Emily Browning as Sierra on Showtime’s The Affair. So, one of the reasons why I love this show so much is because it continues to surprise me. The Affair does a fantastic job of presenting things from different perspectives and it really makes you think a lot.
Sometimes I wonder if both sides truly see things that way or if there is a compromise somewhere in the middle of what really happened, but it’s all left up to interpretation and that’s why this show is so brilliant and thought-provoking. Please note some spoilers are ahead if you are not up-to-date on the series.
I never really cared that much about Sierra’s character in season 4. Sure, she was the fun free spirit next door that kind of shattered Helen and Vic’s world temporarily, but in season 5 episode 5, we got to see her in a completely different light and I’ve been thinking about her performance all week, as it really struck a chord with me.
My first impression of Sierra was that she was used to getting what she wanted, living in a bubble, free of any real responsibility. In season 4, she actually tells Helen that she wants her life and that statement practically becomes reality when she has a brief affair with Vic, which leads to her giving birth to his child.
Motherhood is clearly a lot harder than Sierra had anticipated and she is struggling a lot. After witnessing some of Sierra’s interactions with her overbearing and successful mother, I started to have a lot more sympathy and understanding for Sierra. She constantly tries to tell herself that she is enough, but actually believing that is no easy task when you are constantly being judged and criticized.
Sierra makes some questionable decisions throughout the episode and I honestly worried about her choices as a mother, but it looks like she may have finally had a wake up call after falling asleep at the wheel with her baby in the back seat.
Sierra is more than enough, but perhaps her own dreams may now be different than what she originally imagined for herself. Sierra is responsible for the life of her child and this means she will need to put a lot of her own ambitions on hold, but I’m hoping that she sees that she has a true chance to make someone else feel worthy and enough.
Emily Browning’s performance was inspiring, real, and heartbreaking. I was completely captivated by her during the episode and I even lost track during her part of the episode because I was so engrossed in her story. While a lot of the attention focuses around Noah and Helen (previously around Alison and Cole), I absolutely love that some of the minor characters are getting a chance to tell their own story. In this season, we got to witness things from Janelle’s perspective and Whitney’s, but Sierra’s part truly resonated with me.
What’s next for Sierra? We’ll have to wait and see, but I am really hoping that she turns things around. She is enough and I just want her to see it for herself, but I also want her to realize that she cannot run away from motherhood and that it’s a part of who she is now.
Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!
Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl
Have a performance on TV that you think is simply outstanding? Feel free to contact me with your nomination for the week by Friday at midnight!
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