Performer of the Week: Harrison Ford

THE PERFORMER | Harrison Ford

THE SHOW | Paramount+’s 1923

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THE EPISODE | One Ocean Closer to Destiny” (Feb. 12, 2023)

THE PERFORMANCE | Jacob Dutton is a pretty level-leaded guy who takes crises in stride; we’re guessing that’s key to his longevity on Montana’s unforgiving plains. Even when Jake was nearly unconscious on the kitchen table earlier this season, bleeding out from several bullet wounds, his biggest concern was directing wife Cara on how to proceed with ranch business in the event of his death.

But a life-threatening injury and prolonged recovery will change a person, and the Jake of Sunday’s episode was a physically weakened man who’d had far too long to ruminate on the nature of justice — specifically, justice for his family in the wake of Banner Creighton’s ambush. And because Ford had played the patriarch at such a low boil in the past, Jake’s heightened reactions to a few of the episode’s major beats had maximum impact.

During the hour, Ford’s Jake is hit with two very troubling truths: the knowledge that Cara has defied him and brought the sheriff into the brewing ranch war, and the sheriff’s refusal to let Jake mete out punishment on the sheep men. Ford quickly, beautifully and apoplectically threw an adult tantrum right there in the front yard.

Ford masterfully built the tension within Jake’s body, all disgruntled head shakes and agitated steps, until it exploded in a fury so intense it literally caused him to rip his character’s shirt open. Ford’s loudness and the way he continually, threateningly advanced his body into the sheriff’s space was quite a nice piece of acting… topped only by his performance in the scene where a cooler Jake explained to Cara why retribution is so important to him.

As Jake calmly laid out his reasons for protecting his land and his family, Ford filled the words with weariness and certainty: This was a man who knew that there’s a good chance he’ll lose the fight against progress and its price, but he was going to fight like hell anyway. The way his voice faltered, suddenly full of tears, as Jake lamented a future in which Cara’s grave would be paved over for a city road? A loving, moving bonus delivered by one of the best in the biz.

Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…

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