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The Affair “7” Review (1×07)

24 Nov

The-Affair-107-22

“If you loved me and our life, you wouldn’t have done it, because it is a DESTRUCTION.”

Well, the cat’s out of the bag. Last week’s episode set the season’s endgame into motion, and this week’s episode propels the story even further. It deals less with the affair itself and more with the ramifications of the affair, the way the summer in Montauk now takes its toll on Noah and Alison. Through them, we gain more insight into their relationships with Helen and Cole, respectively, and as a result, Episode 7 is a compelling and wonderfully acted hour that asks us what happens when the truth rears its ugly head.

A common question that has been asked throughout the series’s run is: How real is the affair? Is it just a fantasy, an escape from the monotony of real life? Is it a genuine attempt to move on from established relationships, to forge a new path? What kind of effect will it have on others? We begin to get answers for all three questions in “7”, as here, both Helen and Cole find out about the affair; they do so in very different ways, and the disparity highlights the differences in perspectives for Alison and Noah.

For the former, the affair is the fantasy, something he can run away from when it becomes too much to bear. The problem is that he can never truly escape, and we see him literally collapse under the stress and the pressure, under the guilt and the panic, even though he has physically separated himself from Montauk. He at first decides to play Oscar’s game by going to his friend to ask for the ten grand, but eventually, the truth comes out while he’s sitting in the hospital bed. The follow up scene in the bedroom is a wonderful moment for Maura Tierney and Dominic West, and the past boils over as Noah continues to attempt to paint himself in as good a light as possible. Eventually, he even tries to turn it right back around on his wife, but he’s hit with the cold, hard truth: it’s not his wife who has been pressuring him, but rather he who has been pressuring himself.

With Alison, the truth comes from the mouth of Oscar Hodges, and it’s clear that for her, she would like the affair to become her reality. When she’s with Cole, it seems like she allows herself to be buffeted from side to side, and she’s not entirely sure how to handle the Cole who breaks down in front of her as they’re sitting on the New York City sidewalks. This is an episode in which her husband is finally able to move on–he says at the end that they should start over and have another baby–but Alison already moved on a while back. For her, it seems like the affair is the first time she’s allowed herself any agency in a while, and her role in her former life is that of a passive observer.

In the end, though, the truth is out, and that undoubtedly changes things. Now, reality and fantasy have collided head on, and the ramifications of the affair are biting everyone in both families. What happens when the truth comes out? We’ll continue to find out, but one thing’s for sure: it won’t be very pretty.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-The Detective Jeffries storyline seems a bit out of place here, but I’m sure it’ll develop as we move into the final three episodes of the season. Right now, though, they do take you out of the episode a bit.

– “Talk to me when you have a teenage boy!” In Noah’s version, however, he just smiles, because of course he would never be cruel.

-At the beginning, Alison’s trying to fix a rotten porch railing by painting over it. Cole says that the whole thing must be replaced, as simply painting over it won’t work. Nice marriage metaphor talking, you guys.

-When Alison looks through the window to see the Solloway group hug, she misinterprets it because she doesn’t know that the truth is out there. In Noah’s version, Helen doesn’t seem quite as happy.

-Man, Cherry seems like the nicest person at times, but then you’ll realize that she’s been manipulating you this whole time. Really interesting character, that one, with her note burning.

-Whitney accusing her mom as being the one to have an affair is a nice moment. Goes to show you how the distance in their relationship is trickling down to their kids.

-I’m happy Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney get some more material to work with. They’re both fantastic.

-No episode next week, due to it being Thanksgiving weekend. See you on December 7th.

Photo credit: The Affair, Showtime

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One Response to “The Affair “7” Review (1×07)”

  1. sarah9461 November 25, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    1. Everyone needs a friend like Max. 2. NEVER tell your spouse about your affair. You just shift the burden from your shoulders to theirs, and no one asks for that. No good can come from it. 3. Cole recommits to their relationship and asks his wife to do the same. With 4 children, Helen has no choice except to stay, but she will make sure Noah pays for his crime. 4. Alison and her friend showed the maturity of 2 teenage girls, tracking down Helen’s shop and the Solloway home and showing up at both. Alison has a knack for self-destruction. 5. Cherry knew about the coke-running? She is so righteous, but she is willing to let her sons do such a thing just so she can stay on the farm? How selfish.

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