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Thoughts on… “The Affair”

*Just an FYI, there are some spoilers if you have not watched all the way through!*

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From the get-go, I’d done nothing but talk shit about the show The Affair. Before it was even on, I just couldn’t say enough about how sick I am of the romanticizing and glorification of something that is so morally wrong. I am not as prude as this sounds, but was brought up in Catholic school and I just don’t think infidelity should be this glamorized. From Scandal, to nearly every other drama on TV, sex sells and it seems like AFFAIRS really sell. So for the entire premise of a show to be focused on the *very exciting and romantic* betrayal and ruining of a marriage, I just couldn’t have been more disgusted.

Then I found out Joshua Jackson was in it. And I quite literally can’t resist Pacey Witter, affair or not. So, since it was coming on after Homeland anyway, I decided to give it a shot.

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I have to admit I was very intrigued, even though I didn’t like what I knew what would happen (hello, it’s in the name). Each episode plays out the same event – in the story, and in their relationship – but the first half from Noah Solloway, the male’s perspective, then the second 25 minutes from Allison Lockhart, the female’s perspective. This is something I’d never seen before in a TV show, and I loved the concept, so I hung on. The writing was just too cool – how they made the stories overlap, how their clothes changed, how what they said and who did what changed based on who’s point of view we were seeing. There were also True Detective-type interviews happening with each main character – they are recounting the events of the story as they remember them to a detective, so this implied there was some sort of criminal storyline that we don’t know about, in play as well.

One other thing to mention is the theme song/intro is IN-CREDIBLE. Just, fucking, awesome. It’s a new original song written and performed by Fiona Apple specifically for the show, called “Container,” and I wish to God it was longer than a minute! It starts out a cappella, and then a drum beat comes in… It’s haunting, and beautiful and just totally perfect for the show. Take a listen here

 

THE AFFAIRAnyway, despite the opening theme that truly kept me hanging on, by the fourth episode of the show, I was over it. That episode surrounded ONLY the two leads, those having the affair… and when it was just the two of them, I just couldn’t keep watching it.

I felt dirty, guilty; like I was the one having the affair, or something.

 

Much later, “The Affair” won two Golden Globes. I didn’t really understand why, (other than it’s salacious nature, and because it’s a new show), but a friend told me she caught the season finale without watching the others and it was VERY entertaining. I decided to give it another go, and I’m glad I did… sort of.

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The first season, at only 10 episodes long, definitely packs a lot of nail biting drama. After the episode I quit on, several other interesting characters and plot points came into play that somewhat made me feel okay about the dirtiness of the adultery – drug dealing, a murder case, Noah’s crazy teenage daughter, Allison’s crazy mother, small town family feuds, a lost child, and in general the deep roots of the character’s personalities and motives (which are perfectly executed by the actors). Plus, more Joshua Jackson (albeit a sad, angry Joshua Jackson).

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The last two episodes especially were so entertaining I found myself yelling at the TV. It’s really rare that a show (or film) is satisfyingly, totally put together and feeling complete, in terms of continuity, storylines, character motives, all really coming together, and it’s even rarer when you’re seeing it from two points of view the entire time. But as well written, well directed, and well produced the show is, there’s a few plot holes I am so disappointed about and can’t ignore, so I’d like to put this out there and maybe some other fans can enlighten me:

  • What exactly happened around episode 6 or 7, where Noah goes from realizing pursuing anything else with Allison is “completely crazy,” he goes back to having sex with his wife (a fantastic Maura Tierney), he goes through marital therapy with her, and seems to be completely regretful of his actions and confident in his marriage – to telling Allison he loves her?? Part of me thought this was something that only happened in her POV, but then later it’s said in his too. This seemed like sort of a 180 that just didn’t add up. Noah was believable in his attempts at apologizing and searching for forgiveness for an episode or two. But suddenly he’s thrown into a situation where he sees Allison again, and that is a time that the L-word is realized? I can’t wrap my mind around this. There wasn’t a lead up where he was thinking about her, or having issues with his wife regularly, or anything. Even if the idea is “he’s around her again, he sees her again after some time, and they can’t deny their love for each other” their actions before saying these words did not really indicate their sudden profession of love. Maybe it’s a move to keep the audience on their toes, but I found it frustrating and just did not at all add up.
  • How could there possibly be two interpretations of the events of the last episode? This involves a gun, a lot of yelling, and some very angry Solloways and Lockharts. It just seems to me that when there is a gun in play and it’s pointed at you, you aren’t forgetting what exactly played out in this scene, but somehow Noah and Allison’s memory of these events are very 
  • In general, much of Allison’s side seems to be slightly more in “love” in “The Affair” than Noah is. Noah seems very  much in lust, and then in guilt. Yet suddenly in the last two episodes, Noah is the first to tell his wife he is “in love” with someone else, and makes the moves to leave and be with her (this might actually just harken back to my first point).
  • Chemistry – I didn’t feel it beyond the intimate scenes. It seemed like they had chemistry when it came to sex and being physical, etc. but that’s not hard to do – everyone looks sexy and connected when they’re having sex. In the scenes where they are just spending time together or talking, or Noah is trying to make Allison feel better about something… I just didn’t see it. I didn’t buy that they had this crazy, deep connection, or “love” that would absolutely have to lead to them ruining their marriage and lives.

 

What did anyone else think?? Did I completely miss something or did you have the questions? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

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