Previously on The Affair, Episode 8.
Alison meets with Noah in the city and after a failed attempt at getting a hotel room they end up at his apartment. He promises they won’t have sex in his wife’s bed but then two seconds later…Alison says she loves him and he wants to hear it over and over and over again. Noah talks about getting an apartment to use as a writing studio and for Alison to stay in when she visits the city. Eventually, it could be their first home together. Though Noah remarks, “this is insane” – my sentiments exactly – the two have sex again in celebration.
Alison breaks something in Noah’s kitchen and while trying to hide the remnants in the trash she finds a pregnancy test. It’s positive. There’s no doubt that this would bring a messy mixture of feelings: sadness and betrayal at the thought of Noah and Helen still having sex but also guilt and remorse at the idea of breaking up a family with a baby on the way.
Noah takes Alison to look at an apartment and she is less than thrilled. I could feel the claustrophobia and disillusionment that Alison was going through. It’s not a starter apartment; it’s a hole in the wall to hide a mistress. It gets worse when Noah reveals his plan to wait until Whitney leaves for college – nine months from now – to START having a conversation with Helen about leaving. Noah points out that nine months isn’t long when you’re talking about splitting up an entire family, but Alison is convinced that he’ll never leave Helen. It’s tough to take a side on this one.
Back in Montauk while exiting the train station a young boy asks Alison where she is going and though she answers, “home, I guess” she is rendered speechless by the rest of their interaction.
Alison stops at a bar and runs into Oscar. Through some combination of alcohol, depression, and pure luck for him, the two wind up at his place having sex. The next morning he drops a bombshell: he’d been looking for something to use against the Lockharts in pursuit of the bowling alley permit and found documents in public records showing that Cherry has been refinancing the ranch for quite some time. Meaning it’s not worth the millions it once was. Alison is distraught and in an act of unordinary kindness from Oscar, he loans her his truck so she can get home.
Cherry denies the accusations initially but once Alison provides the proof there’s nowhere to hide. She admits that she’s applied for a commercial loan and that once it’s approved she’ll tell her boys that they won’t be selling the ranch. Alison wants Cherry to be honest immediately and if she doesn’t tell the family, Alison will. I wasn’t surprised when Cherry tried to use Alison’s affair against her, unaware that Cole already knew. My jaw dropped however when Cherry blamed her daughter-in-law for Gabriel’s death; that is was Alison’s pride that killed him and that it should have been her to die. I knew this woman was manipulative – think back to when she gave Alison her old wedding ring – but I never guessed that she could be so cruel.
Pulled off to the side of the road in Oscar’s truck, Alison finds a small knife and cuts her inner thigh. She’s so overwhelmed in the moment that she doesn’t realize how badly she’s bleeding, scrambling to clean it up with stray tissues.
She manages to get herself to a doctor who we learn was definitely Gabriel’s pediatrician, possibly hers as well, and doesn’t seem to pass any judgment on how she acquired those cuts. She starts recalling the night of Gabriel’s death wondering if she could have done anything different. We learn that Alison saved Gabriel initially but that it was secondary drowning which ultimately killed him. Alison didn’t recognize the symptoms, believing he was just exhausted from the day’s events, and decided not to take him to the hospital. She truly blames herself for Gabriel’s death and when she says, “I put him to sleep” you can hear the double meaning in her choice of words. It’s hard to watch her breakdown while she begs the universe for another chance. It’s no surprise that Ruth Wilson earned a Golden Globe nomination for this role; her portrayal of grief and loss is wholeheartedly authentic and utterly heartbreaking.
Alison wanders along the beach and after a moment’s contemplation she walks determinedly into the water, waiting and wishing for the icy waves to engulf her. The use of sound and visuals in this scene was striking, from the rumble of the waves rushing over her, to the drops of water on the camera lens and obstructing her view of the mother and child calling out to her from the beach. The music was halted until that mother and child came into focus and Alison made the decision to go home.
It feels like too much of a coincidence that the same people from the train station would be the ones to see Alison in the water, which leads to me to believe that Alison imagined them on the beach. Perhaps the boy was a stand-in for Gabriel? Both boys has blond hair, their ages would be similar if Gabriel was alive, and in a quick shot of her visiting Gabriel’s grave she whispers, “thank you” as if he was the one who saved her.
Apparently Cole believed that Alison was visiting Athena, which is ridiculous, but that’s where she claims she’s off to again when he returns home to find her packing. She tells him what’s going on with the ranch and his mother, and says that though she loves him, but if she stays in Montauk any longer she’ll die.
She’s about to board the train when Cole arrives with a bag of his own; he believes her about the ranch, wants to leave with her, and he’ll go anywhere she wants.
Noah has been called back in to see Detective Jeffries and my theory about the detective messing with Alison and Noah about the details of his wife and children is confirmed. He previously told Noah he had twin boys, but in this encounter he says he has twin girls. He’s questioning Noah about his car, how long has he had it, what’s the mileage, and what’s the turning radius? Noah wonders why this matters but given that a car hit Scott Lockhart, the detective thinks it matters a whole hell of a lot.
There are a couple of discrepancies that occur right off the bat in Noah’s half of the episode. First off, instead of wanting to hear Alison say how much she loves him over and over again, in Noah’s memory she was saying “I’m yours, I’m yours” while they had sex. Unless the conversation was skipped over we don’t hear them talk about apartment hunting. Lastly, Noah is the one to find the pregnancy test.
Alison’s shirt was accidentally mixed in with Noah’s sheets in the laundry so he suggests taking something of Helen’s. Gross. Once Alison has left to catch a train he notices her bra is still there…how did she leave without that? Another distinct variance here is that Alison tells Noah she has faith in him while in Alison’s memory it was Noah asking her to have that faith.
Noah confronts Helen about the pregnancy test but it’s not hers. It’s obvious that it must be Whitney’s, and though she denies it at first, the threat of her father taking her laptop away is enough for her to come clean. Is Whitney lazy or just stupid? She didn’t even TRY to hide that pregnancy test! Maybe she wanted to get caught?
Whitney has scheduled herself an abortion with Planned Parenthood that, true to her character, she’s proud of because it’s on Wall Street at the nicest facility in the city. She refuses to tell them who the father is but it’s obvious at this point that Noah isn’t the only one dipping their toes in the Montauk local pools. If you were following the clues with me last week about Whitney being pregnant with Scott’s baby, give yourself a nice pat on the back!
In an effort to determine who the father is, Noah shows up for Whitney’s appointment but the front desk guy won’t give him any information. Moments later Scott Lockhart arrives and gives the name Solloway at the front desk. Once Noah hears this and recognizes who Scott is he attacks him until someone intervenes.
Noah pays a visit to Max and tells him about the situation. He admits that he’s truly in love with Alison and is prepared to leave Helen. Max warns him that this is not the smart course of action and to not make the same mistake he did because it ruined his life. He then compares women to the stock market; isn’t that nice? We’re either high-performing mutual funds or sexy start-ups! I’m sure that this assholery was intentional though; this character hasn’t been the show’s moral compass or anything. For Noah, it was Max who suggested the nine-month time frame for leaving Helen, not himself as Alison recalled.
From the balcony of Max’s office Noah witnesses someone commit suicide by jumping. Something about the incident sparks him into action and he decides to tell Helen that night that he wants a separation. Helen’s reaction was incredible. Sure. She tells him to get lost and starts packing his shit for him but she does it with damn near full composure, which she manages to maintain until she finds Alison’s bra amongst Noah’s shirts: that was the final drop to overflow the cup. Watching her scream “get the fuck out of my house” and give Noah a nice shove out the door was completely gratifying.
Noah calls Alison from the train, telling her he’s left Helen and is on his way to Montauk. He arrives at the train station all smiles until he realizes that Cole is also there. Alison boards the train and we don’t see if either man goes with her.
- Why doesn’t Cole have a bag with him in Noah’s version of events? Is it simply that Noah wouldn’t remember that detail, especially since he may have been caught off guard by Cole’s presence?
- Are we meant to believe that Alison and Noah planned this meeting or was it coincidence? When Alison left Cole it didn’t feel like they were splitting up, just that she needed to be away from Montauk to finally start healing. I’m not very interested in an ending that pairs Alison & Noah; I find their interactions to be the least compelling of the entire show.
- This is probably not going to happen but wouldn’t it be funny – not ‘haha’ funny but ‘ew gross’ funny – if Oscar was the father of Alison’s new kid? No, I didn’t think so either!
- I have zero ideas on who killed Scott. It seems as though, based on the scenes with Detective Jeffries from both this week and last, they want us to believe that it’s Noah but I feel like that’s all just smoke and mirrors. With the knowledge that The Affair has been renewed for a second season, how much will we find out in next week’s finale? It’s possible that the only closure we get is an ID on the murderer leaving the second season open to revolve around the fallout of that news.