Showtime's The Affair: Are You Wedded to This 'He Said, She Said' Drama?

Episode 101

The seeds for Showtime’s The Affair were planted on Sunday night — will you be sticking around to see how this “He Said, She Said” drama plays out?

Co-created by In Treatment‘s Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi, The Affair stars Dominic West (The Wire) as Noah Solloway, a New York City school teacher and aspiring novelist who is spending the summer at his in-laws’ estate out on Long Island. As he, wife Helen (ER‘s Maura Tierney) and their brood of kids arrive for this getaway, they make the acquaintance of a local waitress, Alison (Luther‘s Ruth Wilson).

How the story unfolds from there… well, it depends on the distinct point of view provided by two separate narratives, one courtesy of Noah, the other being Alison’s.

The former scenario paints Alison as a bit of a flirt who, especially later, when bumping into Noah at a beach bon fire, entices him to behave badly. Alison’s version of events, meanwhile, casts Noah as the instigator of the eventual affair, while also fleshing out the world from which she comes — which includes the tragic loss of a child and a not-completely-sympathetic, at-times physical husband (Fringe‘s Joshua Jackson).

RELATED Joshua Jackson Reveals How The Affair Lured Him Back to TV

The aforementioned points of view are presented in the context of flash-forward conversations with law enforcement officials, in interrogation rooms, for a purpose thus far unknown.

Did one of the innocent significant others wind up dead? Is one point of view more accurate than the other? Or does the truth lie somewhere in between?

Will you continue watching to find out?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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23 Comments
  1. BrightLight says:

    Man, McNulty just cannot get away from Rawls.

  2. Evan says:

    I thought the first episode was quietly intriguing. It wasn’t loud and over-the-top, and that wasn’t to be expected given the subject matter, yet I was still pulled into this world easily. Dominic West was good, but Ruth Wilson was awesome here. I love the little intricacies in each person’s stories that differentiate them. I’m excited to see where this goes.

  3. meg says:

    Major “Notebook” comparisons, especially with the main characters’ names. I wonder if that was intentional or not, but I can’t get past that — it’s like a twisted alt-history version of Nicholas Sparks.

  4. EJ says:

    If my kid did what that kid did in the first half hour of the pilot I’d be a hell of a lot less quick to calm down than Noah, though.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Right? On first viewing, I was like, “Oh. This show is DARK.” And then: “Oh wait, it’s not.”

    • Alichat says:

      OMG…yes!…..15 minutes into the show, and I wanted to throttle the kids. Mostly the two oldest, and what kid thinks that his father is going to be proud of him when he finds him hanging in the bathroom and let’s him think for a minute or two that it’s real???

    • Pati says:

      I know I thought the same thing, he just saw his son hanging and then the son informs that he researched fake hangings, that is super disturbing and all he does is ” aw man what’s wrong with you” wow. He almost lost two kinds in the first 30 min of the show.

  5. Jennae says:

    I’m down with this as Alice Morgan-in-exile headcanon.

    She did say she always wanted to be a widow…

  6. martina says:

    Personally, I would watch ANYTHING that involves Maura Tierney in it. With that being said, I was hoping that the show was good enough for it to last a couple of seasons at least. I was shocked at how good the pilot is! Apart of the stellar acting from the four of them, I found the script and the photography outstanding. Also, the narration technique is successful at helping the storyline remain interesting enough to keep tuning in.

  7. Alichat says:

    I found it interesting…..especially the small things that differed in their retelling…..where the wife and two boys were sitting in the diner, that Noah holds the daughter upside down and both parents freak out in Alison’s retelling, that she’s wearing a wrap/shawl when she’s on the beach but his retelling is missing that, etc. And I had to ‘whoa!’ when Alison said at the end of the episode that she had to go pick up her kid. I found this line in your recap “which includes the tragic loss of a child and a not-completely-sympathetic, at-times physical husband (Fringe‘s Joshua Jackson).” interesting. This was not the picture I got of Cole, especially after that scene in her retelling where he says that he’s done everything she’s asked, gone to therapy, and it’s been a year since the death.

  8. Angel says:

    It is well written and definitely sucks you in. The two versions are intriguing, and all four leads are acted well. Though I don’t particularly like Noah’s version of Cole. Cole is rough around the edges, but I think he is misunderstood. Major props to the actors for having to portray two versions of their character. Ruth and Josh nailed every scene, they I think have the toughest storyline with the grief. I really want to know why they are talking to the authorities. I hope we get some idea of what is going on there by the end of this first season.

  9. jane doe says:

    Ruth Wilson’s lips are distracting and not in a good way. Somehow I could deal with it on Luther but I feel like this show is too depressing for me to deal with it. Weird I know but I just can’t with her and this show.

    • Connie says:

      I was telling my husband the same thing, I couldn’t focus when she was talking…all I kept
      looking at was her mouth..other than that I can’t wait for the next episode!

      • JEN says:

        Thank goodness I’m not alone in this..

        • kim bowden says:

          As well, I’m glad it isn’t just me. Both Noah and Alison have the same flat line upper lip…and while I enjoy the show, it’s all I can focus on, and as Jane said, and not in a good way.

  10. DanielleZ says:

    I like The Affair. An excellent cast, and terrific acting and storytelling so far. Can’t wait for the next episode.

  11. L says:

    Still reminding me of “Betrayal” which also had a something bad happens to these people at the end thing at the beginning… Interesting gimmick with the two sides of the story, but I can see that getting tiresome if they keep it up all season.

  12. Derek Johnson says:

    Cool that they are putting in conflicting storylines, but I thought it was average until the twist at the end. Did not see that coming at all.

  13. Jase says:

    Dominic West was SO SEXY in the premiere, I could barely keep my clothes on…

  14. Heathers says:

    Did anyone notice how sexy Alison was from Dominic West’s POV, then seemed plain jane from her POV?

  15. Heathers says:

    And BrightLight, I was thinking the same thing! Why would they cast John Doman in that role?!

  16. arianeb says:

    The first half felt like a cliche family drama. The whole first half of the episode felt slow and nothing happens that we haven’t seen a thousand times in other family dramas. The only interesting things are said in voice over, the father of the family is remembering these events telling them to someone else.

    I was about to give up on it, and then the second half started. In a Tarantino like change, or more accurately a Kurosawa change, we see the events of the same day from the waitresses perspective. Her version of events are more emotional, probably overly emotional and often completely different from what we saw in the first half.

    Suddenly it becomes clear why the first half of the episode was so full of cliches, because the man’s perspective of events sounds that way, the woman’s perspective is more emotional.

    The idea of stories being told from different perspectives and conflicting details originated in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, and it has been imitated many times throughout the years. The first episode of The Affair is a very good version of that.

  17. Mary Ann Foster says:

    Intriguing show but I cannot understand why producers would cast Ruth Wilson with her freak show lips. I find myself distracted by the fact that when she is not smiling, there is so much overhang on her top lip that her teeth look black.