on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 12 Jul

The idea of the shadow and the darker self

von: Martina Weber Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments


Season one started in front of a wonderful family home in Brooklyn, New York, a couple with four kids packing their stuff in the car for summer vacation and season three ended there, five years later, Christmas Eve. Life has totally changed for two families. Where are we going, buddy? “The affair” season 3 is No. 6 at Jochen´s list of top TV shows. Season one is the starter, season two a lecture in high suspense and season three a lecture in dream logic. Still I don´t get the trailer´s lyrics in the first three seasons events described. Show runner Sarah Treem did brilliant work with the narrative structure from different POVs and with time shifts. She said:


At the core of the show is – is just human relationships and the faultiness of memory, and the unreliability of our own personal narratives and the denial of objective truth.


Season three in Sarah Treem´s mind is a meditation on the following idea: If we believe that we all have a dark side that we´re not necessarily aware of, where is it and how does it influence our behavior? For the actors it was most challenging being seen by somebody else´s eyes. This includes their clothing, which differs in different POVs. Finally all versions are true.

Does anyone know if there will be a fourth season? In my POV there are some open questions left.


This entry was posted on Mittwoch, 12. Juli 2017 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Jochen:

    The Affair is rumored to return late 2017 for its fourth season …

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    My rating:
    – Season 1: ****
    – Season 2: ***1/2
    – Season 3: ***

  3. Martina Weber:

    Cool, it´s going on, Jochen.

    I´m not a friend of ratings. I enjoyed all three seasons from beginning to the end and couldn´t wait going on watching. And I liked the staff and the dialogues.

  4. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I enjoyed them, too, two thirds, cause, according to my „down beat“ rating, they were very good, good to very good, and good. But there were severe weaknesses that overshadowed otherwise excellent storylines and performances. 1) the hype about Noah’s book, 2) Noah’s hallucinatory road to self-desstruction – both occupied too much time, and took away much of the suspense. Totally unrealistic side-plots. Ratings are personal. I like personal points of view.

  5. Martina Weber:

    From my POV, I didn´t mind the hype about Noah´s writing.

    I especially liked that and I would have liked to get to know just some more information on his first book which Juliette read in a café in Paris. Okay, in the third season there were length in story telling itself. It took me a while to get caught again as a viewer in the first few episodes of season three. But then I found me lost in what was real and what was the halluzination and besides we all know about the power of dreams and imaginations and their impact on our lives.

    I wasn´t enthusiastic about the french professor, though. That was a bit too much of a clichée. But in the end it seemed necessary to me for the plot´s sake and I thought it did fit. And I liked the appartment Whitney shared with Furkat (more realistic: the other way round). I just would hang some other photographs on the wall. All personal relationships any time were on the verge. Besides I liked the idea of the different clothings in different POVs. I´d never seen that before in a film and there are some extra features on DVD with Sarah Treem explaining on that.

  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    More thrilling indeed than reason based marriages, for example.

    The passages from Noah’s book are – stylistically – pretentious crap. Name dropping of famous writers has been another poor idea. But, fact is, while looking, I tend to let it all in, no censorship, rasing an eyebrow reduces immersion. Rating and reasoning happen in retrospect. When I would have been on the other side of the screen, I would have fallen for Noah’s first wife :)

    My only five star seasons of 2017: The Leftovers 1, The Leftovers 2. (oh, no, sorry, I forgot some seasons of „Game of Thrones“).

    And the one series that is great, funny, hilarious, with some deep cuts and bursts of laughing out loud: Glow 1 – the beginning of female wrestling in the mid-eighties. Not many here would agree on the last one.

  7. Lajla:

    Micha, ich stimme unbesehen zu.

    Ich sah Regina Halmich gerne beim Boxen zu. Starke Frau.

  8. Jochen:

    Hallo Ladies, I´m Sam Sylvia – and this is Glow.

    Sorry, what´s Glow?

    Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

    Are you hiring actors to play wrestlers? Or are we the wrestlers?


    I enjoyed Glow very much. There is a nice developing interaction between Macho Sam and Actress Ruth (to those who saw Mad Men: does she seem familiar to you? I did not recognise her – what a contradiction of characters!). Sam reminded me to a former friend I lost sight of, a native brazilian: chaotic type with a curly-head and mustache, oversized pilot glasses, unfriendly shell with a lot of heartful humor inside. And last but not least Glow reminded me to a theater project I participated in some years ago.

  9. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ruth Wilder was in Mad Men???

    One of the most witty scenes in modern TV: Sam’s time travel desaster in episode 9!!!

  10. Jochen:

    Where he accidentally wants to f … his own daughter?

    I read in a review that „Ruth Wilder“ played in Mad Men. What side role was that?

    Some researches … – it was one of the main characters.

  11. Michael Engelbrecht:

    No, where he told about his future film project …

    And, of course, Sam didn’t know it was his daughter.

  12. Martina Weber:

    Yep, this is the problem with Noah´s writing: He once even admitted it was pure autobiographical. Once he said the contrary. And his style is boring realistic. Still I would have liked to read one passage from his very first book. Just because of the developmeht in writing.

    And yep, his marriage to Helen may have had a reason based touch, but if you want to see it like that, you can find a reason based element in any lasting relationship.

    I´ll start with the Leftovers in a while. Just a break in between.

  13. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Never thought of Helen and Noah in such ways.

  14. Martina Weber:

    You mentioned the reason based marriages in a comment, which implied this.

    Besides, it´s a topic in the series. They talk about it.

  15. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I implied something else: much more thrilling to make three, four seasons about all these relationships on the verge than writing about reason based marriages. What a bore that might be! Noah and Helen may have talked about this, but they were never even close to old time love killers and financial security contracts (even certain loops of habit could be underminded with a good fuck) … but, as we see, you never know …

  16. Martina Weber:

    I guess so, yes.

  17. Michael Engelbrecht:

    The tried and trusted fornula for longevity in relationships: straight arguments and dirty sex.

  18. ijb:

    I agree with the original post. I enjoyed the series a lot – and I actually enjoyed it increasingly as it continued. Even though some of the dramatic incidents seem to me rather intentional, and the story sometimes relies slightly too strongly on coincidence for my taste (the whole way the accident in season 2 is constructed, for example) and a few apparently major dramatic developments are being obscured somehwat unconvincingly for too long … , BUT I still feel „The Affair“ succeeds in telling a complex story in a highly singular way, as I haven’t seen it in any other film or series. And the characters are mostly very convincing, I guess that is more due to good to great directing and acting than mainly because of the scripts.

    To be honest, I am in the middle of season 3 at the moment (end of episode 6, I think), so I might not have see everything that is important to see to be able to judge … However, there is one major issue which I have been wondering about, and it doesn’t seem to me that this will be disclosed in season 3:
    (Those who haven’t seen the series yet, should stop here reading, maybe …)
    Between the two storylines / time axes in season 2, there seems to one pretty huge gap(?) or hole in the story, which I was waiting to be closed for all of season 2, and now in season 3 it is still not addressed. Basically in the last scene of season 2’s earlier timeline, Alison disclosed to Noah that Joanie is not his daughter, after which Noah says „I never want to see you again“. Then, in what is basically the next scene after that – the first scene of the later timeline which is, throughout all episodes of the season, told parallel to the earlier one – Noah and Alison are married (finally, after they were thinking about it for quite a while), and Noah looks after Joanie like a father (only in the end it is disclosed that he has well been aware that she’s not his daughter), as Cole is not informed about the fact that he’s the girl’s father until season 3.

    As it is told, Noah and Alison are husband and wife during the whole trial, but to me it was rather unsatisfying that I was never told how they got back together after the „i never want to see you again“ scene – while the whole series is so accurate with every change of feelings between each of the characters.

    Did this bother anyone else? Or is it going to be explained at the end of season 3? (However, now Noah has already signed the divorce papers, so I don’t expect that it will.)

  19. ijb:

    Oh, and I thought the fact that the lines form Noah’s book are actually rather underwhelming was (at least partly) intentional: After all, he says that he wrote it quickly and as a simple erotic thriller, but that is not what he „really“ wants to write (like his first one and the one he starts working on afterwards), and he admits that it is not great literature.

  20. ijb:

    Forth season

  21. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I got so used to the disorientations that I would have to think hard to get back to your basic question :)

    Maybe Noah didn’t have a high opinion about his novel, but why the fuck were Philip Roth and Jonathan Frantzen so intrigued?! :)

    Season Three tested my patience a bit too often with this psycho-guy from prison, no matter how much it was delusional or real.

    All in all, THE AFFAIR has been a great under-the-skin-experience, but the writers have to be very inventive (and careful) in the final season to keep it on a good level and let not the general theme of „unreliability of memory“ carry them away with way too surreal twists and turns.

  22. Martina Weber:

    Okay, Ingo, I get your point. It´ s not going to be explained until the end of season 3.

    I just think Noah changed his mind because his feelings for Alison were stronger than his disappointment that he wasn´t Joanie´s father. This happens in love relationships.

    As fas as the way of the accident is constructed, to me it´s absolutely great. You could take it as part of a Hausarbeit für juristisches Staatsexamen im Strafrecht. So viele kluge und heißdiskutierte Rechtsprobleme stecken da drin.

  23. Martina Weber:

    Just let´s gather Noah´s novels. There is the first book whose titel I forgot. It´s the book Juliette showed to him in a café in Paris. The second Book is mentioned in season 1, Noah searched it in a library in Montauk. The titel: A Person Who Visits A Place.

    I read this book and wrote a review about it, which you can read here

    The third is „Decent“.

  24. ijb:

    You mean „Descent“ („Abstieg“). „Decent“, however, is a nice typo, as it fits with Michael’s criticism of it, meaning „ordentlich“ (as in „ordinary“).

    Yes, I totally agree with both your points:
    [Spoiler alert!]
    – I can of course fully imagine Noah’s feeling haying changed again, no problem with that. However, as it is being obscured to some degree and used for a slight tension until full disclosure in season 2, for us to know and understand the current relationships, it just left me dissatisfied not to get any information at all about what happened. As I mentioned, usually every single shift in all the relationshops is narrated with such a lot of diligence.
    – Auch, ja, die Komplexität des Unfalls ist durchaus reichhaltig hinsichtlich der rechtlichen Lage. Es ist aber auch hier so etwas überanstrengt: Dieser Todesfall wird über zwei volle Staffeln mystifiziert und verrätselt… und dass am Ende nicht nur Alison auch noch zufällig am selben Ort mitten im Wald war, sondern auch noch ausgerechnet in dem Moment, in dem das Auto mit den beiden vorbeikommt, den Schubser ausübt, und dass Noah sie dann auch noch im Dunkel des Waldes sieht, das fand ich dann leider ein bisschen viel der Zufälle. Aber wie gesagt, das sind angesichts der sonstigen Qualitäten doch kleinere Kritikpunkte.

  25. ijb:

    Yes, I also find the psycho guy and all the delusions not that interesting. It’s kind of obvious from the beginning and the element is maybe being exploited a bit too much.

    PS: Isn’t „Descent“ only the second book? Did I miss one? Or is one of the first two a non-fiction book?

  26. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I think DESCENT is the crappy one, but Jonathan Frantzen seems to like it :)

    Minor quibbles …

  27. Martina Weber:

    Ingo, maybe you aren´t in Paris already watching episode 6 in season 3.

    You will see the French professor reading another of Noah´s books. I was surprised as well as I thought „A Person Who Visits A Place“ was Noah´s first book. I´m not sure what his very first book is about. I didn´t get the title. Both of his first books were in financial terms not a success.

    And of course I did realize what you wrote, Michael, and I agree with you both it was a bit too much dream logic and jail traumatism.

  28. ijb:

    Yes, we have three episodes left to watch. Maybe tonight.

  29. ijb:

    Bei der FAZ gibt es eine Art Analyse von Fiona Apples Song zur Titelsequenz von „The Affair“: / fiona-apple-container …

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