The Affair

The Affair 4×02 – Episode 2

"I was raised by a single mom. Baddest motherfuckers in the world, and I spent eight years in the Marines."

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Last week’s premiere was fantastic, so this was bound to be a bit of a disappointment (particularly if you were expecting some sort of follow-up after that cliffhanger).

Careless Grief

A big chunk of the episode is spent showcasing Alison’s new career as a grief councilor. It’s a fitting turn of events, and one that really makes sense considering her journey thus far. It’s always important when characters experience growth, and Alison is certainly doing that (just look at how she now keeps Gabriel’s picture on her desk). However, the show gets a bit sidetracked when it introduces a new love interest in the form of Ben, a former soldier who has PTSD (and intimacy issues). Ramon Rodriguez is perfectly good in the role – he’s charismatic and immediately likable, and he gets a standout moment saving Alison from one of her patients’ psycho exes (it’s a very tense sequence). However, I kind of wish the show waited a bit before bringing him into the picture. We don’t really need to jump into yet another love story so soon.

Lobsters and Surfboards

Cole’s perspective on the other hand is immensely absorbing across the board. The fact that Cole is still with Luisa (even though he loves Alison), makes all of their scenes extremely cringeworthy and awkward. Moreover, Luisa’s undocumented status is a very timely topic for the show to tackle, and it supplies the episode with the most stressful scene of all time: the cop pulling Cole and Luisa as the former tries to cover for his wife. Although the two get lucky and manage to avoid arrest, it’s a very uncomfortable scene to watch, punctuated by Catalina Morena’s impeccable performance.

And it really is fascinating to witness how Cole sees Alison. When the opportunity to franchise the Lobster Roll (and make millions arises), Cole sees Alison as a careless partner who arrives with wet hair and skips meetings to do God knows what. It’s here that the brilliance of the show’s narrative device is evident: it perfectly conveys the power of memory bias. As Alison’s perspective shows, she’s anything but careless and is doing her best to move on from a traumatic few years. It’s good to see that the show’s “gimmick” is still as effective as it was when the show first debuted. 

Bits & Flings

– That opening scene with Anton in the car with Cole and Noah was for too short. If you want to reel us in with those “mysterious” flashforwards, you better give us a clearer sense of what’s going on.

– How sweet is Luisa learning Mandarin and trying to impress Cole’s Chinese investors?

– Luisa and Cole’s fight after dinner is so hard to watch. Most heartbreaking is when he finally screams out “fuck you” and she starts sobbing.

– Cole walking through the beach at night reminded me of Noah’s similar walk in the pilot. I’m glad he didn’t cheat on Luisa, but he did get roofied and robbed.

– Notice that even the drawings on Cole’s face are different in Alison’s perspective. This show kills me.

– Can someone explain to me why Cole is in the car with Alison in her perspective to drop off their kid? Seems like a pretty big difference for him to forget.

– Cole tries to get his money back from the kid who robbed him but is faced with a terrifying reality: the kid first got high thanks to Cole’s brother. Yup, you forgot about the Lockhart drug family business didn’t you?

– In Cole’s perspective, when he comes to fix his ex-wife’s car, Alison is texting and careless. In hers, she’s super attentive and focused.

– The harshest thing of all time is Cole telling Alison that she made Gabriel’s death her entire identity. Ouch.

– In Cole’s perspective: he wants to sell the Lobster Roll and Alison doesn’t. In Alison’s, it’s the opposite. Confused? Join the club.

– It’s kind of sweet how Ben asks Alison out in “five months”. Can you say aww?

Conclusion

Not as outstanding as the season premiere, but still a very worthy entry in a promising season that continues to rectify last year’s missteps.

Nad Rating
B+

3 comments

  1. Can I just say that I LOVE Luisa? What a fascinating and immensely absorbing character. That’s more than I can say for Alison, who I still find pretty unlikable after all those years and character development. I mean, she is literally messing up and apologizing in every.single.episode. Just stop.

    Loved how the show used the dual perspectives gimmick here, ESPECIALLY with the drawings on Cole’s face! Hilarious and brilliant.

    I was thinking, is that guy with Noah and Cole in the car in the flash-forward Anton, the student from Noah’s part in the premiere? Maybe not but they looked alike to me.

    So glad to have this show back!!!

    1. Yes that was indeed Anton! So glad you’re finally caught up Chris and loving the show. It really bounced back this season and it’s just incredible! Can’t wait to see the rest! Fingers crossed!

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