‘The Affair’ 1.07 or The Truth Shall Seriously Complicate Things

the affair 107

**Apologies, for the lateness and subsequent rushing on my part with this post. I’m away on holiday in Peru and my Showtime Anytime was not unavailable out of the country**

Sunday night’s The Affair was brought to you by the letter C. C stands for Confessions. And just like that. Did anyone think that the affair would come out in the open quite so quickly?

While on the topic of confessions, here’s mine: It’s been difficult reviewing this show because I love it so much that I need to watch it twice: once to enjoy the hell out of it, and a second time to really get my thoughts together for the review. It takes a lot more time but is absolutely worth it. For me, this is hands down the best new show of the last two or even three years. I’ve crossed over and can barely find a fault in it. Feel free to call me out on any biases to come. Phew! Glad I got that off my chest.

Yet another week of not knowing if what we are watching is a set of memories or confessions or writings? As I mentioned last week, beware, these narratives should still not be taken as absolute truths. Although there is minimal crossover and much of it is similar, they are not identical, so proceed with caution. I’ll ask again, are they just memories? We saw Detective Jeffries again this week after his absence last week, and he’s certainly on his own investigation so if these are interrogations or confessions of sorts, its not to him. We also returned to Noah first. Per my count of firsts that’s Noah – 6, Alison – 1, and I’m sure this means something.

Nonetheless, so much to discuss this week I barely know where to start, but let’s jump in.

NOAH

We start with Whitney in therapy, a few weeks after last week’s episode, as the therapist has referred to this as their “last” session. At minimum this would be two weeks since Noah and Alison ended their fling. Whitney, perceptively angsty teenager that she is, is oh-so-right and yet oh-so-wrong at the same time. She calls out (1) Helen on always being so “together” that it intimidates others, such as herself who are not, and (2) Noah for being “miserable” all the time. As a daughter, I found this scene to ring very true. Teenage girls tend to blame their mothers before their fathers so often, I surely did, and as we know Whitney was wrong. Once again lets recall that this is Noah’s version of things and perhaps this did not play out quite the way her remembers it.

Equally as fantastic and realistic was the family quarrel that follows as the Solloways are packing up to go home. Whitney is a big personality, and I can only imagine that character will continue to grow and become bigger. Oh and how I basked in Noah’s enjoyment of the “Vanity Fair” article in which Margaret takes credit for Bruce’s writing: the ultimate vindication. Noah and Helen have such a way of laughing with one another that it makes one root for them as a couple. Perhaps that’s just me, but I’m surprised that I feel that way since I’m terrible and always tend to root for the affairs. Legendary hard ons, for the win. Anyone else shipping Noah and Helen?

At the ranch, Noah recalls bumping into Alison alone, and her asking him “That’s it?” to which he kind of freaks and goes. Regarding Martin, and following his Free The Mare moment last week, Cole notes “I’d keep an eye on him. Seems he’s kind of hungry for attention” which Noah shrugs off. Let’s go back to the series opener when Martin pretends to HANG HIMSELF! This kid has more problems than Whitney. Worthy of adding him to our list of suspects?

Back in Brooklyn, the renters have ruined the bannister, her big pot is ruined, they are eating pizza, and lets not forget “we clean up our own plates around here“, and all of this while Noah is being blackmailed for 10Gs. Money money.

Noah tells Helen his affair meant nothing. Is he lying to her or does he really believe that it didn’t because it doesn’t mean anything to him now? There was nothing this week to make us think that Noah still thought about Alison the way she is clearly doting on him, so… When Noah confesses he pulls an “it’s not you it’s me” but that’s definitely true. I am sure some of you have judged Noah for his comment to Helen that “You see me as potential unfulfilled. You’re waiting for the guy you married to… happen” but the truth is that this is a common friction between men and women: the fix gene. It is not at all Helen’s fault. I repeat, in no way! But I do not doubt that Noah is right that she does see him that way, but that she feels that is not a negative thing, per say. Rather, it is hopeful and supportive, even positive because it is optimistic. Certainly he has a memory of Alison coming on to him hard, as he puts it, and that could very well be his distortion but I don’t believe this is him outright lying, Noah truly believes what he is telling Helen at this point. He wouldn’t bother telling her the truth if it weren’t what he believed to be the whole truth. After all, he told her that his affair was eight weeks long, and he didn’t have to do that. He told her because he needed to breathe, for himself.

Noah definitely saw Alison out there on the street from his apartment. Although in his version we do not see her, his reaction is abrupt, and even Helen finds it strange. I don’t understand why that would be left out of his story, however. If he saw it, and what we are watching is his memory, then we would see him seeing her, so… can we also discredit the memory scenario?

Oh and Oscar is a legit disgusting human being unless Noah and Alison are purposely making him that way.

ALISON

When Cherry finds out about Noah and discovers the note he left her tied to the bottom of the pie box, Alison was more concerned with finding out what was in the note than what Cherry thought, even after she had scolded her about what the affair could do to her son and their marriage.

MK calls out Scotty on a little brunette she saw him with at their Lockhart family dinner. This is no coincidence at all! It is the only thing we hear at that table before the sound fades to Alison spacing out. Do we want to bet that this brunette goes by Whitney? Another Solloway suspect?

Not too different from Noah, Alison gets pushed into confessing the affair to her spouse. Although Oscar actually delivered the news to Cole, unlike with Noah, if it were not for Oscar its highly probable that neither Cole nor Helen would ever have found out. Noah at least had the option of paying Oscar off but Alison was thrown to the wolves. I would say she could have denied it but Cole didn’t ask her if it was true, he just asked if he knew the guy. I imagine Cole has suspected something for some time, or at least just expected some bad news in general to come his way regarding Alison.

When Alison goes to Brooklyn she is happy and smiling as she gets off the subway and onto the city streets. Noah certainly felt a sense of relief from letting Helen know but nothing like what Alison feels. In fact, we have to wonder if its even just relief or getting out of Montauk for a few days: So is she in love?

“I feel like he’s my real life, and everything else, all the days I live through, are just a memory, or something.”

Sure sounds like it. In fact, Jane tells her:

“You’re in love with a married man. You want him to leave his wife and be with you, admit it.”

It is not until the second part, regarding wanting Noah to leave his family for her, that Alison seems to react and deny. Of course, stalking his house at night is also a sure sign of being Bey-and-J-style Crazy In Love.

In a cautionary tale of “Never Act on What You Google When You’re High”, Alison and Jane end up at Helen’s store. It took me a second viewing to figure out if Alison’s run in with Helen at the store would have happened before or after Noah’s confession to her about the affair, and looking back on how Helen accompanied Noah back home after the hospital, it would be most logical to assume that Helen did not yet know about the affair when she saw her. It was a strange conversation, when Helen thanked Alison for how she helped her daughter from chocking that one day. So much so that I question whether it even happened or not. Anyone else feel this way?

Also, look how much more attractive Helen looks in Alison’s memory than Noah’s. She’s threatened by her, obviously, and so she remembers her hair done, her cute little glasses, a trendy black jumper. Her shop is also adorable. Even know looks better in her version, wearing a button up shirt and put together while she looks on him and his loving family through the window. Of course we know he’s just come from the hospital and in his jogging clothes, so no way he’s in a button up shirt. Needless to say, she remembers Helen happily hugging her husband while we know that things were likely not that way. Of course Noah may have remembered more tension in his memory I doubt Helen was cheery and loving after hearing the news.

Unlike Noah (who, writer that he is, has a million reasons up his sleeve as to why he may have done it) Alison doesn’t even have an answer for Cole when he asks her why she cheated. She stays completely silent throughout, which some may find weak or even insulting, after all she doesn’t really apologize to him. Still, there may be an honesty in this as well, because honestly she is confused so why lie? I have to say I appreciate that. If this sounds like a contradiction as to what I said about Noah, pay close attention, it is not. I believe (and I could be wrong) that Noah has convinced himself that he does not want anything to do with Alison, for now. He feels guilt and even fear above all things, likely because he has so much more to lose, and so he is honest in his apology and his confession. Or as much as one can be about these things without insulting or demeaning your wife. Neither Noah nor Helen had any blame in their tone or in their words as they spoke to their spouses and I think I just really appreciated that. I think some may disagree with me here but that’s what is great about such moral dilemmas: they get you to discuss and think.

A little more about Helen and Cole here, it is curious how they are both painted as very likeable people by both their spouses and their spouse’s lover, different as they may be remembered. Take Noah’s memory and reaction of Cole kindly telling Martin that he will be welcome back if he keeps up his grades. Ironically, Alison remembers Noah being more defensive about Cole’s parenting advice than Noah does, which reveals just as much about Noah’s feelings about Cole than about Noah’s parenting. Joshua Jackson, really shined in this episode, by the way. He plays the hard-on-the-outside-mush-on-the-inside husband beautifully. Damn near broke my heart, when he told Alison that the only thing that kept him alive was her. What a blow, and a guilt trip. Cole must have known that and used it in his favor but I can’t blame the guy. After all he was cheated on. He truly loves her the way Cherry says he does. Or do we think that this may not be true and only Alison’s retelling of it?

THEORIES AND QUESTIONS

I know I seem to be questioning everything this week, and perhaps I am, but its about time we start. After all there is a murder investigation going on, giving the characters more motive than simply ego to change up their stories. And to finish lets discuss Det. Jeffries little adventure. We see him three in this episode:

  1. Reading Noah’s book “Decent” at a coffee shop
  2. Taking pictures at a bridge with a sign that points to “The End”
  3. Asking the receptionist at “The End” about Noah

“Decent” is Noah’s second book. The one about Montauk that he asked Jeffries to read, and we know this because the book at the library back when he had only written one book, was not this one. I have three questions here:

  • Why doesn’t Jeffries have a partner? This is standard.
  • Why does Jeffries suspect Noah of having been at “The End” to begin with? Did he already suspect when he asked Noah in the interrogation room or did something in the book lead him to think so? I would not be surprised if Noah included a place or a club/hotel much like the “The End” in his book having been so inspired by his time in Montauk to write it.
  • Why wouldn’t Jeffries ask the receptionist if Alison had stayed there, knowing full well about the affair they had? (This is why you need a partner, people!)
    • This leads to another question which is: Why wasn’t Noah registered at The End if we know he and Alison stayed there? Did he pay cash and use another name just as he did at the Inn on Shelter Island? Or worse, could the receptionist have been paid off somehow? Considering what we know about Montauk so far, I wouldn’t be so surprised.
  • Margaret makes a comment to Helen about Bruce holing up with his mistress if she left to Brooklyn with them. We’ve heard about this mistress on three separate occasions. This is going to mean something. At the very least it means something to Helen and how it makes her feel about Noah’s infidelity.
  • Noah doesn’t seem to be putting much thought into the note as he writes to Alison. He scribbles on a scrap piece of paper in his car, and throws the pen aside. What do you think the note said? I’m going to assume it was a kinder goodbye.
  • Did the Lockharts agree to give up the contract to Oscar and sell the farm or just sell the farm? I assume after what happened to Hal and the cocaine, and ceasing their cocaine business, that means all bets are off with Oscar. Sound right?
  • If Cole wants to start trying for babies again, do you think Alison’s present/future son is more likely Cole’s?

Let’s talk! Tell me what you thought and as always, what you think I may have missed in all the fabulous nooks and crannies on The Affair.

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