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The Affair - Episode 2 & Episode 3 - Double Review: "I Really Want You"

Note: Please be aware that English is not my first language

"2" premiered on Sunday, October 19 at 10:00 PM on Showtime.

After the very promising series premiere, The Affair had the extremely hard task to continue on its momentum and deliver an episode at least as good as the first one. This task was even harder because The Affair is probably (for me) the only new show with a very good pilot this season (in addition to How To Get Away With Murder -#QueenShonda-, of course). So I was really apprehensive before watching the second episode since I’m apparently very hard to please lately.

Hopefully, The Affair seems to be a keeper because this episode was really brilliant, well structured and intriguing as the storyline goes on with this clever choice of narration that fascinates me.
Apparently, they have chosen to tell their story throughout the season with the same way they did for the pilot. Indeed, the episodes are divided into Noah’s version of the story then Alison’s.

We start the episode with Noah who seems to be very distracted. He can’t stop thinking about Alison. He’s trying to forget everything about her, because, well, he’s married and has children, but he cannot help it. Alison changed a piece of him somehow and she arrived to awake and arouse some sensations Noah hasn’t felt since a long time.
What I love about this show is that it’s a show about the relationships between all the characters, and shows like these usually tend to be very snubbed. The proof to this is the 507.000 who watched the pilot on Showtime last sunday, probably the lowest start for a show on Showtime and that’s a shame.
I can make you a really long list of shows, which are being snubbed or underrated because they don’t rely on shocking twists to tell their story.

What I want to say is that The Affair deals with this “relationships” aspect of the show intelligently. We intrude in the Solloway family and we follow their routine, their behavior between every member of the family and we learn a lot of things just from a smile, a glance of a replica.
The scene where the Solloways are in the car and Helen is telling a story about her childhood to her husband is interesting in a way. He said to her that he already knew that, showing that they know everything about each other and that they may not have anything to surprise each other and rekindle the flame of their relationship.
At the farm market, Noah crosses Alison for the first time after the supposedly rape scene. He’s all exhilarated and excited about seeing her. She’s awakening in him some feelings he thought were lost. However, she seems a little distant and indifferent to him. He approaches her by her stand and tries to start the conversation but she treats him as a random costumer.

On their way back to their house, the Solloways make a detour to a ranch so that Martin could have a summer job but when they arrive, Noah realizes that the owner of the club is in fact, Cole, the guy he saw having sex with Alison – or the guy he thought was raping Alison according to him.

On the other hand, Helen’s parents are throwing a party. The fact that Helen’s father cheated on Helen’s mother is an interesting thing to add to the plot line, it’s not very important for the story itself but it gives an identity to the show and what he wants to tell about infidelity.
Feeling a little overwhelmed by this entire crowd and all these people, Noah tries to get away a little from the party to get some air. He meets Alison outside.
According to Noah’s point of view of the story, Alison is once again a little provocative, with a cigarette in her hand, smiling at Noah, proposing him to go somewhere else and stroking his hand when they went to the beach. She said that she was distant at the farm market because he was with his daughter. After he told Alison that nothing will happen between them, he starts kissing her…

In the present, we learn that the detective is trying to gather as much as possible from the connection between everyone to know if someone had a motive to kill the victim. As we all predicted it in the pilot, we are indeed facing a murder investigation, the victim is a guy and not a girl.
We also have to notice that Noah lied to the investigator telling him that after Alison and him went to the beach, he came straight back to the party. LIE.

The second part of the episode is centered on the point of view of Alison –of course-, who’s probably the most interesting character in my opinion. There is a lot to exploit with her.
She’s a very fragile person trying to pretend that everything is okay by putting aside the traumatic event that happened to her several years ago, even thought it’s barely impossible.
And I also think that she’s fed up about the fact that she’s the incarnation of courage, bravery and so one to the eyes of everyone. The scene with her mother-in-law is particularly interesting with this idea as she’s telling her: “I’ve wanted to tell you dear, your strength allows us all to be strong, there have been so many nights when I woken up just sobbing, then I think of you.
Not to mention the scene that follows when she’s asking her if she’s ready to have another children.
I also love how the image in the show turns to be very wavering when Alison or Noah come to talk about their feelings to the detective. For example, when Alison is at the train station and is saying that the summer people don’t even notice the people already living in this city, that they are traffic lights and stop signs for them.

At the farm market, Alison isn’t as distant as we thought she was in Noah’s point of view. She’s a little embarrassed and shy actually, she definitely has some awakening feelings for Noah and we can understand that she feels ashamed because she still loves Cole and he’s been there for her after the death of their child, which is very rare as couples usually don’t stay together after a tragic accident as this one.

We also notice at the ranch, when Whitney comes to bring back Martin at home, that she’s flirting with Scotty, Cole’s brother (God, I’ve been wondering throughout the episode where I’ve seen him. Thanks Wikipedia, he was on Arrow, useless and detestable on both shows !)

At the Solloway party, we continue to witness the distress of Alison. When Helen’s mother comes next to Alison to criticise the women who slept with her husband, as she is present at the party, she realises that the waitress she's talking to is Alison, the “poor little girl who lost her baby”.
When Noah found Alison and asked her if she wanted to get out of here, we feel that she is finally breathing because when she’s with Noah, she’s not that poor girl but she’s a whole person with its strengths and weaknesses.
At the beach, they talk about their marriage. Noah is surprised that Alison is married. Both have changed their conception of marriage because through the years, things have changed with their partners.
The fact that the image is zoomed in this scene principally on the face of the two characters brings us closer to them and we feel in the confidence of what they tell to each other.

With the cliffhanger, we learn that the victim is supposedly a person who was at the party but he had no reason to die where he died because it’s a place usually frequented by tourists and everyone at the party was local.
We also learn that the victim might be a person close to Alison as she said: “I’ll do whatever to find out what happened to him, I can’t believe he’s gone.”

But Alison also lied to the detective and this lie is serious compared to Noah’s. She said that after the party, she drove back to the city. However, we see her walking on a road, a road that seems to be the one she was talking about saying that she was only frequented by tourists and that no one at the party had a reason to go there…

"3" premiered on Sunday, October 26 at 10:00 PM on Showtime.

The other positive point on this show is probably the opening credits with the music by Fiona Apple. This is a very beautiful opening, excellent choice of music, meaningful and extremely well directed.

This third episode, in the continuity of the first and the second one, is very solid and build firmly the shape of things to come. What I love about this show is that every detail is important so we have a lot of things to talk about, but at the same time, this story is complex but also really simple, clear and perspicuous: the story of how two people are falling in love with each other. And in the first two episodes, they sought to show us how they influenced each other.

Noah seems to be struggling with the progress of his book and his father-in-law seems to be the constant reminder of this. Besides, we can guess that Helen’s parents didn’t approve their marriage: Noah is a modest and humble man, not the pragmatic rich man they wanted their daughter to marry.

Noah has a meeting with Harry about his book, his father-in-law’s agent, and he’s trying to convince him to take him on. Although Noah tells that there is not much to talk about his book yet, we learn that it’s about a small tourist town that becomes all commercialised and how it loses all its authenticity. Noah is obviously borrowing this from his real life, as the two main characters of the book are a local girl and a city boy falling in love with each other while they are married. However, the plot twist of the book is that at the end, the guy kills the girl. Hm.

The show takes it time to develop its characters. Noah decides to talk to Alison and tells her that he doesn’t want to be a cheater. Alison understands perfectly and suggests that they should just be friends. A pact that Alison broke moments later when she kissed impetuously Noah. And a pact that Noah broke when they met the same night when he told her that he was thinking about her all the time.

This part of the show is also really enticing: there is a real parallel between the relationships of Noah with his wife and Alison with her husband. Their marriages are bland, insipid… soulless. But when Noah and Alison share a scene together, we witness a real passion growing between the two of them and it’s exciting.
This parallel is even more important as the episode starts with a sex scene between Noah and Helen and he asks her not to wake up. The episode ends with another sex scene between Alison and Cole and she asks him not to wake up. We can guess that Noah and Alison want to have sex with each other and with this scene, we witness not only the strengthening of the relationship between Noah and Alison but we also witness the gap growing between Noah and his wife and Alison and her husband.
What I can say also about this episode is that the more we move forward in the telling of the(ir) story, the more the distinction between Noah’s part and Alison’s part fades. Indeed, there is a beginning of total fusion between the two of them and The Affair knows perfectly how to capture this kind of things and highlight them.

It also allows the show to talk about the world where they both live, that all Alison’s life is in this town and she doesn’t want to jeopardize that but also that Noah doesn’t want to jeopardize what he has with his wife and his children.
The world where they both live is also the world of their family and their friends, and by deepening their world, we also deepen the other ones which is an essential part in a tv show like The Affair, adding a layer of realism to it.

Concerning the progress of the investigation, we learn that there had been conflicts between the Hodges and the Lockharts. He’s probably referring to Oscar, the owner of The Lobster Roll, Alison’s boss.
The end of the episode marking the hassle between Cole and Oscar after Cole convinced the community to go against Oscar’s idea of building a bowling pushes us to consider him as a potential suspect. Once thing is certain, he’s not the victim as Noah proposes to the detective to interrogate Oscar.
We also learn that Noah is still married, but is he still married to Helen?

The detective also talks about a wedding and about the that Oscar was invited at the wedding even after his fight with the Lockharts. Alison tells that however if people fight in this town, they all are a family and everyone is present in big events like weddings and funerals. The detective answers: “I suppose that explains why you were there.”.
It shows perhaps that she wasn’t very close or in good terms with the person that got married?

Verdict: 6,5/10 for “2” and 7/10 for “3”. To put in a nutshell, these two episodes of The Affair were truly excellent. I’m falling in love with this show and all of its details that make it a brilliant shell containing a lot of things to explore for the rest of the season. They are dealing with the two aspects of the show intelligently: on one hand, the relationship between the main characters is well-deepen and precisely depicted and on the other hand, the investigation gives to the show a serialised aspect and pushes us to go further and try to put together the pieces of this complex puzzle.

Hit the comments section below and tell us what you thought about those two episodes of The Affair. It’s maybe too soon to adjudicate but I’d say the victim is Scotty, Cole’s Brother. How about you ?

About the Author - Adil Daoumer
Adil Daoumer is an almost 18y/o Moroccan student living in Paris, France, studying law and economy. He spends the majority of his life watching TV shows, reading books and listening to music. He has a lot of favorite TV shows such as Breaking Bad, LOST, Six Feet Under, Friday Night Lights, Shameless, Fringe, Hannibal, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Revenge and more recently, Fargo and The Leftovers. He also enjoys having a good laugh in front of Community, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Happy Endings and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
This season on SpoilerTV, Adil will review Ray Donovan, The Affair and Shameless.
Don't hesitate to contact him on one of these social media sites.
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