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Monday, November 3, 2014

The Affair 1.4: Come Together

An unusually tender and beautiful episode - 1.4 - of The Affair last night, different in two important respects from the first three episodes.   We see no major characters except Noah and Alison.   And their stories are not parallel but sequential - Alison's commences in time right after Noah's concludes. We thus get a true hour of story, rather than two half hours superimposed on one another.

The acting was truly superb, as well.  Dominic West and Ruth Wilson were nonpareil in their delivery, facial expressions, and body language.    We see the lead-up and aftermath of Noah and Alison making love, which is literally the fulcrum point between the two accounts, Noah's the lead-up and Alison's the aftermath.

But in some ways the most powerful moment happens at the very end of Alison's segment, when she tells Noah about the loss of her son.   We learn why she feels a revulsion for Cole - he has a tattoo on his back of the angel Gabriel, the name of their son, and it's the first thing she sees when she wakes up every morning.   We also learn why she pulls away from Noah in her account the second time they're in bed - he asks about the scars on her thigh, and they of course remind her of Gabriel, since she's been cutting herself to make her "feel better," as she says, in her grief about Gabriel.

Noah's reaction is also wonderful, and about the most human and admirable we've seen of him in this story.  When Alison asks if he sees death when he looks at her face,  he says no and takes her in his arms, and they're soon in bed together again, and this time it's good for Alison, too.   Given that this is Alison's story, this moment is especially significant:  she's telling us that Noah is making her happy.

The Affair continues to be a superb piece of television, and this episode shone.   It did this with a much shorter police segment than usual (and it contained the one discrepancy between Noah's and Alison's account in the hour - he tells Noah he's divorced and Alison that he's happily married).   And that's fine by me.   There are many good police stories on television, but few stories of human relationships as compelling as The Affair.

See also The Affair Premiere: Sneak Preview Review ... The Affair 1.2: Time Travel! ... The Affair 1.3: The Agent and the Sleepers ... The Affair 1.5: Alison's Episode ... The Affair 1.6: Drugs and Vision ... The Affair 1.7: True Confessions ...  The Affair 1.8: "I Love You / I Love You, Too" ... The Affair 1.9: Who Else on the Train? ... The Affair Season One Finale: The Arrest and the Rest

podcast review of every 1st season episode

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