THE AFFAIR Review: “302”


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I think I tend to side with the ladies in .  I’m 100% sure it’s because I am one, but there’s also something about Noah that’s just really shady, so Helen’s and Alison’s perspectives on what happened in the last 3 years get more sympathy from me.

It turns out that Alison (Ruth Wilson) still suffers greatly from the death of her first child.  Her late son died of a rare form of drowning at 4 years old.  Her daughter Joanie was nearing that age, and Alison freaked out when she couldn’t get her to get over her cold.  Insistent that she was the reason her daughter wasn’t getting better, she told Cole (Joshua Jackson) that Joanie was his daughter and asked him to take care of her.  She admitted herself into some sort of psychiatric institution and didn’t tell anyone about it.  She just seemed to disappear off the face of the earth.  She returns to Montauk knowing that her disappearance was very upsetting to her daughter, Cole and his new wife Luisa (Catalina Moreno) but hoping to re-establish a relationship with her daughter.

Sooo…Luisa decides to say no to Alison seeing Joanie again.  First of all in what world does the stepmother get to decide what happens between a mother and her daughter?  Some information is needed here.  Luisa cannot have children.  Is she “the decider” because she can’t have children?  Has she, in her mind, become the biological mother after only 6 months of Alison being m.i.a.?  I can understand someone being upset that the mother left without a trace, but she’s back!  I think it is uber-brave of Alison to admit that she was not in her right mind and had to leave her until she got well.  She didn’t just leave her with anyone.  She left her with the biological father and his wife, two people that she knew would take care of her.  I think it is so unfair of Luisa to even have as much of a say as she did and for her to ultimately decide whether Alison can see her daughter again.

Luckily, Cole comes to his right mind and brings Joanie over to Alison’s home.  There is nothing that can replace the mother-daughter relationship, and Cole should know how traumatic losing a child is since Alison’s son was also his.  It’s nice to see that he will slowly but surely allow Alison to rebuild the bond with Joanie, but I do see where this is going. I’m sure a child custody battle will be in the works soon.

Ruth Wilson as Alison in The Affair (season 3, episode 2). - Photo: Phil Caruso/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_302_2190

Helen’s (Maura Tierney) children are understandably messed up because of EVERYTHING, one of which is Noah being in jail (Helen’s perspective still has him in the pen).  Her older daughter is dating a 50-something year old nude photographer.  Actually, he has no interest in heads, torsos or legs.  He’s just interested in the parts you never see even on the hottest day.  And he places them on the walls of his warehouse apartment. Her daughter can’t be any older than 20, so seeing these two together is a psychiatrist’s dream.  Let me put my psycho-analysis hat on.  First, Whitney (Julia Goldani Telles) obviously has dad issues.  She is aware that her father cheated on her mother; had a baby with that woman; turns out it wasn’t his baby; then ran over his side chick’s ex-husband’s brother; and now he’s in jail.  I don’t blame her for dating this weirdo photographer guy.  Her dad isn’t the best example of what to look for in a man, so she’s bound to pick from that same deadbeat pool.

Helen observes what’s happening to her daughter and is understandably sickened.  The problem with Helen is that she tries to divert her daughter’s hatred of her ex-husband to herself.  You’d think she’s doing this out of some sort of motherly love, but guess what?  She’s actually the one who ran over that guy.  Maybe you’d then think that this was honorable, but IMO, it’s not.  Noah is not a good person.  He has done so many things to mess up so many lives, and him admitting to killing someone that he didn’t doesn’t even make up for it, so I just wish Helen would stop guilt-tripping herself.  She’s also still madly in love with that man, and I just don’t get it.  He has shown her all the disrespect one can show to another human being, and with just one gesture, she melts.  I really hope that’s not love, but that’s what most people would call it. Psshh.

“The Affair” is one of the most compelling TV shows this fall.  It really fulfills the saying that there are three sides to a story – your side, his side, and the truth.  I hope that next week”s episode not only gives us Cole’s side but also Luisa’s.  She is official and now a part of this whole web of drama.


Season 3, Episode 2 (S03E02)
The Affair airs Sunday at 10PM on Showtime

Read all of our reviews of The Affair here. 
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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.
Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @reneseford
Keep up with all of Jennifer’s reviews here.

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