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Performers Of The Month - March Winner: Outstanding Actress - Eliza Taylor

To lead a series a performer must be prepared to take on the entire weight of the show. Even in an ensemble show the weight will always be carried the heaviest by the primary lead and that is a responsibility Eliza Taylor has embraced with the grace and talent we’ve all come to expect from her. It’s no surprise Taylor won for the most Outstanding Actress of March because her performances in March were beautiful and at times utterly heartbreaking. Taylor’s win was primarily for her performance in the episode titled Thirteen (3x7) which saw Taylor’s co-star and frequent scene partner Alycia Debnam-Carey exit the show as her character of Lexa was cut down by a stray bullet meant for Clarke.

From the moment The 100 began Taylor has valiantly led the charge week after week and set a high acting bar through her powerful performances. Clarke Griffin is a very physical character and required a very physical actress who could handle all the action. While the action is a significant part of this show there is an extremely demanding emotional aspect as well. Taylor can handle both aspects of the character with effortless expertise and she can switch between them as if it’s second nature to her. In Season 2 Taylor was gifted with the responsibility of portraying one of the first bisexual series lead characters on a primetime Big Five network. It is a responsibility she has taken seriously since the beginning and she has taken Clarke on a long and sometimes painful journey into falling in love with Lexa. It is this love that led to the powerful and heartbreaking episode that played a big part in earning Taylor this fan gifted honor.

The episode as a whole was tense and dripping in emotion from the very beginning. Lexa and Titus were at odds regarding Clarke while Clarke was trying to figure out how to redeem her people from the atrocities some of them had committed while trying to reconcile her feelings for Lexa. She had to figure out how to divide her heart between her own people and the woman she had come to deeply love. These dueling emotions gave Taylor plenty of rich material to work with and she excelled at everything this episode threw at her. Thirteen paired Taylor with Debnam-Carey for the majority of it as the episode led towards the heartbreaking twist that shattered Clarke's life forever. While the fan response that came afterwards was far reaching and swift one can’t forget the performances delivered by Taylor and her equally talented co-star. They took a tough situation and made it into a beautiful portrayal of love and loyalty right up to the end. Taylor was allowed to be so vulnerable and raw in her performance because Debnam-Carey stood firm in support of her performance and gave Taylor some extraordinary work to play opposite of.

While Taylor had a lot to do in the early part of the episode it all pales in comparison to the two dominant scenes she had with Debnam-Carey. Those scenes were the consummation of Clarke and Lexa’s love and the death scene of Lexa. Firstly let me talk about the pure raw emotion that Taylor infused into the consummation scene. The love scene and snuggle scene that followed it provided some brilliant acting moments by Taylor. The reason the Clarke and Lexa relationship worked so well is because of the bond between Taylor and Debnam-Carey. They were extremely comfortable with each other to the point the kissing didn’t seem forced and the touches felt genuine. There is one moment right after the kiss starts where Debnam-Carey allows Lexa to experience this moment of overwhelmed emotion and her chin quivers as she sucks in a deep breath of air making the normally in charge leader seem vulnerable. Taylor didn’t have to react to that moment but she did as she too inhaled a shaky breath and in that moment Taylor, and by virtue Clarke, took charge of this encounter. Scenes like this don’t exist without both parties being completely present and giving in their performance. Debnam-Carey gave Taylor a powerful performance to play off of and she didn’t miss a single beat in answering every verbal and non-verbal cue from her scene partner. When Debnam-Carey’s voice broke delivering the line “may we meet again” there is a softening in Taylor’s eyes. Her eyes then flickered between Debnam-Carey’s eyes to her lips then back to her eyes before moving in for the kiss. That moment of contemplation was needed for the character and it was a great choice for Taylor to allow her eyes to carry Clarke into the kiss. When Clarke and Lexa move to the bed there is this still moment where Clarke is just staring down into Lexa’s eyes. Taylor is a very physical actress and that’s ideal for this part, but what she doesn’t get to use nearly as much as she should is her subtle yet bold non-verbal acting skills. Throughout this entire scene her eyes convey so much that one can’t help but feel every desperate feeling Clarke has for Lexa. These two waited a very long time for this moment and Clarke lost a lot along the way but Taylor’s portrayal of Clarke in this scene made it appear that this moment of pure love was the first step in making Clarke whole again. Obviously we all know how things turned out in the end, but for this moment Taylor got to portray Clarke as a woman in love claiming her place in the world be damned what anyone else thinks.

The death scene proved how in sync Taylor was with Debnam-Carey because it was like watching a perfectly coordinated dance in the way they each anticipated the acting choices the other was going to make. Taylor’s tears, shaky hands, and ragged breathing allowed fans to feel every painful and terrifying emotion Clarke was experiencing. Clarke had a brief moment of peace with the love of her life and she could quite literally feel it slipping away from her through Lexa’s warm blood covering her hands. Clarke’s desperation was fueled by Taylor who opened herself up and gave the audience a glimpse inside her own soul in order to ensure Clarke’s emotions resonated with fans. She took Clarke from a place of complete desperation to shock and calm as she tried her best to be there for Lexa in her final moments. When Clarke gave Lexa the equivalent of her people’s final rites it was utterly heartbreaking to listen to Taylor’s recital as her voice broke with emotion and tears welled up in her eyes. No one could have asked any more of Taylor because she gave this scene everything and more and it showed in the final product.

Stealing Fire (3x9) also gave Taylor some great moments to shine and this episode made it clear that while Clarke may have lost Lexa it is clear Lexa still lives, and always will live, firmly in Clarke’s heart. The month of March gave Taylor extraordinary material to work with and she delivered many outstanding performances outside of Thirteen. Stealing Fire gave Taylor a chance to shine again as Clarke fought to ensure Lexa’s memory was honored. At the start of the episode the way Taylor made her eyes go cold was a brilliant choice especially when it was so short lived as pain came flooding back in as Clarke saw Lexa’s blood stains on the bed. That moment was quickly followed by Clarke’s near breakdown as she tried to get away from the painful memory of losing Lexa. Then that was immediately followed by Clarke having to stand up to Titus which meant Taylor was asked to shift between at least a half dozen different emotional beats in a short couple minutes. It was a task she not only excelled at but one that she delivered with nothing short of perfection.

Throughout Stealing Fire Clarke is desperate to get Titus to help her find a better person to carry on Lexa’s memory and legacy. The moment Titus finally entrusts the flame to her was a beautiful scene and Taylor rose to the demand of it and showed everyone the weight Clarke was feeling at being entrusted with it. To her this is the very last piece of Lexa she has left and Clarke will do anything to see Lexa properly honored. Nothing about any of the March episodes could have been easy for Taylor because they all demanded an immense amount of emotion and raw powerful acting. The fire and fight Taylor made sure shone through Clarke made these moments all the more stand out.

I can talk about all of Taylor’s amazing March performances until this article is thousands of words long. The truth is she is a gifted actress who earned this title by taking emotional and taxing scripts and turning them into powerhouse performances. She’s a very physical actress and in most episodes of the show that trait suits her well. The nice thing about Season 3 for her and the March episodes in particular is that Taylor was given material that allowed her to portray Clarke’s softer and more vulnerable side. Not every actress can handle a complicated character like Clarke but Taylor does it with ease and grace that always shows in her work.

March proved to be a painful month for long time fans of The 100 with the sad loss of two prominent characters in a single month. The fan response to both events has been swift and sent the show’s behind the scenes team into damage control. Fortunately from the drama came some good as the fans of both departed performers aimed to bring some good from the pain. For those who missed all the details I gave regarding The Trevor Project campaign in last month’s article for Alycia Debnam-Carey I encourage you to check it out and support the incredible campaign the fans launched. Fans are some of the most passionate people on the planet and to wrong a character they love can put to shame even a mama bear protecting her cubs. I hope the message was heard, and I believe it was at least to a degree, and in time I hope change will come. Until that day I encourage fans to use positive platforms to rally against things they think need changed within the industry much as the above mentioned campaign is doing. Clarke lost the love of her life, and fans lost a beautiful representation of love in one of its purest forms, but Taylor remains on the show and is continuing to deliver fierce and incredible performances. I suspect she will deliver many more outstanding performances before this season comes to a close so continue to show her the same incredible fan support that led her to this win.

Eliza Taylor was your fan pick as the most Outstanding Actress Of March 2016. Hit the comments below to tell others why you think she earned this title and what you most enjoyed about her March performances. I was only able to cover a small fraction of the amazing work Taylor did in March so please feel free to use the comments section to discuss all those other outstanding scenes not covered in the article.

PLEASE READ: This is an article to recognize Eliza’s work and to honor her performance in March on The 100. Shipper related bashing will not be tolerated in the comments even from Eliza's fans. Honor the performer and her performance. Have fun and be kind to one another.

About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a newspaper in North Carolina and has a BA in Broadcasting and Cinema. She has been a TV lover since before she really understood what TV was. She has a long list of shows that she loves to watch and can be found on twitter (@ahicks83) live tweeting about each new episode whenever she can. If the show is sci-fi, fantasy, comic book based, drama, or action the odds are good she watches it or has at least watched a few episodes of it. She also has a love for comedies 2 Broke Girls and Mom. She was the original creator and co-founder of LOST Video Island ( which is still operating under the management of the very capable and skilled group she turned it over to.
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