Guest Review The Affair

The Affair 2×01 – Episode 1

“He just came home one day and told her and said ‘I’m leaving you’.”

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If you’re not watching The Affair by now, then you’re truly missing out on one of the best shows on television.

Luckily, there is no dip in quality in the season two premiere even after we’d gotten accustomed to A-grade episodes almost every week last season. And to prove that the show is bold and even more creative, the perspectives have expanded to now include those of Helen’s and Cole’s. I couldn’t be happier.

Even though my feelings for Noah are as confusing as my feelings for him and Alison as a couple, I still found his part in the first half of the hour thoroughly engrossing. His scene with Helen and the mediator was so entertaining to watch, especially when watching these two bicker about who gets what in the divorce. The fact that Noah sees the mediator as a comical, goofy person who sat between him and Helen speaks volumes of how selfish this character is, and it’s evident during Helen’s perspective where she sees things much, much differently. Again, this is just another case of The Affair toying with our brains in the most awesome way possible.

Of course, Helen’s point of view is far more captivating. Not only is Maura Tierney delivering a truly outstanding performance, but also the fact that we’re watching things unfold in her eyes is mesmerizing and makes me appreciate this show a lot more. It’s a darker, grittier point of view for sure—seeing her cry in the shower killed me—and I can’t wait to see more of her in future episodes. I still need a whole lot of time to get used to Max as her love interest, but so far I’m not too annoyed with this pairing unlike my initial reaction to Noah and Alison (which hasn’t changed much by now).

Of course, The Affair wants us to stay hooked on a murder mystery that isn’t exactly as thrilling as everything else on this show. That’s not to say the final flashforward isn’t interesting; we finally see Helen in the future scenes, but it only adds to my confusion as to how much time has passed because she looks like she’s aged faster than Noah or Alison. And even though Noah and Helen has never been the couple to root for, I can’t say I didn’t get the chills when their eyes meet in that prison cell and she tells him she’s bailing him out. I’ve praised Tierney’s epic performance constantly last year, but in that one scene it became clear to me that Dominic West is also perfectly cast here. He plays the selfish cheating asshole pretty well, but I’ve come to realize that he’s also quite fantastic in the pathetic ex-husband role as well.

In fact, everything about this show is fantastic. Thank God we don’t have to wait too long for the next episode.

Unfaithful Flings & Bits

– I like that they added bits from season one into the opening sequence, even though I think it’s unnecessary. The whole thing was hauntingly beautiful already.

– Noah has a nightmare in the opening scene about getting into a car accident and possibly hitting someone. Nightmare or premonition?

– I loved Noah telling his younger son about the divorce. Maybe because the boy ended up punching his dad in the face.

– And so the mindfucking begins again! Why are Noah and Helen’s memories so conflicting when it comes to the mediator? I can’t tell which version of this guy I like more (they were both pretty horrendous), but props to the actor for playing such contradictory roles in the span on one hour.

– The only scene where the two stories overlap (with the mediator) is the highlight of the episode for me. Everything from how Helen and Noah are dressed in either versions to Noah’s book to talking about Alison is pure perfection.

– I really hate Helen’s mother. Very evil!

– Very awkward scene between Noah and Alison dancing outside to no music.

– Helen listening to those women talk about her was heart-wrenching.

– Outstanding performances at the benefit dinner scene from Maura to Josh Stamberg (Max) and Kathleen Chalfant (Helen’s mother).

– We learn more about how far back Noah and Helen know Max and how desperate Margaret was to see Helen and Max hook up.

– No Joshua Jackson here! I bet we’ll be seeing his and Alison’s point of view very soon. Can I say I’m not TOO excited to see those versions?

– Whitney is still annoying, no surprise there!

– So what’s the deal with the detective? Was he really just trying to go after Noah this whole time?

Adulterous Sayings

Harry: I gotta ask. How much of this is based on what happened between you and, um, what’s her actual name?
Noah: It’s fiction, Harry.

Noah: Margaret, I gotta ask you, how the fuck do you face yourself in the mirror each morning?
Margaret: How the fuck do you?

Jeremey: I understand what a difficult time this must be for both of you, so I will start by trying to make you feel a little better. You have already done yourselves a tremendous service. You have chosen to divorce in what I like to call a humane way. You’re not shooting your marriage in the head. You’re not running it over with a car. You’re not dousing it with gasoline and lighting it on fire. You’re just putting it humanely to sleep. So just take a moment and congratulate yourselves on this choice.
Helen: Congratulations, Noah.

Jeremey: Is there anything else you’d like to add to this list? Anything perhaps from you, Mrs. Solloway?
Helen: No, I want nothing from him.
Jeremey: But would you take half of nothing? (Pause) It’s a…sorry, it’s a little mediation humor.

Helen: Where in the city are you looking? Coney Island?

Helen: We’re getting a divorce because he had an affair.
Jeremey: Yeah. Symptom, not disease.

Conclusion
A captivating premiere that’s hard not to love despite how bland Noah and Alison may be. I’m so happy this show is back.

Chris Rating
A-

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