The Affair

The Affair 3×04 – Episode Four

"Your marriage to the ex-convict who killed your brother-in-law? How's that going?"


Wasn’t that just so engrossing?

I was never a big fan of Cole throughout The Affair’s first two seasons, so imagine my surprise when I found myself completely captivated by the character throughout this episode. In fact, watching Cole’s perspective unfold was a season highlight thus far, and this was punctuated by Joshua Jackson’s impeccable performance. It’s fascinating really to see just how much Cole has changed and matured over the course of the show. It was especially powerful to see him build a well-rounded life for himself after all the chaos, only to fall back into old habits and sleep with Alison all over again. Why did he ruin everything again by episode’s end? Because as much as we want him to be better than Alison was and not cheat on his loving spouse, he’s only human in the end. Ouch

If Cole’s perspective was compelling, Alison’s was tremendously eye-opening in all its differences.  From being much less panicky in the playground, to being traumatized during the party and unable to rush to her daughter’s aid, Alison’s version of events jarringly contrasted everything we thought we knew. It’s this memory bias that makes The Affair so unique, and which so beautifully illuminates our characters and how they view themselves and the people around them. Who should we believe? I guess that’s the whole point: no one ever remembers events in a 100% truthful manner.

I’m actually expecting a Luisa perspective soon; Catalina Moreno is doing terrific work as Cole’s wife and she’s definitely earned it (heck even Juliet got to tell her side of things). Morena perfectly balances her character’s complex arc. You understand why she’s so hurt (her line about “competing” with a dead child cuts like a knife), and yet you also know that Cole is stuck in an impossible situation that’s bound to drive his wife crazy. In addition, the episode’s final twist with Luisa dropping by Alison’s and offering an olive branch after her husband unknowingly cheated on her is just gut-wrenchingly good.

Bits & Flings

– Cole starts the episode having dream-sex with Alison, and ends it having actual sex with her. Uh oh.

– Even the cake was different in both perspectives. I love catching these details.

– Loved Cole’s lesson about getting right back on the horse after falling.

– So Luisa gave Cole his alibi. But where was he when Noah got stabbed?

– Raise your hand if you want Cole to fulfill his dream of “killing” Noah.

– In Cole’s perspective, Alison is wearing a dress. In her version, her clothes are much more conservative. Hmm..

– The most amusing difference: in Cole version’s, he and the social services lady are sitting far apart and watching Alison like vultures. In Alison’s version, Cole is actually chatting with the lady (maybe they’re ganging up on her?), and not even paying attention to her parenting.

– The fact that even for a second, Alison considers putting nuts in the cake and harming Luisa is just insane. Of course after the detectives arrives and she realizes how grave the consequences would be, she changes her mind. Good girl.

– The voice-note that Alison listens to is the one Noah left her right before getting stabbed right?

– It’s a small moment, but Alison’s story, Luisa physically latches on to Cole in a taunting manner when she sees her.

– Foreshadowing: Alison might run for Town Council in the future. Interesting.

– Loved Luisa and Alison fighting as the former returns the cake.

– Even the kiss is different. In Cole’s version, it’s animalistic and full of passion, whereas in Alison’s it’s longer and much more romantic. Notice the lighting choices which reflect those tones as well!

– The pony’s size is different in both perspectives. Obviously Alison views the pony as much bigger and more imposing in hers.

– Talk about an ending: Alison feels reinvigorated after swimming in the ocean (which caused her son’s death) only for Noah to drive by on her way home! Here we go again!

Adulterous Sayings

Cole: Hey. Is he alive?
Detective: He is.
Cole: Too bad.

Cole: (to Alison) He’s a fucking free man, and we’re stuck here in this shit! You tell him that if he ever so much as sets foot in this town again, I will fucking murder him, and I’ll do it in broad daylight, and I’ll invite the cops to watch.

Cole: (to Alison) My life is good when you’re not around. Business is booming. My family’s doing better. Luisa and I are solid. And then you show up, and you see me settled, and you just think to yourself, “Nope, that shit can’t stand. I got to fuck that right up.”

Cole: Where’s little O?
Oscar: Oh, Jenny’s feeding him inside. Kid can’t eat in loud places. Can you imagine? Me with an oversensitive son?

Oscar: (to Alison) You get your cavities filled without Novocaine too?

Oscar: All right, well, I’m gonna go check on Jenny, make sure the kid’s not sucking her boobs off. I swear he’s stealing everything from me.

Skillfully utilizing its signature perspectives, this is one unforgettable episode.

Nad Rating


  1. Loved this episode and the return to catching the subtle differences between perspectives! There's so much moral ambiguity in this show, it makes me uncomfortable.

    Btw this was Cole not Alison!

    Alison: Hey. Is he alive?
    Detective: He is.
    Alison: Too bad.

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