The Affair: Episode 6

Posted on November 18, 2014

4PinRuth Wilson in Showtime’s “The Affair”


Real-life concerns have tanked our chances of getting any sort of meaningful review of this episode up, but bless your hearts, so many of you told us your viewing of this show wasn’t complete without a little T Lo opinionating, so here’s the bare-bones review:

We’ve noted before how the subjective and the objective tend to have something of a symbiotic relationship in this show. For instance, when the actual affair got underway, the “he said/she said” conceit became a bit more blended, with her version of events picking up right where his left off. This week, with the framing device of a police interview now ended, the affair itself seems to unravel in the telling, as if Noah and Alison both held back the information we’re now getting. Clearly, there are good reasons why neither Alison or Noah mentioned the whole drug dealing aspect of things to the cop who was questioning them. This forces the question of who is now being told this story, since there’s no conceit of having the leads narrate their tales to an outsider. There is no narration or flashing back anymore. There is no one asking questions. There’s only us. We are purely the audience of this tale now (as if there was any doubt). Alison and Noah are (seemingly) relaying their memories and impressions directly to us.

Does that make their stories more believable now? Not necessarily. One of the major themes of this show is the ways in which we lie to the world by lying to ourselves first. Even if we’re getting this story beamed directly at us from inside the participants’ heads, we’re still going to get a version that flatters the “teller” and places most blame for their actions elsewhere. Although it’s telling (no pun intended) that now that we’re getting an “unfiltered” (so to speak) version of events, we’re seeing the ways in which both participants have been reckless and, in Noah’s case at least, we’re seeing a version of his wife who’s hurt by the distance he’s put up between them. Up until now, Helen has been portrayed as either flakey or spoiled, for the most part. This was the first version of her that seemed like a real person. For the first time, now that they’re not answering questions about it, Noah and Alison are “allowing” us to see the ways in which this affair is dysfunctional for them and hurtful toward the people around them. Of course, Noah casts Alison as this dangerous criminal who has endangered the life he put together for himself and Alison casts Noah as a typical “summer people” user, ready to cast her aside at the end of the summer because he couldn’t possibly understand her life. Ultimately, it’s a class issue – or at least, that’s what each of them are telling themselves. Even in their own heads, with no one else to answer to, they’re both failing to examine their own actions in the context of this affair. And considering how much everything is ramping up and how the shit and the fan seem to be on a collision course with each other, it’ll be interesting to see how long each of them can continue to delude themselves.



[Photo Credit: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME]

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