TVLine's Performer Of the Week: Damian Lewis

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Episode 309
A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER Damian Lewis

THE SHOW | Homeland

THE EPISODE | “One Last Time”

THE AIRDATE | November 24, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | As far as interventions go, Brody’s accelerated transformation from withered, defeated heroin addict to lucid, able-bodied warrior was one of the more painful and graphic in TV history. We weren’t quite sure who we felt more sorry for — Brody or Lewis, the latter of whom was astonishingly — and, at times, frighteningly — committed to making his alter ego’s journey appear as real as possible (a process that clearly began long before the cameras started rolling on the episode, as evidenced by his shaved head and palpable weight loss.)

As Brody’s caretaker warned Saul, “It’ll continue as bad as this or worse for three days.” And he wasn’t kidding. Among the more harrowing beats of Brody’s detox: That shower sequence (during which Lewis literally bared himself to the audience), his hallucinatory reaction to the experimental withdrawal remedy, and his bloody suicide attempt and subsequent face-off with Saul.

Physical demands aside, Lewis was also called upon to deliver some huge emotional moments — namely his reunions with ex-lover Carrie and (to a greater degree) daughter Dana — and he did not disappoint. There was the heartbreaking scene where Brody first laid eyes on Dana outside the dive motel that now employed her. The moment he realized she wanted nothing more to do with him.  And then, during the ride back to the base, his heart-tugging confession to Carrie that he’s coming back from his dangerous overseas mission alive for her as much as Dana.

Fans have complained about the lack of Lewis in Homeland‘s first nine episodes, but the Emmy winner packed a season’s worth of standout moments in “One Last Time.” Regardless how Brody fares in Iran, we’re declaring Lewis’ mission accomplished.

HONORABLE MENTION | The Mentalist‘s Simon Baker (like Person of Interest‘s Kevin Chapman, below) left us gasping as Patrick Jane was handed an opportunity for satisfying and deserved revenge. Jane at long last confronted he who was known as Red John. Pinning down his prey, Jane asked McAllister if he was sorry for killing his wife and daughter 10 years ago. McAllister responded yes — as well as indicated that he was afraid to die — yet his fate was a fait accompli. The camera lingered on Baker’s face as Jane choked the life out of his longtime foe, displaying a mix of released frustration, relief, and maybe a hint of horror at what he’d done.

HONORABLE MENTION | POI‘s Chapman — aka our previous Performer of the Week — delivered a compelling encore as Fusco was afforded the chance to take down Simmons, the HR henchman who executed Carter. As reminded via Fusco’s flashback “confessional,” the police detective is no stranger to serving up lethal if morally questionable justice, but here he confirmed his new sense of honor, partly in tribute to that which Carter had stood for. Sure, Fusco got his brutal licks in — bandaged hand and all — but in the end found an even greater glory in parading the most wanted (and, ultimately, doomed) killer into the squad room.

HONORABLE MENTION | Previous HM co-recipient Joseph Morgan earned our admiration again for his incredible work in Tuesday’s The Originals, which found his centuries-old hybrid, Klaus, facing off against Marcel and his army with feral anger. After the Original took back his throne as the King of New Orleans, Morgan showed off an uncharacteristically vulnerable side of Klaus, who broke down while confronting his siblings for not standing by him. Morgan gave a tour de force to be reckoned with, and proved once again that he is the real deal.

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