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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Affair shifts its focus to the women that Noah left behind

Maura Tierney and Omar Metwally (Photo: Showtime)
Maura Tierney and Omar Metwally (Photo: Showtime)
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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • After a full Noah hour to kick off the season, The Affair shifts to the women he left behind, with an hour split between Helen and Alison.
  • I kind of miss those episodes that just focused on one particular incident shown from the two different perspectives. As The Affair has expanded, we’ve lost a bit of that; Helen’s and Alison’s lives this episode aren’t going to intersect at all, except for Noah’s letters from prison.
  • Still, these halves are shown from the perspective of the individual characters: Maybe Whitney’s new boyfriend’s artwork isn’t entirely composed of female genitalia. We may never know. It’s hard not to feel for Helen, saddled with three kids still at home, one doing lord knows what with someone named Furkat, and an unappreciative ex. Even taking her perspective into account, Noah is likely an asshole to her when she is one of the only people in the world who comes to visit him in prison. (His sister Nina must be the other visitor.) Granted, he’s undoubtedly furious at her as the main person whose actions subsequently led him there. It’s such a marked difference from the brash, cocky, prison newbie we saw last week; Noah now has literally been beaten down. Fortunately for Helen, she has cute doctor Vic offering sex and support just one floor below her, who has moved all the way in by the end of the episodes. We can only hope that her taking off the earrings from Mexico at the end of the episode signifies that she’s done with Noah as well. But, as we saw at the still-in-the-future funeral last week (these timelines are confusing!), she unfortunately still hasn’t broken free of him completely.
  • Alison, on the other hand, appears focused on Joanie and nothing else. It’s not surprising that she would have a bit of a breakdown after everything that’s happened to her (death of a child, divorce, another baby, new husband gets carted off to prison to save his ex-wife). After what happened to Gabriel, panicked Alison must have wanted to put the child’s safety before everything. Unfortunately, she’s now faced with Cole and his new wife Luisa keeping her from her girl, although Cole caves in the end. Again, in last week’s now-future episode, her voicemail message announces Alison with Joanie, so at least we know she gets her back eventually. Otherwise, her devoted efforts to create a new home for Joanie, like decorating her room and painting it in Joanie’s new favorite color, would just be a bit too sad.
  • It’s interesting that Helen wants to cop to more guilt at that doomed dinner table, but still can’t take the blame completely, knowing that she would probably lose Whitney—and possibly Vic—forever as well.
  • It’s also interesting that Alison’s response to motherhood is to button herself up: her cardigan, her shirt.
  • Nice sting to go along with that “Lockhart Lobster Roll” coupon.
  • “My kids, your… cactus.”
  • Oscar’s right, Alison just needs a good lawyer. Maybe Richard Schiff!
  • And I had almost forgotten that Oscar existed. It is nice how all the townies call her by her maiden name, Bailey, from a few last names ago.
  • Such great direction on this show: The bicycle streamers flowing in the wind, the explicit female photos looming over the dinner table. The cab ride home with that photograph is probably one of the funniest shots The Affair has ever pulled off.

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