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The Affair “3” Review (1×03)

26 Oct

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“Don’t wake up.”

The following is said by both Noah and Alison while they’re having sex with Helen and Cole, respectively, and it nicely sums up what they’d like to be the norm with regards to the affair: they get to have it, but they also get to keep their spouses from waking up, from seeing the truth, from bringing a fantasy back down to Earth with a hard thud. This is, however, one of the few similarities in the two stories, as the show begins to widen the divide between Noah and Alison in the present while it’s bringing them closer in the past.

The major difference revolves around a town hall meeting and whether Noah shows up or not. In Noah’s story, he does, and the two eventually wind up having sex for the first time; in Alison’s story, however, Noah misses the town hall meeting and ends up texting her to apologize the next morning. It still remains to be seen which one is true, but as more clues are dropped in the investigation, it becomes clearer and clearer that outright manipulation of facts is going on here.

Still, even with that big difference, we still see certain similarities amidst the smaller differences; for instance, both see themselves as the ones who push each other away when things get too heated. However, this episode seems to be more about aligning each character with certain external factors–Noah and his oftentimes very critical family, Alison and the town of Montauk–and emphasizing that the respective hesitances about the affair are due to the desires to hold onto what they have.

That theme, of course, plays a huge role in the Oscar vs. Cole dynamic. Oscar wants to build an entertainment center with a bowling alley, to bring in new jobs and revenue to the town, while Cole wants to remember and cherish the land under which his son is buried. Cole wants to hold on, while Oscar wants to move forward. As for Noah and Alison, their affair places them somewhere in the middle of the thematic fray, with both wanting to hold onto what they’ve built, but with both wanting so desperately to move forward with each other.

With Alison, there’s also the idea of moving forward with regards to her son, Gabriel. The stark contrast of her singing, cheery self and her bleeding, broken self highlights both an Alison who wants to move on and an Alison who is still deeply torn up about her son’s death. She gets angry at Cole when he uses the death to “make some sort of statement” at the town hall meeting, and this ties back into the pilot and her stating that she was almost angry at him for being happy. It’s a similar case here because she’s angry at him for using Gabriel’s death as something other than what it is for her: an awful tragedy that still haunts her to this very day.

Most importantly for this episode, though, is the idea of Montauk, and the episode continues to world-build nicely. For Noah, it’s somewhere that allows his writer fantasies to roam free, that allows him to escape a restrictive life with his wife and kids. However, for Alison, it’s somewhere that traps her, that serves as a vacation for others and a jail of sorts for her. Either way, they’re going to clash in the middle.

“What makes this story different from all the others we’ve heard before?”

“He kills her.”

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-The scene in which Stacey goes “He can curse because he’s a grown-up!” is hilarious and adorable. You tell him, Stacey.

-Nice use of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off here.

-No one has checked out Noah’s book. Sorry, man.

-When Cole says “There’s still time” for Alison’s big singing break at the beginning, that statement can also be applied to the affair. There’s still time for her to have it.

-I didn’t go as in depth into this episode as I wanted to–Boardwalk Empire finale and all–so apologies.

Photo credit: Showtime, The Affair

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2 Responses to “The Affair “3” Review (1×03)”

  1. sarah9461 October 28, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Ok, Noah didn’t kill Alison, but SOMEBODY died, because they are being interviewed by a policeman. And didn’t someone say it was a man? Was it Cole?

    • polarbears16 October 30, 2014 at 1:18 am #

      Possibly. It could also be his brother. (and yes, it’s a man)

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