The Affair S1: From Montauk to Neverland

The Affair Season 1 Recapimgres
Warning contains spoilers

 “Guess what my favorite book is?”-Allison
“Anna Karenina…”-Noah
“No Peter Pan…”-Allison
“All children grow up except one”-Noah
Episode one

The Showtime series, The Affair, is set to return for season two on October 4th, 2015. Based on the trailer, we will pick up right where season one ended, with Noah Solloway (Dominic West) being arrested for the murder of Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell). While, Noah is being handcuffed, his now wife, Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson), promises that she will get him out of this.  How did we get here?

images-1Ironically, even those who watched season one don’t know how Noah and Allison made their way back to one another, during the fallout of their own respective marriages. Throughout season one, both Noah and Allison are recalling their summer affair in Montauk while being interrogated by Detective Jeffries in the present. As the season progresses the viewers pick up on small clues that some time has passed between the past affair and the present murder investigation. Still, the amount of time between these two events is never given.  The story is told through flashbacks and each episode has two parts; one tells the events from Noah’s perspective, the other from Allison’s. This employs the Rashomon effect on the plot revolving around a choice two characters make together, it takes two to cheat. Now in preparation for season two lets reflect on Mr. Pan’s (Noah) affair with Mrs. Karenina (Allison).

“Doing one bad thing doesn’t make you a bad person.” –Noah (Episode 4)images

The failed writer turned teacher, Noah Solloway, is contently married to Helen Solloway (Maura Tierney), raising their four children in New York City. The pilot opens with Noah turning down a young woman’s sexual advances at a swimming pool. Excited by the advance he attempts satisfaction with his wife until the youngest child interrupts.  Noah, frustrated, but, faithful he crosses paths with Allison Bailey.  “She was in a very dark place and she came at me very hard,” protests Noah in episode seven.  Noah’s narration reveals his loneliness and frustration with his marriage.  We see that he is nearing a mid-life crisis as he finds himself envious of his children’s youth, You’ll never have this opportunity to read for pleasure again…seize this opportunity” (episode one).  He begins to resent Helen, feeling like he settled for their life, not built a life that he wanted.  As the season progresses, we see Noah deal with his own guilt for having an affair as he comforts his daughter for making a mistake.  By cheating on Helen
he is not only being a bad husband, but a bad father too. Noah Salloway, the boy who married Helen in an attempt to grow up.  He wanted to become a man through the act ofimgres-1 marriage, but his action never fulfilled his desire. Based on season one, Allison awakens a latent desire to be a knight and rescue the damsel in distress. Allison is his opportunity to become the man he wanted to be and now is the time for him to “seize this opportunity.”

“She seemed like the loneliest person in the world.” –Noah (Episode 2)

Alison Bailey is somewhat of an enigma for both Noah Salloway and the viewers. images-2That could be a result of presenting her perspective as part two in the pilot. During Noah’s narration, Alison is portrayed as a small town seductress, who actively pursues him. Then during Allison’s narration, she is depicted more elegantly, unsure, and apprehensive about her attraction to Noah. These contradicting perspectives spark an alarm to go off in the viewer’s mind, as we begin to suspect that one of the two is a liar. Then again employing the Rashomon effect on a story only proves that our memory is an unreliable resource. Two years prior to the series’ events, Alison’s only son died after drowning in the ocean. Without her son she feels alone in her marriage to Cole Lockhart (Joshua Jackson). They drifted apart through their grief. In comparison to the Solloway marriage, Allison’s affair with Noah is a repercussion to a detrimental event that destroyed her marriage to Cole. Noah’s infidelity tears the Solloway household images-3apart. “I don’t know how to fix what broke between us Cole…it’s unfixable,” cries Allison in episode ten.  Allison mentally left Cole the day their son died, she perceived Noah as a way out of her hometown, not her marriage. Throughout the season we witness Allison reclaim her independence with her interactions with Noah. For example in the pilot episode, during her narration, we watch her save Sally Salloway from choking on a marble, at the Lobster Roll diner. During their first encounter, Allison is able to show an act of strength. Meanwhile, she is reduced to a closed-mouth housewife whenever in Cole’s presence. Allison Bailey’s story is a modern day, American version of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenia; she pursues an affair with a married writer, because her love for her husband has become dormant.

“Well, no one ever really knows what’s going on in someone else’s marriage.” –images-4Noah (episode 10)

The affair takes place in Montauk, a place where people from New York City go to escape their real lives for the summer. Noah Salloway, finds this summer place as his own version of Neverland; a place where he can make a mistake and pursue his boyhood desires. For Allison Bailey, Montauk, her home, is a constant reminder of her son’s death. She discovers her own Neverland later in the season when she leaves Cole, and creates a home for herself in New York City.  Noah Salloway is her ticket to the life she has always wanted. Now as we head into season 2 the question becomes, is Neverland a real place, or a fleeting summer mirage?  Stay tuned.
To watch The Affair season 2 trailer click here

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

 

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Narcos : A Colombian Circumstance

Netflix Narcos Ep.7 & 8 Recapimgres

 “Lies are necessary…when the truth is too difficult to believe, right?                           -Pablo Escobar (episode 8)

Narcos episode seven, You Will Cry Tears of Blood, begins with the actual news coverage about the assassination attempt that was depicted at the end of the previous episode. Through the fallout over Avianca Flight 203 we observe the Colombian nation assess the damage done to their country. Rewind back to the first half of the season when Pablo Escobar was viewed as a man of the people. He was a charitable, humanitarian in Colombia. Then in the third episode due to American intrusion, on Colombian affairs, the law of extradition was passed. In response the once beloved Pablo Escobar has taken his frustration, with the Colombian political system, out on his own fellow countrymen. One hundred and seven innocent lives were taken during Pablo Escobar’s failed assassination attempt on César Gaviria. The media’s speculation about the mysterious plane bombing points images-1the finger at Pablo Escobar and he is again forced to cut all ties with the bombing by any means necessary. This includes a violent raid on the safe house where Natalie, the plane bomber’s wife, is being kept. Murphy and Peña race towards the end of the episode to protect Natalie from being killed by Pablo Escobar’s men. The footrace between these opposing sides is filled with superb tension. One moment that really stands out is when Javier Peña has cornered one of the bad guys, only to then have a young boy threaten to shot him. On the surface the screen shows the haunting image of a child with a gun. Therefore alluding to Colombia’s societal deterioration during this civil war. In addition, there is an added layer to this scene as Peña finds himself caught in a moral catch twenty-two. He could shot the kid to imgres-1catch his bad guy, but that would cost Peña, his moral high ground that he holds against Pablo Escobar. On the other hand, Peña puts down his gun and allows the bad guy to get away once again. Back in episode three Javier Peña and Steve Murphy made sure that both the American and Colombian government’s focus would remain on the investigation of Pablo Escobar. In a sense, they started wanted this war, but now in the midst of it, how far are they willing to go to win the war?

“If I had made myself into a monster like all of you say, that is the fault of the
people, like your father and those politicians, ‘of always’.”                                              -Pablo Escobar (Episode 8)

imgresNarcos episode eight, Le Gran Mentria, begins with another failed attempt at capturing Pablo Escobar and his men. Throughout both episodes, seven and eight, Pablo Escobar has begun to place pressure on the Colombian government to appeal the law of extradition. The pressure amplifies when Pablo Escobar and his men take hostages, including journalist Diana Turbay, to use as leverage for a fair negotiation with President César Gaviria. During a conversation between Diana Turbay and Pablo Escobar, his character motivations are expounded upon. The most insightful part of this exchange is given through Turbay’s response to Pablo Escobar’s self-justification for his violent means, “You would have done marvelous things and that is the saddest part.” This series chronicles the investigation of Pablo Escobar, but more importantly it illuminates the specific circumstances that made both his rise and fall possible. The “saddest part” is that Diana Turbay becomes just another casualty in this war, as she is killed during another botched raid. This incident allows the Colombian support to ebb back to Pablo Escobar’s favor, as they demand that President Gaviria concede to Pablo Escobar, before more blood is spilt on their Colombian streets.

images-2 “Lies are necessary…when the truth is too difficult to believe, right,” explains Pablo Escobar as he surrenders himself over to the Colombian officials.  Le Gran Mentria in Colombian means the great big lie, which is essentially what Pablo Escobar’s “surrender” is because he still got everything that he wanted.  He will go to a prison that he built; with guards that he pays; most importantly the law of extrication was appealed.  Only in Colombia would a drug lord make a grand return to a grateful country, but that’s where we started, right?  Colombia is the homeland of magical realism.  In the pilot we witness Steve Murphy receive information about the whereabouts of Pablo Escobar’s men.  Then Murphy calls in a police raid led by Javier Peña.  This is a successful mission as Peña and his men kill Escobarimages-3‘s associates, but the also take the lives of innocent civilians.  This same scene is revisited during the end of episode eight.  Again, Narcos proves that this series expounds upon the Colombian circumstances involved during the rise and fall of Pablo Escobar.  The rise and fall spurred by the moral shifts on both sides.

By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont

Mr Robot Decrypted S1: Part II

Hello friend.

“Please tell me that you’re seeing this too…”-Elliott (1×01)

There are imagestwo water paintings hanging up outside of Krista’s office.  The one on the left features a family heading into an old farmhouse, with one figure remaining behind, by the fence.  The one on the right features the same family, now behind the farm house playing together in the fields.  The fourth figure does not appear in the painting on the right, he only appears in the other one. The first time that we see these paintings is in episode two, right after Elliott decides that Vera, “can’t be allowed to exist anymore.” Then we observe his therapy session with Krista, where they discuss the “allusion of control.” Elliott is only comfortable when he feels in control. He assumes power by hacking into the personal lives of others online, and then constructs boundaries within his personal relationships. Elliott would choose to remain behind, by the fence, while his family goes to play in the fields.  That’s an easy choice for him, the hard ones come when others are involved.  Adding Shayla to the equation made Elliott force his hand in terms of Vera. But did he make a decision, or was the choice already “pre-paid” for him a long time ago?

“Intentions are irrelevant, they don’t drive us, daemons do.”-Elliott (1×3)

imageThe paintings can be see again, in the background as Krista lets Elliott into her office at the end of episode seven. Unfortunately, moments later Krista discovers that by having Elliott as a patient, she’s letting him into her entire life. Beneath the bank statements, online site profiles, pornography, beneath everything; Elliott finds their one honest connection; they are just two lonely people in the world. “I want out of this loneliness, just like you, is that what you wanted to hear?” cries Elliott in episode seven.  After the end of the title sequence during episode eight, we see Elliott facing the paintings again, as his monologue begins, “But you have to admit, she’s just like everyone else, too afraid to peek over their walls for fear of what they might see.” The camera zooms in on the lone figure standing by the fence.

When Shayla was still alive he could of possibly wanted to join the others and play behind the farmhouse.  Now that she is dead, he wants to remain behind while the others go ahead without him.  He wants to remain by the fence to control who comes in and who leaves.  Again, is it Elliott’s choice, or did a “daemon” already make it for him?  Is he in control, or under the false allusion imageof control?

“People who are violent get that way, because they can’t communicate.” –Mr Robot (1×03)

During the third episode’s opening sequence we see Tyrell Wellick come undone, and still remains in control. Now that Terrance Colby has been removed from the situation, Tyrell has the opportunity to become the youngest CTO that E-Corp has ever seen. Then Philip Price awkwardly turns him down, because Scott Knowles has taken the position, right out from under him. Instead of causing a scene at the office, Tyrell takes his anger to the street, literally. He exchanges money with a homeless man, and they agree to fight one another. Tyrell retains control as he stripes away pieces of his business attire; his watch, sports coat, tie, and undoes the top buttons on his dress shirt. Then he pulls out a pair of surgical gloves, not boxing gloves, or a knuckle brace to wear during the fight…but surgical gloves. Tyrell is a man of discipline, order, cleanliness, and sustainability. Therefore he is a man who needs to keep his imagehands clean; of dirt, germs, blood, but mostly importantly clean from failure.

Tyrell is without his control, his surgical gloves, while on the rooftop with Sharon Knowles during episode seven. “Scott plans on firing you, and you are clinging on to any chance you can get…you seem desperate,” explains Sharon moments before Tyrell chokes her to death. Yes, in the face of failure Tyrell is desperate for control. In one moment of pure impulse Tyrell takes the life of another, which simultaneously sends his own life into a tailspin. During the next two episodes Tyrell loses both his job and family to his mistake, his failure.  Again, did Tyrell decide to take the life of Sharon Knowles, or did the impulse stem from the “allusion of control,”pre-paid for” by a “daemon”?

“The lock pick, every hacker’s favorite sport.  The perfect system to crack mostly, because unlike virtual systems, when you break it, you can see it…hear it…feel it.”-Elliott (1×02)

“I don’t know what you’re master plan is, but I need to…and you’re going to tell me,” Tyrell calmly says to Elliott as he slips on his pair of surgical gloves. Instead of sharing the same guilt that Elliott felt for having a hand in Shayla’s death, Tyrell felt a moment of “pure power,”while strangling Sharon.  In this scene Tyrell posters and asserts his dominance as he describes how it felt to murder someone…by his own two hands.  Cut to Elliott letting him into the fsociety arcade.  Why would Eimgres-1lliott let in someone who diametrically opposes him?  If in the wake of Shayla’s death, Elliott chose to stay behind and be the gatekeeper, why open it for Tyrell?  Sam Esmail is the real “daemon” threatening to take down Elliott’s construction of reality. After viewing episode ten we will have completed one “perfect” maze friend.  Will you be ready for the next one?

Writer’s note:  A daemon is a computer program that runs in the background, without interference from the user in control.

 By Sarah Belmont
Featured Writer
@sjbelmont