TVLine's Performer of the Week: Kate Burton

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Kate Burton Scandal
A weekly feature in which we spotlight shining stars

THE PERFORMER | Kate Burton

THE SHOW | Scandal

THE EPISODE | “A Door Marked Exit”

THE AIRDATE | Dec. 12, 2013

THE PERFORMANCE | From the moment that we first saw Daniel Douglas’ lifeless, bloody body on the floor of the study, Scandal forced us to wonder: How could a cool cucumber like Vice President Sally Langston succumb to such a base act as killing her own husband in cold blood? Short answer: “The devil came in…. We had a fight and the devil came in.”

Throughout a haunting flashback to the fateful encounter, punctuated by jittery, quick cuts and overlapping dialogue, Burton showed us a Sally struggling to handle a devastating collision of the personal and professional, railing at Daniel for allowing his prurient desires to jeopardize her bid for the highest office in the land. When Daniel recounted the ways he supported, even elevated, Sally’s ambitious career, she barked back, “I suffer you! … I cannot wait until you meet your maker [and] are charged for your lies!” Responding to that darkest of retorts, Daniel declared himself “done,” set to walk out on their marriage, and maybe even do worse. Desperate, Sally snatched up the nearby letter opener and the devil did the rest.

Later, when her campaign boss Leo Bergen urged Sally to stay on course for the White House, because it’s the thing “Daniel up in Heaven” would want for her, she angrily corrected: “He is in Hell! He is a godless sinner and he deserved what he got.” And for having so powerfully portrayed a woman on the brink of greatness, then the brink of despair, Burton got what she deserved — Performer of the Week.

RELATED | Exclusive: Scandal‘s Season 3 Episode Order Trimmed — Find Out Why

HONORABLE MENTIONS | Sons of Anarchy‘s Charlie Hunnam and Maggie Siff, who brought Jax and Tara to hell and back (and to hell again) in Tuesday’s gut-wrenching season finale. During that initially-tense confrontation in the park, Siff flawlessly conveyed Tara’s fear/sadness/resignation as her escape plan came undone right before her (and her children’s) eyes. And then when Jax informed her that not only was he not planning to hurt her, but he intended to turn himself in for the sake of his family, the sense of overwhelming relief that came over her was palpable. Hunnam was also sensational as Jax — demonstrating a rare vulnerability — successfully broke down the walls between the two. But little did we know that their ensuing romantic reunion would  be the doomed pair’s last. Which brings us to The Scene. In one of the more remarkably authentic displays of despair on TV this year, Hunnam careened from one stage of grief to the next as Jax discovered — and later cradled — Tara’s bloodied, lifeless body on their kitchen floor. He was gutted, and so were we.

RELATED | Sons of Anarchy Post Mortem: Maggie Siff, Kate Sagal, Kurt Sutter on Deadly Finale — Plus, Scoop on Season 7

Which performances rocked your TV set this week? Sound off in the comments!

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