Monday, September 2, 2019

What I’m Watching: The Affair

The Affair: Season 5, Episode 2 (B)

I’m always happy when a very worthwhile character gets a perspective of their own on this show, and it’s nice to see a returning to competing narratives, when we see the same events portrayed from two different points of view. I like Sanaa Lathan a lot, particularly after her Emmy-worthy work in a memorable episode of “The Twilight Zone” from this past year, and it’s good to see her spotlighted as Janelle gets to experience her own life, not merely as an extension of Noah’s world. It was interesting to see that, as far as she saw it, Helen asked her to go deal with the valet rather than her kindly offering, and Noah barely even registered the insult of Helen’s father mistaking her for a waitress in a $1000 dress instead of apologizing for him. Being demoted to co-principal so that Joel could be the public face of the school was a huge slap in the face, and going to her ex-husband to have him look at the contract was an intriguing move, one that suggests that she’s the one having this affair this time. Russell Hornsby is another formidable player, and I’m glad that he’ll be part of this season even if it doesn’t spell good things for Noah. I neglected to identify Claes Bang, a worthwhile part of the less overall worthwhile film “The Square,” an Oscar nominee two years ago for Best Foreign Film, as the actor portraying Sasha, the actor portraying Noah in the film-within-a-series that we’re starting to see made. Playing basketball with Helen after being wowed by her was unexpectedly intimate, but he managed to wreck that by throwing a basketball at her face, a puzzling idea. I still don’t know what to make of Joanie’s role in this season, struggling to secretly flush her sentient toilet and then seemingly breaking in when she volunteered to go to Montauk to visit her father. I don’t imagine clarity is coming anytime soon.

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