EXECUTIVE | Edie Falco
SHOWET | FXs Supreme Court Case: American Crime Story
THE EPISODEN | “Stand by your husband” (October 26, 2021)
THE PERFORMANCE | As First Lady Hillary Clinton, Falco was so rarely seen in Supreme Court cases first few episodes made us wonder why an esteemed actress like Falco would sign on to such a small role. Well, after this week’s episode, we’m no longer wondering: Falco finally got the spotlight and delivered a seismically amazing performance, where he expertly channels Hillary’s rage when the full extent of Bill Clinton’s betrayal became clear.
The episode flashed back to show us how Hillary had stood by Bill when women previously accused him of sexual misconduct, with Falco calling for a steadfast loyalty while Hillary methodically defended her husband, her full-time legal education. But when Bill confessed that he “slid up” with Monica Lewinsky in a scene in a private bedroom, Hillary exploded on him, with Falco dissolving into tears and shooting back at his touch. As the Clinton family traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate Bill’s birthday, Falco kept her face dead still, while Bill told a story about Hillary, as if she refused to admit how hurt she was. But later she read up on Bill, threw a vase of flowers in his head and cursed him out, “You made me look stupid, and I hate you for it.” (Their domestic strife was reminiscent of another major Falco appearance: as Carmela Soprano, who traded wild barbs with her husband Tony in the classic Sopranos section “Whitecaps.”)
In the final moments of the episode, Hillary walked down the stairs of her vacation home to stand alone on the beach and stare out at the waves, and Falco managed to convey decades of pain and anger without saying a word. It’s not easy to find something fresh to say about a story as overexposed as the Lewinsky scandal, but it just points to what a talented performer Falco is: She took a story we’ve heard a thousand times and found a way to tell it on. to us for the first time.
HONORABLE MENTION | Of course, it was great to see Larry David back again, as Fight your enthusiasm returned for season 11 this week, but it was even better to see Jon Hamm return to get an extra number of his fun guest spot last season. That Crazy Men alum was best when he told Larry about the poor reception his film character based on Larry got (“The word that kept popping up was ‘disgusting'”) and annoyed him with his newly learned Yiddish language. He then used that language to attack Albert Brooks for hoarding COVID supplies: “A shanda!” We see ourselves in wishing for more Hamm performances Curbstones, but perhaps it is best that they are rare – and therefore all the more delightful.
HONORABLE MENTION | “Funny friends” also feel pain. This is what happened to Natasha Rothwell’s Kelli during the season 5 premiere of Insecure. Self-ironic laughter softened the blow when Stanford initially mistaken Kelli for death at her 10-year college reunion. Hollow memories of generic purse-bearing and Stanky-Leg dance moves, however, turned Rothwell’s usually cheerful face into an acidity so heavy that all she could do was palm her chin and roll her eyes in disgust on behalf of Kelli. The Emmy-nominated producer’s alter ego longing for sympathy conveyed a story of formerly marching band buds who reductively remembered her kale allergy and failed to pay tribute. As her girls reacted to the story with giggles and ribbery, a ridiculously convincing Rothwell made Kelli stare out the car window and mumble worriedly, “Is everything I do a joke for you?” Snarkiness confirmed that fear – in the first place. But the next morning at brunch, the same well-meaning boyfriends greeted Kelli lovingly and filled Rothwell’s expressive eyes with tears of relief and satisfaction.
HONORABLE MENTION | Brendan Fraser’s character on Doom Patrol may exist within a mechanical framework, but there was nothing robotic about his performance in Thursday’s episode that found him behaving towards himself as both human and machine. The band’s latest vision quest forced everyone to confront the dark secrets hidden in their subconscious, a journey Fraser navigated with heart and humility, all the while maintaining Cliff’s distinctive screw-it-all flare. From his character’s moments of quiet reflection – including the devastating recollection of his wife’s death – to the unbridled rage he rightfully directed at himself, Fraser managed every blow, making Cliff’s misery an unexpected pleasure to watch.