The Affair: 205
November 2, 2015 4:12 PM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Alison is thrown by a shift in behavior from her hosts, and furious with Noah after a chance discovery. Meanwhile, Cole rejects Scotty's plan to make money - but not before Scotty catches him in a situation best kept secret.
posted by triggerfinger (11 comments total)
This show is growing on me despite myself. I watched most of season 1 hating myself, then I skipped to the end. But despite its, I don't know, unbearable earnestness at times, there's a lot I really like about it. I like watching a story that takes place on my homeland (though I'm not from Montauk). I like that it's clear eyed and neutral about it's characters. Like how we get to see the real Allison that she thinks no one else sees. I like how it's not afraid to admit how much of a douchebag someone who acts like Noah really is. I like how it moves so slowly that I can come in at any point in any episode and know what's going on, then I can fill in the details later if I feel like it. The actor who plays Cole is really good, and did a great job in this one, I thought.
posted by bleep at 4:54 PM on November 2, 2015

I also liked the extremely passive aggressive firing scene. Oh boy I know those people.
posted by bleep at 4:55 PM on November 2, 2015

The actor who plays Cole is really good

Peter on Fringe! Also husband of Diane Kruger.
posted by Justinian at 5:59 PM on November 2, 2015

I LOVE this show. I've loved it since the beginning. I love the unreliable narrator trope in any form and I also like nonlinear narratives. So many things about this show and esp. this episode:

1. So many people seem to hate Alison, which I don't understand. I mean, she's kind of portrayed as an unending victim, but can you blame her? She's been through a lot and she's still very vulnerable. And despite last night's (and this season's) painting of Cole as a sympathetic character, I still have a distaste in my mouth from last season, when he basically raped his wife.

Also, I don't know how much of this impression we're getting of Alison is accurate, given that it's all from her POV and I don't know just how unreliable she is. Though I think she's a lot more reliable than Noah, who pretty much sees himself as Nice Guy Noah in every one of his flashbacks. Question: who's POV does everyone think is the most trustworthy, so far?

2. I'm not as in love with how they're portraying Yvonne. She's going to fire Alison because of...jealousy? Really? She's a grown woman who is smart and accomplished and she and Robert seem to love each other very much and have been married for some time. I know that they got together because of an affair and I know that some people would feel jealous in the situation. But Yvonne doesn't seem the type and it seems like she's being reduced to a jealous, insecure girl, when everything else about her says the opposite.

3. That scene with Robert disgusted me. Alison is vulnerable and naive, yes, but she legitimately saw Robert as a father figure of sorts and I don't think he ever saw her in that way. He's gross and his behavior is gross and everything about him disgusts me (except him letting the dog live, which was the right thing to do).

4. Noah - bad person or pretty much the worst person? Was anyone else disgusted as him publishing a smutty romance novel with intimate details about him and Alison without, you know, asking her first if she minded him publishing such explicit things to be read by everyone? What a shitstorm. The last two episodes have been me sitting and watching every scene with Noah and Alison with a constant refrain in my head of "JESUS CHRIST ALISON, DTMFA"

The actor who plays Cole is really good

Peter on Fringe! Also husband of Diane Kruger.

Also Pacey from Dawson's Creek.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:09 PM on November 2, 2015

Well I thought she was also firing Alison because she's one of these wannabe Miranda Priestly uptight perfectionist types and Alison is not. And top of that, Alison has nothing she can take advantage of.

I was going to say that I doubt anyone's point of view is particularly trustworthy. But I just realized that it hadn't occurred to me to doubt anything that Alison showed us so I guess that means I think it's her. I also don't tend to doubt anything Helen shows us, even when it turned out she was really high.

I think Alison knows that what Noah did was wrong, and hopefully she also finds it a dealbreaker.
posted by bleep at 7:17 PM on November 2, 2015

Now that I think of it, I guess we've only really seen Alison's story through Noah and Alison. I don't recall seeing her through Cole and anything we saw from Helen's POV was probably very early on and brief. So, given that Noah's perception seems to be pretty off-the-charts untrustworthy, we only have Alison's perception to go on. I also hadn't thought of her being all that unreliable either but I was listening to a podcast today where they basically said, look we feel sympathy for Alison, but remember most of what we're seeing is through her own perception and maybe she does tend to hold a worldview of her being a victim. In the Vulture review above (my favorite of the three and also sympathetic to Alison), also kind of alludes to this a little when talking about the scene with Alison and Helen:

Alison looks like she’s unraveling by the second. Alison tries to apologize by saying she didn’t mean to break up their marriage. Again, Alison, own up to your decisions no matter how ugly they are. You had agency. Pretending otherwise makes that apology feel very insincere.

Also, when we see her through Noah's eyes, she does usually seem more outgoing, confident and bold (but then again, he's a little clueless, so whatever that's worth).
posted by triggerfinger at 7:44 PM on November 2, 2015

Doesn't everybody see themselves as the victim in their point of view? I find that very annoying but it seemed very pointed in Helen's first one and not as noticeable in Cole's. Cole's always seem like he very aware of what he's doing and doing it anyway, not blaming anyone else for his decisions. I find him the most sympathetic in a lot of ways because I don't feel like either versions of the gun thing hold much to whatever happened because they were so different and it was such an emotional event.

I had a hard time watching it after the first episode because I was so thrown by the fact Noah only saw Alison as a sex object to the point of forgetting she saved his kid's life. Consequently, it doesn't surprise me that that's what he's writing about, because it does look like a huge part of how he sees her is wish fulfillment, making what Helen says ring pretty true. Alison also consistently sees herself as a victim, which does color her firing but I think very realistically conveys that day. I knew something like that was coming and I'm glad he didn't somehow hit on her but the horribleness of that kind of thing is hard to reconcile, in that try to ignore it/"she made me do it" whole messed up situation. I tend to think it was more that she wasn't suited to that kind of job and Noah was no longer at the house (at first I thought she was being thrown out of the house because they had a new writer coming) but everything was colored the same way in what felt like an onslaught, which reads true.

At the beginning of last season, I wasn't sure if it was suppose to be how they really saw it or what they wanted the police to think. So far I find Cole's to be the most factual because he has the least agenda. Nothing about him benefits seeing himself as a victim and I also don't see him thinking Alison is getting back together with him. The only thing I consistently see in him is a kind of ruthless pragmatism, which I appreciate. Also, I have Peter baggage.
posted by provoliminal at 12:59 PM on November 3, 2015

Noah is so terrible that everyone else is a saint in comparison. I don't get what Alison sees in him, honestly, which is a pretty big hole in the show.
posted by jeather at 6:04 PM on November 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't call it a hole in the show. She explained what she saw in him in this episode.
posted by bleep at 9:03 PM on November 3, 2015

This Paley Center panel discussion for the Affair is damnably entertaining.
posted by provoliminal at 7:22 PM on November 4, 2015

I like this show, really, but is it me or is the dialog often laughably bad?
posted by STFUDonnie at 10:39 PM on November 4, 2015

« Older Downton Abbey: Season 6 Episod...   |  Adventure Time: Bonnie and Ned... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments