Previously on The Affair, ‘202’
If nothing else, this week’s episode of The Affair confirmed something I’ve been feeling since halfway through season one: Noah and Alison just aren’t that great together. They don’t truly know one another, and now that the thrill of their summer fling is fading away they’re trying to figure out if there’s more than just an insatiable lust between them. Even that lust seems to be diminishing, though.
There were countless sex scenes with Alison and Noah in the first season and they were always very passionate. This episode opened with a very clumsy and awkward one, however, where Noah can’t seem to get a read on Alison. He asks her several times if she’s ok which, in a different scenario could just be a sign of a good partner but here it feels embarrassing. She basically tells him to hurry up already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we learned she faked that orgasm.
Bad sex can be forgiven, but a complete lack of understanding in regards to Alison’s past seems much less excusable. When Noah, jokingly or not, pressures Alison into going swimming with him it’s so uncomfortable to watch. Has he completely forgotten about what happened to Gabriel? His obliviousness is, again, embarrassing.
One thing that Noah does seem to comprehend is that Alison hasn’t fully opened up to him. He wants her trust and so perhaps that’s why he proposes, after only six weeks of living together. The proposal reeks of desperation. Noah has to believe that his choice to leave Helen was the right one; that it was for true love. It seems as though he thinks this is the only way to solidify that choice. After some hesitation, Alison accepts. It’s not exactly that picture-perfect, romantic story you’ll want to share with the grandkids. Alison and Noah don’t have many of those, though.
Over dinner, Yvonne asks how the two of them met and Alison improvises her way through a phony story. She says they met at a lighthouse in Montauk, which is interesting because last week she brought up a “really good day” spent with Cole that also involved a lighthouse. Noah plays along but he’s puzzled by it.
“If you’ve laid out all your cards in the proper order, the ending should flow. It should feel inevitable.” This advice, offered by Yvonne in reference to Noah’s book, speaks volumes about Noah and Alison’s relationship. Something about this forthcoming marriage just doesn’t flow, nor does it feel inevitable. Whitney, who randomly shows up at Robert and Yvonne’s home, would definitely agree.
Yes, she’s a total pain in the ass and yes, the bratty teenage girl trope is tiresome, but Whitney’s anger in this situation is completely justified. Also, she’s hilarious and she makes some great points. Her father left their family for a woman he barely knows – which demonstrates that she’s far more perceptive than I would have guessed – and even she can tell that this engagement is happening way too fast. Things escalate quickly when Whitney attempts to rip the ring off Alison’s finger and Noah has to use force to stop her from doing so. In the end, it seems that all Whitney wants is a change of scenery: to live with her father permanently. She agrees to keep Noah’s living arrangements a secret from Helen, but the damage of her untimely visit is already done.
Alison thinks she and Noah are making a mistake. Sure, living in the cabin is great but what happens when they have to face reality? She confesses to sleeping with Oscar, to having been suicidal in the very recent past, and about Cole’s visit the week prior. Well, Noah wanted Alison to open up, but this may have been more than he expected. She offers him the ring back but he assures her that this marriage is what he wants.
There’s still the matter of his divorce from Helen, however. Which now looks as though it’s going to be more of a battle than he first assumed; Helen has scrapped mediation and officially served him divorce papers. Is it possible that Max knew about this plan when he “gifted” his friend $50,000? He did say “the sooner you and Helen get divorced, the happier everyone will be.” Albeit without telling Noah that he and Helen are an item. As for Helen’s ultimate motivation, my money’s on Whitney. I don’t think she kept her mouth shut for one second.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#4a7097″ class=”” size=””]“I don’t know any adults. How do they behave?” – Whitney[/pullquote]
Where Robert and Yvonne fit into the larger narrative is anyone’s guess at this point. For now, they serve as a nice reflection of Alison and Noah, respectively. Which is why it’s interesting to see how they both remember Yvonne’s behavior at the dinner party so differently. Noah thinks highly of Yvonne, especially given her power in the publishing world, and he remembers her as being polished and poised. While Alison’s memories do portray Yvonne as confident, she’s also sloppy and nosy. You can see more of her rich privilege shining through.
It’s no wonder that Alison remembers that night to be more awkward than Noah did. Yvonne has had a little too much wine and she’s pushing the idea that Alison and Noah get married on her property, when they’ve only been engaged for about a minute. She also gets a little too personal when Noah mentions he’s done with kids, which comes as a big surprise to Alison – again; they really don’t know each other. Thankfully, Robert takes it upon himself to shut her up.
Whitney arrives with much the same attitude that Noah recalls – and with some choice words about Alison – but she and her father argue outside, instead. Alison distracts herself with Gabriel’s toy chest and she’s the one to go and comfort Noah once things have settled down.
While Noah is concerned that Alison doesn’t trust him enough to open up, she’s worried that he just doesn’t understand her. Which is certainly justified given his comment about wishing that kids didn’t have to grow up. Alison’s speechless expression says everything: her son was never even afforded that opportunity. She’s less doubtful about their engagement here, asking Noah if they’re making a mistake rather than telling him they are. There’s no mention of Oscar, suicide, or Cole, either.
Whitney and Alison’s encounter the next morning was the best part of the episode. Whitney offers to cook Alison breakfast – which I immediately assumed was poisoned but I guess I’m petty – in an effort to soften her up. Whitney is in love with Scott and tries to manipulate Alison into giving her his phone number. Alison’s not going to play along, especially considering there’s a restraining order in the mix. “Well fuck you, friend.”
Alison’s day continues down a strange path when she finds herself accompanying Robert on his unfortunate mission to kill Pete: his half-wolf dog that just slaughtered the neighbor’s chickens. Along the way, Alison tells Robert about Gabriel, apparently in more detail than she’s ever shared with Noah. Robert plays the father figure when he offers Alison some advice. Noah may never understand Alison, when it comes to Gabriel, but there will always be something about him that she can’t fully appreciate. In the end Robert doesn’t shoot Pete, but he does fire the gun to make Yvonne believe he did. Phew, I was going to lose my shit if that dog lost its life.
Alison choosing to go swimming was a nice bit of character growth. Then it was promptly ruined when Noah made it about himself and treated it as an opportunity for sex. Yeah, she was into it, but I wasn’t.
We knew from last season that the night of Scott’s death was the same day of someone’s wedding, and that it was strange for Alison and Noah to have been invited. Well, now that all makes sense because it was Cole’s wedding. Noah drank too much that night, he and Alison fought, she stormed out, and when Noah went after her, he hit a deer. This is why Noah claims he bribed the mechanic; since it would look fairly suspicious for him to be driving around with blood all over his car the day after Scott was found dead.
The evidence against Noah is damning. He has a past with the Lockharts, especially since Scott himself had a sexual relationship with Whitney. Not only that, Alison seems to be giving Noah some highly dubious stares during their meeting with the lawyer. He knows more than he’s letting on. Is it possible he’s covering for someone? Whitney, perhaps?
A Few Questions
- What are these visions that Noah keeps having? Scott Lockhart is definitely still alive in this part of the timeline, so they’re not flashbacks to something he did. Could this have something to do with his book? Perhaps it’s the ending he no longer wants to write.
- Alison looked uncomfortable when Noah and Yvonne went off to chat about his book. There’s no way she’s jealous, right? I’m hoping that look had more to do with his comment about not wanting kids than it was about him being alone with Yvonne.
- Why was Robert watching Noah and Alison have sex in the pool? Was he merely seeing if she had worked up the courage to go swimming again but just happened to choose the worst moment? Either way it was extra creepy.
The Affair S2E3
Noah and Alison barely know one another and their relationship seems shaky at best. Getting engaged, while they’re both still technically married to other people, and before having a conversation about issues such as children, is a recipe for disaster. Whitney is annoying but entertaining, and it’s good that she showed up to shake Alison and Noah out of their fantasy. I think she may have killed Scott.