Mr. Reindeer wrote:DKL likes “bad”/quirky/nonrealistic/artificial acting sometimes. Check out the BTS footage of Lillard and Cornelia Guest rehearsing the prison scene. Guest gives a much more subdued/natural performance in the rehearsal and DKL is clearly not into it. Presumably, he amped Guest up to the overblown soap opera performance she gave, which many have complained about.
Bell’s performance worked fine for me. I thought she was very effective in some scenes (such as the silent scene where she looks at Cooper’s fingerprints — a deceptively tricky thing to perform — and the scene where she is inducted into Blue Rose). I understand why people find her performance stiff or artificial, although I do think it’s been blown out of proportion because she’s a singer, and I think some people came into the season intent on disliking her. That’s not to say that everyone isn’t entitled to his or her opinion, but I never got the vitriol. I’ve actually come to find her performance quite charming.
I'd agree with all of that about Bell. And I also like Guest's performance as well. Admittedly, I was so on guard throughout much of The Return that I didn't know what to make of certain elements on my first (or second!) viewing, and both those actresses were part of that unsteady ground for me. But I loved Guest's performance on second viewing onwards and find Bell, as you said, quite charming.