SEAL Team has been one of the most-underrated shows of the season. In terms of action, it’s bringing you a lot — think in terms of intense moments and incredible cinematography that throws you into the thick of it all without also steering you away from realism.
If SEAL Team did just this and this alone, it’d be a show worthy of technical Emmy nominations, but there is so much more to this show. Its performances and storytelling bring it to that next level. Sure, this is a show about tough active-duty SEALs and their various missions, but it also focuses on some very real life struggles at home away from the job. It’s personal, heartfelt, and painful, and all of that is exemplified especially through the primary subject of this piece in David Boreanaz. While he may be an Emmy underdog at present, his take on Jason Hayes really should put him into consideration.
What makes Boreanaz and his work so special this time around? Much of it starts with him understanding the difficult struggle his character has between his work and home life. When Alana died early on in season 2, it fundamentally changed everything in his life. He had a parenting partner, a sounding board, and someone who knew him inside and out. When Alana was taken away, he was left a shell, a part-person trying to find a way to make himself whole again. Boreanaz’s performance within those episodes was heartbreaking, given that he was in mourning, but also had to find a way to mask it. He had to try to not let his kids see all of his pain so that they had someone to lean on themselves. He wasn’t able to always hold it in, but he tried his best and that relatability that Boreanaz brought to the character reached us all.
For a time, one of the most fascinating struggles for Jason as a character was him being in some ways more capable of being on deployment than he was at home — and then reconciling his feelings about that. David allowed us a window into that as Jason showed an introspective side midway through the season, one that teetered more and more into collapse as we’ve come closer to the end.
While many of us may not have the dangerous career that Jason does, we have experienced part of his dilemma — struggling with being away from home, keeping his mind focused on the mission, trying to find a way for his daughter to attend college, and also the struggle of having to be a leader amidst all of that. He’s feeling guilty that he didn’t get help for Ray sooner — he’s in the midst of a near-constant cycle of pain, and with no clear answer as to where the escape hatch is.
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Why Boreanaz succeeds at making this character vulnerable
It’s his accessibility as an actor. Whether it be with his mannerisms, his dialogue, or the way in which Jason expresses emotion, he makes sure we can all feel what he’s feeling. We’ve all gotten a little too angry at times, felt hopeless, or lost something or someone we care about. He’s not afraid to let it all out there as an actor — he pays respect to the subject matter, and the situation that his character finds himself in.
Jason can certainly make you feel inspired, but he can also leave your heart crumbling to pieces. He’s a powerful man, but also a vulnerable one with a refreshing sense of humanity. Because of David’s performance, he never feels out of reach like many prototypical TV heroes do. We see how he works, but we also understand how he lives. Those, in tandem, are why he should be under Emmy consideration.
Will he get the awards-show love he so clearly deserves? Given the lack of broadcast-network actor nominations recently by the Television Academy, it’s hard to feel optimistic. Yet, the performance and his presence are most certainly there with this show.
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Are you rooting for David Boreanaz to get an Emmy nomination for his work on SEAL Team? Be sure to share right now in the comments. (Photo: CBS.)