I really loved watching The Affair – but I didn’t enjoy it. I know that sounds contradictory, but there wasn’t much to celebrate and love. That was a bleak show.
But I loved it - maybe in a more ‘craft-driven’ way than I expected. The show was least interesting when it was actually focusing on The Affair itself, and much more interesting when it was focusing on whatever Alison and Noah were running away from.
Which is why, I’m told, we’re going to get more scenes from the perspectives of Maura Tierney’s Helen and Joshua Jackson’s Cole – because there are never just two people in an affair. And because you don’t hire Maura Tierney and that coiled, deceptively easygoing anger that is Joshua Jackson if you don’t want to use it. I’m glad too that the kids and other tertiary players seem to still be an important part of this mess.
It’s a mess. That’s what it is. It is never going to be heartwarming. But wouldn’t you rather watch a mess and feel lucky that your life is not that bad? Does this make me a crazy person, that I am so interested in watching people make systematic bad decisions, one after another? I don’t think it’s schadenfreude, I really don’t. Instead the show seems to be saying ‘we get how this could happen to anyone. Look how it happened to these guys’.
We’ll learn how and why Alison and Noah have a daughter and who’s suspected of killing Scotty Lockhart and watch Julia Goldani Telles have more tantrums. Also, Richard Schiff. And some sex scenes. And the trailer promises what a Facebook friend hilariously refers to as a “contemplative swimming scene”. These are all markers of a delicious season 2.