This week’s episode somewhat deviated from the layout of the previous three, and I appreciated the change. While they kept the same overall format, Noah’s memory followed by Alison’s, it wasn’t an entire retelling of the day in question. Instead, Alison’s story started right where Noah’s ended. It made complete sense to structure it this way since the two spent the entire day together and they were the only characters, apart from Detective Jeffries, that we encountered. Typically we see Noah and Alison spend part of their day with family or working which stops the story from becoming overly repetitious. This was also the first time that their stories truly aligned and there was far less “he-said she-said” going on. This time, the discrepancies weren’t the way things happened, who said what, or what they were wearing; it was in the feelings and moods. For Noah, it was relaxed and even upbeat while they shopped and fooled around. For Alison is was dark and tense while they argued and talked about death. One thing’s for sure though, they are essentially on the same page at this point; neither of them can deny being involved with one another from this point on.
Under the guise of doing research for his book, Noah and Alison take the ferry for a day trip to Block Island. After a quick pit stop for new clothes and some fooling around in a change room, they head to the lighthouse where Noah geeks out about prisms and light reflections and Alison is surprisingly enamored by it all. On their way to the bluffs they have a strange conversation mixing subjects like how many sexual partners they’ve had with how Noah’s mother died when he was only 17. Alison shares some history about this spot on the island but Noah is more interested in kissing her.
Over drinks, Noah asks Alison if she considers herself a good person. Her reply is rather astute stating that no she isn’t, because there are no good people or bad people, but that we’re all just people doing our best to get by. Noah confesses that he has thought about cheating on Helen before but never thought it was worth it. He’s clearly searching for justification here when he asks why Alison would think he was worth it for her. Just as she’s telling him that she likes the way he touches her and initiates the idea of sex, Noah gets a call from Helen. It’s apparent that he’s anxious during this chat and his “I love you” to her is barely audible. Alison, unhappy with the situation leaves the bar and buys a ticket for the next ferry. She tells Noah that she won’t be his test subject to prove to himself how much he loves his wife.
Noah is left to wander Block Island on his own and he tracks down the heritage museum where the woman Alison recognized from the ferry works. He clumsily explains that he knows Alison through his wife and that the two of them met at yoga. If nothing else, this scene gave us the best line of the whole episode: “The reason people are so miserable nowadays is because they’re all doing yoga when they should be having sex.” Enough said!
After Noah receives some encouraging feedback from Harry the publisher regarding his book’s first chapter, he heads back to the clothing store in search of some souvenirs for his kids. Looks like Alison didn’t catch that ferry because she comes waking in behind him. The two immediately embrace and they’re off to book a hotel room. Noah makes it clear that he’ll never leave his wife and that she can never find out but he sincerely doesn’t want to hurt Alison. She tells him to stop talking and get to it already.
While they’re having sex, Alison catches a glimpse of her and Noah in the mirror and she is instantly taken out of the passion. She looks at herself with guilt and disappointment. Afterwards, she isn’t interested in cuddling with Noah and she recoils at his touch.
Back at the bluffs Alison inquires about how Noah learned to swim. She shares a far bleaker story about the area than Noah recalls in his side of the story. Noah admits that he still talks with his mother but can’t understand what she’s trying to tell him. Evidently nothing gets these two more excited than a horribly depressing conversation because they’re back at the hotel in minutes for round 2!
Noah is kissing Alison’s inner thighs and notices the cut marks. He wants to know what happened and promises that she can trust him. She wonders though, how she can trust a man who’s cheating on his wife. This sends Noah into a rage and he kicks in the side of the hotel dresser drawers. He manages his way into another room and he and Alison swap their dresser for the undamaged one. They run out of that hotel like two kids who just stole some soda pops: giggling in disbelief of what they’d done.
On the ferry back to Montauk Alison suggests that they end things there, on a good note. She believes that Noah wants the easy-going, upbeat side of Alison that will get him out of his rut and help put some pep back in his step. Noah counters this idea by telling her that he doesn’t find anything about Alison easy and in fact she has darkness written all over her which he sort of likes.
Alison is unlocking her bike at the ferry docks and is visibly shaken by the events of the day so Noah offers to drive her home. During their ride Alison bares her darkness to Noah when she reveals that she had a son named Gabriel who drowned 2 years ago when he just was 4 years old. When Gabriel was alive she used to wake up to his laughter, now she wakes up to Cole’s tattoo of the Angel Gabriel and it makes her miserable. The reason that she cuts herself is because it makes her feel better. Alison assumes that this information was enough for Noah to steer clear of her for good but instead; they end up having sex in her bed.
Spot the Differences
- Detective Jeffries tells Noah that he rarely sees his kids because his wife was granted full custody in their divorce. Alison recalls the detective saying that him and his wife have been married 25 years and still act like newlyweds.
- In Noah’s memory, Alison’s favorite spot on Block Island is the bluffs. She tells him of how she used to play there as a child and pretend that it was Neverland. Her grandfather used to tell her that if she listened closely to the wind she could hear Peter Pan calling for her. During Alison’s part of the story at the bluffs she seems almost haunted by this area. She tells Noah that if you listen closely to the wind you can hear the child who died there calling for his mother and that in fact, she has heard it before. The shipwreck has much less nostalgic significance in Alison’s memory; she claims that the island is simply full of them.
- Who was Alison calling when she was given a break from the detectives questioning? She was both angry and anxious with whoever it was. Her tone seemed to imply that something about her being interrogated while this person wasn’t around was unjust in some sense.
- Was Detective Jeffries messing with Alison and Noah by telling them each something different about the state of his marriage? Could he be using this tactic to coerce answers? Or do the differences say more about the person who remembered them?
- I have been on Alison’s side so far and I believe Noah’s accounts even less now, especially his memories of her being so playful in the water. It’s more than understandable that someone who lost a child in water would be hesitant themselves around it.
- Though I may believe Alison marginally more than Noah, it’s hard to truly like any of the characters or to take any plot points with solid confidence since both narrators are likely unreliable to some extent. Are one or both of them lying? Does one of them have a better memory? Is there a reason – relating to the murder – that they would be purposefully deceitful? Even if both of them are telling the truth to the best of their abilities, everyone has a different perspective on even the smallest details.
- I’m happy that we got both Alison and Noah on the same page this week. Even if their individual moods were very distinct I feel that we have a solid point to move forward from.