'The Affair': Don't Wake Up

Noah runs into Alsion while doing research for his new book, while Cole inspires the town at a local meeting in 'The Affair' season 1, episode 3: '3'.

[This is a review of The Affair season 1, episode 3. There will be SPOILERS.]


In The Affair, Alison and Noah's stories are slowly becoming more alike, as they begin to accept the truth about their infidelity. How the cheating began, however, is another matter entirely - depending on who you ask.

For the third week in a row, Noah still sees himself as the helpless wanderer who is being pulled in by this overly sexual female entity. He still loves his children and adores his wife, yet he can't seem to keep his emotions in check. From Alison's point of view, her marriage lacks the flowery romanticism and at times feels forced. Cole seems like a nice enough guy, so it's difficult to feel sorry for Alison outside of losing her son.

Speaking of Cole, Joshua Jackson (Fringe) gave a stirring performance at the town hall meeting. There is no denying that The Affair possesses a stellar supporting cast, but until now, they have felt underused. Cole's convictions about saving his town from becoming another Jersey Shore with bowling alleys was compelling. The humble rancher claimed to have no love for speeches, but his commanding oration captivated the room. Jackson is an actor that you never see coming, due to his wry smile and knowing looks. In a small town murder mystery, he's the perfect suspect (... or victim).

In Noah's story, Alison's clothing is sometimes different. Noah always sees her in a state of lustful readiness, usually clothed in a loose top with a short skirt. On the other side of the table, Alison wears jeans with a light jacket covering her shoulders, or dresses that are too old and in need of replacing. She is still sadly clinging to a past she can't change. Ruth Wilson (Luther) continues to showcase her acting gravitas, as she navigates the halls of her old job as a pediatric nurse. It's seemingly still too soon for her to return. The death of her son still haunts her as we watch her cut herself with seashells on the beach. One consistency between both stories are the bandages on her leg.

The detective, played by veteran actor Victor Williams (The Leftovers) is our window not only to past events concerning a murder, but what our characters are up to in the present day. This week's episode informed us that Noah is still married to his wife. Do you think she ever found out about his indiscretions? During the series premiere, it was revealed that Alison has a new child, so it's still uncertain how much time has passed. Could the child be Noah's?

The Affair did something different this week by making this South Hampton town feel like a character. Sure, this is a murder mystery delicately wrapped around a love story, but at its core, this series appears to be about the destruction of something sacred from outside forces. Cole may be the only character trying to stop the change from spreading, unlike Noah and Alison who are willing to embrace it.

We're only three weeks in, but what do you find compelling about the series so far? Keep watching to see what happens next.

The Affair continues with '4' next Sunday @10pm on Showtime. Check out a preview below:

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