Thursday, August 23, 2018

What I’m Watching: The Affair

The Affair: Season 4, Episode 9 (B)

I have mixed feelings about this episode, which casts things more into doubt than they’ve ever been on this show. I liked how, as far back as the first-ever episode, there were differing portrayals of the same situation, with the perception of Noah’s initial meeting with Allison always standing out in my mind. What this episode did that no other has done before is to show the same event twice from the same character’s perspective, with two remarkably different outcomes and the knowledge that this is the last we’ll ever see from Allison. I read one recap from Vox as soon as I finished the episode to try to make sense of it, and I think part of the idea is that we’re not supposed to know what really happened. Everything else we’ve seen of Ben suggests that it was the first account, since even Noah doesn’t have an idyllic perception of himself when we see things from his point of view. It’s possible that their romantic and wonderful interaction did happen, but, playing it over in her head, Allison imagined it the other way, causing her to doubt her own purpose and sanity, finding it hard to believe that she had finally met someone who could be right for her. I don’t think that Ben has become an important enough part of the show to be central in the fifth season that will proceed without Allison, and she’s likelier to be remembered and present weighing on the consciences of her ex-husbands. Her final line, “I didn’t seduce you, but even if I did, I’m allowed to change my mind,” is a haunting goodbye, one that will memorialize the way that her life hasn’t gone anywhere near the way she’s wanted it to. Ruth Wilson has been uniquely terrific on this show, and though she asked to leave the series, I think she’s been a tremendous and crucial part of it being what it’s been, and was always a cut above the material when it went through some rough points.

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