There was a lot to like about last night’s Jonathan Majors-hosted Saturday Night Live. (Check out at least new featured players Aristotle Athari and Sarah Sherman who ran off with Weekend Update between them.) But all anybody’s likely to be talking about this Sunday morning is musical guest Taylor Swift’s killer rendition of her majestic, newly re-recorded breakup song, “All Too Well,” the ten-minute performance cleaving as it did the episode as neatly in twain as a certain actor reportedly did the young Swift’s heart.
There’s no secret who’s the subject of such cutting lyrics as, “And you call me up again just to break me like a promise/So casually cruel in the name of being honest.” And one has to wonder just how you’d feel if your celebrated ex blew the doors off of a venerated live TV show’s studio by not only bringing out an extended version of the breakup song that’s become an anthem for scorned lovers the world over, but singing it in front of the wrenchingly emotional short film she made to accompany it.
With the film (featuring Fear Street’s Sadie Sink and Love And Monsters’ Dylan O’Brien) silently depicting a painfully ruptured relationship behind her, and some well-timed falling leaves, falling show, and gusting, tear-streaking wind punctuating her lyrics, Swift delivered every line of her famous song like it was the first time—and like her famous former boyfriend was sitting in the front row. With SNL putting all its musical eggs in this one, elaborately staged basket, Swift stole the show, the audience breaking out in applause throughout, as Swift’s images and lyrics came together for one emotional crescendo after another. As Weekend Update co-anchor Colin Jost put it upon the show returning from its post-Swift commercial break, “Never break up with Taylor swift, or she will sing about you for ten minutes on national television.” Words to live by.