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Performers Of The Month - Winner: Outstanding February Actor - Jesse Williams

Playing a doctor on television comes with a lot of responsibility. Not only are these performers required to be skilled performers but they also have the added responsibility of looking and speaking like they are seasoned medical professionals. Grey’s Anatomy has been blessed with many phenomenal performers that successfully do this week after week, but Jesse Williams is definitely a standout in the cast. Not only is he incredibly photogenic but the amount of natural talent he has is off the charts. He’s so proficient in his line delivery that it would be understandable if someone mistook him for an actual doctor. I’ll admit that initially I wasn’t fond of the changes that led Williams and a whole slew of other performers to the show but he won me over very quickly. He is a very charismatic actor and he pours so much of his heart into each performance that you can’t help but be sucked into what is going on with his character.

Williams earned the title of Outstanding February Actor by barring his soul for fans to see during the powerful and heart wrenching episode, Unbreak My Heart (12x11). February saw a lot of actors deliver incredible performances but none delivered a performance quite as raw and real as Williams did. Alone in a scene he can fill the room with his presence and ability but some of his most defining moments occur when he and his regular scene partner, Sarah Drew, are together. This win was for his performance in February but Drew can’t be forgotten as she is a major part of some of his best moments. Williams is a phenomenal actor but when he is with Drew in a scene his performance gets elevated to a whole other level. She brings out the best in him and vice versa. They seem to have an unspoken connection when they work together that just makes them both better and even more amazing than normal.

It was important to mention Drew in this article because in the episode Williams was nominated for she was by his side through the mass majority of the scenes. When Jackson is trying to deal with reconciling his love for April and trying to figure out how to let go of her it is because of Drew’s support that Williams was able to infuse such an immense amount of heart into his performance. Deeply emotional scenes, as occurred through the mass majority of the episode in question, can be some of the hardest for performers because they have to go to some intense places for our entertainment. During these types of scenes the performer is relying on their scene partner to be there for them. Williams has a very natural instinct to react to his scene partners and on the reverse side he’s very present and open to his scene partners. This episode forced him to cover the gambit of emotions from lust to love to joy to anguish to anger and finally to acceptance and for most of the episode he had Drew by his side and she supported him every step of the way. Jackson Avery was put through the emotional wringer in this episode and Williams embraced every emotion and delivered such a powerful performance that he broke the hearts of viewers. Jackson loves April so much yet sometimes love just isn’t enough to heal deep emotional wounds. Though they do say time can heal all wounds so who knows what the future may hold for these two troubled lovers.

The deepest wound for Jackson is the loss of his and April's baby. It was a hard blow for both of them but he had to try and remain strong for April while breaking down internally. I think it was a great thing for the show to allow viewers to see the point of view of the father and that they hurt and feel the loss every bit as much as mothers do. When Jackson destroyed the crib Williams put everything on the line and threw his entire heart and soul into that scene making it plow through screens and break the hearts of every viewer. Williams brought Jackson’s pain to life and did amazing and important work by bringing to light what fathers experience in these heart breaking situations. Unfortunately when Jackson needed April the most she dealt with the loss by trying to run from it and their relationship just couldn’t recover. This issue has been made clear in earlier episodes but this episode gave viewers a whole new insight into just how much April leaving hurt Jackson. While I hate that Jackson had to deal with all he did it gave Williams some incredible material to work with.

While he is brilliant in the deeply emotional moments he is also an expert at being able to portray the lighter moments such as the impromptu dance scene at the hospital. In those moments his big smile and bright eyes force viewers to smile because that’s the only reaction one can have to such an example of joy. It takes a very skilled actor to be able to capture an audience and bring them along with them on the emotional journey of their character. Williams reaches his fans and has earned their loyalty because he seems like a genuinely good guy who loves his work and is extremely good at it. In time hopefully April and Jackson will find a way to mend their broken relationship and then we’ll all get to experience Williams and his big bright smile a bit more often.

I’ll admit that while I used to be a hardcore fan of the show as the television landscape has become more crowded I have become a bit of just a casual viewer of the show. So I reached out to a fellow writer (and big Grey’s Anatomy fan) for some deeper insight into Williams and his performances in February. I’m going to turn the article over to her for just a moment before coming back to conclude it.

The following portion of this article is by Donna Chidley.

With a large ensemble cast like Grey’s Anatomy sometimes it takes time for a character to be spotlighted and for that character to shine. This seems to have happened with Jesse Williams.

Jesse Williams joined the cast as Dr Jackson Avery In season 6 when Mercy West merged with Seattle Grace. We learned he was an Avery. Born to a very elite medical family his grandfather’s award the Harper Avery is sought after by the medical profession. Jackson is tired of being judged for his family and also judged on his model good looks.

His journey has not been smooth by any means he lost most of his fellow classmates to a crazed gunman. His friend and mentor Dr Sloan died. However what attracted most viewers’ attention was the love story that developed between him and character Dr April Kepner played by Sarah Drew.

From their brief fling to love affair to a dramatic scene stopping moment when he crashes her wedding and they run off together and get married. Fans have followed the love story of JApril until it shattered after the death of their child.

This month in Episode 11 of season 12 titled Unbreak My Heart. We are told the story as if watching a video which is fast forwarded then rewound. Both actors were amazing, Jesse’s performance from his empathy while dealing with a patient to his sheer frustration at April who doesn’t seem to realize he was hurting too. She ran away and when he needed her she wasn’t there. They can’t seem to repair their relationship. He has asked for a divorce but they have a brief lapse and sleep together (which we know results in an unexpected pregnancy).

The story and how it is portrayed, highlights what is often forgotten with the loss of a child the fathers hurt as well. They have to be the man and the strong one which you see him trying desperately to be for April but cracking instead which ends in rage and smashing up the baby’s room. All credit is due to Jesse for taking us on his half of this journey.

I want to thank Donna for that great take on Williams and his evolution up to his tour de force February performance in Unbreak My Heart. Williams is a charismatic actor who isn’t afraid to open up and let viewers see him in a vulnerable and open state as he brings his character to life. He has a natural gift as an actor that will lead him to a very long and prosperous career. He was very deserving of this win and I hope he will continue to grace our screens for a very long time.

Jesse Williams was your fan pick as the most Outstanding Actor Of February 2016. Hit the comments below to tell others why you think he earned this title and what you most enjoyed about his February performances.

PLEASE READ: This is an article to recognize Jesse’s work and to honor his performance in February on Grey’s Anatomy. Shipper related bashing will not be tolerated in the comments even from Jesse’s fans. Honor the performer and his performance. Have fun and be kind to one another.

About the Author - Aimee Hicks
Aimee works for a newspaper in North Carolina and has a BA in Broadcasting and Cinema. She has been a TV lover since before she really understood what TV was. She has a long list of shows that she loves to watch and can be found on twitter (@ahicks83) live tweeting about each new episode whenever she can. If the show is sci-fi, fantasy, comic book based, drama, or action the odds are good she watches it or has at least watched a few episodes of it. She also has a love for comedies 2 Broke Girls and Mom. She was the original creator and co-founder of LOST Video Island ( which is still operating under the management of the very capable and skilled group she turned it over to.
You can email her at
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