I adored season one of The Affair. Richly acted, wonderfully nuanced combined with a welcome intelligent approach to the concept of subjectivity and narrative, for me, The Affair, was and is, one of the best TV series of recent years. Some felt that the ending of season one became slightly unwieldy, with a lazy approach to the ending in order to set up the narrative for a second season. Whilst the ending of season one certainly became more melodramatic than the taut underlying nervousness running through the first few episodes, this more dramatic approach was, for me, entirely in keeping with the changing lives of the characters. Similarly, some have criticised the two-pronged narrative approach (with us witnessing both Noah’s and Alison’s perspectives on various events) noting that it would be beneficial to witness one true objective version of events. Those that have commented as such are entirely missing the point: there is no one objective version, there can’t be.
Thus the ending of season one, which saw two entirely different version of events are not only entirely believable given the circumstances (studies have shown that witnesses to events will retell entirely different versions and details to others, so is the unreliability of memory) but crucial in revealing the manner in which the characters view themselves – after all it’s no coincidence that Noah always manage to cast himself as the hero in the narrative to subvert the impotent man that his father-in-law views him as.
Season two looks set to continue to deal with the fallout of Alison’s and Noah’s decision to remain together, casting their former partners aside. It is not apparent from the trailer whether the subjective narrative aspect will continue, but I truly hope that it does.