The biggest difference is in the structure of the narrative, with the first hour featuring only Noah and his perspective. I didn't mind that at all, and, in fact, it was good to get a more sustained view of Noah.
He's out of prison, and the flashes around in time are flashbacks to when he was behind bars, instead of flashbacks to the future, concerning the who-killed-Scotty case, which was the pattern in the first two seasons. The just-out-of-prison motif gives The Affair a touch of Rectify's ambience, and some of the scenes are almost as intense in their own way.
Noah's an adjunct professor, at an unnamed college in New Jersey, but the campus looks 100% like the Rose Hill Campus of Fordham University in the Bronx - where I'm a Professor of Communication and Media Studies - because indeed it was. I'll let you know should I run into Noah or anyone else on the show.
The classroom in which he taught, by the way, is actually not usually used for classes, but for high-level administrative meetings, and but it was cool to see Noah teaching in there, anyway. His teaching about writing also gives us another good angle on the writerly life, which has been a strong suit of the series, especially in season 2.
Great conversations abound, inside and outside the classrooms, and a standout was a dinner with Noah, a French female professor (she likes Noah and invited him and the students to a little dinner party in her home), and several students discoursing about male-female relationships, attitudes, and appropriate behavior, with one of the guys, for example, saying he doesn't like asking for permission before making a move because that's "not sexy," and one of the women explaining how, as a woman, she always feels vulnerable.
Meanwhile, we've seen nothing of Alison and Cole, and even Helen had little screen time - which means we're in for some revelations ahead.
I have a feeling we're in for a great and surprising season this year, and I'm looking forward to more.
podcast review of every 2nd season episode
podcast review of every 1st season episode