Joshua Jackson's performance as Cole in 2.2 was Emmy worthy. The subtle, under-the-surface, powerful but contained display of hurt, hate, pain, love, fatigue with the world, and, in that last scene, just a hint of satisfaction at seeing Noah charged in court, was just masterful. This was about the best performance I've ever seen of a man after his wife has left him.
Of course, Cole is nothing but considerate to Alison in his take, in contrast to being disruptive, even frightening in her rendition of the same story. Ruth Wilson also puts in a fine performance, down to the expression in her eyes when Noah comes home after the lousy day in New York City that we saw in episode 2.1. After he grouses and leaves the room, the camera twice shows Alison looking at something with concern, uncertainty, and a touch of bracing in her eyes - perfect camera work - and it turns out that's Noah, who apologizes and takes Alison in his arms. The love they feel for each other is vibrant.
Alison's day in the vivid green of Cold Spring is notable in other ways, especially with Yvonne, who gets off one of the best lines in the episode, remarking to Alison that it's a "horrible thing to love a writer". Alison learns that Yvonne is head of Bradford Publishing. Are they Noah's publisher? Probably. We know that Harry - Noah's editor - arranged for Noah and Alison to stay in the beautiful house in the country, which we now learn is owned by Yvonne and her husband. There are important connections to be explored.
There's poetry in almost every scene of this drama, including in the taxi with Cole driving Noah's soon to be erstwhile father-in-law, who paints an appealing picture of how Montauk used to be - getting Cole to almost roll his eyes in the front seat - including "the way the ocean changes like a moody woman".
A hallmark of great narrative is how even the minor characters are memorable. The Affair has all of that, and I'm looking forward to more.
podcast review of every 2nd season episode
podcast review of every 1st season episode