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This Week’s Most Noteworthy Performance: Jennifer Aniston

November 14-20
“Fever” | The Morning Show
Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy in The Morning Show "Fever"
©Apple TV+
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Jennifer Aniston was incredible in The Morning Show’s first season, but she is something else entirely in season two. And she is especially transcendent in the season two finale, “Fever.” I was so profoundly uncomfortable watching her struggle through the fever and body aches, and it’s not because I’m a hypochondriac, but because Aniston was so achingly raw, it was hard to separate the actress from the character.

And where Aniston brought the fever to life with such accuracy, it’s the UBA+ conversation that I’m most in awe of. The facets of Alex Levy that Jennifer Aniston touches on, the heartaches, the mistakes, the rage, the indifference—she bares it all throughout the episode. Where Aniston didn’t say a word, her expressions told the audience everything we needed to know. The heart, the humor, the quick changes in her tone, the desires. Aniston put everything she could out into the open with such haunting nuances it made it easy for us to escape with her.

“I hope you do. I really do. I think all you can do is act like you believe it matters—you know, treat people like you like to be treated, and hope that it matters. Hope that you’re wrong about knowing that there is no next plane of existence, hope that you can reach enlightenment and know that the unknowable, and stop being…afraid of….”  

Alex Levy, The Morning Show

At that moment, in that split second where she closes her eyes for a moment and sighs, Aniston makes Alex look so small—so afraid of…everything, and cutting her off there makes for such an incredible scene because it’s what allows Aniston to do the talking. It’s what allows the performance to tell us so much more than what the words do because Alex has never been this afraid. And Aniston makes sure we understand that.

She makes sure the audience can see that Alex is truly trying—she’s fighting, and she’s listening. She’s giving everything she has to get out of her own head even while she’s comfortable there. And it’s every single one of those emotions that counts to create something mesmerizing. The breathless states of anguish she touches upon as a result of both COVID-19 and fear are utterly haunting. The layers she’s chipping away at and the masks she’s taking on and off make for the kind of scenes that are enamoring from beginning to end.

Jennifer Aniston makes the lessons clear to understand by showing us just how hard it is for Alex Levy to grapple with her complexities, the complexities in the world, and everything in between. She brilliantly exhibits that this woman is fighting her hardest to make something in her life have meaning even as she convinces herself that she is okay as is. But Alex Levy is far from okay, she is far from innocent, and she doesn’t know how to deal with any of it.

In scenes that required Aniston to dig deeper than she’s probably ever had to for Alex, she delivers with the kind of compelling performances that are worthy of frame-by-frame analysis. She escapes so poignantly into the scenes that when you look into Alex Levy’s eyes throughout the episode, Aniston is tirelessly showing us so much of what’s within the character. In scenes that asked for painfully potent displays of physical and emotional pain, Jennifer Aniston didn’t miss a single beat in showing us every little detail that matters.

There are no words, there are too many words, and there aren’t enough words. Jennifer Aniston brought to our screens one of the strongest performances to date, and next year’s Emmy undoubtedly belongs to her.

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