This week on The Affair: plot plot plot plot plot. Let’s get started.
Elisabeth’s Story: Christmastime! Time to take the LIRR to the city in order to see your married lover in Brooklyn! But hey, you can’t get a hotel room for anything lower than 1200. “I’m not going to fuck you in my wife’s bed” says Noah. Cut to fucking in his wife’s bed. He says I love you. In the afterglow — he says he needs a studio for writing, it could be her place for when she’s in town. “When I move out, it could be our starter apartment,” he says. “I promise it will be worth the wait.” Alison showers, goes to get some water. She breaks a glass vinegar bowl-y thing, and in her haste to clean the mess up, she sees a positive pregnancy test in the trash. Looks like Noah’s marriage is going great, right? It couldn’t possibly be Noah’s slutty teen with “bulimia!” Noah appears, Alison looks wan, since the family’s returning and all.
Escorting her to the train, Noah takes her by a shifty one bedroom apartment. One room, looks out onto brick walls. Alison freaks with the unpleasant reality of it all since it’s a stash pad, especially the commitment that is a two-year lease on Henry Street in Brooklyn, and Noah offends her by saying “give me a year, I need Whitney to graduate, I have four kids.” Noah says “I have to move at my own speed,” which he said before while finger-fucking Alison on the docks, and his accent gets more and more weird and Britishy and garbled. Alison says you’re never going to leave her and he says you need some fucking faith.
Sad trip back on the LIRR. Adorably blonde angel child starts taking to Alison out of the blue, symbolically. Alison drinks at a bar, where she runs into Oscar. A lout who knows all, he quickly realizes she had been to NYC to see Noah. In an effort to shut him up or get into trouble or something, Alison then comes on to Oscar. They fuck in his place. She wakes with a hangover and a vague air of horror, He asks, fairly, what does that even mean to you? regarding Alison’s marriage. She admits that they’re selling the ranch, and Oscar has some bad news for her — the ranch, once thought to be 30 million, is underwater, over refinanced, and worth maybe a couple of million at best. Alison is not getting out of town. She is a Bruce Springsteen song about a small-town waitress who will never be anything.
She fights with Cherry about the real state of the ranch. Cherry continues to be a manipulative creep of a mother-in-law, and she tells Alison about how she was right that day, how she told Alison to take her “grandbaby” to the hospital and that Alison was a monster who killed her son with neglect. “Your pride cost him his life,” Cherry says. “It should’ve been you.” Driving Oscar’s car, Alison cuts her leg, badly. Time for the doctor.
At the doctor’s Alison gets treatment, including scotch. The doctor’s been treating her since she was young. She’s clearly moody, and then segues into a monologue about Gabriel’s death. He hurt himself in the water, and Cole pulled him out. Alison performed CPR and he was better. But he peed himself while she was carrying him home. She didn’t want to call the doctor, she thought he was okay, mostly. “He seemed so tired.” She wanted to let him sleep. She cries, she wants the day to happen again. The doctor comforts her, telling her to breathe. These cases are so rare. Doctor goes all Good Will Hunting on her. It’s not your fault. This is why secondary drowning is so dangerous. She asks the doctor whether he believes in heaven. He asks her what she believes in; Alison believes in hell.
She walks to the ocean, contemplating death. But just as she hits the waves, the little boy from earlier asks “Where are you going?” Is it a memory? Something really happening? We have no idea. But they are angels, saving depressed, sad Alison from the death that she wants so badly. Alison goes home, takes a shower, and tells Cole that she’s leaving, since Montauk is toxic (especially Cherry) and she wants to die. At the train station, Alison’s about to leave, and who’s there? Cole. They may be in it together.
[Detective Framing Device! Bringing Noah back in the joint to talk about his car! Might he have a … motive???]
Oh, hey, there’s Noah’s butt, mid-thrust. He asks Alison to do something she’s never done with anyone before. She replies, “I’m yours.” He is so turned on. Alison showers, Noah cleans, and boom: Noah finds a positive pregnancy test. Whitney, obviously. Alison has to put on one of Helen’s tops since hers is in the wash. Oh and in this one, Alison says “I have faith in you, Noah Solloway.” Such a cool and understanding mistress, she’s dressed and ready and walks herself to the subway. Noah says I love you and she doesn’t say it back.
Helen and the kids return and Noah’s making dinner. Noah accuses Helen of being pregnant, and she concludes that it’s Whitney’s. But who’s the father? She won’t say. Whitney has an abortion set up for tomorrow. She’s three months pregnant. Noah tells Helen, this isn’t your fault. (Serious Good Will Hunting theme this week, eh? So much parallelism.) Noah goes to the Planned Parenthood in order to wait for the dude — when he sees that it’s Scotty Lockhart (duh!), they get in a scuffle. Scotty runs.
Noah ends up at Max’s. Way to be there for your daughter, shithead! He confesses to Max, who gives him scotch — just like how depressed Alison got scotch from kindly doctor! — he asks if it’s true love, and if it’s true, Alison will wait. True love waits, right? Then Max recommends that Noah sticks with Helen, because she’s like a high-class, high-earning stock that’s marvelous in its consistency, whereas Alison is just some sexy start-up and she’s liable to crash and burn once she’s an IPO. Running from that metaphor, Noah goes out to the fancy porch and watches a suicide jump off a building. They testify to the policewoman and she tells him “it’s not that hard, buddy. Just make a choice.”
Back home, Helen and Whitney are commiserating about abortions. Noah tells Helen that she’s a great mother, and he was a bad father (because of the affair). He then starts his speech. He wants to leave, he’s in love with someone else, he wants to be with her, he doesn’t want this life. He’s James Van Der Beek in Varsity Blues. But he offers that he’ll leave, you know, over time. Like in a year, after Whitney’s better. Then he’ll break up the family. Helen, being a goddess, tells him to get the fuck out of her house. She starts angry packing his things in a bag. She throws his shit at him. She finds Alison’s sexy underwear and goes nuclear. “Was she here? Did you fuck her in our bed?” Breaks vases, ceramics, big things, while yelling “Get out! Fucking bastard!”
Noah has nowhere to go. Calls someone and says “I did it, I left Helen, I’m on the train, I’ll be there in three hours.” He takes the LIRR to Montauk. He’s ready to be with Alison. When he gets there in his tiny jerky Brooklyn scarf, she’s there in all her disheveled beauty, giving him dagger eyes — and Cole is right behind her. So… threesome? Lady or the Pacey-shaped tiger? That’s all for now folks, until next week’s finale!