Performers of the Week: Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton

THE PERFORMERS | Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton

THE SHOW | Bridgerton

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THE EPISODE | “Into the Light” (June 13, 2024)

THE PERFORMANCES | After living most of her life as a wallflower, Nicola Coughlan’s Penelope Featherington was forced to step into the light — and boy, did she shine. As did Luke Newton’s Colin Bridgerton, whose brightest moment came in support of his new bride.

Bridgerton’s Season 3 finale found the newlyweds scrambling to stop Cressida Cowper, the scorned debutante blackmailing them for a large fortune in exchange for her silence about Lady Whistledown’s true identity. After Colin opted to deceive his brother to secure the needed funds, Portia’s third-born came clean in the season’s most illuminating scene.

But even with Queen Charlotte standing beside her, dressed to the nines in colorful florals, all eyes were on Penelope as she powerfully explained what it felt like to be an outcast and how the gossip column finally gave her a voice. The outed writer spoke so openly and vulnerably that we would have waged war with anyone who didn’t accept her public apology. And she was elegant and confident — far removed from the girl in Season 1 who’d have crumbled under the weight of the Ton’s curious stares.

That brings us to Colin, who’d been navigating a flurry of emotions after learning his wife’s secret: a burning desire for his spouse, anger at her for lying to him and jealously over her astonishing success as a writer. Newton beautifully captured all of that throughout the episode with smart choices, like the longing stares at the right moment and a difference in vocal inflection while speaking of Lady Whistledown that signaled his change of heart.

But that all paled in comparison to Colin’s moving romantic declaration to Penelope after her big speech. It was sweet, humorous, and like the Pitbull song, gave us everything. “If my only purpose in life is to love a woman as great as you, then I will be a very fulfilled man indeed,” he said, exuding the irresistible charm we’ve come to love about our male Bridgerton leads.

Showrunner Jess Brownell previously told TVLine that there’s more to come with Penelope and Colin, and if this is what we can look forward to, then Season 4 needs to get here ASAP.

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

HONORABLE MENTION: Antony Starr

HONORABLE MENTION: Antony Starr
HONORABLE MENTION: Antony Starr

We thought we’d already seen the scariest and most sadistic side of Homelander on The Boys, but Antony Starr‘s performance in this week’s episode took the character to impressively terrifying new extremes. During the supe’s visit to the Vought lab where he was raised and experimented upon, Homelander took pleasure in tormenting and killing the employees. Starr’s maniacal laughter as Homelander forced scientist Martin to pleasure himself in front of everyone was filled with mockery, joy and an unpredictability that makes the supe one of TV’s most chilling villains. And the unhinged chortling was unscripted, which only goes to prove that Starr’s instincts as Homelander are not only spot-on, but make the character even more fascinating and frightening. — Vlada Gelman

HONORABLE MENTION: Millie Gibson

HONORABLE MENTION: Millie Gibson
HONORABLE MENTION: Millie Gibson

Ruby Sunday went through all the emotions in Doctor Who‘s season finale, fueling one of Millie Gibson‘s best performances. On the heels of getting bupkus about her birth mother’s identity via the Time Window, Ruby this week valiantly joined the Doctor in his quest to vanquish Sutekh, who had dusted her mum Carla and, well, the rest of humankind. Ruby showed great grit when baiting the God of Death with the promise of her mother’s name, going nose-to-nose with the beast while outright taunting it. Gibson’s finest moments, though, were the quieter ones, such as when Ruby realized that her mother had chosen her name for her on that fateful Christmas Eve. Or, when a vulnerable Ruby revealed herself to Louise, before sharing a hug 19 years in the making. Ruby’s subsequent parting of ways with the Doctor was as heartbreaking as it was sudden; the only solace is knowing we will see Gibson again. — Matt Webb Mitovich

HONORABLE MENTION: Chandler Kinney

HONORABLE MENTION: Chandler Kinney
HONORABLE MENTION: Chandler Kinney

Chandler Kinney has been killing it — so to speak — all season on Pretty Little Liars: Summer School, but her work in Thursday’s finale was pitch(fork) perfect. “Final Girl Energy” only begins to scratch the surface of what she brought to her performance, as Tabby faced off against her own personal bogeyman. You could feel her terror and rage radiating through the screen as her racist captor revealed his grand plan, which only intensified as she wielded the farming tool that ultimately took him out. The encounter is likely to stay with Tabby for a long time, just as we’ll never forget what Kinney brought to the season’s devastating climax. — Andy Swift

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

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