When Ruth Wilson abruptly exited Showtime’s The Affair, I knew there was trouble. Joshua Jackson followed quickly behind, sending the show into an almost certain death. But since most shows need five seasons to be profitable, the powers that be decided to keep it moving, and they did their very best to make it appear as if the departures were more about the characters running their course and less about the alleged on-set sexual harassment. I don’t know the truth, but I do how television works, and Joshua Jackson and Ruth Wilson were both under contract. They had to be let out of that contract, and since they were so creatively essential to the series, I can only imagine something serious happened.
As for Maura Tierney and Dominic West, they are laying brick. They are phenomonel actors who deserve credit for doing their best with a bad situation. Maura might have the only compelling storyline on season five, and she’s carrying the show. Dominic West is still great as Noah, but I simply don’t buy the realization that he wants his family back. While it can be done, the writing is far too one-dimensional and his character has always been extremely complex. Placing sex toys in Helen’s bedroom is so basic I wanted to throw something at the screen.
I realize this review sounds angry, and that’s because it is. I found it appalling when the show’s creator said that Ruth Wilson’s character had run its coarse, instead of praising what she had done with it thus far. She’s one of the best actresses I’ve seen in decades and without her, the show would not have succeeded. Show some respect. Furthermore, the idea that the series could have been ressurrected without its two leads reeks of arrogance. I know people have jobs to keep, but sometimes it’s time to close up shop.