‘The Affair’ Season 1 Finale Recap: “10”


This week on The Affair: we are all done! And Whitney, that truth-teller, sums up the series like so: “Were you screwing my dad? Why? He’s so old and your husband’s so hot.” This is also the week when the he-said/she-said memory games that made sense in the context of characters telling a detective different stories officially revealed themselves to just plain make no sense at all (although here’s creator Sarah Treem’s perspective on it) — they’re loose enough that it’s hard not to think of Noah’s cockamamie perspective as his shitty, shitty novel. Moral of this show: May Maura Tierney get all the Emmys.

Elisabeth’s Story: We start with separated Noah. And separated Noah, in a very witty montage of banging, is sexing various hot women of Brooklyn, left and right, starting with the little engaged brunette from the pool and the pilot, as “It’s My Life” by The Animals plays over the soundtrack. But he makes the wrong choice — banging a fellow teacher in the school, after-hours. It’s an action that puts him in NYC’s famous public teacher purgatory, “the rubber room,” where he’s paid to sit and do his time in a room with no windows for the duration of the school day. Some teachers end up in this purgatory for years. Over the duration of Noah’s four months, he works on his novel. Cue montage number 2! Noah works dutifully as the seasons change. Winter gives way to spring, and finally, Noah smiles. He is done.

Not only is Noah done with his novel, according to Harry the tweedy editor that he met through his former father-in-law (although earlier, I got the impression he was an agent? Perhaps it was the bow tie), Descent is… extraordinary! Everything’s coming up Noah! Harry’s ready to buy it for the low six figures (maybe higher), and he makes some comment about how hot Noah’s wife is (yeah, Maura Tierney, yes), and then Noah’s like, bro, I’m separated. They ruminate on marriage (hard) and young girls (always there, always nubile, always available, always grateful). Just two middle-aged literary wolves looking for their hunk of meat. When Harry asks Noah if he misses his wife, an image flashes through Noah’s dumb brain. Alison in ecstasy. Yeah, of course you miss that ground chuck when you have steak at home. Dumb choice, Noah.

[Detective Framing Device asks Noah about his car. Noah passes the AAA guy of Montauk on his way out, recognizing the dude.]

Noah visits his family, and back in his old bedroom with Helen, they discuss the terms of divorce. The Butlers have sent a P.I. after Noah, so they have all the info on all the girls, and security footage of Noah kicking Scotty Lockhart’s ass at the Planned Parenthood. They fight, they yell, and Helen asks Noah to “come home.” Tierney’s heartbreaking as she points out, correctly, that “you never gave me a chance,” saying that she hates her life without Noah (and she may hate Noah), but she needs him there and he just walked out on their family. They seemingly reconcile. Noah takes her from behind, meaningful-like (his ho’ montage, earlier, was all face-to-face, for what it’s worth).

[Present-day or so, Noah is trying to blackmail the AAA guy, just like he’s Oscar. He offers the guy 20,000 to say “nothing.” Noah is so rich and cavalier.]

A unit once again, Noah and Helen go see Whitney, telling her that they’re going to press statutory rape charges against Scotty Lockhart. Whitney calls her father a sociopath, since he spent the summer banging someone 15 years younger. “I love him!” she wails. Reconciliation is short-lived after hearing, well, about sociopaths and Alison — Helen changes in the bathroom, like Noah’s a stranger.

The family’s in the Hamptons for some reason, still fighting. Noah yells at Helen’s mother. Helen says that she married her mother, not her father. Helen, Noah, and Whitney go to the ranch to confront the Lockharts, only to be greeted by an angelic Alison in all white, hair leonine and bouncy. Whitney calls her a “fucking traitor,” and Cherry’s there to negotiate something. She mentions that they just lost the ranch. Perhaps they can all forget this happened. But as they’re leaving, Noah catches wind of Scotty, and again, attacks the schlub, taking him outside and beating him roundly, saying, “I’ll kill you!” But his rage is interrupted by one thing: Cole, brandishing a gun. He offers to shoot Noah, standing still, between life and death, Helen (and Whitney) and heavenly angel Alison. It’s all very bad pulp. It may actually be what’s going on in Noah’s stupid head. Cole is still the hottest man alive.

Alison’s side! She pulled a Kelly on 90210 and she chose HERSELF. She’s been spending the last four months in a yoga retreat with her hippie mother and the new boyfriend. But she has to leave. It’s almost summer. She wants to sell her house. Alison goes back to Montauk, starting by having a reunion with her friend Phoebe. She tells Phoebe that when Noah fingerbanged her (a scene that we only saw in Noah’s “memory,” FYI), he really looked at her, and nobody else ever really looked at her. They’re trying to get back to that moment.

Her reminiscing is interrupted by Mary-Kate, fellow Lockhart-in-law. Mary-Kate is cold. The Lockharts lost the ranch last week, and Alison just dropped the family cold. She gives Alison a ride back to her place.

Cole’s there, waiting. He’s fixed up the house and he’s ready to try again. Alison, though, she’s in a different place. She offers to give him the gorgeous beach house shack. They’re not going to reunite, though. They have an awful fight. Alison blames Cole for not looking close enough at dead Gabriel that fateful day when he was swimming. He strikes back with why didn’t we go to the hospital. Then Alison says something mean and cold. She tells Cole, sweet Cole, that the reason she can’t be with him is because every time she looks at him, she sees Gabriel. She wants to forget about Cole. It was awful. Mary-Kate interrupts — Whitney Solloway is at the ranch. They should go.

[Detective Framing Device has outmaneuvered Noah! The AAA guy was bugged, and now he has some proof that Noah has something to hide. What a day for Detective Framing Device! Also an urgent call from “Steve” who is a “babe” proves that this “family man” is gay! Tricking Noah and Alison! What fun! The best day!]

At the ranch, Whitney and Alison drink cokes together. Whitney, genius, does tell Alison that her husband is so hot and she is an idiot for sleeping with her father. Which is the truth. Noah and Helen show up at the ranch, and Cole bursts in with a gun and some showboating. He’s unhinged, pointing the gun at the Solloways, himself, Alison. He’s ranting and raving about how he lost his wife to Noah. He offers to shoot himself in front of Alison, “so you have this image burned into your head for the rest of your life.” Joshua Jackson is doing a good job here. It’s very emotional. But Alison talks him down, taking the gun from him. Cole leaves. Helen and Whitney leave. Noah, dammit, stays, hugging Alison instead of comforting his traumatized wife and daughter. Eighteen years carries no weight with the guy. No wonder your daughter seeks succor in the flesh of men entirely too old for her, Noah. What a dick.

The last scene. Are there answers here? We are in a fancy New York apartment. Alison with a bob (i.e., “present day”) is cuddling next to Noah on a couch, as a baby gurgles. Are they together? Are they hiding something about Scotty’s death? Has time passed enough for a baby? Is Noah entirely too successful for a literary author? (Probably.) Well, even though your questions are ostensibly answered, dear audience, the episode has to end with some kind of twist, right? There’s a knock on the door. It’s the police, there to arrest Noah. Alison looks on with horror and wonder, a look with all the mystery in the world — leading us into the next season.

Will our questions ever be answered? Will Detective Framing Device ever really be good at his job? I guess we’re going to have to wait until 2015! But until then, don’t forget the gifts that The Affair left us with: namely, Joshua Jackson shirtless, Joshua Jackson holding a gun, Joshua Jackson in some sexy sex scenes, and best of all, Joshua Jackson riding a horse.