Previously on The Affair, ‘204’
Noah’s absence in this episode could have easily gone unnoticed, if it weren’t for the fact that his nonexistence plays such a large role in Alison’s day. Her fiancé is still with his unwell son and Alison is unsure of what their “plan” is. Is he coming home? Is she supposed to leave? How is their relationship going to move forward now that she isn’t allowed to be around his children? Alison desperately needs a life outside of her relationship, and thankfully, for now, she has a job to distract her.
Unfortunately, the first thing Alison sees when she arrives is Noah’s manuscript, in Yvonne’s hands. She’s clearly thrown by this, after all she’s only seen the title, but Yvonne’s attitude towards her is even more baffling. Out of the blue, Alison is being treated as though she’s a useless, stupid, tart. Yvonne makes a comment about her clothing choice where the subtext is clear: you’re a tramp.
Alison’s day gets even stranger during a physical therapy session with Robert. When she finds out that he and Yvonne had an affair, she feels more comfortable – perhaps too much so – in sharing the true details of how she and Noah met. She bares her soul to this man, who can’t see past the sexual nature of it all and winds up with an erection. Which, come on, did we really need a close-up of that? He quickly justifies himself in saying, “I guess you just have that effect on men.” Barf.
Yvonne has grown so cold towards Alison that she has Robert do the dirty work of firing her. He never actually says she’s fired outright, though, and he acts as if he’s doing her a favor. In the long run, he probably is. Alison rushes up to the house, hoping to appeal to Yvonne, but no one is home. Without anyone to stop her, she reads bits and pieces of Noah’s book. It’s obvious the female lead is about Alison or at least largely based on her, and not in a flattering way.
Noah has stripped all the personality away from Alison’s book counterpart. This character is a mere sex object; she is nothing but sex. It’s a deluded fantasy and it’s extra cringe worthy when you recall that Noah once called Alison his muse. Gross. No wonder Noah hasn’t let her read it yet, as he’s probably terrified of what her reaction will be. It’s clear that Yvonne has let Noah’s book shadow her perception of Alison and that’s why she became so salty.
Clearly not thinking straight, Alison heads into the city and makes her way to Noah’s old apartment. Except Noah isn’t there, Helen is. Maura Tierney left me speechless with this scene. It’s hard to decide which woman to feel worse for in this situation. We know Alison is telling the truth when she apologizes to Helen for the way that everything happened. Helen’s indifference towards her is so understandable though. If one thing is clear it’s that Noah is an asshole and always has been. It was important for Alison to hear Helen’s, to put it nicely, opinions of Noah. And she may have taken them to heart because on her way to Montauk she takes off the engagement ring.
While he may have kicked the coke habit and those circles under his eyes seem a little lighter, Cole still looks pretty rough. I swear that’s the same shirt he was wearing a few episodes ago. He looks even worse after being caught with someone’s wife and getting decked in the face for it. Yikes. He’s still sleeping in the trailer in the driveway but despite his brother’s constant nagging, he’s not ready to let go of the house.
Scott has taken it upon himself to hire a team of real estate agents in order to get an appraisal on Alison’s property. He wants his brother to invest in a new Lockhart family business: a nightclub in the space where The Lobster Roll currently stands.
Cole has been trying to separate himself from his family, especially Scott, and it’s clear he’s uninterested in the proposal. Before he can walk away, he sees a familiar face on Scott’s boat: Luisa.
She seems to be all over Montauk: babysitting for multiple families (one being where Cole was having the affair) and working at The End nightclub (where Scott is now the manager.) She’s also been “dating” Scott, which comes to an abrupt end when she finds out he’s a drug dealer. Cole happens to witness this and offers Luisa a ride to work. He actually smiles during their conversation and winds up spending the afternoon at The End, trying to get to know her.
They don’t get much further than learning where each of them were born before Luisa makes an unfortunate, albeit innocent, joke about Cole’s hypothetical son. “My son is dead,” he’s forced to tell her. No matter how many times this show goes to the Gabriel well, it continues to be effective. She convinces him to stay for another drink, and while we get a little more insight into who Luisa is, Cole’s story remains painfully bare.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#4a7097″ class=”” size=””]“I wasn’t trying to steal your husband. I’m not that kind of person.” – Alison[/pullquote]
Possibly because he’s holding out hope that Alison is still coming back. The choice to make this hope a reality is a highpoint for not only the episode but for the series as a whole. Alison and Cole are so much better together than Alison and Noah. It makes complete sense that Alison would run to Cole after feeling essentially abandoned by Noah. This is so consistent with her character’s inability to be alone, and there’s no one that knows her better than Cole.
Alison takes a risk in confiding her deepest fears about herself to Cole and it pays off. He has no obligation to be kind to her but he can’t hide his true feelings of unconditional love. The one problem with their reunion is how quickly it leads to sex. Alison just finished telling Cole how she believes people see her as a slut, or that they just want her for sex. While I don’t think Cole was taking advantage of this to be spiteful, it feels a bit like Alison may be self-sabotaging at this point.
Though these scenes still feel too much like an afterthought, this week’s flash-forward did have some major improvements. With just over 2 minutes, it managed to do so much more than this seasons’ previous flash-forwards combined. One piece of information, Cole taking Scotty’s business plan for his own, achieves two things we don’t typically get from these scenes: a connection to the memory portion of story and a significant plot-advancement in the murder mystery. It also reintroduced a character from season one in a very satisfying manner. Not only is Oscar working at the place he used to own, but in doing so he’s forced to wear a uniform that sports the name of a family he despises. Only time will tell if the note he gave to the lawyer will help or hurt Noah.
- Yay for a whole episode without Noah! #TeamCole
- I have a feeling Robert was purposely creeping on Alison in the pool, cause he’s a nasty old man.
- Robert says to Alison “you didn’t kill anyone.” Is that possible foreshadowing? Scott did find Alison at Cole’s place while she was still engaged to Noah. Perhaps Alison and Cole tag-teamed Scott’s murder?
- Helen’s blonde streaks were a perfect touch; she really made them work for her!
The Affair S2E5
Season two of The Affair desperately needed this episode. While the show has always been a slow burn, placing its emphasis on character growth rather than plot development, this season has been far too monotonous. Cole and Alison have always been the most interesting of the four main characters and the show is finally using that fact to their advantage. Ruth Wilson nailed it in so many scenes, particularly the one where she takes a long hard look in the mirror and isn’t sure about what she sees. Joshua Jackson’s lends a genuine tenderness to Cole that we haven’t seen too much of before and it’s fantastic.
The show has always managed to make the overlapping of memories thought provoking, by raising endless questions of why certain characters remember events in the particular way they do. However, the slight deviation from its typical structure this week – the memories dovetailed and didn’t overlap – provided a freshness that had been sorely lacking. What’s more is that the two narratives played into one other in a way I haven’t seen since season one, with the theme of identity being thoroughly and thoughtfully explored. Thanks to this episode I can go back to being genuinely optimistic about the future of The Affair.
User Review( votes)