Review: ‘The Affair’ – ‘Episode 7’

alan-sepinwall
Senior Television Writer
11.23.14 46 Comments

Showtime

A quick review of tonight's “The Affair” coming up just as soon as we go glamping…

With this seventh episode, “The Affair” moves beyond the relationship of its title, as the Soloways head back to Brooklyn and both Helen and Cole find out about Noah and Alison's relationship, albeit under very different circumstances. Unsurprisingly, it's a good showcase episode for Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson, who haven't always had a lot to do this season but are excellent whenever called upon.

Even with Noah and Alison largely separated (they see each other briefly at the ranch, and then glimpse each other from across the street when she stumbles past his brownstone), the show finds an interesting way to play with the POV/memory device here. When Alison and her friend go by Helen's boutique, we assume it's after Noah confessed his sins, and that Helen is therefore laying down a spectacular guilt trip when she thanks Alison for saving Stacey from choking back in the first episode. Instead, it turns out this is another instance of Alison misremembering how someone was dressed, as it turns out their encounter takes place earlier in the day from when Noah is inspired by his panic attack to tell Helen about the affair.

Ideally, “The Affair” is more than just a series of “Rashomon” tricks, but those questions of memory and perspective have definitely livened up what can at times be a very dour show(*). But as we transition out of the initial stage of the story and into whatever Treem, Levi and company have planned for season 2, with Noah and Alison separated and the cop a background figure, those occasional differences in perspective wind up taking on more weight.

(*) I was almost startled by Noah's giddy reaction to the unflattering Vanity Fair profile of Bruce, because “The Affair” hasn't often even tried to be funny.

What did everybody else think?

Author Profile Picture
Alan Sepinwall has been writing about television since the mid-'90s. He's the author of "The Revolution Was Televised," about the rise of TV's new golden age, and co-author of "TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time."

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