In a wistful warble under the sea, The Little Mermaid’s Ariel once queried, “What’s a fire and why does it—what’s the word—burn?”
Though it’s meant to be more of a rhetorical question, I think I’ve found the answer: Hulu is the reason why. And Little Fires Everywhere, its original miniseries adapted from Celeste Ng’s novel of the same name is the evidence.
Hulu doesn’t provide your typical bingeing experience—the streaming platform typically handles its original content by dropping one episode a week like a standard network or cable television show—there are now enough episodes in the queue to dive in if you want to get caught up before the season finale.
Hulu breaks down the latest, Episode 106, “The Uncanny” (richly directed by Nzingha Stewart and written by Shannon Houston) like so:
In 1981, a young Mia (Tiffany Boone) begins studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she meets the captivating photographer Pauline Hawthorne. Struggling to pay her tuition, Mia makes a decision that will change the course of her entire life. Meanwhile, in Ohio, a young Elena (AnnaSophia Robb) questions her life with Bill (Matthew Barnes) as they await the arrival of their fourth child.
Expertly cast by the miniseries’ casting director David Rubin (seriously, he nailed landing the perfect actors to portray the younger versions of the characters we’ve come to know), the flashback episode features a heavyweight ensemble of guest stars including Nicole Beharie, Anika Noni Rose and Jesse Williams, each of whom gives exquisite performances in their own right.
Still, it is the slow-burning flame of Ms. Tiffany Boone that lights the entire episode. In fact, it’s my favorite episode of the miniseries, so far.
Let’s just say it directly: there’s nothing like a Kerry Washington face. From the way her entire face crumples to the way she leads with her lip (the lip quiver!), Washington’s mannerisms stand out in such a way that they have essentially become the actress’ brand. That’s why, as I watched Boone master Washington’s head tilts, neck sways and mouth shivers alike with such grace, I was left in awe.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Boone broke down her specific technique in the embodiment of Kerry Washington’s Mia:
I focused less on sounding like her, although she had certain rhythms I tried to stick to, but I feel like physically Kerry is such a specific actress and she’s doing really interesting things with Mia in particular. So for me to get into the character, I really went from the outside in. I tried to understand her by the physical choices she was making, watching every hand movement. When Kerry cries as Mia, she uses two fingers above her lip to stop her nose from running, and she tilts her head when she’s listening, or she’ll grit her teeth when she’s angry. She does something with her neck when she’s trying to make a certain point. And I think those things really helped me to get into the character, but I didn’t want to feel shackled to that. Once I felt like it was in my body, I just let it happen and was able to be free and focus on what choices I felt like the character’d be making.
Needless to say, everyone was into it. So much so, that it became an “event” on Twitter.
Boone felt the love and embrace from viewers, thanking everyone for their support.
“I am overwhelmed and overfilled by the support for my work in @LittleFiresHulu,” the actress tweeted on Wednesday. “I’ve been on the verge of tears all day. Thank you to those who have tweeted/commented and to the entire team behind the show.”
Oh, and Boone’s boo Marque Richardson agrees. He delightfully hyped up his girl when the episode dropped on Wednesday.
We love this energy. And I highly recommend you spend some of your energy and time diving into Little Fires Everywhere, if you haven’t already. It’s good stuff.
A new episode of Little Fires Everywhere drops every Wednesday on Hulu.