Previously on The Affair, ‘208′
Against her better judgment, Helen has taken Whitney’s advice to try online dating. Unfortunately, her Tinder date never shows up. It all works out though, when Dr. Ullah – the Dr. who performed Martin’s surgery – is at the same bar and wants to give Helen his phone number. The bar is forced to close because of the looming hurricane, so Dr. U and Helen end up leaving together. Helen is hesitant to accept a date from Dr. U because, as she suggests, a date is merely an interview for sex. So why not just skip to the good part? Which is what they end up doing, on the floor of her basement. Things get a little awkward following their quickie, when Martin finds his mother with Dr. U in the kitchen.
Luckily the doctor is quick on his feet, telling Martin he had come by to see how he’s been doing post-surgery. He offers to show Helen a less painful way to administer the Humira injections that Martin was prescribed for his Crohn’s. Before the shot can be given it needs to cool down, which gives Helen and Dr. U some time to chat. This is where Helen’s story becomes so strangely muddled that I don’t even know how to describe it. Helen is basically trying to get a read on this guy. She asks him about his feelings, he gives a somewhat cold response, and she ends up crying alone in her bedroom. When he comes to check on her, Helen opens up about how overwhelmed she feels and how she believes she’s failing as a mom. She tells Dr. U to leave but he stays to give Martin the injection, which goes well and seems to erase whatever anger Helen felt towards him. Before he leaves, Dr. U kisses Helen’s arm up and down, Gomez Addams style. I really hope this goes nowhere.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”4a7097″ class=”” size=””]“Are you a nice guy that acts like a dick, or a dick that acts like a nice guy?” – Helen[/pullquote]
Noah is, yet again, ignoring Alison to focus on his career. He and Eden are attending some bigwig producer’s “hurricane party” to discuss turning Descent into a movie. When they arrive, Noah’s phone has fallen under the seat of the car but before he can retrieve it, Eden is hurrying him inside. The producer, Rodney Callahan, fucking loves Noah’s book – the praise he gave Noah was seriously gag-worthy – but he wants the film to have a different ending, which greatly pleases Noah. The two are off to a great start – surprisingly, Noah even snorts some cocaine with the guy – when Max shows up. He’s wasted and obnoxious, calling the owner of the house an asshole, not realizing he was in the presence of said asshole.
He proceeds to help himself to the cocaine and suggests that a porn-star-turned-actress should play the lead in Noah’s movie. When Noah finally gets rid of Max, he tells Callahan he’s a friend of his ex-wife, rather than his own best friend from college.
A few lines of coke and several shots of booze later, Eden tells Noah that Clooney isn’t going to show. Yes, apparently George Clooney is super interested in making Descent a film, which, whatever. Noah wants to leave but Eden convinces him to “stay and see what happens” as she gropes and kisses him. The book tour is over, after all, so she’s no longer concerned about mixing business with pleasure. Noah thinks twice about this proposition but before he can make the right choice, someone announces that the roads have been closed, leaving him stranded there. Eden tells Noah to meet her upstairs in 15 minutes and while he waits, he wanders around the house. He’s extremely intoxicated, evidenced by the wobbly camera movements and the blurry vision from his POV, as he makes his way to the indoor pool. Everyone is swimming around naked so he decides to join in. When he spots two women making out in the hot tub, he feels compelled to go and watch. It’s fucking creepy and it gets even worse when one of those women turns out to be Whitney!
This seems to be the only thing that can snap Noah back to reality. He rushes out from the party in search of his car and starts to freak out when he sees several dozen missed calls and texts from Alison. Despite the road closures and his extreme inebriation, he tries to drive home. When his car gets stuck in the mud, he desperately tries to break free, but ends up weeping into the steering wheel. Good.
It’s the end of an era for Cole. The house he shared with Alison and Gabriel has officially sold and their old life is all packed up in boxes. He and Luisa are stuck there, riding out the storm, and Cole is doing what he seems to do best these days: pushing people away. He ignores Luisa’s efforts to cheer him up and won’t even think about moving to the city to be closer to her. That’s the least of their troubles, however. When Cole shows Luisa the notches on the wall where he used to keep track of Gabriel’s height, he casually drops the idea of making notches on a new wall for their future kids. Unfortunately, Luisa can’t have children due to complications from a surgery when she was younger. Instead of comforting her in any way, he decides to bring up the “Lockhart curse” his mother was raving about at Thanksgiving, which he now believes is true. Almost immediately he regrets bringing it up, but Luisa is glad he did because now she sees him clearly. Cole blames all of his problems on everyone but himself, “which means that, if something goes wrong with us you’re going to blame me.”
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”4a7097″ class=”” size=””]“A lot of bad shit has happened to me too. In fact, if you’ve forgotten, I’m the one who can’t have babies.” – Luisa[/pullquote]
If there truly was a curse on the Lockhart family, it’s being broken just as Cole starts believing in it. Though it’s five weeks before her due date Alison is going into labor. She can’t get in touch with Noah and her doctor can’t make it to the hospital because of the hurricane. Things only intensify when the hospital’s electricity starts running on its backup generator’s power. Giving birth alone, with an unfamiliar doctor, while the lights flicker in and out seems fucking horrible. Alison makes matters even worse by resisting the contractions and crying out “I don’t want this baby.”
As the hurricane reaches its peak, the episode begins cutting back and forth between Alison and Cole. Alison’s labor has kicked into high gear, and Cole is having visions of Gabriel as he gets wasted off moonshine. By the time Alison finally gives birth to Joanie, Cole has drenched the house with alcohol and set it ablaze.
The next morning all is calm. The storm is over and Alison seems happy to be with the baby she said she didn’t want. She’s so content, in fact, that when the doctor asks if she should bring Noah in, Alison says “not yet.”
- I’m starting to think the doctor-can’t-make-it trope is some kind of right of passage for film and TV writers. I seriously can’t recall anything I’ve ever watched where the actual doctor shows up for a birth.
- We all know I love Cole but setting that house on fire was really, really dumb. So this week I’m #TeamLuisa – she was the only one making any damn sense during this episode.
- How the hell does Alison go back to Noah after a night like this? She doesn’t even know the half of it, but I hope she finds out real soon.
- I don’t know how she made it there, but Whitney’s presence at the hurricane party was too perfect. I wonder if this is a similar crowd to the one where she met that photographer.
The Affair S2E9
This week strayed the furthest from any narrative structure we’ve come to expect from The Affair. Instead of two POVs overlapping, we caught a glimpse into how each of the four main characters spent their time during the hurricane. While I can appreciate the risk that was taken, I can’t honestly say it really paid off. Perhaps this was attempt at showing us these characters through an objective lens, which worked well enough for the flash-forwards last week, but falls short here. I didn’t gain any new insight into these people and it felt very much like a filler episode.
Helen’s story in particular felt unnecessary; aside from the fact that it was taking place on the same day, it didn’t seem to fit in at all. Noah’s wild night at the hurricane party was too over the top and seemed to drag on forever. Though the time jumped ahead a few months – we’re now in March – the absence of a flash-forward felt like an abrupt pause to any significant plot development. The one aspect that partially worked was the emphasis on Alison and Cole’s powerful connection. It was an excellent parallel to last week’s acknowledgement of the inescapable connection between Helen and Noah. Unfortunately, it was undercut by the literal hurricane happening around them. The two of them crying hysterically while the rain poured down was way too cliché. If this alternative structure continues to be used, let’s hope this episode worked out all its kinks.