A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars
THE PERFORMER | Vera Farmiga
THE SHOW | Bates Motel
THE EPISODE | ”Ocean View”
THE AIRDATE | April 15, 2013
THE PERFORMANCE | If Bates Motel had set out to create a showcase for its female lead, it could scarcely have done any better than this hour. Over the course of the episode, the Oscar nominee took Norma from spitting mad to jumping for joy… albeit jumping on a rug that was about to be pulled out from under her!
First, the actress made it clear that her alter ego wasn’t in the running for Mother of the Year by snarling over Norman’s “devotion.” (Probably made the poor kid glad there was a partition between them, she was so pissed!) Later, she granted his request that she look at him, just look at him, only to have her cast him the most withering glance this side of Medusa. Finally, she conjured up such a head of righteous indignation in proclaiming her innocence to her lawyer that, for a second there, it was easy to forget that she was actually guilty.
Wait, did we say “finally”? Because it wasn’t over yet!
After that, Farmiga totally let loose, responding to Norman’s fears by telling him, “If I’m so damn scary, get the hell out of my car!” — and awkwardly, physically removing him from said vehicle! Then, after a brief respite from her stress upon learning that loverboy Zack has destroyed the evidence against her, Norma was hit with the lowest blow of all: She learned that her savior was — oh, crap — trafficking in sex slaves.
Through it all, Farmiga wasn’t just good, she was, ahem, crazy good.
HONORABLE MENTION | The Americans‘ Susan Misner, for the tsunami of pent-up anger and grief her put-upon housewife Sandra unleashed on Noah Emmerich’s cheating Stan. Her kitchen-set catharsis was a long time coming, and Misner made it well worth the wait.
What performance knocked your socks off this week?