Without a doubt, Cole Lockhart is the most isolated part of The Affair. His perspectives have felt adrift from the main narrative all season, and have threatened to go too far into maudlin melodrama at times. Throughout, his story has been anchored by Joshua Jackson’s solid, deeply human portrayal of Cole as a man who has lost everything and is furious at the world for all it has taken from him.
Author Jordan Ferguson
The best thing about Doctor Who is that Doctor Who can be anything. Want to do a straight drama about a historical period? No problem. Want to do a farce set in the furthest reaches of the galaxy? The show has your back. Experimental sci-fi? Sure. Political allegory? No problem. There is no genre or format that Doctor Who cannot colonize and make its own, no idea that cannot be transformed with a little work into a great Doctor Who story.
The Good Wife has spent years meticulously crafting a layered universe full of recurring players and plotlines just waiting on simmer until something turns up the heat. “Lies” is a fun episode in part because it features frequent payoffs to these plotlines, whether it’s the return of the NSA or the voter fraud scandal threatening to return to haunt the Florricks.
One of the best things about The Affair is the way it tracks in moral ambiguity. Its shifting perspectives make it more difficult to get a bead on its characters, but this haziness runs deeper than that. This is a show that refuses to judge its characters, even when they are being awful. It presents them as they see themselves and are seen, and implores us to draw our own conclusions.
We’ve talked a lot, this season, in reviewing first parts of stories, about how vital the second part is to truly judging the thing. It is difficult to weigh in at the half way mark with any certainty of how the story will actually hold up when it is a complete object.
“Payback” is largely about mirroring. From the early shot where Alicia’s arbitration is mirrored with the mediation going on at Lockart Agos & Lee to the way the subplots of Eli and Jason tend to run in the same basic directions, this is an episode that is structurally fascinating to behold.
There’s something going very wrong with the world, and The Doctor has arrived to save it. That is, by and large, the premise of every Doctor Who story, even if the setting, time period, and threat changes week to week. The Doctor shows up, sees the problems plaguing the place he has arrived, and sets about solving them.
Not everything can be fixed with a Band-Aid and a smile. This is a lesson we all learn at some point, when life deals us a hard hand. But its much easier to deal with your own pain and inability to cure it than it is to entertain the idea that someone you love might not be happy, and that you might not have control over what ails them.
“The Woman Who Lived” is a marvelous episode of television that exists in little moments and quiet spaces. The episode takes place largely at night, and for long stretches it felt like The Doctor had snuck out of The TARDIS while Clara was sleeping, like we were privy to the sort of solo adventures that have often been referenced in the Moffat era.
People don’t come with all parts included. We all of us have flaws, imperfections, chinks in our armor. Sometimes, growing up is a matter of fixing those flaws, of kicking bad habits and learning how to minimize your worst tendencies. But sometimes, it’s a matter of understanding that which cannot be fixed.