My performance of the week ending 8/31/19 on TV goes to…

Maura Tierney as Helen Solloway on Showtime’s The Affair.  Helen has always been a fantastic supporting character on the series, but a lot of the attention has previously centered around Alison, Noah, and Cole. With the opening of the final season of the series, Alison and Cole are no longer on the show and I was worried that we would feel a void without them.

Fear not; however, as Maura Tierney reminded us just how compelling and real Helen can be and it’s about time she got her moment in the spotlight.  Please note some spoilers are ahead if you are not up-to-date on the series.  After watching the season 5 premiere, I was left in tears and then some.

Both Ruth Wilson and Joshua Jackson were able to bring tears out of me last year as well with their beyond heartbreaking performances, but there was something so incredibly real and honest about Maura Tierney’s portrayal of Helen in the premiere.  Grief is something that is not easily portrayed.  Sometimes it feels over-the-top and sometimes it feels disingenuous, but somehow my heart was completely breaking for Helen and that was mostly because of how well Maura Tierney performed here.

Helen is used to speaking her mind and she doesn’t care who she offends when she does, which is part of what makes me like her so much.  In fact, some of my absolute favorite moments featuring Helen involve her saying something blunt, but she always comes pretty close to the truth.  In season 4, Helen has this revealing conversation with Alison and I really stopped to think about what she said and how spot on she was with her advice.

When Noah tells Helen that she is resilient in the season 5 premiere, Helen tells him that she had to be because she didn’t have a choice.  But the truth is, Helen is more than resilient.  Through it all, she has been strong, loving, and funny.  She’s a mother of four and she has had to deal with so much after finding out about Vic’s illness, which would probably push anyone over the edge, but somehow Helen is able to keep going, refusing to give up.

Helen has had some hilarious moments on the show, singing loudly and drinking wine in her bedroom and getting pulled over with her foils still in her hair, but in the season 5 premiere, there is this moment of silence where Helen just simply lets go, allowing her thoughts to drift.  This moment of self-reflection is when Helen starts to truly contemplate what has happened and where she is in her life, which was an extremely powerful and heartbreaking scene to watch.

What’s next for Helen?  We’ll have to wait and see, but it looks like she may have a new romantic interest in the near future who Noah will not approve of.  Even though it seems like there is still a connection between Noah and Helen, I feel like Helen is so above him at this point.  Noah doesn’t deserve Helen and I truly hope that she is able to find true happiness because she constantly puts others before her own needs and I just want her to experience a real moment for herself.  How will it all end?  I’m excited to find out and I can’t wait to see what Helen does next!

Stay tuned for a recognized performance on TV each week!

Best,

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! 

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

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Ranking the top 5 moments from “The Affair” season 5 episode 1 season premiere: “So What Happens Now?”

Happy Sunday TV fans!  After watching Showtime’s The Affair season 5 premiere, it seems like a lot has changed since we last checked in.  Time jumps are present, which may seem jarring and unfamiliar at first, but the opening to the final season of the show does a fantastic job of tugging at all of your emotions while making you cry your eyes out, but that’s part of its addictive and melodramatic charm.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the latest episode yet.  

In tonight’s episode, “501,” it looks like Noah’s book may be turned into a movie, bringing up some interesting questions for him.  Meanwhile, Helen attempts to cope with Vic’s deteriorating health and we time jump into the future to follow Alison and Cole’s adult daughter, Joanie.  My top 5 moments from The Affair season 5 episode 1 season premiere are:

5

“Why does Daniel leave his wife?”

Part one of the episode follows Noah and he is meeting with some kind of movie producer who is interested in his book.  The movie producer seems fascinated with the character based on Helen and brings up some questions of self reflection for Noah, asking him why the character left his wife.  Noah tries to explain that it is not really an easy answer and the movie producer seems to have an addiction for toxic relationships himself, but perhaps Noah needs to revisit his characters again so he doesn’t make the same mistakes in the present.

4

“You’re supposed to be on my side.”

After Vic was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in season 4, we now discover that he has tragically passed and Noah attends the funeral with Janelle.  Helen is doing her best to keep everything together, but she has to deal with Vic’s overbearing parents as well, who refuse to honor Vic’s final wishes for burial.  Helen has an outburst and rightfully so, which brings Noah into the mix.

While it seems like Noah has good intentions here, I’m not sure that Helen is ready to deal with him right now.  Noah is still somewhat of an outsider to his own family, discovering that Whitney is getting married through Vic’s recording, rather than hearing it from his own daughter.  Is it possible for him to finally make amends or will he simply accept his current circumstances?

3

“She’s a keeper.”

I was super excited to see that Janelle is still on the show, played brilliantly by Sanaa Lathan, but it doesn’t even seem like Noah notices her half the time.  Noah is clearly distracted by what is going on with Helen, but he has a strong, intelligent, and loyal woman right next to him.  Will Noah ever truly be satisfied or will he continue to chase after the unattainable?

I’m really hoping that he makes some kind of real decision in the final season, as I’m not sure that we have really seen too much growth for his character.  After everything he has been through, he is still ignoring the beautiful woman standing by his side to dive back into the drama and misery of what could have been.

2

“This is the age my mother died…”

Part two time jumps into the future, as we catch up with Joanie, played by True Blood’s Anna Paquin.  I have to say that I am impressed with that casting, as I could totally see her as Alison and Cole’s daughter and she is already channeling so much angst that we came to identify with Alison’s character.

So far we don’t know too much.  Joanie says that she misses her dad and is taking medication for her anxiety.  She has a husband and two daughters, but she fears that one of her daughters senses that she is adopted.  Joanie is also turning the same age Alison was when she died, which is clearly bringing up a lot of past issues for her. 

Based on the previews for the upcoming episodes, it looks like Joanie plans on following up on how Alison died and even decides to try and track down Ben Cruz, who we know is responsible for her mother’s death.  Will Joanie’s quest lead to answers or is she destined to follow her mother’s tragic fate?  I’m not sure, but I am very invested in this story-line.  Since we do not have Alison or Cole on the show any longer, Joanie is our last tie to this connection that I fell in love with so many seasons ago and I’m hoping everything can come full circle to bring us some justice for Alison.

1

“I had to be resilient.”

Part three of the episode is from Helen’s perspective.  We witness the moments leading up to Vic’s death and the birth of his child.  I’ve gone back and forth with my feelings on Helen as a character and I really started to genuinely like her in season 4.  In the season 5 premiere, Helen has finally reached her true moment in the spotlight.  In season 4, Joshua Jackson and Ruth Wilson had fantastic performances that still touch my mind, body, and soul, but Maura Tierney just stepped up to the plate.

She had me crying my eyes out with every single moment from her perspective.  Even though Helen is known for speaking her mind, those moments of silence, where you could just see the reality striking her felt so incredibly real and heartbreaking.  I was incredibly impressed by this performance and I can’t wait to see what happens next with Helen’s character.

Overall, I thought that the season premiere had a lot of promise and it will be interesting to see how it all ends.  Noah discussed the ending of his book in the beginning of the episode and I thought this was a clever way to remind the audience that perhaps the end of one of our favorite series will leave us with something unexpected as well.  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own theories and thoughts on The Affair below in the comments section.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

**Do you love television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Once Upon a Time, Lost, Charmed, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural?  Do you enjoy dark fantasy, fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery?  Then you may like my book series, Dreaming of Wonderland…available on Amazon!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I really hope you enjoy!

The Dreaming of Wonderland Book Series is available here!

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Ranking the top 5 moments from “The Affair” season 4 episode 10 Season Finale: “We are just so Lucky to be Alive”

Happy Sunday TV fans!  After watching Showtime’s The Affair, I realized that life can be messy and unpredictable.  Sometimes the big moments all happen at once and sometimes we don’t even see them coming.  We can’t ever truly prepare ourselves for these moments, but it’s important to remember that we are lucky to be alive as Noah said and that each new day can bring a glimmer of hope that things can get better.  It may take time and our pain and grief may never fade away entirely, but it’s important to keep fighting and surviving for those around us.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the latest episode yet.  In tonight’s episode, “410,” Noah tries to distract himself from his own grief by staying with Anton at Princeton, but he quickly realizes that there is somewhere else he needs to be.  Meanwhile, Cole has an extremely difficult time at Alison’s funeral and Helen tries to juggle her daughter’s return along with some shocking news from Sierra, all while Vik’s illness takes a turn for the worst.  My top 5 moments from The Affair season 4 episode 10 season finale are:

5

“You shouldn’t be here.”

Part one of the episode is from Noah’s perspective and he is still with Anton at Princeton.  Noah catches up with an old friend from school and he sits in on her writing class.  The students are beyond excited to meet Noah and tell him that he is the reason why they became writers and Noah explains that writing characters is all about listening to people.  Anton has truly perfected this difficult task when he reads his piece about a character that is a contradiction and describes Noah.  He starts out talking about how Noah is an inspiration and someone who truly wants to teach and be there for his students, but things take an unexpected turn when he then says, “He believes in my future…also he’s fucking my mother.”  Noah is upset at Anton and asks him why he would do that after all he has done for him.  Anton has certainly reached his full potential, but we know that Noah has a difficult time taking a good look in the mirror sometimes.  While he was initially upset with Anton’s words, he quickly realizes where Anton is coming from and appreciates when he says that he is sorry about Alison.  Noah is asked a few times what he is doing there and he finally realizes that it’s time to leave and deal with what has happened to Alison.  Anton thanks Noah for everything he has done for him and I have to say that it’s about time Noah has had a true connection with someone.  He may have trouble finding happiness with the women in his life, but he believed in Anton and helped him get on the right path.

4

“Can you please stop calling me Helen?”

“Surprise!”  Whitney is back with her boyfriend and is ready to stir things up per usual.  Helen is very happy to see her daughter, but she has been dealing with a lot of stress and Vik has been in the hospital because of an infection.  Helen does her best to tell Whitney about everything, but Whitney makes everything about her, proving that she hasn’t really changed very much since we last saw her.  Whitney attacks her mother and says, “I have my shit together, why can’t you?”  As if this moment wasn’t already chaotic enough, Sierra stops by with a “white butterfly,” and tells Helen that she needs to talk to her.  The phone then rings and Vik’s mother tells Helen that Vik is not doing well, as the whirlwind of stress escalates even further.  It’s understandable that Helen is having a difficult time coping with all of this at once and she manages to keep her dry sense of humor through it all, making me cheer for her that much more.

3

“How could you of all people be gone?”

In part two, we see everything from Cole’s perspective, as he prepares for Alison’s funeral.  We do get to hear Noah’s words about Alison at the service which are very moving and heartbreaking.  Noah says, “You were magic, you were light…you were wild, you were brave.  You made me see the world with new eyes…with wonder.”  Noah’s words were so romantic and moving.  While Cole has a difficult time finding the words, Noah paints a beautiful picture of Alison Bailey.  We see several old characters at the service like Oscar and Jane and even Ben makes a surprise guest appearance.  While this was very unsettling for me, Noah’s words really impacted me and I think he was able to speak for Cole as well, who is more about action rather than words.  We all grieve in our own way, but Alison was truly someone special and she will be missed by everyone.

2

“I was too late.  I am always too late.”

During the funeral for Alison, Cole is very upset with Athena, knowing that Alison would truly hate the idea of her ashes being scattered into the ocean.  When it is Cole’s time to speak, he grabs the urn and runs away from everyone and everything.  He ends up at Gabriel’s grave and sits there for quite a while.  Noah goes to speak to him and tries to remind him that he is not the only one who loved her and that this moment was important for Athena.  Later on, Cherry goes to see her son and Cole confides in her that he was coming back for Alison, but that he was too late, which is beyond heartbreaking.  Cherry lost her own husband to suicide and tries to explain that life is very messy and that she understands the desire to want to take control, but that we can’t always do so in every situation.  Cherry explains that it takes time, but the pain may never truly disappear.  However, she talks about Cole being a survivor and a fighter and more importantly, being there for Joanie.  Cole and Luisa recognize that their relationship is over, but Cole wants to keep their marriage intact on paper so that she can get her citizenship and because she is an important person in Joanie’s life.  While I’m not sure if this will go according to plan, Cole takes the time to take Joanie on a road trip away from everything.  When he talks about death, he explains that people believe in different things and Joanie asks him what he believes.  In a touching moment, Cole explains to his daughter that whenever she misses her mother, all she has to do is think about her and she will always be with her.  This moment is truly important, as Cole takes his mother’s advice, understanding that there is no easy fix to this situation, but his purpose now is to be there for his daughter no matter what.

1

“We are just so lucky to be alive.”

Part three of the episode is from Helen’s perspective.  After being shut out of the hospital room for not having a visitor’s pass, Helen finds out that Sierra is pregnant with Vik’s baby and is beyond shocked.  Helen needs a moment away from everyone and confides in Noah.  Helen tells Noah that she doesn’t know if she truly loves Vik the way she is supposed to; especially since it is not the way she loved Noah.  The two continue to confide in each other about Alison and Vik and how they ended up where they are now.  When Helen explains that she thinks she is broken and that Vik deserves better, Noah refuses to let her say this about herself.  While he starts out telling Helen that she is snobby and overbearing, the compliment soon emerges when he says, “I don’t know anyone who’s tougher than you.”  Helen is touched by this and Noah takes it a step further when he says that if he was dying, he would want Helen by his side.  Helen and Noah have come so far and have had so many ups and downs, but this moment was truly something significant for me.  Through it all, these two are still connected and have a bond and friendship that surpasses everything.  While it may not be right for the two of them to be together romantically anymore, it’s clear that they both still care about one another very much.  Noah’s words to Helen clearly help her, as she goes to see Vik and simply whispers to him over and over again, “I love you.”  Helen knows that this is what Vik needs to hear, especially since he began breaking down that he should have listened to her about treatment and that he is not ready to die.  Helen courageously goes to get Sierra in the waiting room and says, “Tell him now.”  Helen understands that this is something that could truly help Vik, proving to be someone who is selfless and caring.  The end of the episode reveals Helen walking up on the rooftop of the building, staring out at the sun and the city.  While I was initially confused and anxious about this scene, I took it as Helen finally opening her eyes and embracing a new day and a life full of possibilities, truly connecting with the concept that she is lucky to be alive.  There are still so many open doors left to explore in this series and I am beyond excited to see the conclusion in season 5.  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own theories and thoughts on The Affair below in the comments section.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

If you enjoyed this blog, I would love it if you would click the follow button on your way out to subscribe.  Thanks for your support! 

I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

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