TV Line’s Performer of the Week: This Is Us’ Sterling K. Brown
THE PERFORMER | Sterling K. Brown
THE SHOW |This Is Us
THE EPISODE | “Jack Pearson’s Son” (Feb. 14, 2017)
THE PERFORMANCE | There are the rare times you watch a TV show and worry a little about the performer, so fully does he or she embody a character’s pain. This Tuesday’s This Is Us was one of those times, and Brown was the actor in question.
We’ve known Randall’s breakdown was coming, sooner or later, ever since Beth told William about her perfection-seeking husband’s problems in the past. But that preparation did nothing to blunt the despair Brown conveyed as he continued his character’s slow spiral into despair.
Every small piece of Brown’s performance — the shaky hands, the distractedness, the manic memorization of facts, the unusually short fuse with William — let us know that Randall was in no way OK, and that the tumult in his heart was about to spill into his daily life.
When everything finally became too much for Randall and he blanked during an important work call, Brown artfully expressed his alter ego’s anxiety with small gestures: a hastily dashed-away tear, some hitched breaths, a carefully blank face. But by the time Kevin arrived to find his brother on the floor, Brown gave his entire body over to the moment, letting Randall’s anguish flow out as he slumped against his sibling.
Hold that visual in your mind a minute, then compare it to the finely restrained performance Brown gave as People v O.J.‘s Christopher Darden. Goodness gracious, is there anything this man can’t play?
In the beginning it was hard to progress everything new. You weren’t an orphan. You were a Shadowhunter and your father was actually still alive and you had two half-brothers, a half-sister and an adoptive brother. From one second to the other you had a whole family. Getting warm with your father and his wife was still difficult, but the rest of the family was awesome.
On a daily basic you showed them what a natural talent you were, showing them that you really were a Lightwood. Now, almost one year into your new life you were known as one of the lethal fighters in the institute and you fighted demoons like you had never done anything else.
“(Y/n)? You’re okay?” You heard the voice of your oldest brother when the last demon was down. Maybe you should’ve been offended that he and his Parabatai were still following you wherever you went but they were kind of cute when they went on totally-overprotecting-brother-mode.
“Boys of course I’m fine. Don’t you have better thinks to do, than following me around?” For a second Jace and Alec were looking at each other confused, clearly not knowing an answer, so all you could do was smile.
Maybe it had all started as a nightmare coming true, but now you knew who you really were and where you belonged.