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! 

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