Sunday, November 30, 2014

What I’m Watching: The Affair

The Affair: Season 1, Episode 7 (A-)

This show caught me off guard by having its characters put all their cards on the table just seven episodes into its first season. That’s doubly true for Noah, since he had the situation all figured out, with money borrowed from a friend and his life back in the city seemingly idyllic. But that’s the crucial and fascinating thing about this show: Noah and Allison are equals, both married and complicit, neither a better person than the other. What was just as interesting as the ways in which their secrets were spilled was how each spouse reacted. Helen guessed right away that it was Allison, and was furious both at his infidelity and his reasoning that it wasn’t a big deal. Cole, on the other hand, didn’t care to know who it was and seemed to want to forget about it entirely, and when he did find out Noah’s identity, he seemed disappointed and flummoxed rather than enraged. Cole’s mother also seemed ready to let it go as long as her son didn’t find out, and expressed judgment rather than fury. It was incredibly bold – and stupid – for Allison to go into Helen’s shop, and Helen’s reaction was one of uncertainty, seemingly indicating that it came before Noah’s spontaneous confession. While all the secrecy was going on, it was easy to return to normal life, and Noah’s family managed to head back to the city pretty quickly. But now that it’s all out in the open, nothing will be the same and it’s going to be tough to put the pieces back together. While regrettable for our characters, it will definitely make this show immensely watchable.

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