Just when I thought I had a handle on The Affair‘s structure, the season’s third episode went on ahead and threw me a curveball: we got a brand new perspective in the form of Juliette, the French teacher introduced in the season premiere and Noah’s new paramour. How crazy is that?
I remember finding Irene Jacob’s performance to be quite odd upon first impression, but she certainly grew on me this week. The actress definitely possesses a kind of magnetic charm whenever she’s on screen, and that’s a good sign when you’ve got a show as slow as The Affair. So much of this show’s running time consists of people doing absolutely nothing, that you need charismatic performers to keep you engaged.
In addition to having a sick (and famous) husband back in France, Juliette has controversial opinions concerning sex (I surprisingly didn’t mind sitting through the premiere rape debate a second time), and she also has no qualms about sleeping with her students. The writers wisely injected the character into the main proceedings by having her save Noah from bleeding out, but I’m wondering just how integral she’s going to be to the season going forward. It’s strange that Cole himself hasn’t even gotten to share his perspective yet. Maybe Luisa is in the cards as well?
And then of course there’s Noah, as the show finally revealed the unsettling pieces to his prison stint (intercut with his slow recovery post-stabbing). Although Brendan Fraser’s casting as the guard is dreadfully bizarre, I was completely convinced by the time this episode came to an end. His gradual and psychotic transformation throughout this hour supplied the storyline with a heavy dose of creepiness and dread, and I look forward to seeing what further torture he put Noah through during his jail time. Moreover, the fact that he actually read Noah’s book and stole Alison’s picture definitely raises the stakes for the rest of the season. This is turning into one scary season isn’t it?
Flings & Bits
– Intriguing touch: Juliette is reading Noah’s Descent but lying to her students about it. Embarrassed are we? Also, the book makes her touch herself.
– Disturbing moment: Juliette’s kitchen counter sex with her creepy student after Noah rejects her.
– Super nifty editing with Noah being rushed to surgery intercut with his first moments in prison and getting strip-searched.
– Okay so Helen was enormously annoying in the hospital, but is she really like that or is that Noah’s perspective making her out to be so despicable? I’m leaning towards the latter.
– Interesting to note: in the premiere, Juliette finds Noah on the porch whereas here, she finds him in her bedroom.
– Audrey wants to sleep with Noah even after he destroyed her in class? Really?
– Noah pulling his hand away after Helen takes hold of it: what an ass!
– The fact that Noah’s kids aren’t happy to see him. They’re almost as horrible as he is!
– The detective playing with the plastic cup made me want to smash the screen myself, so I feel you Noah!
– What happened between Noah and Nina 30 years ago? Can we get a Nina perspective please?
– Does no one else find it rude that Noah basically invited himself to stay at Juliette’s during his recovery? You barely know the woman!
– Love the reveal that Noah’s shoulder injury is due to Gunther. Ouch!
– So Noah is convinced that Gunther is the one who stabbed him. Honestly I still think Noah did it to himself.
Juliette: I understand how such a thing would protect the university, but I don’t see how sex itself would survive.
Audrey: Why not?
Juliette: Because I am afraid the articulate is the enemy of the erotic. Isn’t the whole point that you don’t know what your lover will do next? That you give yourself over to a sensory experience that you haven’t planned and can’t control? The reason I like sex is that I can finally, for a moment, turn off my neurotic mind and just be consumed. If I give my lover permission… yes, no, uh, touch me, not there… don’t I undermine the potency of his desire?
Noah: For all I know your husband’s the one who tried to kill me.
Nina: Oh, please. JP’s not smart enough to get away with murder.
Juliette: I thought you were the detectives with more questions.
Noah: They’ve already been here?
Juliette: Just like a TV show. The younger one even carried a cup of takeout coffee.
Not as impressive as last week’s stunner, but still a wonderfully captivating hour of The Affair.