Friday, March 11, 2016

The Affair (Season 2) : Showtime Series

Review : The Affair (Season 2)
Aired on : Showtime (2014 - )
My Rating : 8 out of 10

NOTE : This is a review for the second season. I have tried to not mention any spoilers, but if you haven’t watched the first season, I recommend that you read the review of season 1.

The Golden Globe winning TV Drama Series “The Affair” uses the same “Rashomon Technique” to present the next part of the story of season 1. This time, in addition to Noah (Dominic West) and Allison (Ruth Wilson), we also get to hear the perspectives of their respective spouses, Helen (Maura Tierney) and Cole (Joshua Jackson).

The story picks up where it left the last season. Noah and Allison are living together, in a place loaned to him by a friend. He is making good progress on his book. Allison is keeping herself busy. Helen is trying to get on with her life, but Cole is having a tough time to live without Allison. All that’s in the past tense. In present, the investigation that cast a dark shadow in the first season, has become a trial, which casts a similar shadow here. But this time, things are darker even otherwise.

The strength of the first season was writing and acting. The acting is once again perfect. That should not be a surprise, as it’s the same cast. Ruth Wilson and Dominic West are simply fantastic. Maura Tierney is perfect, even the newly added characters are played well.

That brings me to the other strength. The writing is brilliant. It’s better than the first season. One of the things I generally dislike about later seasons, is the addition of characters to get the story going for more and more seasons. The new characters are few and do not feel superfluous. The focus still firmly stays on the original characters.

It’s not just the absence of negative. The writers have done a fabulous job of advancing the story much further. Not in time, but in terms of filling in the details. In the first season, I felt the plot was not very interesting. This time, the plot is developed very nicely. As a result the season is much more than just a close-up look at adulterous human nature. Make no mistake, there is still a lot of sex, and for all characters. But, many questions that were deliberately left unanswered by the first season have been answered, and answered well.

There are new surprises too. I don’t know if these were always in the story, or were planned later. In any case, they work very well. For this, the writers had to add some darker shades to the characters. I think I dislike almost every character now. That’s not a complaint, a good story does not have to have noble characters.

The master stroke is how the season ends. In spite of resolving all the mysteries, the story from this point onwards can turn in many plausible ways. It’s smartly done, and it’s all very believable.

In my opinion season two is better than season one. In the first season, there was a novelty of using the multiple perspectives. It’s no longer a novelty. This season actually has a better plot. 

If you have watched the first season and liked it, I think you will find season two very satisfying. It’s correctly rated as TV-MA and it's not suitable for even teenage kids.

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