THE ARTIST | Edie Falco
THE SHOW | FXs Accusation: American Crime Story
THE EPISODE | “Stay With Your Husband” (October 26, 2021)
THE PERFORMANCE | As First Lady Hillary Clinton, Falco was so rarely seen in DepositionIn the first few episodes of the film, we wondered why an esteemed actress like Falco would sign for such a small role. Well, after this week’s episode, we’re left wondering: Falco finally got the spotlight and delivered a seismically stellar performance, skillfully channeling Hillary’s anger as the full scope of Bill Clinton’s betrayal became apparent.
The episode flashed back to show us how Hillary had assisted Bill when women accused him of sexual misconduct in the past, with Falco evoking a steadfast loyalty as Hillary methodically defended her husband, her legal education in full view. But when Bill confessed to “slipping out” with Monica Lewinsky in a private bedroom scene, Hillary exploded on him, with Falco dissolving in tears and recoiling at his touch.
When the Clintons traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate Bill’s birthday, Falco kept her face dead still as Bill told a story about Hillary, as if refusing to admit how hurt she was. But later she charged Bill, threw a vase of flowers at his head and cursed him, “You made me look stupid, and that’s why I hate you.” (Their domestic struggles were reminiscent of another great Falco performance: as Carmela Soprano, who traded ferocious barbs with her husband Tony in the classic sopranos episode “White Caps.”)
In the final moments of the episode, Hillary walked down the steps of her vacation home to stand alone on the beach and stare at the waves, and Falco managed to convey decades of pain and resentment without saying a word. It’s not easy to come up with something new about a story as overexposed as the Lewinsky scandal, but that just shows what a talented performer Falco is: She took a story we’ve heard a thousand times and found a way to tell it for the first time with us.
FAIR MENTION | Of course it was great to see Larry David again, because Control your enthusiasm returned for Season 11 this week, but it was even better to see Jon Hamm return for an encore of his hilarious guest spot last season. The crazy men alum was at his best when he told Larry about the bad reception his movie character based on Larry (“The word that kept appearing was ‘repulsive’”) and annoyed him with his newly learned Yiddish lingo. He then used that slang to attack Albert Brooks for hoarding COVID supplies: “A shanda!” We notice that we wish more Hamm performances on Curb, but perhaps it is best that they are rare – and therefore all the more delightful.
FAIR MENTION | “Funny friends” also feel pain. Here’s What Happened To Natasha Rothwell’s Kelli At The Season 5 Premiere Of Insecure. Self-deprecating laughter softened the blow when Stanford initially mistook Kelli for dead during her 10-year college reunion. Hollow memories of carrying generic purses and Stanky-Leg dance moves, however, turned Rothwell’s usually happy face into a gloom so heavy she could only hold her chin and roll her eyes in disgust on behalf of Kelli. Craving sympathy, the alter ego of the Emmy-nominated producer told a story of former marching band members who withdrew her kale allergy and paid no tribute. As her girls responded to the story with giggles and ripples, a ridiculously persuasive Rothwell had Kelli staring out the car window and muttering anxiously, “Is everything I do a joke to you?” Snarkiness confirmed said fears – at first. But the next morning at brunch, those same well-meaning friends fondly praised Kelli and filled Rothwell’s expressive eyes with tears of relief and contentment.
FAIR 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, which made him act to himself as both human and machine. The gang’s final vision quest forced everyone to face the dark secrets hidden within their subconscious, a journey that Fraser navigated with heart and humility, while preserving Cliff’s signature all-destroying flare. From the moments of his character’s silent reflection—including the devastating memory of his wife’s death—to the unbridled rage he rightly directed at himself, Fraser nailed every beat, making Cliff’s misery an unexpected joy to watch.