Performer of the Week: Shawn Hatosy

THE PERFORMER | Shawn Hatosy

THE SHOW | Animal Kingdom

THE EPISODE |  “Family Business” (Aug. 8, 2021)

THE PERFORMANCE | Few and far between are the instances in which we’ve been writing a recap or review and gotten choked up. In those moments, we’re generally so focused on taking notes that it’s hard to get completely swept away. But the work that Hatosy did in Sunday’s Animal Kingdom was so visceral and heartrending, we couldn’t help but break down.

All in all, it was a superlative hour for the actor. First, he went from playing Pope’s shock at learning of the death of Angela, with whom he’d always associate his late sister Julia, to his confusion at coming face to face after many years with Pam, who in his childhood had been a better mother to him than Smurf. Then, Hatosy imbued his character with the relentlessness of a bullet fired as he pursued the deadbeat that he believed could’ve saved Angela, only to realize that his rage stemmed as much from Smurf’s indifference to Julia.

But where Hatosy really got us was in his final scene, as Pope confessed to brother Deran why he had to leave. At first, he was his usual, reticent self — a pressure cooker at arm’s length. As Deran pushed, though, Pope revealed what was tearing him up beneath the surface, Hatosy gradually bringing down the wall that protected his alter ego from truly being seen. “I’m looking for ghosts,” he said, incredulous. “I’m hearing voices. I’m hearing Smurf’s voice in my head.

“Everywhere I look,” he went on, anguish overtaking his tone, “I see her everywhere!”

It was a stunning piece of work, as raw as a bruise too tender to touch. After watching it — repeatedly — we could no more have denied Hatosy the distinction of being Performer of the Week than we could have kept our eyes from welling up.

HONORABLE MENTION | Some of the amusing moments from The Good Fight‘s rock-solid fifth season have been watching the confident, self-assured lawyers at Reddick Lockhart react with utter stupefaction at Judge Wackner’s (Mandy Patinkin) faux legal universe. But no one’s response has tickled us as much as Julius Cain’s did in this week’s episode, and that’s due to the intensity with which Michael Boatman brought to the performance. The Spin City vet masterfully metered out his alter ego’s growing fury, taking it from initial indifference/bemusement at receiving a series of sham parking tickets to simmering irritation at having his car towed to all-out furious at getting arrested. When Julius was eventually hauled into Wackner’s kangaroo court and told he can make the mock charges disappear by simply apologizing, Boatman dialed the ferocity up to heart attack-triggering levels, declaring to the universe with seething authenticity, “This is bulls–t!”

HONORABLE MENTIONDave‘s energetic hype man GaTa is always hustling, and that hustle paid off in the Season 2 finale as he finally got his flowers… and delivered a triumphant performance to boot. Dave worried that GaTa’s bipolar disorder — so poignantly chronicled in a Season 1 episode — was kicking in again, and the two had an intense shouting match about their clashing ambitions. But then GaTa dropped the “cool guy” act and got real, lashing out at his friend for not offering to do a song with him and revealing the pain buried underneath his loud bravado. We saw all that passion and drive of his come spilling out, too, when he teared up backstage at the VMAs before joining Dave for a climactic, game-changing performance. GaTa has always been the epitome of the “fake it ’till you make it” philosophy — and this week, he finally made it.

HONORABLE MENTION | It’s only fitting that Bellamy Young‘s character came to Fantasy Island in Tuesday’s series premiere with the intention of eating as much as possible, because she chewed — nay, devoured — every last bit of scenery in the process. Her performance as Christine Collins, an image-obsessed news anchor at her wit’s end, left us plenty satisfied, setting the bar extremely high for all of the island’s future visitors. Her’s was a particularly bonkers story, but as always, Young fully understood the assignment, pivoting effortlessly between comedy and drama faster than Christine could work her way through a pig roast. It was, in a word, delicious.

Which performance(s) knocked your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!

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