Previously on The Affair, ‘209’
It’s been about a year since the hurricane, when Noah was absent for the birth of “his” baby. Since then he and Alison have been taking couples therapy, and she’s late for their current session. Though Noah says he’ll just reschedule and go see Captain America instead, he’s hesitant to leave and ends up staying for a session of his own. What follows is close to 30 minutes of Noah talking about how shitty he is, which is also known as torture.
I really wish he had just gone to the movie, seriously. I was thisclose to gouging my own eyes out. Dominic West and Cynthia Nixon (the therapist) are great actors, but I don’t give a single fuck about Noah. I don’t care what he learns about himself and I don’t care if he changes. Sometimes, making a character so unlikeable can really backfire; I honestly don’t know how the writers can ever redeem him.
Noah stays because this is the first time he was actually eager to come to therapy. His divorce is officially over – I swear we’ve heard that at least twice before in this season – and he hasn’t shown the papers to Alison, even though he’s had them for two weeks. He’s not sure about how to move forward with their relationship; he claims he’s ready to take the next step but he’s not sure Alison is. He catches her staring at him from time to time, with a very judgmental gaze, which makes him unsure of how she feels. Can you honestly blame her?
Despite saying how he’s ready to take the next step with Ali, he reveals that he’d also like to fuck one of his 26-year-old students. Ugh. He also admits to how close he came to sleeping with Eden, which was only avoided thanks to him seeing Whitney. I really didn’t want to relive that. There’s a lot of discussion about how you can be a “good man” or a “great man.” The good man is the guy who has family and is loyal, but the great man is one who leaves some kind of lasting impact on the world. Noah wants to be the great man and for him this means being able to go to Paris to write another book, and sleep with however many women he wants. So then fuck off to Paris already, please! Above all, he doesn’t want to be dishonest anymore. But guess what? He does that very thing when he arrives home, by not showing Alison the divorce papers.
Finally doing something for herself, Alison is taking classes to prepare for medical school. Feeling overwhelmed with all the responsibility, she asks her teacher what the deadline is for dropping the class. Though the teacher encourages her to stick it out, she ends up leaving halfway through. She likely regrets this immediately when she arrives home to find Scotty lurking outside her building. He looks and acts seriously coked out. Alison is suspicious of his behavior but agrees to listen to why he came to see her. He’s become desperate with his plan to turn The Lobster Roll into a nightclub, because Alison is the last person he should be asking to invest in the idea.
When she declines the offer, Scotty becomes aggressively creepy. He knows she has money, both from the sale of her house and because of Noah’s new book fortune, and he feels he’s entitled to it. Noah and Alison, he believes, are the reason he can’t sell drugs anymore. Specifically because of the way Descent revealed all the Lockhart family secrets. Joanie and her nanny arrive at the perfect moment to break the tension, but it gives Scotty an opportunity to see something Alison is obviously trying to hide. When the nanny comments on how Joanie looks like her dad, Scotty agrees, but he’s definitely not thinking about Noah.
The real reason Alison never made it to therapy is because she met up with Cole instead. Clearly fuelled by her run-in with Scotty, it seems like Alison is ready to tell her ex who Joanie’s dad really is. First, they have some catching up to do. Cole has moved to the city, he’s been working construction, and he’s engaged to Luisa. That last part is probably what forces Alison to keep her mouth shut on the Joanie front. She seems genuinely happy for Cole and probably doesn’t want to blow up his new life. Instead, she says seeing Scotty was her reason for their get together. Cole is unaffected by the news that his brother is strung-out. He’s free of his family drama and couldn’t be happier.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#4a7097″ class=”” size=””]“I am a terrible, terrible, fucking sick, bad guy” – Noah[/pullquote]
Alison and Cole are just getting comfortable with each other, reminiscing about the good old days, when Luisa shows up. She’s polite when Alison introduces herself but holy shit, if looks could kill. She clearly knows all the nasty details of Cole and Alison’s past and is very protective of her new fiancé. Alison couldn’t get out of there quicker, but turns back for a last look when she’s outside. The shot of her looking in at them, her reflection shadowed over Cole and Luisa, was great. She’s clearly wondering how her life has come to this point.
Back at home Noah is all smiles, cooking and hanging out with Joanie. In Alison’s memory he didn’t stay at the therapy session in the end because he thinks they don’t need it anymore. “Aren’t we all happy again?” Despite the picture below, which must have been an outtake, these two are definitely not happy together. The sex certainly seems better than that time at the lake house, at least more passionate. Alison tells Noah over and over again, “I love you,” but does she mean it or is she trying to convince herself it’s true? When Joanie interrupts them saying, “dada,” for the first time, Alison has the same look of anxiety on her face she had when Scotty met Joanie.
Noah’s trial is officially underway and it’s attracted a great deal of media and public attention. The front of the courthouse is a frenzy of photographers, fans, and critics, which Noah decides to face head-on rather than fleeing to the back entrance. This is either admirable or arrogant, or maybe a bit of both. Inside the courtroom, there are a number of familiar faces. The Lockharts, of course, Noah’s dad and sister, and Helen and Vic (Dr. U.) Helen’s long-term relationship with the Dr. is by far the best part of the flash-forwards this week. Noah’s lawyer uses his opening remarks to portray Noah as the scapegoat for Scotty’s murder, arguing that Descent made the people of Montauk, and the Lockharts, turn against him. This trial is about more than Scotty’s murder; it’s about Noah’s character in general.
Though his lawyer reasons that Noah is a good man, incapable of murder, we’ve seen otherwise from him. Well, we haven’t seen murder, but we’ve seen him make morally questionable decisions. He himself has no idea what kind of man he is, as evidenced by the excruciatingly long therapy scene. It’s great how this ties-in thematically with Noah’s half of the narrative this week, if only that hadn’t been so dreadfully boring. The one thing that may exonerate Noah is the DNA evidence his lawyer receives at the end of the episode. Joanie’s soother has returned from the lab. Though we don’t get a definitive answer on whether or not she’s a Lockhart, the lawyer’s reaction seems to heavily imply that she’s definitely not Noah’s baby.
The Affair S2E10
Though the timeline is starting to feel a little muddy, I think the massive jump ahead in time will be positive in the long run for The Affair. It opens up a ton of potential for what ground can be covered in the final two episodes of the season. The way the show informed us of this was fairly crafty; fitting it into a conversation between Noah and his therapist felt natural. Then again, by skipping ahead one year, we missed out on a lot of character growth, most importantly Noah’s. Perhaps if I had seen all the work he’s apparently put into his relationship, I might care more.
The opposite is true for Cole’s character. While I’m always here for more Joshua Jackson, I think he nailed the happy, content new Cole. I don’t necessarily need to see how he developed over the year because I can see the character growth, in both dialogue and body language. His face was a little brighter, he sat up a bit straighter, and even the way he spoke was so much softer than before. It’s these small but important character details that are part of what I find so compelling about the show.
I really hope Alison goes back to school. She needs something more in her life than just Noah. I wish Cynthia Nixon hadn’t been wasted on that long-as-fuck scene with Noah.