Previously on The Affair, ‘5’
Noah is out on the town for a boys night with his buddy Max. They’re at The End nightclub, a tourist spot in Montauk and a place which Noah will eventually deny any knowledge of to Detective Jeffries. Actually, before they go to the club, Max buys some coke from his taxi driver, who just happens to be Hal Lockhart. Over drinks they discuss Max’s divorce, which I believe is the first of many instances throughout this episode where Noah truly starts considering the consequences of his relationship with Alison, who also happens to be at The End that night and joins the guys for a drink while her and Noah pretend not to know each other.
Unsurprisingly, the two spend the night together in a hotel and Noah starts devising plans on how he can visit with her when the summer is over. Alison leaves quite early the next morning and Noah is suspicious when he sees her bike away in a strange direction. He follows her to the docks and watches as she picks up a cooler from one of the boats and then delivers it to the island’s taxi dispatch. He’s so distracted with snooping that he nearly crashes into Hal driving his taxi.
Later that day Helen talks to Noah about Whitney’s therapy; she wants her parents to go with her. Noah is, predictably, uninterested but Helen thinks it’s a good idea. Especially considering how distant they’ve been lately. She feels old and gross and that she’s no longer attractive to Noah because of their nonexistent sex life. This is another moment where Noah considers those consequences.
During lunch at The Lobster Roll, Helen discovers that Noah stayed out well past Max leaving and even though Helen had sunglasses on, I could feel the fiery rage she shot at Noah after learning this information. To make matters worse, Alison is working and Max notices her from the night before. Helen not only remembers her name, but she tells Max that he could do so much better, which is hilarious on so many levels. Max gets emotional after discussing his ex-wife and kids and praises Noah and Helen for making their marriage work, yet another moment where Noah is forced to contemplate his actions.
Noah ends up having a drink with Oscar after he apologizes for the events at the Butler home. Scott Lockhart shows up demanding the money Oscar owes him and when he won’t pay up, Scott takes all the money from the cash register. Oscar is enraged and (maybe?) calls the police to report some shady activity at the taxi dispatch. He goes on to tell Noah that the Lockhart Ranch is just a front for their drug dealing.
Noah goes to the Lockhart Ranch to confront Alison. At first she denies the accusation, laughing it off and telling him he must be tired. Her attitude changes however once he mentions that Oscar has tipped off the cops and she runs off to tell Cole the news. This was the final push for Noah to come to terms with his behavior. The shock of not knowing who Alison truly was sends him running home to Helen whom he embraces and makes love to with more passion than I’ve seen between the two this entire season.
During Alison’s delivery to the taxi dispatch, we get to see inside the back room that she had previously warned Caleb Lockhart to keep secured. Turns out, there’s an entire secret room where all the cocaine is weighed and stored. Alison tells Caleb that Will, their fisherman, wasn’t the one who handed off the drugs that morning which seems highly odd to her. Let’s be sure to keep that clue in our hats for later.
At the ranch, Alison and Cole find Martin Solloway asleep in one of the horse stalls and they invite him inside to have breakfast with the family. Cherry is curious as to why his parents didn’t notice Martin being gone to which he makes a sly remark about them not really caring. Later, after speaking to Helen on the phone (which must have been extremely awkward), Alison surmises that Martin must have a point: Helen only just noticed her son’s absence, she didn’t care to speak to him, and she couldn’t possibly blame it on being preoccupied because, well, she’s rich. It’s interesting to note that Alison remembers this call and the anger it caused her, in Noah’s memory he was the one who called the ranch.
Alison arrives at Phoebe’s after finding a note from Noah requesting her to meet him there. He confesses that he followed her that morning and confronts her about the information he learned from Oscar. She attempts to justify the illegal activity by reasoning that the ranch can’t sustain itself so they have to do something else to earn money. Noah lectures her on the danger she’s put herself in and how it now involves himself and his son. She makes it clear that she still has morals because they would never sell to kids; they have certain rules in their operation. Noah seems almost disgusted with her but still kindly fills her in on what Oscar has done.
The Lockhart brothers get to work immediately clearing and cleaning out the secret room at the taxi dispatch. Cole will drive the goods to the ranch alone, while Scott and Hal figure out a place to bury it. Caleb and Alison wait at the taxi dispatch for the police, but are surprised when it’s Oscar who shows up instead. It comes to light that the phone call was faked and all hell breaks loose. If Alison didn’t shove herself in the middle of the two men, neither of them would be looking too pretty the next day. Alison boots Caleb out the door to talk to Oscar and he reveals that he knows about her and Noah. He’s clearly jealous and he moves in for a kiss that Alison, thankfully, avoids.
Back at the Lockharts, the brothers are having a heated discussion on what to do about Oscar. Cole wants to allow him the permit for his bowling alley in an effort to get him off their back and start fresh. It’s not a unanimous decision. Cole warns Alison not to be so trusting, especially with Oscar. She expresses her fears about the future and her desire to get out of the business. She urges Cole to sell the ranch so that they can move on but he argues that there is no such thing for them. Just then, Hal brings Martin up to the house to tell Cole that he lost the new mare. Cole is visibly angry and gets a little physical with Martin; marking the first time in the show I can find fault with Cole – even knowing that he’s a drug dealer.
Alison offers to take Martin home and during their drive she questions him about losing the horse, to which he responds, “Do you ever do things and just don’t know why?” Whoa, this kid’s got your number Alison! Outside the Butler home, Alison and Noah show us just how careless they are when they proceed to converse about their affair, right there on his in-laws property. Alison lays it all out on the table, she wants a fresh start and she wants it with him. Unfortunately, Noah thinks it’s best to end their relationship right there and then. He’s tried to end it before though, so who knows if this will last.
Thoughts, Predictions, and Being a Bragger
- Ruth Wilson, who plays Alison, continues to amaze me. She gives such depth to this character. When she’s watching Cole interact with Martin, I can feel her yearning for another child and her inner conflict between her desire to move on and the pain of leaving Gabriel behind. When she tells Noah that she doesn’t care whether she lives or dies, I truly believe her because again, I can feel her utter despondency.
- With the exception of a few small things like the location where Noah confronts Alison about the drug dealing, their memories are really starting to intertwine and there’s not so much he-said she-said happening anymore. It’s safe to assume that both Alison & Noah have been dishonest with Detective Jeffries, perhaps now that these memories don’t seem as though they’re being recounted for him, there’s no reason to lie anymore.
- I loved the symmetry between the lunch and breakfast scenes. At lunch there was an outsider to the Solloway family, Max, whose presence instigated remarks being made about Alison. Similarly, Martin was an outsider at his breakfast with the Lockhart family and his presence allowed for conversation about Noah.
- Oscar’s “phone call” to the police was his, somewhat foolish, way of figuring out the truth between Alison & Noah right? He “called” the police in front of Noah and told him outright that the Lockharts are dealers, there’s the bait. Then he shows up at the taxi dispatch not too long afterwards to find the family angry with him and he has every right to assume that Noah told Alison. One thing I don’t understand is why he would risk making things worse with the Lockharts just to expose this affair. Is he really just jealous or will we see him use this to his advantage…either way he’s hella slimy!
- I’m fairly confident now that Alison is the more unreliable narrator; she has far more to gain by being secretive in order to protect herself and the Lockhart family. I have a theory that the family sells the ranch; Alison looks like she has more money in the scenes with the detective and she has another child which could be an indicator that her and Cole were able to move on.
- With all that said about Alison being unreliable, I do think that the memory of her barging into the washroom to make-out with Noah was all in his head. In her memory, she skips over that shift at work as if nothing of importance ever happened. I can, to an extent, understand her desire to escape from life into the affair with Noah, but I’ve never bought the flirtatious and uninhibited attitude that he paints her as having.
- I am impressed that this show has the ability to go from love story, to character drama, to murder-mystery, from one week to the next without losing its stride or focus. For me, the least compelling part of the show was the actual affair. It’s been far more interesting to watch the discrepancies in the different narratives and to see the little bits and pieces of the story build slowly in the background. If I had any reservations about this show becoming monotonous or one-dimensional, which I did, those reservations have more than dissipated.
- I was right about those shady Lockharts! Just saying!