The Execution of Kirby Howell-Baptiste – ‘The Sandman’ Episode 6

THE ARTIST | Kirby Howell-Baptiste

THE SHOW | Netflix’s the sandman

THE EPISODE | “The Sound of Her Wings” (August 5, 2022)

THE PERFORMANCE | It may sound strange to say that we want more death in our lives, but now that the sandmanThe first season is streaming on Netflix, that’s for sure.

Episode 6 of the comic book adaptation introduces Howell-Baptiste as Dream’s sister, Death, who turns out to be a not-so-grim Grim Reaper. Series co-creator Neil Gaiman recently told TVLine that for the show to work, “you have to have a Death that you can fall in love with. You have to have a Death that is the kind of person you turn to right away.” goes, ‘Yes, I would like to see you at the end of my life.’ Howell Baptiste is that person, in spades.

Although she only appears in one episode, the Good place alum immediately dominates the screen, providing a very welcome foil to the show’s highly emo title character. Howell-Baptiste exudes ease in every gesture, from the casual way she leans back against a park bench to the way she kneels softly by an elderly man’s chair, chatting gently with him before taking him to the afterlife. .

As Death Morpheus later recalls, she’s always been there, and what was once fatigue in her job has turned into an appreciation for its uniqueness and reverence for its responsibility. Howell-Baptiste really makes us believe that death feels like it’s part of the human condition, despite being so thoroughly outside it: her warm smile and gentle laying on of hands as she approaches those who are dying communicate the importance with which the character sees her goal.

The best part of Howell-Baptiste’s performance, though, is the way she plays Death’s refusal to take herself—and especially her brooding brother—too seriously. Her loving speech in the park, her soft ribbing, her barely contained eye rolls: they all made us wish she was there more in season one (and hope she’ll be in a potential season 2).

FAIR MENTION | Peaceful silence, your name is Li Jun Li’s Grace. Li’s rendition of BadThe returning prophetess reached heavenly heights in Sunday’s episode, as the religious visionary experienced more on-screen commotion than in more than a season. The composure with which Li always imbues her character served her well in silly scenes (with David bouncing against the giant beach ball) and sweet (who gave Laura much-needed hope in the ball pit), then was abandoned – for good reason and too great effectiveness! – as she sobbed and prayed for Monsignor Korecki at the hour of his violent death. Completely devoted to Grace’s fear, Li forced a whispered Last Rites when the priest succumbed to his injuries. The shock Li played when he died was the perfect mirror for ours.

west worldFAIR MENTION | There was no prediction how the reunion between western world’s Frankie and Caleb, So would play long into the future. Sure enough, Aurora Perrineau and Aaron Paul had to navigate through a whirlwind of emotions. First, there was a violent intensity, as Caleb failed to recognize his rescuer and so pushed her against a wall. But when Frankie’s “Daddy, It’s Me” came out, followed by her childhood memories, Caleb’s mood melted. Warm looks of recognition washed over each actor as father and daughter processed the improbable. “You look exactly as I remember,” Frankie said, Perrineau’s eyes beaming incredulity and love. “I can’t believe how much you’ve grown,” Caleb marveled as Paul slipped into proud parent mode. In an hour of death and destruction, this family reunion stood out, and was worth the wait.

Better Call Saul Carol Burnett Marion Season 6 Episode 12FAIR MENTION | At first we thought Carol Burnett would join You better call SaulThe final episodes were supposed to be just a fun cameo from a comedy legend, but then she came out and stunned us this week with a surprisingly complex and dramatic performance. As Jeff’s elderly mother Marion, Burnett showed the wisdom of her years when she caught Gene slipping on a phone call, while her prying eyes registered the mistake without letting Gene know. Then she had nerves of steel when Marion confronted Gene about his lies and secret identity, even making him feel guilty for a moment as she croaked sadly, “I trusted you.” Burnett’s legacy as a TV icon is undeniable, but it’s nice to see she can still add to that legacy – at 89 years old! — with finely calibrated work like this.

Which performance(s) were correct? your socks off this week? Tell us in Comments!

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