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SHOW: |: HBOs The Last of Us

THE EPISODE |: “Infected” (January 22, 2023)

THE PRESENTATION |: To say that Torv made the most of his short time The Last of Us would be a complete understatement. In just two episodes, that is Fringes vet created such a complex, multi-dimensional character that we were truly heartbroken when Tess was killed off in Sunday’s tense hour.

While two decades of dystopian life hardened Tess’s outer shell, Torv was always connected to the humanity underlying her alter ego. The actress displayed that quiet vulnerability in the final act of “Infected,” when Tess, unbeknownst to viewers at first, was bitten by one of the cannibals.

From the subtle note of warmth she flashes toward apocalyptic partner-in-crime Joel as she bandages his injured leg to the rage she unleashes when she refuses to see their End of Days glass half full, Torv subtly shifts Tess’s energy from scrappy survivor to badass. : living on borrowed time.

And when Tessie discovered her mortal condition, Torv destroyed all of her character’s self-defense walls in one fell swoop. Filled with a mixture of despair and anguish, Tess begged Joel to see through their Ellie-centric mission and save her (and, in turn, humanity). “I’m never asking you to feel the way I did…” she croons, Torv layering each sad word with 20 years of complicated romantic baggage. “This is your chance. You will get him there. Are you keeping him alive? And you’ve got everything right.”

Tess ended up saving the day, but Torv was the real hero of the episode.

HONORABLE MEMORY |: Earlier this season, Leverage: Redemption hinted at Sophie’s complicated past with someone who was like a daughter to her. So when it was revealed last week that icy Interpol inspector Astrid called her a stepdaughter, we were frankly shocked. But it just paved the way to the final indeed transport us as series veteran Geena Bellman and guest star Alexandra Park (The Royals) each broke down their heroes’ walls. Park really impressed us when stone-faced Astrid held her elusive stepmom at gunpoint, but eventually dropped the weapon when Sophie explained her disappearing act years ago. Following some hilarious theater in which the duo team up to catch a thief, Bellman instills such sweet, maternal warmth in the women’s closing scene as Sophie and Astrid reflect on a fond memory.

Gossip Girl performance by Thomas DohertyHONORABLE MEMORY |: Gossip girl Showrunner Josh Safran says the only thing that will keep him awake at night is that the series ended with performances from his favorite group, Audrey, Aki and Max. Of course, we understand his frustration at the lack of closure, but keeping the trio together in Thursday’s finale will deprive audiences of Thomas Doherty’s devastating performance as the victim of a failed romantic attempt. In contrast to her character’s signature, Doherty is at her best when Max allows herself to be vulnerable, and we haven’t seen her this raw since some teacher messed with her heart in Season 1. From now on, Max is HBO Max for Max Wolf.

Accused Stephanie NogerasHONORABLE MEMORY |: One of the most difficult roles to play on television this week was Ava, a deaf surrogate who in the second episode of Fox’s: Accused anthology decided to kidnap the child she had given birth to a couple, suspecting that they would not allow their deaf child to grow up in a signing environment. Changed at Birth Alum Stephanie Nogueras, however, rose to the challenge. Yes, his Ava behaved insolently, criminally. And in an exchange during the run with Ava’s friend, KJ, Nogueras spoke of an alarming degree of impulsivity. But when Ava took the stand later in the trial, Nogueras imbued her signature with so much passion and sincerity that you kind of knew when the couple retracted their case.

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


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