I didn’t discover Abigail Spencer while watching Reprisal, and that’s a good thing, because without Abigail Spencer, I’m very sure I would not have given this show a chance. If there’s such a thing as TV tastes, Reprisal would, after all, be the opposite of everything I’ve ever liked. It’s a revenge fantasy, it’s way more violent than my usual fare, and it comes at you so strong, especially in the first few episodes, that it makes you wonder if these people will ever actually display anything resembling feelings.
The show finds it’s groove, as you will all discover later this week, but there’s no groove, for me, without Abigail Spencer, and her ability to channel not just Doris, but Katherine, and earlier, Scottie, Lucy, Megan and Amanda, among others.
Abigail Spencer is one of those actresses that embodies every character.
Some performers wear a new character like a new set of clothes. They put it on, sometimes it fits well, sometimes it doesn’t, but when they shed the clothes, that’s it. That’s not who they are anymore. Others, however, go so deep that they become the character, and for you, no matter where you see them, no matter how long has passed, they are many things.
Chameleons, if you will.
I had a sense that the woman I’d first met (and disliked) as Scottie on Suits, all those years ago, was one of those performers, but I don’t think it truly clicked for me till I saw her shed the Lucy Preston skin (and oh, how I love Lucy Preston) and become Doris/Katherine, in a way I didn’t even know was possible.
Viewers are smart. We know, when we watch TV, that we are watching actors, and that these people are not the characters. But there’s common sense and there’s your heart telling you that the character you love looks like this actor, and if you love a character enough, telling you that that actor will always be …well, just that character you adore.
I loved Lucy Preston enough that I thought that was going to happen. I gave Reprisal a chance because of Abigail, but because of her, I was also wary. And yet, here I am telling you that, to me, she’s not only the best part of the show – she is one of the best actresses on TV today.
Big words, I know.
Doris didn’t speak to me the way Lucy did, especially not at first. But that didn’t mean I was seeing Lucy on screen every time Doris talked, no. She was Doris, through and through, and with every second that passed, I started to appreciate who Doris was more and more, to care about what she wanted to accomplish.
This is good news for Timeless fans like me, who might be tuning in just for Abigail. Whether the plot grabs you or not is another story altogether, but the main character, she absolutely works.
What can an actress do to show her chops other than this, to give us remarkable, compelling characters that stay with you, and do it over and over, and over again? Sometimes we watch a show and we stay because we fell in love with the writing, but more often than not, we do it because we fell in love with a combination of what’s happening to the character and what the performer that embodies that character is giving us.
Like in real life, we fall in love with people, not things that happen to those people. And in order to fall in love with a character, or hey, to even care about a journey, you have to enjoy a performer.
So, if you’re a fan of Abigail Spencer from before, if you have ever felt a connection to one of her characters, you could do worse than checking out Reprisal. Give her a chance to woo you the way she wooed me. Give her a chance to sell you on Doris’ story.
Give her a chance to shine.
If you ask me, she absolutely does. So much that, at times, she was all I could see.
Are you excited for Reprisal? Will you be watching? Share with us in the comments below!
Reprisal will be available to stream this Friday, December 6th, on Hulu.