Well, well, well. The Affair seems to be upping the ante as its third season draws to a close, and it’s a definite improvement from its slow start. I can’t say I loved this episode but at least we finally see some of the pieces falling into place.
Well, well, well… I might just have to eat my words, because I actually loved this episode of The Affair. Even though Noah was nowhere to be seen, and even if they gave us a Helen appearance that didn’t really add much to the plot, this week’s installment was everything the other episodes of this season weren’t. I wasn’t annoyed or bored, there was no unnecessary action or over the top scenes, and yet it contained zero filler.
Even more significantly, it was emotional without being sappy, the performances were understated without turning bland, and it actually advanced character development that had been stagnant (or even nowhere to be seen) throughout most of the season.
So let’s recap: Helen is not just an asshole, she’s a freaking imbecile. Even her idiot daughter, still dating her obnoxious sugar-daddy of a boss, has more sense that Helen, and that’s really saying something (although I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree).
Last year there were far too many contenders for the title; Noah was the obvious choice, but I found myself leaning towards Alison at the time, mostly because she was being a selfish, unreliable idiot.
This time around, however, it feels like we’re not on the same playing field any more. A lot has changed in the years since we left off the characters in Season 2, and along with the situation, there’s been a tremendous shift in dynamics as well.
Maybe we’ve been spoiled by the high-quality shows being produced in recent years that raised our expectations considerably; maybe it’s just that some of the shows I normally look forward to have jumped the shark (or should have wrapped up sooner). Whatever it is, I am somehow finding a few of them a bit lackluster since they returned for their new seasons.
There aren’t too many shows on television where practically every character can compete for the Biggest Jerk title. House of Cards is an obvious contender, where the title keeps changing hands between Mr. and Mrs. Underwood, as is Game of Thrones, which is notorious for giving its heroes a mean streak and its villains a few redeeming qualities to balance the scales.
On The Affair, the lines keep getting blurred and everyone seems to be vying for their share in the overall douchiness, with Noah being the odds-on favorite so far. And I’ll admit, he’s done a lot to earn that title, but are things really that black and white? If there’s one thing that this show makes blatantly clear over the course of its two seasons, it’s that everyone is flawed and entitled to making (sometimes huge) mistakes and utterly selfish decisions.
This one was a pleasant surprise, for two reasons: for one thing, it was a solid episode. For another, I thought this would be the season finale, seeing as there were only 10 episodes to the first season, but apparently not: we’re getting an extra couple of eps for season two, and I, for one, am not complaining!
Just when you think Noah Solloway can’t get any more despicable, there he goes and acts like a major douche once again.
The penultimate episode of this season of The Affair follows Noah, Alison, Helen and Cole during a nasty storm, but that’s the least of our characters’ problems.