Previously on The Affair, 211
Career-wise, Noah and Alison are in a great place. Noah’s new novel is coming along nicely, and The Lobster Roll is set to open in a week’s time. Relationship-wise, Alison and Noah have spent yet another summer apart and their futures don’t seem to be on the same page. Alison is happy being back in Montauk and she’d like to continue working at the restaurant, despite having agreed to be a silent partner and to return home in the fall. Noah is ready for her to come home, he wants to get married and raise another family. Before they can decide on their own possible wedding though, they have to get through someone else’s first.
It’s finally Cole and Luisa’s (and Scotty’s?) big day. While Alison is off helping with the preparations, Noah is happy to find a few familiar faces in the crowd: Margaret and Helen. Margaret paid for the wedding – not sure if I believe Cole would allow this to happen – and Helen is her mother’s date. It’s surprising to see these two on speaking terms again, though Margaret does seem much easier to get along with. It must be the Xanax. Prompted by Margaret, the three of them share an unexpectedly sweet moment while watching videos of Joanie.
At the same time, Alison and Cole were having a moment of their own. Cole is dealing with wedding day jitters and his biggest concern is coming to terms with the fact that Luisa can’t have children. He always thought he’d have another chance to be a father and do it right the second time. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Alison to come clean about Joanie, but instead she gives Cole some great advice. If he truly loves Luisa then this is his chance to be happy again and he should take it. On the surface, it seems as though she may be ready to move on from Cole, but her reaction during the nuptials says another thing entirely.
Something about the vows causes Alison to break down and she bails on the ceremony. When Noah finds her crying in a stairwell, the truth comes out. She admits to sleeping with Cole and tells him, “I don’t know who Joanie’s father is.” Understandably, Noah is furious. He so strongly believed that all the pain he and Alison caused was for a reason: true love. He thought he had made a brave choice in leaving Helen so he could be happy, but now he thinks it was all for nothing. This scene was fantastic right up until Noah’s final line of dialogue: “I never want to see you again.” Dude, how old are you?
Noah is ready to leave, but after witnessing the very extra-large-sized shots he was pouring for himself, Helen stops him from trying to drive. Instead, they take a bottle of champagne to the beach and have their own heart-to-heart. Unsurprisingly, Noah reveals he never really wanted Joanie in the first place. He figured Alison used the pregnancy as a way to trap him and prevent him from going back to Helen, which is apparently something he thought about, or still thinks about, often. How can one character be so slimy? Sick of talking, Helen strips down to her underwear and runs into the ocean, with Noah not far behind.
Though they’re both severely intoxicated, Noah agrees to drive Helen home since she’s the one with the DWI on her record. Ever heard of a cab? What about Uber? As he drives down the now famous strip of road in Montauk, his emotions take over and he begs Helen to drive instead. From the passenger side, Noah can’t take his eyes off Helen and places his hand on hers. She’s distracted by this gesture and loses focus on the road.
Back to Cole and Luisa’s wedding for a moment though, in Alison’s memory, she never ran off. She does get a little emotional, taking a few moments alone to collect herself afterwards, but is soon distracted by Scotty’s arrival. He looks slightly better now, post-rehab, but he’s still very rough around the edges. He’s ready to make peace and get to work, believing the deal still stands for him to be a partner at The Lobster Roll. Cole wants his brother to focus on getting himself healthy, be sober for longer than three months and then they’ll talk business. As we’ve seen a few times now, Scotty doesn’t take rejection well.
Scotty’s three months’ of work in rehab is erased, as he downs a drink and then heads straight for the bottle. Alison tries to calm him down but Scotty is already on a warpath. This time from her perspective, we finally see the conversation from the video surveillance footage Oscar brought to Gottlief. Scotty asks if Cole knows about Joanie yet. “Someone is going to tell him, Ali, and it’s either you or me. Cause that’s our baby.”
Having not yet ruined everyone’s night, Scotty takes to the stage and offers a song, House of the Rising Sun, as his wedding gift. Honestly, I don’t know if the singing was supposed to be deep and poignant, but it just made me laugh. It’s strange that no one attempts to stop this; the shit disturber of the family, who just got sober, is clearly not sober and is trying to antagonize the bride and groom. Nevertheless, Scotty is allowed to continue and while Alison looks on she whispers to Noah, “Joanie’s not your daughter.” Interesting to note how it’s not up for debate in Alison’s mind, while in Noah’s memory Alison was merely unsure of who the father was. Noah’s reaction is far subtler here; he doesn’t say anything but just slowly removes his arm from Alison’s shoulder. The camera’s intense focus on Ruth Wilson’s face was a great choice because she can nail regret and sadness in one look so perfectly.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#4A7097″ class=”” size=””]“You and I were so young and we didn’t know what we were doing. Then we were dealt the world’s worst hand and we folded. But this is not the same thing.” – Alison[/pullquote]
Alison is walking down the same road Helen and Noah were driving on, when she runs into Scotty, who’s taking a nap in the blue row boat. His threats have become more violent now thanks to all the alcohol. He promises to forget all about Joanie if she’ll just give him a stake in the restaurant. When Alison doesn’t give in, Scotty decides to get physical. “You fucked everybody else in this town, why not me?” In an attempt to protect herself, Alison pushes Scotty into the road and watches in horror as a car plows him down. She runs to hide in the bushes but comes out when she realizes that Noah has emerged from the car. They look at each other in absolute shock and then he leaves.
Noah takes Helen home and tells her to forget it ever happened. He’ll figure out a way to take care of it but she can’t be involved. Meanwhile, Alison made her way back to the wedding, trying to make it seem as if she’d been there all along. Noah arrives and takes Alison to the dance floor so they can talk without anyone hearing. He can’t keep it together though, and starts sobbing into her shoulder.
Detective Jeffries has found new evidence at the crime scene, which suggests Alison could be involved in Scotty’s murder. When Gottlief finds out, he wants to put Jeffries on the stand in order to help Noah’s case. Obviously, this would shift the blame to Alison and she’s mortified her husband would even consider it. Alison wants Noah to tell the truth about what happened that night, but he won’t sell out Helen because she’s the mother of his children. “Then you’ll have to choose,” Alison tells him. Noah gives the go-ahead to Gottlief, but before Jeffries can even make it to the stand, Noah announces to the courtroom that he is guilty of killing Scotty.
· I loved the differences in how Noah and Alison remembered her Montauk apartment – Oscar’s old apartment, by the way. It says so much about how they feel about Alison’s summer in Montauk. Noah saw it as a rundown, closet-sized mess, with no curtains, and a filing cabinet for a table. Alison painted it with much more charm. Sure it was small, but she added her own touches here and there to make it feel like home.
· Alison and Noah definitely only get married so they won’t have to testify against one another. Their declaration of “love” for one another after the Scotty incident reeks of desperation.
· Maura Tierney freaking out in the car when she hit Scotty was amazing.
The Affair S2E12
The Affair took on the near impossible task of redeeming Noah “the garbage monster” Solloway, and they kind of accomplished it. I mean, he’s not totally forgiven but choosing to save both Helen and Alison was a pretty righteous move. I feel strange saying it, but I was impressed by Noah’s selflessness in that action. Plus, it opens up a lot of angles for the already confirmed season 3.
The show had an equally important challenge in making the reveal of Scotty’s murderer(s) both surprising and believable. This has been a main plot thread since the very first episode, which means there was a hell of a lot riding on it. Many people, including myself, speculated that Alison may be the murderer, but her involvement was only part of the puzzle. I absolutely love how I didn’t see any of this coming and yet, in hindsight, it makes perfect sense. No wonder Alison looks so guilty in those flash-forwards, and now we can completely understand why Helen would be so willing to help Noah.
Part of what I loved about this season was seeing the original couples interact. These actors have always done an excellent job in making these characters truly feel like they’ve known each other for decades. Noah and Helen have been fun to watch, but Alison and Cole are by far my favorite pairing. Their scene on the beach was one of the best in this episode; it was so emotionally charged. For a moment I was hopeful this could be the beginning of their reunion, especially when Cole’s hand lingered on Alison’s leg, but in the end, this was Alison’s chance to say goodbye to her old life with Cole. So bittersweet!
With that said, Alison and Cole’s story is far from over. Sure they have The Lobster Roll, but there’s also the matter of Joanie. Once Cole finds out, and he has to find out, I doubt he’s going to want to walk away from the situation. Especially considering all the Lockhart-family-curse drama. It’s going to be a long while until we see that happens, but this finale has me back on board and excited for round 3.
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