[This is a review of The Affair season 1, episode 2. There will be SPOILERS.]
In its series premiere, The Affair brilliantly painted itself as Gone Girl for television, with its two unique viewpoints of events that took place over a summer break in The Hamptons. The second outing, simply titled '2', keeps the "he said, she said" format firmly in place as Noah and Alison's relationship continues to deepen.
Dominic West and Ruth Wilson's chemistry on screen is uncanny and even when the two talented actors aren't in the same shot, they easily hold their own alongside the supporting cast. For those of you who are fans of The CW's hit series Arrow, then you are in for a treat as Cole's brother is being played by none other than Colin Donnell (Tommy Merlin). While the ensemble grows this week, Sarah Treem's script keeps the pacing fluid and never feels overly embellished.
Noah and Alison's interrogations reveal more about the mystery we're trying to uncover. There was indeed a murder, but who was the victim? If one was to look for the obvious, then Cole (Alison's husband) is the likely candidate, yet The Affair only two episodes in, has proven itself to be anything but predictable. Are you more interested in the crime that was committed, or Noah and Alison's relationship?
So far, the series is at its strongest when the two leads are together. Their recollections vary in such distinct ways, but also compliment each other at times. Surely no one wants to appear the aggressor when it comes to infidelity. Noah seemingly places Alison as a kind of vixen, luring him in slowly with her wanting eyes and tightly-fitted black dresses. Alison, on the other hand is still the traumatized mother who lost a child and doesn't see herself as anything special. If anything is clear as this point, it's that both of these individuals are missing something in their lives. As with most marriage stories, is anyone really ever happy?
Perhaps filling a void is what Noah and Alison are trying to do? In both points of view Noah has a feeling that he married too young, even though he still has a fondness for his wife, Helen. His statement that "love is all you need" is more of a question than a belief. Is a loving wife and three healthy children not enough? Like any great tale from classic literature, wanting more of something is never a good thing.
Looking closer at Alison, it appears that she and Cole may be up to more than ranching and selling jams at the local farmers market. Her "fish drop" at the train station was a subtle, but curious scene. What is she dropping off? Her insistence on keeping the door shut is beyond suspicious. Since we're never sure whose point of view to believe, it's difficult to know who Alison truly is. She doesn't come off as a Walter White (Breaking Bad) or Nancy Botwin (Weeds) though. We'll just have to wait and see.
The Affair remains a well executed hour of television with its leading actors delivering strong performances. While the murder mystery is gaining momentum, the draw continues to be Noah and Alison's budding relationship. What do you find most interesting about Showtime's newest drama?
The Affair continues with '3' next Sunday @10pm on Showtime.