‘The Affair’ Season 1 Episode 3 Recap: “3”

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This week on The Affair: Joshua Jackson is shirtless. Affair-ing continues. Coincidentally: your humble recapper was in Montauk last weekend, and had a really wonderful hot lobster roll at The Lobster Roll, the restaurant where Alison works on the show. The placemat had a list of “celebrities who have eaten there,” which had a lot of people: Richard Nixon, Alec Baldwin, Liza Minelli, three out of the four stars of The Affair, but no Joshua Jackson. Did Jackson avoid The Lobster Roll while he was filming? Does he hate lobsters? Lunch? Or did he go, and The Lobster Roll considers him only a celebrity in Canada, remaining Team Dawson? A mystery! A mystery that can probably only be solved by telling a detective, in excruciating detail, every time I banged my wife but also that hot townie chick some summer.

Detective Framing Device’s Story: Do you know how long I spend in windowless rooms, the reflection of the one-sided mirror my only reward? How the cold concrete of the interrogation room, some days, feels like my only friend? I’ve spent so much time listening to Noah Solloway talk about some chick that he banged once and his love of swimming that I’m exhausted. I could tell you all I need to know about Noah. The man is a playboy operator disguised as a earnest Brooklyn nebbish. And he looks like hell, I really don’t understand what all these seemingly hot women with loose, flowing hair, endless legs, and big boobs see in him.

Noah is nattering about some swimming that he’s doing. The man is suspended underwater enough that he’s probably got some symbolic ennui happening. This time he’s swimming at the fancy Long Island manse at night, probably working out his feelings for that girl Alison, and when he comes in, Bruce Butler is in his study, regal on his throne. Butler talks at Noah about what it’s like to use exercise as procrastination, with a final humblebrag mention of his “New York Times Bestseller” and then tells the poor shlub that it’s been a good conversation. It was a monologue. Noah walks away and then he has morning sex with his sleepy wife, telling her, “No, don’t wake up.” That’s, what, the fifth or so time Noah’s told me about all the sex he has? He loves telling me about the sex he had. It’s creepy.

In the morning, Noah goes to a coffee with Butler’s big-shot agent, Harry. Dude tells him he “has an honest face,” which: have you seen Noah’s face? It’s like that McNulty guy from The Wire. I don’t trust him. He has a punchable face. Noah’s telling me about how he totally made up the plot of his second book on the spot. It’s “the death of the American pastoral,” it’s how “the authenticity of a small tourist town is paralyzed and commercialized and it’s killing them,” it’s about a “small town girl having an affair with a city guy,” who… kills her. The rare affair story where a woman doesn’t end up tragically dying? No wonder this book sits on my nightstand, unread.

After Noah looks for Alison at The Lobster Roll, she finds him at the Montauk Library. She’s sexy and free with her hair long and her skirt short. They decide to be “friends.” She takes him to the docks, and introduces him to her fisherman friend who has “the best fish,” and probably also “the best drugs” for the Lockhart family, as older, creeping-on-teen-Bunhead brother shows up and gives the fisherman a money bag. Probably dropping drugs and that’s probably why that Lockhart brother is dead. It’s him, right? I’ve been in this coffin so long I can’t remember why I’m even talking to Noah and what the actual crime could be. Noah hears about the Town Hall that night and then Alison makes out with him in a fish alley somewhere, until it gets too real.

Back in Butler’s castle made of sand, family annoys. Whitney is in her usual too-sexy romper that shows off her great legs, while her Peter Pan collars proclaim innocence. The kids are nightmares eating dinner, and the grandparents are underminers regarding Noah’s values. The guy thinks he’s “raising good kids” while taking family money. Sure.

Noah missed the town hall meeting, but he didn’t miss the important thing, Alison. She was walking out with her husband, Cole, waving at him as he drives away. Noah asks her if there’s anywhere private on the whole fucking island, and so she takes him to the water. Blah blah blah they both “can’t stop thinking about each other,” Alison says, “so why don’t you fuck me and get it out of your system?” Noah says no, grabs her hands, pulls her over, and says, “You can’t rush me. You have to do it at my speed. I know I sound like an asshole but I like to be in charge.” You know what comes next? Why are you telling me this in minute detail, dude?

Noah’s telling me about some Don Draper realness, some 1st base sexual whatevering, and sure it’s hot but I’m so bored and then he goes home to his stupid family watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and then, finally, he gets to the point: I should pay attention to Oscar Hodges, the redhead who owns The Lobster Roll, where Alison works. Apparently there’s a history of lobster/fisherman wars between the Hodges and the Lockharts, so that means it’s one of that litter of hunky boys at the Lockhart ranch who died, or it’s Joshua Jackson. I’m not sure. They tell me nothing at the precinct. Noah’s squirming now. He needs to “go home to his wife.” Which wife, am I right?

Now in Alison’s world, things are slightly cheerier. She’s listening to Dolly Parton in the morning while Cole comes back from his shower. He rants about new construction and how summer people have no respect for property, beauty, and community, while shirtless. Alison’s en route to the hospital to get her nurse job back. Once she gets there, she freaks out when the doctor takes care of a woman and her young child with cancer.

After the hospital, she goes to the Montauk Lighthouse to do one of her secret rituals: cutting. Then she’s at The Lobster Roll, talking with ginger Oscar Hodges, the owner, about his plans for a bowling alley next door. She bikes to the Montauk Library and Noah’s there, ready to learn all about the ocean. They kiss, clandestinely. So they’re a couple now? I really don’t get the spark of the affair, here. Noah’s a creepy creep one week in Alison’s world and the next week he’s total secret boyfriend material. Theirs is not a love I am really rooting for in this case.

At least when Alison takes Noah to the docks, she gives him some real seaside realness: that fishing licenses have gone from 8000 fishermen to a couple of hundred, that commercial boats dragged nets across the bottom of the ocean and “raped” it. “The ocean is mean,” Alison says. She tells Noah that he has a fantasy (obviously) and then they make out.

The town meeting is pure Gilmore Girls kookiness, humble and true, with an Alec Baldwin being mad about something shoutout. Oscar gets up and presents his bowling alley idea, and that sets Cole off. He grandstands. He makes a speech. He was born here, his son is buried here, he will die here, because he loves foreshadowing. After the meeting, the Lockharts (one Lockhart doomed, likely) fight with Oscar. That night, Alison is asleep next to Cole. She’s awakened by a text from Noah. She texts back. Then she has great sex with Cole: “Don’t wake up,” she says.

These assholes are way too busy telling me about their parallel sex lives and their great affair to give me any clues as to why Cole Lockhart (likely), or maybe other Lockhart got hit by a car, murdered in broad day or nightlight, in ever-so-sleepy Montauk. I’ve got to solve this case, and I’ve got to do it quickly! What does it mean that they both had sleepy sex with their spouses? That they were thinking of other people? What is marriage? What is an affair? Tune in next week, for more coyness, and more ocean!