The Affair uses the Rashomon effect as a central narrative gimmick: The whole story is told from the two different perspectives of its main characters, complete with contradictory memories and interpretations. This storytelling twist was one of the main reasons why I started watching the show, but unfortunately it never really paid off. In my opinion, the show makes very poor use of this narrative structure, failing to deliver truly surprising or revelatory moments.
Even worse though, the show is rather dull. There are hints of a more interesting future storyline involving murder in the periphery of the show, but these are never fully revealed or explored. It’s almost as if the show is trying to taunt me by dangling this murder plot in front of me as a reward, as long as I remain committed to suffering through its boring main plot.
Worst of all, the two main characters, Alison and Noah, are insufferably unsympathetic. This show has the least likable protagonists I can think of (Noah in particular) and my time watching the show was divided between wishing the worst to happen to Noah and wishing to see more of the more likeable (and often more interesting) supporting characters.
Despite its interesting premise and critical acclaim, this show didn’t work for me, aside from the beautiful Long Island scenery. Not recommended.