'The Affair' Season 2: Show opens with controversial scene, earns praises from viewers and critics alike

By Staff Writer

Oct 08, 2015 10:10 AM EDT

One particularly daring scene from the second season premiere of "The Affair" last Sunday has got netizens and critics talking.

Showtime's popular drama has been known for breaking conventions with its abridged narrative as well as its raw, dark depiction of extramarital relationships but this scene definitively sealed the deal. Viewers were shocked when Max (played by Josh Stamberg) suddenly gets out of bed in his full naked glory after spending the night with Helen (played Maura Tierney), his best friend's wife.

Even fans of "The Affair" that are now pretty much used to graphic and intense scenes during the last season did not see that coming, The Daily Mail reports.

The actor's own mother, celebrated NPR journalist Susan Stamberg, even had something to say about it. "He's such a good actor, convincing and invested, I ended up feeling really proud," Mrs. Stamberg responded in her interview with The Washington Post.

Stamberg was actually reluctant to do the scene as he had initially dismissed it as a move to attract viewers. "I had a lot of qualms about how this [scene] helped," Stamberg told Entertainment Weekly.

However, in a separate episode recap from Entertainment Weekly's Melissa Maerz, Max's controversial scene was lauded as the "most thoughtful use of nudity" as it provides a glimpse of who Max is as a person and how this character complements to Helen's narrative. "The scene is meant for viewers to experience exactly what Helen is experiencing: It's all too much, too soon, too in-your-face", said Maerz.

She argues that at this point in Helen's life where she's trying to figure out who she is in the middle of a rocky marriage, having a person as assertive as Max won't help her understand the gravity of her current situation. And that specific scene made her realize that it is a little too late to atone for the sin she committed.Maerz contends that this pivotal scene has been integral in driving that point the most humanly way possible.  

Catch more affectionate moments from "The Affair", Sundays at 10 PM on Showtime.

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