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TV Critic’s Corner

‘The Affair’ is faltering

Dominic West as Noah Solloway and Irene Jacob as Juliette in Showtime’s “The Affair.’’
Dominic West as Noah Solloway and Irene Jacob as Juliette in Showtime’s “The Affair.’’ (Phil Caruso/SHOWTIME)

Do you ever get mad at a TV show? I’m angry at “The Affair” right now, six episodes into the third season. As my second-grade teacher used to write in red pencil on bad homework assignments, “Grrrrr.”

I’m disappointed, too, since season two hinted at melodramatic greatness, and it featured a nice flow of experimental point-of-view and time-jump techniques that gave it all an intriguing puzzle-like feel.

The Showtime series has just gotten unnecessarily odd. For one thing, the addition of Irene Jacob as a new love interest for Noah seems to belong on a different drama. And, with all due respect to Jacob, who did memorable work with film director Krzysztof Kieslowski, her character, Juliette, is too much of an American cliché of French women.

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And then bringing in Brendan Fraser as an aggressive prison guard also seems to belong in another show. “Oz,” maybe? I understand that the ripples of the initial affair need to spread outward — but here? Can’t Noah be tormented by something or someone a little more native to the setting?

The season doesn’t have the momentum that drove both of the first two seasons, but especially the second. The story line is fractured, but unappealingly, with pieces of plots here and there that don’t promise to add up to much.

I’m still in it, of course, because I want to believe that the extraordinarily talented people behind the show, including co-creator Sarah Treem, are going to pull it out of the bag anyway. And also because any scene with Maura Tierney is dynamite — or, more interestingly, dynamite just about to explode.


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.