“Life of the Party” and “Monsters” | Agent Carter
James D’Arcy’s frivolously charming performances often make for extraordinary scene stealing moments. Plus, they’re always indescribable — how do you eloquently state “I laugh like a hyena every single time?” And while D’Arcy’s meticulous performances always leave a lasting impression, it’s the unexpected heartbreak he conveyed in “Monsters” which gave Agent Carter viewers the opportunity to see just how gifted he truly is.
The best performances often happen during the most heart wrenching scenes when characters are thrust past their boundaries. D’Arcy’s character is not a coward, but he panics. Jarvis’ type of espionage consists of chasing down flamingos named Bernard and then sometimes, defusing a bomb whilst panicking. He’s a man who tries despite the unfamiliarity and fears, but never has there been a moment where we feared him. Never has there been a moment where he was broken.
However, the moment it becomes clear his wife’s life could potentially be in danger, D’Arcy delivers the realization terrifically. D’Arcy’s sudden composure wasn’t without the absence of fear, but it was filled with enough rage and determination that allowed us to see when it comes to Ana, there’s nothing he wouldn’t do. Finally, bringing the full range of emotions to a circle, D’Arcy delivered Jarvis’ heartbreak with paralyzing hollowness in his expression with absolute devastation ringing achingly in his voice. Ana’s not dead and she won’t be (hopefully), but the fear of losing her is enough to wreck his entire world. And D’Arcy made sure every ounce of that sorrow was reflected.
Honorable Mention: Grant Gustin
Series like The Flash and Once Upon A Time are few examples where people can meet themselves in an alternate universe allowing actors to do some of their finest work. Gustin’s portrayal of Earth 2 Barry was fantastic. There’s an even dorkier version of Barry Allen who says things like “hold up, he got frisky with you?” And this version, along with our Earth 1 version, was an absolute delight to watch. But most importantly, it’s the work that Gustin did as Barry (Earth 1) grew frustrated over their prisoned state — the disturbance and determination he channeled were nothing short of incredible reminding us of the fact that beyond his speed, Barry Allen’s heart is the core of this series. It’s his complete faith in people and the refusal to give up that allows him to shine most inimitably.