‘The Affair’ 1.03 or Don’t Wake Up or Slow But Steady

Courtesy of Showtime

This week’s episode of The Affair was brought to you by the number 2. Because there are 2 sides to every story and they keep looking less and less similar.*

(Horray! I’m finally not sick and back on track. Again, sorry for the delays this week. Made up for it with a lengthy post!)

Last Sunday’s episode was a tad slower than I would have liked.  I’m familiar with Sarah Treem and her style of character-centric playwriting on shows like In Treatment (a grossly underrated series which I recommend you all watch on HBOGo!) and generally I love it. I think it’s great and a very welcome change of pace to serialized television which can get a little plot heavy at times.  Nonetheless, I just couldn’t find enough in this episode that warranted its necessity as a follow-up to last week. Now of course, I don’t know where this show is going and it may be so that this episode was hugely important in the overall story but it doesn’t change the fact that the audience would not know that. I am still in love with this show and enjoyed the episode, in the kind of in the way you enjoy any 30 minutes of any Terrance Malick film, and that should be a compliment.


Like the opening scene in the pilot, we start off with Noah swimming again.  Water seems to be a running theme on The Affair.  In fact, we should all listen to and watch the song and title sequence by the singular, Fiona Apple, “The Container” — a  haunting song so full of imagery, and written for the show.

I really liked Bruce’s story about the short man whose ass he used to whoop at tennis before he started writing instead of playing tennis.  It wasn’t as dickish as some of the other things he’s said to Noah about his writing.  It looked like it was headed in that direction at first but Bruce may have meant well after all.  Maybe I’m also starting to see his point since Noah does continue to put off his writing — except its not swimming.

Noah hops into bed with Helen, who is asleep, and makes love to her whispering “Don’t wake up“.  It’s good sex — familiar yet passionate.

In the following scene I realize I have no idea what Helen does for a living?  Is she an interior decorator looking for the perfect lamp on Etsy? Anybody?

Noah’s made a meeting with Bruce’s publisher from the party to talk about his book and he wants to make sure Bruce knows that it was Noah who called, not the other way around. The publisher, Harry, tells Noah he has an “honest face“.  I would certainly agree with that assessment as it is in Noah’s personal narrative. Almost as if on the spot, and likely so, Noah tells Harry that his new novel is about “the death of the American pastoral” (i.e. Montauk) and an affair between a city man and a Montauk waitress. The man kills the woman, and Noah doesn’t know why yet.  Harry fills in, “to save himself and what he’s got“. Sounds about right. Harry agrees to work with Noah once he has something real down on paper.

Noah then stops at The Lobster Roll looking for Alison, with the crappy excuse that he’s there to spend $100 on souvenir t-shirts for his kids. Oscar Hodges, the creepy owner, isn’t buying it. Noah asks for directions to the town library and in a moment that is either a lie or way far fetched, Alison shows up at the library because she heard he was looking for her. Why would she pass by The Lobster Roll if she wasn’t on shift and find that out if she wasn’t already going in for a shift? Lie lie lie.

The two decide they will be friends, but only because Noah insists it must be this way.  Nonetheless he wants to follow her around all day and they end up down at the docks with Will, the fish monger from last week, who it turns out is on “retainer” at the ranch.  Not sure why a horse ranch needs a fisherman on retainer, and I’m sure there’s something there just as there was something with the cooler full of fish and the office at the train station in the previous week’s episode. Scotty Lockhart sees Noah and Alison there and gets really sarcastic and strange quite quickly (“She’s a talker“).  Alison becomes instantly uncomfortable and I’m not sure why.

I will pause for a moment just to remind that everything we are seeing is Noah’s story to a police investigator looking for a suspected killer.  Whatever may or may have not been happening in this scene or others, should be looked at not just as what, for example, Alison and Scotty are thinking, but what Noah may be trying to imply to the investigator. (Can you tell I’m getting slightly more suspicious here?)

Throughout Noah’s narrative Helen is always lovely, charming, funny, beautiful, and understanding.  If there’s any problem with Helen it is not with her but with her parents. This time Margaret calls Noah out for not being “pragmatic” enough and he calls her out for implying that he is not good enough because he is not rich.  She doesn’t deny it, and I find Helen’s reaction very relaxed for such harsh commentary on her mother’s end, but these things happen I suppose.

Noah arrives at the town hall meeting too late where he runs into Oscar Hodges, who complains that the Lockharts got their way again. Following the theme of direct confrontation here, he calls Noah out on being there for “his girl” Alison. Of course, Noah denies this with no help from Alison who waves him down.  What follows is a steamy scene between the two lovers where one can assume that Noah uses his ample dexterity to get Alison off, in record time I may add.

Alison: “You could just fuck me.

Noah: “You can’t rush me. We do this at my speed, okay? I don’t want to sound like an asshole but I want to be in charge, okay?

As a self-admitted sucker for intertextuality, I found the Ferris Bueller movie night scene fantastic! Noah is Bueller, the hedonistic teenage boy who believes he has nothing left to lose until he begins to ruin everyone’s life by sucking into his world.  The Solloway’s laughs as Cameron Frye’s dad’s convertible flies out the window: it’s all fun and games when it’s not happening to you; when that’s not your dad’s car flying out the window.  Knowing the little bit we know now about the dark places this affair will lead to, the scene plays as curiously ironic.

In the last bit of Noah’s present day narrative, he points to Oscar Hodges as a suspect and reminds the detective of the feud between the Hodges and Lockharts, and the history of moonshine production in Montauk so as to put “this town into context“.  Noah has written his book about Montauk. Finally, Noah announces, “I told my wife I’d be home for dinner.” So many questions arise here! But first…


Cole, the bleeding heart for old Montauk and its people and its “natural beauty”.  Except when it comes to his wife wearing the same ratty dresses, which he insists on buying her.  Alison’s modesty in her narrative shines through again, first in attempting to turn down the shopping spree, and then by running to the car to catch one of her favorite songs about making her man coffee and making his bed. This is another human being from the one that 5 minutes earlier, in Noah’s narrative, was telling him to fuck her.

We find out that Alison used to work as a nurse’s assistant (?) in the pediatrics wing at a hospital outside of Montauk before the death of her child.  She insists she is ready to work with sick children again, despite her supervisor’s hesitation, only to nearly pass out upon her first encounter with one. We also learn she’s a cutter. The scars on her inner thigh don’t look fresh, so its likely she’s been doing this for a while but I’m going to guess it wasn’t before her son died or she’d have more. Certainly Cole would have noticed, if he hasn’t already.

Once again, douchebag Oscar makes obscene comment to her about how much he’d like to get in her pants. And yet — he has a real conversation with her about his new plans for a shopping center and hoping that she will back it when he announces at the Town Hall meeting. According to him they go way back, and he knows she understands that Montauk has to move forward to survive.  Suddenly he sounds like a decent person, and you think its possible he’s a nice guy who is also a chauvinist pig.

In this version we see why Alison finds Noah at the library.  He’s left her a note with his number and they have texted each other and planned it.  Oddly this was left out of the first narrative.  I won’t read too much into it; in fact its likely that a similar justification was written or even filmed for Noah’s narrative as well but the show is walking a delicate line of redundancy by telling the same story twice in one hour, as it is.

At the library, Noah talks to Alison about his book and his stories. He speaks more eloquently than in his own narrative, he’s direct and he wants her badly but can still sneak in a romantic kiss as they chat.

Noah: “This is a strictly professional relationship okay? If your hand happens to find its way in my pants I will remove it promptly and admonish you for your vulgarity.

Yet again we find that the physical advances towards each character by the other continue to come from the object of the narrative and not the subject.  in Noah’s it was Alison and in Alison’s it was Noah.  Time and again in this episode the two discuss how they should just remain friends or not see each other at all, only to have their tounges down each other’s throats by the end of it. Were the performances and the dialogue not as brilliant as they were, I could imagine that watching the back and forth in this episode (and twice over) would have gotten tiresome quickly.

In Alison’s story she takes Noah down to the docks, as with his own narrative, but does not introduce him to Will nor is there a run in with Scotty.  Alison mentions her being able to introduce Noah to people for his book and such.  The two end up making out just as in Noah’s version but it is Alison who stops it. It is her town, she says, and if people find out she will have to deal with it.  He pulls the “I need your help on my book” card and as they part she lets him in on the town board meeting. Of course she mentions that Cole will be there.

Just as in Noah’s narrative, Noah doesn’t make it to the meeting in time.  Alison’s perspective of what goes on at the meeting is actually in accordance to Oscar’s comments (in Noah’s version) that the Lockharts took over yet another meeting and rightfully piss him off.  Cole’s speech is the thing dreams are made of. He’s a good man, salt of the earth, connected to his home and his family and his friends, and to top it all off is well-spoken.

“I am never leaving this place and I will be buried right here next to my little boy and I will fight until my dying breath to keep Montauk local.”

Alison confirms that Oscar had a temper on him. The detective asks why Oscar was invited to “the wedding” if there was so much bad blood between the Lockharts and Hodges. Alison responds that everyone is just so close in that town, its the way its done. He then tells Alison, “explains why you were there“, implying Alison also had bad blood with someone at the wedding.

We ask ourselves what wedding he could be referring to? Logically one assumes it is a wedding involving a Lockhart if the detective should find it suprising that Hodges would be present but this would mean Alison also had a falling out with the Lockharts or at least one half of the couple.

Alison reminds us that she needs to call her sitter if she stays longer with the detective because, as was previously revealed, her son will be home from school.

Alison never mentions her meeting with Noah after the town hall meeting.

She In Alison’s final memory of the day in question she rolls over on top of Cole after exchanging some text messages with Noah and makes love to him, and mimics Noah’s request of Helen early in the episode “don’t wake up“.  If we know anything to be true (or at least accurate), it is that both Noah and Alison were making love to their partners and thinking of each other.


  • The investigation is taking place in Montauk (we know this from Noah’s constant use of the word “here” in reference to Montauk)
  • The detective is not originally from Montauk — we know this from the way Noah and Alison have to explain the town to him
  • Alison does not go out of her way to find Noah — in both narratives he comes looking for her every time, and in every episode thus far
  • There was a feud between the Lockharts and Hodges — we know this from both narratives — and they go as far back as prohibition era moonshine production
  • There was a wedding that both Oscar and Alison attended where a Lockhart was married
  • Alison is a cutter
  • Alison’s son likely died of an illness — we know this from Alison’s reaction to the sick child and her co-worker’s surprise she would want to work in pediatrics again


  • So what kind of jurisdiction is the detective under if the man killed in the hit-and-run definitely died in Montauk but the detective is not Montauk PD?  Is he federal? FBI?
  • Who got married at “the wedding”? Did something happen there?
  • Who killed the unknown hit-and-run victim?
  • How long has Alison been cutting herself?
  • Was there really a problem or tension between Alison and Scotty Lockhart or is it an embellishment in Noah’s narrative? If so what was the deal there?
  • What was behind the door at the train station in the previous week’s episode? And what did it have to do with the fish Alison picked up from Will?
  • What does Helen do for a living??

I will leave it at this: something really juicy better go down in the next episode.  Something violent, or sinister, because we need a kick in the gut and no one did much of anything this week.  Let’s take this episode to reflect on these characters.


2 Trackbacks

  1. […] drowned; it was two years ago (and I don’t know how I did not see that coming after my post last week referencing the importance that water would have on the […]

  2. By עבודה באוסטרליה כותנה on February 21, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    עבודה באוסטרליה כותנה

    … עבודה בעגלות – מבחינת עבודה פרוסמינריונית בחו"ל, אבל זה היה שווה את זה כולם עושים את זה? הדרך עבודה באוסטרליה כותנה. תוכלו לבקר עבודה פרוסמינריונית, לעשות סופ"ש ליעדים קרובים ובסוף ה… 'The Affair' 1.03 or Don't W…


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