THE AFFAIR opens up with Noah unshaven and nervous at his father’s funeral. He looks like he’s lost the rules to his own self-created hell. People look at him like a pariah; an elder even tells him that his own father was ashamed of him; his children can’t stand him; and his sister’s beau tells him that his father “hated” him. Whew. It seems like Noah knows how to piss off every kind of person, even an old lady at a funeral.
Noah being an asshole isn’t new, so what really caught my eye this episode is his ex-wife’s commentary on him being locked up. She says that she doesn’t understand why he was convicted when a man like O.J. Simpson wasn’t convicted. Excuse me? My commentary on that commentary is now directed at the writer of this episode – Sarah Treem.
Dear Sarah, you’re clearly mad about that verdict, and it’s been over 20 years. It would behoove you to know that there are people falsely convicted and people falsely found not guilty for crimes. Our criminal justice system is flawed, and it tends to favor White “well-to-do” men. If you’re not that, then you’ve got a hard road ahead of you. Noah, as you recall from writing this, is a White “well-to-do” man. He was found guilty of killing someone because he actually admitted to it in a courtroom. I think you kinda have no choice but to convict someone based on that, don’t you think? Also, he got 3 years and parole for killing someone. Psshh. If that isn’t privilege, then what is? So feeding your unsettled heart about the O.J. Simpson verdict through Helen (Maura Tierney) is quite ridiculous.
Speaking of ridiculous, Noah embarrasses his student (oh yes, Sarah. Noah, the ex-convict, also has a university teaching job, ugh) in front of her peers about how dull and uninteresting her writing is. Even though he is correct, his tone and choice of words are outrageous. Another student calls him out about it, and he seems to be in fear of losing his teaching gig if the student complains. Losing his job is a real fear. His parole officer is very stern with him about not doing anything to jeopardize it. There is still a sense of entitlement and invincibility that Noah continues to have even after jail. That is remarkable. I assume that I would be walking on eggshells around everyone, but that is not Mr. Solloway. Not at all.
The late Papa Solloway told many people how disappointed and ashamed he was in his son, but guess what? In his will, he left Noah the house. And boy, was his sister’s beau pissed all the way off. He tells Noah that his dad hated him and couldn’t understand why his father would do such a thing. The beau gets angry, knocks some shit over and storms out of the house. Okkk….what the hell was that about? Why is that grown man so mad about something that doesn’t belong to him? There must be some kind of evil motive he has for either being with Noah’s sister or for that house. He was too mad. He was also so out of order that I was glad to see his sister side with Noah.
What the beau doesn’t understand is a parent’s love for his child. A parent may be disappointed by his child’s choice, but he will always love him. The old lady said that he died of a broken heart. Can you imagine raising a child to the best of your ability and then find out that they’ve mucked up so much of their life? It has to hurt because children are a parent’s greatest investment. All of the years toiling and planting seeds of goodness in them only to see that they blossomed into not so good things. Noah admitted to a murder (that he didn’t commit); he broke up his family; is a troll to college kids; and is so self-absorbed that he doesn’t even realize it. Yes, his dad was disappointed, but he never hated him. NEVER. That’s not how the parent gene works.
Noah claims that he doesn’t want the house, but I have a feeling that will all change. The end of the episode is a true WTF moment. An apparition has been following him. It’s his old prison guard. He hears it approach him in his kitchen and then bam! His neck is punctured, sending him to the floor gasping for air while blood spouts out. I don’t believe in ghosts, so I am assuming Noah is manifesting his fears in a real way. Did he puncture himself? If so, why is he doing this? He is a prick, but he doesn’t deserve to lie on his kitchen floor alone, seemingly about to die.
I think this season opener is a winner. It is one of the best examples of a successful 1-hour drama episode.
Season 3, Episode 1 (S03E01)
The Affair airs Sunday at 10PM on Showtime
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor