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THIS IS US: Randall Dismantled As Sterling K. Brown Delivers Masterful Performance

Courtesy/NBC

In yet another riveting performance by Sterling K. Brown, the highly-touted episode that aired on Tuesday’s night’s This Is Us, had his character of Randall in the spotlight again, as the first of the Big Three trilogy this season.  Next week, look for the installment to center on Justin Hartley’s Kevin.However, last night on the episode aptly titled, “Hello of a Week: Part One”, viewers followed what happened next to Randall following his return home after the stress of flying across the country to get a diagnosis for his ailing mother’s memory lapses (while keeping it from his siblings), and then winding up facing an intruder in the Pearson family home.After Randall offers the intruder money, the guy runs out of the home.

Next, the police come, and Randall installs surveillance cameras and security alarms throughout the house, which ends up being a continued tipping point in his mental state as he obsesses over keeping his family and his home safe, especially when the cops tells him that it is common for a thief to return,. It appears later in the episode he did when Beth’s earrings and Randall’s cufflinks are MIA.

Photo by: NBC

Throughout the episode, flashbacks to Randall’s childhood showed little Randall, unable to sleep and afraid of monsters, who then asks his dad, Jack to stay with him through the night.  Jack sleeps on the floor, but when Jack eventually gets up to go to his own bed, he tells Randall who comes running after him, “to be brave: and that he needs him to be the easiest child to care for since Kate and Kevin are handfuls.

This laid the foundation for how Randall deals with others, by not letting them know his inner most feelings.   The writers juxtapose Randall’s dreams throughout where he feels he can’t get out whether it be screaming through a locked window at his mother to get out of the storm, or watching some creepy guy touch Beth and he screams so loud, but you can’t hear him,

In addition, in flashbacks, we see how a college-aged Randall needing college-aged Beth to spend countless nights with him. At one point he tells her, “I just feel so helpless, like I have no control over anything,” especially following the death of his father Jack.  Beth says she can understand. She had bad dreams after her father passed away, but after she talked to a therapist she began to feel better.  In a key moment, Randall agrees to attend an grief group with her, but that plan goes awry when on the day they were heading to the grief counseling group, Randall’s family has an emergency and he could not go.

The theme of Randall seeking counseling surfaced later in the episode after Randall was struggling to hold it together as City Councilman at the Town Hall, which did not go unnoticed by Beth or by Malik’s dad, Darnell.

The next day, he tells Randall that he himself needed therapy and suggest he do that to.  Randall says all he needs is his runs around the city to help him clear his head.  But that takes another drastic turn when Randall comes upon a woman being beaten and proceeds to pounce on the aggressor.  Next, Randall with messed up arm from landing punches on the guy, ends up being touted as a hero for saving the woman’s life.  He is not comfortable with that and he begins to lose his grip.

In the culmination of the episode, locking himself in the bathroom in his home, Randall begins to cry and phones Kevin.  Thank God his brother answered, as he seems to be the only person Randall feels he can talk to, and has, through his life.  At the time of the call, Kevin is in bed with what looks to potentially be Sophie, because he was heading back to Pittsburgh for a funeral of one of her parents.  But is it Sophie, or another woman?

During their call, Randall begs Kevin just to talk, and to please  distract him. Kevin promises his brother, “I’m the guy that’s gonna get you through this,”   Will Kevin ultimately help Randall, or will what happens next become the huge rift that we know exists between the brothers in the flash-forward viewers learned about episodes ago?

This Is Us executive producers, Issac Aptaker, and Elizabeth Berger weighed-in on revisiting Randall’s anxiety and panic attacks with Entertaintment Weekly. This is something that was hot on all of our minds, because over the past year, a couple of the writers in our room had had people break into their homes when they were home,” shared Issac Aptaker.  “People would come in and we would see the impact that it has on you when someone invades your space like that — the aftermath and the fallout. So, as we were looking at what Randall’s season would look like, and what would be potentially the breaking point for him with all that’s been brewing this year, it was at the front of all of our minds at how upsetting something like that can be.”

“We’ve seen that Randall is someone that is so in touch with his feelings emotionally, and he is so willing to talk about everything, but there does seem to be this block with him when it comes to therapy, where he just does not want to engage,” says Elizabeth Berger. “That really fascinated all of us and got us thinking, “What’s that about? And how do we get him to a point where he has his back against the wall and has to move past coping mechanisms and keeping things just below the surface and finally deal with them?” And this felt like a really compelling way to go about that.”

When all was said and done, Sterling K. Brown delivered a nuanced and masterful performance as viewers watched Randall slowly but surely, struggling to cope with all the pressure, and horrific events that happened to him one after the other, as Randall’s anxiety and panic attacks were about to reach epic proportions.

So, what did you think of last night’s This Is Us? Sterling’s performance? Comment below.

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To me, Mr. Brown is one of the industry’s most overrated actors. He’s competent and obviously dedicated. But he telegraphs every emotion ahead of time so we know exactly which expression he’ll have (usually either bewilderment or confusion), just as he did in THE PEOPLE VS. O. J. SIMPSON. Whenever an episode focuses entirely on Randall, the show grinds to a very slow trot. It’s best when the adult siblings are interacting. That’s the show’s strength.

General Hospital

GENERAL HOSPITAL: Mike’s Family Says Their Goodbyes in Emotional Episode Filled With Touching Performances

For anyone who has been watching the emotional Alzheimer’s storyline play out on General Hospital, Wednesday’s episode was a key moment in the storytelling and for the Corinthos family.  To say that the cast delivered in this episode is an understatement; everyone had their moments, and of course, chief among them, Maurice Benard (Sonny).

Mike’s (Max Gail) life is coming to an end as his body is shutting down from the disease.  Stella (Vernee Watson) comes to Mike’s room at Turning Woods and tells Sonny that Mike is waiting for permission to let go.  She explains to Sonny that Mike is torn between this world and the afterlife.   Stella helps Sonny prepare for the final moments of Mike’s life, dimming the lights, giving Sonny ice chips to put on his father’s lips, and for Sonny to put on some of Mike’s favorite music – jazz.   She also gets Mike a blanket because he is getting cold.  Then in a touching moment played to perfection by Vernee Watson, Stella says her own goodbye to Mike and hugs Sonny and tells him how grateful she was to know Mike.

Carly (Laura Wright) had been by Sonny’s side every step of the way in the final days of Mike’s life.  At one point in Mike’s room with Sonny, she has a dream where Mike tells her she is his daughter.  It was another heartbreaking moment – this time played beautifully by Laura Wright.  Earlier, Michael (Chad Duell) said goodbye to his grandfather and Josslyn (Eden McCoy) had also come to Turning Woods, as has Brando (Johnny Wactor) to be there for the end of Mike’s life and to support Sonny

Sonny tells Mike, (who can hear, but cannot truly respond as the disease continues to shut down his body), that he has made peace with what went down between them when he was a child.  He tells Mike, “I just want you to go in peace and go with love.”  Later, Sonny had a recollection seeing his father pray in the back of the church when he was a child, which sparked an idea for him.   Jason (Steve Burton) and Sonny know that Mike wants to be forgiven for his sins.

Then in the tearjerker, Father Ramos arrives to bless Mike and cleanse him from all of his sins, as Sonny, Carly, Michael and Josslyn witness it.

Afterwards, Jason realizes that Mike probably does not want to die in front of Sonny and tells Sonny to take a break, but Sonny does not want to – so Jason whispers to Mike that he should not worry that he will take care of Sonny. The two hope Mike will meet up with Morgan in heaven.

At the end of the episode, alone with his father, Sonny tells Mike not to be afraid, or to worry about him, and then remembers the night Mike walked out on him and his mother when he was a kid.  He says he knows his father always loved him … maybe too much.  We fade to black.  Maurice Benard’s work was again outstanding throughout these moments, making Sonny’s life-long pain, and love for this father, palpable.

As someone who went through this horrible disease with his mother, I can say, that GH played the beats of the story to perfection, honoring those afflicted with Alzheimer’s and the family members they leave behind.

So, what did you think of this emotional episode of GH and the performances by the cast? Comment below.

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Dancing with the Stars

DANCING WITH THE STARS: Anne Heche. Jesse Metcalfe & Chrishell Stause Make Their Ballroom Debuts; While Tyra Banks Bows As New Host

Season 29 of Dancing with the Stars got underway last night, and with the pandemic the changes were noticeable.

Judges seemed more than six feet apart at the table, gone was the Sky Box interviews, gone was the live band,  but we did get canned crowd applause and noise which was too over the top without any audience members truly in the ballroom.

Photo: ABC

Tyra Banks made her debut as the new host replacing Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews, while Derek Hough took over Len Goodman’s spot at the judges table. With all of that; soap fans were intrigued to see how three of the contestants would do in the scoring with their first dance of the competition.

Anne Heche and dance partner Keo Motsepe (Cha-Cha):  Here we go – for pizazz and going for it … and doing well, we got to give it to Anne Heche (Ex- Vicky/Marly Another World) although at times her foot work was off, she really sold this dance with her enthusiasm and spunk.  Judge Carrie Ann had high praise for Anne as a potential star on the dance floor, and the duo danced to Dua Lipa’s Don’t Start  Now, which we love. Judges’ Score: 18 out of 30

Photo: ABC

Jesse Metcalfe and dance partner Sharna Burgess (Quickstep):  Metcalfe (Ex-Dallas, Passions, and Desperate Housewives) looked intense on the dance floor and got some critique for his posture and foot work, but the quickstep is such a hard dance to pull off in the first place.  The duo danced to Stevie Wonder’s Part Time Lover.  And of note: Sharna fangirled out meting Metcalfe whom she loved as Miquel on Passions! Judges’ Score: 18 out of 30

Photo: ABC

Chrishell Stause and dance partner Gleb Savchenko (Tango): With mistakes that were noticeably caught by the judges, which they shared were about timing, footwork, and frame work, Chrishell (Ex-AMC, DAYS and Y&R) held it together and got through the dance in spite of it all.  She danced to Pink’s Raise Your Glass.  In a play on Stause’s Selling Sunset real estate gig and reality series, judge Bruno said Stause was “far from closing the deal” with that dance.  Judges’ Score: 13 out of 30.

At the top of the leaderboard after night one of the competition were: 18-year-old Skai Jackson with 21 points, as well as Justina Machado, then former ‘Bachlorette’ Kaitlyn Bristowe with 20, along with Catfish creator and host Nev Shulman.  At the bottom of the score board was Tiger King’s Carole Baskin with 11 points.

Watch Anne, Jesse and Chrishell’s performances below.  Then let us know, what did you think of their first dance?  Who impressed you from the entire cast? What did you think of Tyra as Dancing with the Stars new host? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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General Hospital

GH’s Lisa LoCicero Delivers The ‘Power Performance of the Week’

Let’s just make this official as we tweeted about it last week when these scenes aired on Tuesday.  And let’s just say, that Lisa LoCicero (Olivia) could very well receive another Daytime Emmy nomination next year in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, if these moments are part of her reel.  LoCicero was previously nominated in 2015 in this category.

Now on to that performance that had everyone a-buzz on social media after it aired.  In the scenes, Robert (Tristan Rogers) has worked his WSB contacts to get Olivia to Geneva to secretly see her son, Dante (Dominic Zamprogna), who is suffering from severe trauma and PTSD and is at this facility for treatment.  After traveling half way around the world to get there, with anticipation and wanting to hold her son and be there for him – when she arrives the doctor (Christopher Cousins) tells Dante his mother is here to see him, but Dante refuses to let that happen.

When the doctor tells Olivia that Dante will not open the door to his room to talk to his mom and come face-to-face with her, she goes into momma bear mode, releasing such heartache and anguish, just wanting to see Dante, but she is met with a steely shut door instead.  But as viewers saw, the scenes were made all the more poignant by the split screen; where Dante is on the other side of the door – heartbroken hearing his mother’s cries.  Dominic Zamprogna, who is always stellar, was also moving in these moments.

However, it was LoCicero’s ability to call up such deep rooted love and pain for her child, that any parent could relate to, which broke our hearts, rang so true, and showcased Lisa.

Later in the week, we also see how Liv was there for Robert in return  – and the two are now off on a mission of their own to find Holly (if she is indeed very much alive) which is sure to put a further wedge in her marriage to Ned (Wally Kurth).  That begs the questions, too.  How would you feel about a Robert and Olivia pairing…or would you be rooting for Olivia and Ned to work through their issues?

Through it all, it was Lisa LoCicero who grabbed our attention, brought out the hankies for all of us, and truly compelled the audience.  For all of these reasons, Michael Fairman TV names Lisa’s work The Power Performance of the Week.

So, what did you think of Lisa in these scenes with Dominic? In case you missed them, you can check them out below, then share your thoughts in the comment section.

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Video du Jour

B&B’s Heather Tom talks with Michael Fairman immediately following her record-tying win in the Lead Actress category during the 47th annual Daytime Emmy Awards.  Heather and Erika now hold the most wins for an actress with 6! Leave A Comment

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Power Performance

Lisa LoCicero as Olivia

General Hospital

Airdate: 9-8-2020

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