Thursday, October 31, 2019

What I’m Watching: The Affair (Penultimate Episode)

The Affair: Season 5, Episode 10 (C+)

We’re so close to the end here, yet for some reason we have to suffer through a 100-minute series finale. This second-to-last hour was far from satisfying, and my biggest gripe is with its format. Opening with Helen and Noah’s individual perspectives before moving to an unexplained share perspective made little sense, perhaps only to indicate that they actually had an honest conversation they were both able to hear and perceive the same way. Yet it’s just the latest convoluted iteration of a truly creative and effective device that helped to make this show’s first two season so vital and superb. Though Ruth Wilson is no longer a member of the cast, her presence in brief flashbacks reminded me of much better days of this show, which was strong despite the less appealing structuring aspect of the interrogations about the mysterious death that took a while to unravel. The prominence of the California fires felt eerily prescient given that they’ve once again resumed their destruction, something that couldn’t possibly have been predicted when this season was filmed. It’s not a very helpful setting for this drama though, and it just ends up as a forced reason for Noah and Helen to hike to safety and have an opportunity to hash out all of their issues before Helen managed to get bitten by a poisonous snake and survive without an issue. We know that Noah isn’t a great person and he certainly doesn’t respect women in any way that resembles what he believes, and the two of them talking for half an hour after being stubborn in the face of nature is not what I’m looking for after spending fifty hours with these characters. Let’s hope the finale is moderately better.

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