Monday, December 21, 2015

TV Show Review: The Affair Season 2

Showtime's gripping drama, The Affair, is a powerful and moving portrait of what happens when love takes precedent over a family's happiness. The first season showed the growing romance between Dominic West's author Noah Solloway and the award-winning Ruth Wilson's grieving mother Alison Bailey. The story took a unique approach to story telling showing the same scenes from two characters' perspectives and making slight alterations to toy with the viewer perception. Also included to add to the drama were flash forward scenes in which a murder has taken place.

As the details slowly pool out, characters go from disgraced and ashamed to brave and self-sacrificing. The second season added the perspectives of Joshua Jackson's Cole Lockhart and Maura Tierney's Helen Solloway, the respective spouses of the focal couple. 

The deterioration of each character is often so hard to watch because creators Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi do such a great job endearing each person to our sympathies even after they have done horrible things.

Noah Solloway uses a novel titled The Descent he wrote inspired by the events of his summer having an affair to gain fame and notoriety. He then proceeds to get drunk and obnoxious and even almost cheats on his second spouse with his publicist. Dominic West has been a favorite of mine since The Wire and it is often his conflicted performance that drew me into this show in the first place. He is put in a precarious situation by the end of the season, and I look forward to seeing how he will fare in Season 3.

There is a reason Ruth Wilson has received such acclaim for Alison Bailey including a Golden Globe win. Still suffering from an awful accidental death of her son, Alison tries to move on but finds her new lover often aloof and absent to her needs. Alison's journey is a remarkable one but at other times she is shown as selfish and deceitful. Her lies about the paternity of her new child create a whole new drama that provided many of the final twists of each episode this season.

Joshua Jackson's Cole goes from a drug-abusing, depressed taxi driver to a smiling restaurant owner about to get married in only a small portion of the twelve episodes. Some of his parts were slow but I found the idea of a curse on the Lockhart family to be very interesting considering that it claims there will be no offspring. Jackson handled the role like the veteran actor he is.

Maura Tierney also brought gravitas to the grieving housewife and spoiled daughter looking for a new spark in her relationship. Her story went in all sorts of directions and just when I thought she was the most sane individual, she is put in a horrendous situation.

The Affair is one of my favorite shows on television. It is directed and written wonderfully. I find it highly addictive, though my emotions are often torn between whether to respect, love, hate, or just feel sorry for each character. I look forward to another season!

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