicago P.D.
Jesse Lee Soffer

How is Jesse Lee Soffer’s performance not the subject of discussion everywhere is beyond me. Granted it was a fantastic week of marvelous performances on television, but Soffer’s undoubtedly deserving of recognition as he continues to thrive as an actor just as his character grows. In “I Remember Her Now”, Soffer needed to portray his character portraying another character and whatever was required of him only showcased Jay Halstead’s honor that much more. As Jay experienced a young woman throwing herself on him as an act of survival, Soffer conveyed brokeness weaved intricately with discomfort perfectly.

And as we’d mentioned in our review earlier this week.

“While that raw discomfort would’ve been enough to showcase fantastic acting, it was the work he did back at the unit that floored me. When Jay makes it clear that nothing happened in Brady, Soffer holds nothing back. He goes with full force weaved intricately with a restraint that’s clearly stemmed from the pain and disbelief. And in response to “no one here is accusing you”, Jay firing back with “it also doesn’t sound like anyone’s defending me” was the spectacle of an exceptional performance. In that moment, Soffer was at his strongest — baring frustration, disappointment, and agony with ample pain in his voice and weariness in his posture. If it wasn’t already clear that this case took everything out of Jay, Soffer crystallizes it faultlessly in this moment.”

It also felt right that he’d defend himself because Jay’s the kind of person who’s already so distraught by everything that’s happening, it’s the disbelief that makes him uneasy even where he’s supposed to feel at home. What he’s seen and what he’s experienced are heartrending to him. As someone who’s meant to protect, for a moment, he was defenseless. He was at a loss. Until he got things right with the killer, no part of this was going to be easy on him. And Soffer made sure the audience could feel every bit of his emotions.

Who were your favorite performers of the week?

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