“Smashley Rose” | Blindspotting
Jasmine Cephas Jones
Jasmine Cephas Jones is back to reprise her role as Ashley Jones, and she’s already one of our favorite performers on TV right now. Blindspotting is one of the best films we’ve all watched in recent years, but dare I say, I might start loving the show even more later on. It’s safe to assume most of us are now addicted to it, right?
In the latest episode “Smashley Rose,” Jasmine Cephas Jones brings her A-game with a scene so cathartic, there could not have been a single viewer who didn’t feel every ounce of what Ashley was feeling in that moment. Cephas Jones’ poetic delivery was masterful in and of itself, but the breakdown was remarkably transformative.
We have written about scenes like this in the past for Noteworthy Performances, and something we’ve always said is that if a scene in this fashion is featured, then it’s indeed groundbreaking. It’s a scene that could have easily been overdone if the character were not fully embodied, but instead, Cephas Jones brought a myriad of emotions to the surface impeccably.
First, it’s crucial to mention that I will always appreciate women being given the chance to portray moments of catharsis like this because we don’t get them often. It’s also crucial to mention that when it has happened previously, it isn’t always to service the story or to help the character grow, but rather to mock us as women.
Thankfully that is not the case with Ashley’s moment in “Smashley Rose” because this is a scene all about the evident injustices within America’s court system, and the unfair privilege geared towards those who are both rich and white.
You felt every ounce of Ashley’s pain because Cephas Jones’ performance was raw, nuanced, and full of harrowing depth. Cephas Jones was speaking deep from Ashley’s core, and when her tone started changing after each smash, you saw the shifts in her physicality too. You saw just how worn-out she is, how deeply frustrated, and how achingly desperate for a change—something, anything to alter the outcome of the verdict, and thus, their lives.
The framing around each of Ashley’s smashes allowed the audience to see inside the character’s hollowness so closely, it’s part of the reason the scene was so riveting. The audience got to see the amount of heart and emotions that Cephas Jones was touching on. When you looked into her eyes during the entirety of the episode, Cephas Jones was speaking the entire time. And in this scene especially, she was screaming and crying—both verbally and internally.
The performance was deeply evocative and brilliant for a myriad of reasons, but primarily because of how acutely Cephas Jones embodied the character. Through every smash, you felt her pain and through every word, you heard her weariness.
Cephas Jones’ performance fueled the scene masterfully making it heartbreaking, captivating, and the kind of scene I have a feeling we’re all going to be talking about for a while.