The creator of “The Affair” has answered one of the biggest lingering questions from the show’s first-season finale — insomuch as she can for a show that doesn’t really traffic in objective truth.
The key event in the Season 1 finale is a confrontation between Noah (Dominic West) and Helen Solloway (Maura Tierney) and the Lockhart family over Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell) impregnating the Solloways’ teenage daughter. In keeping with the show’s M.O., Noah and Alison (Ruth Wilson) remember it differently — but in this case, their perspectives diverge so wildly that it left viewers a little confused.
Series creator Sarah Treem says that wasn’t the intention, but the demands of production — including weather, actors’ schedules and whether they could shoot outside — led to some decisions that made what played out on screen look so different from Noah’s and Alison’s points of view.
“I personally didn’t think hard enough about the choices we were making and how different the scenes were going to appear on screen,” Treem tells Zap2it and a few other reporters at the winter TV press tour. “… So there were some things that happened in those final scenes — they weren’t understood as so different.”
Treem did want to show how particularly stressful situations — in both versions, Cole (Joshua Jackson) points a gun at Noah — can lead to unreliable memories. “We were excited to play around with that idea when the gun comes out, about how the memories really split,” she says. “But we didn’t mean to make it so different that the audience was going to start to think, ‘Oh, wait a second. What the hell’s going on?’
“It’s interesting, because everyone who was involved in the production sort of didn’t notice it. We were so wrapped up in it, and we were kind of like, ‘OK.’ Then when we saw it on screen and I started to see the reaction, I was like, ‘Oh, s***.’ So I learned something.”
Whether the show addresses the divergent recollections is something Treem and the other writers will discuss when they go to work on Season 2. She refuses to say, however, if one version is more true than the other. “They are equally flawed within a prism of two different perspectives,” she says.