The Affair 1×04 – Episode 4

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There’s something so fascinating about this show. It’s so addictive, so manipulative, so detail-oriented, and so god-damn mysterious that it leaves me speechless week after week.

I didn’t find the fourth installment of this captivating drama quite as perfect as the previous installments, but it was still absolutely charming as hell. Focusing merely on Noah and Alison was a surprising move; maybe that’s why I found it lacking a little. I have gotten around to seeing Cole and Helen that I felt like their absence really affected the overall quality of the episode, as well as the pace.

But that’s something I’m also fascinated about The Affair, how insanely slow it’s going. The show is so set on being detailed and thorough, and that’s so refreshing and original compared to almost every single drama on television today. I’m still not warming up to Noah and Alison as the couple to root for, and I don’t think the show is even trying to make us love them together. In fact, they’re really trying to show us how messed up these people are, how complex and complicated this affair is about to get…and that detective Jeffries is just toying with our heads.

There’s so much to wonder about after his conversations with both Noah and Alison outside the police station. The beauty of this storyline is how endless the possibilities could be: is he lying to Noah, or to Alison about his marriage and kids? Or is this just another thing that Noah and Alison see in their own perspective? Or are the two flash-forwards not even happening at the same time? This is really groundbreaking television at its best.

Not many shows out there expose the real psychological effects of affairs; most of them tend to take the dramatic vulnerable part and show how infidelity kills a marriage. So what’s truly innovative about this affair is Noah and Alison’s side of it. I’m glad this episode was dedicated to showing us the beginning of that affair: the kiss, the hotel room, the fight, the sex, the crying, the running away, how they talk about Cole and Helen, etc. By the end of the season, we’re gonna know every little detail about these characters, and that’s awesome.

I particularly found Alison and Noah’s scene in the car fascinating. The way she talked about her son drowning, and what that meant for their previous interaction at the beach, was gut-wrenching. Both Dominic West and Ruth Wilson are giving truly cheer-worthy performances, but I hope we’ll see their respective partners in the next episode.

Unfaithful Flings & Bits

– Unlike the past episodes, we didn’t restart back to the beginning in Alison’s version. In fact, her perspective just picked off exactly where Noah’s story ended.

– Amusing touch: the wallpaper in the hotel room differs in the two versions. These little details make me so amazed.

– At the dock, Noah recalls Alison sharing a happy memory from her childhood. In Alison’s version, it’s a dark tale of a boy calling out to his mother, learning how to swim, and mostly ghosts. Absolutely chilling discrepancy here.

– Very little differences this time in their stories is actually so intriguing. It’s like they’re both telling the truth about how real and vulnerable they both were, and how much it’s affected them in the future. Am I reading too much into this series? I sure hope not!

– Alison talking about Cole’s tattoo was heartbreaking.

– Is this one of the best-written shows I’ve ever seen? Absolutely, if not THE best.

Adulterous Sayings

Noah: Let me make one thing very clear. There’s nothing about you that seems easy and whatever darkness you think you’re hiding, well it’s written all over your fuckin’ face. And you know what? I kinda like it.
Alison: Trust you? Are you insane? You’re a married man with four kids who’s cheating on his wife.
Noah: Do you consider yourself a good person?
Alison: No.
Alison: Cole has this tattoo on his back of the angel Gabriel, and it’s the first thing I see every fucking morning, and I want to die.
Alison: What do you see now, when you look at me?
Noah: What do you think I see?
Alison: Death.
Alison: I had a son.
Noah: Had?
Alison: He drowned.

Conclusion
Not as perfect as the previous installments, but this remains to be an exceedingly captivating show.

 Chris Rating
B+

2 comments

  1. I didn't even catch the different wallpapers Chris! Wow! I swear I feel like this show deserves to be watched several times (although I have yet to do so) just to catch all the little details and nuances. It's so darn complex, deep and layered that you could teach a class about it. I'm finding it absolutely masterful so far, and it's slow storytelling manages to keep me enthralled all throughout which is so impressive.

    And wow, the fact that we just continued from her perspective means the show is already willing to take risks and not stick to the same format. Brilliant.

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