A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
As the episode came to a close, I find myself wondering whether the ten episode season is a good idea for The Affair. I have no idea how everything is going to wrap up, whether this story is here for two seasons and then the show becomes a sort of anthology. But the somewhat erratic pacing of this episode is a bit problematic. The content is fine, but it feels like everything needs to barrel through in order to make appropriate room for the finale. Certainly there’s a few sequences that could have used a bit more time to breathe, which is saying something considering that this episode clocked in at a full hour. The extremely significant differences between the two versions continue, thrillingly arriving at a cliffhanger at the Montauk train station. Alison is literally standing between Cole and Noah, with whom she chooses left up to next week. The final shot is of her calmly getting on the train, the two men glancing at each other as the screen cuts to black.
For Alison, who starts the two halves this week, the entire enterprise is of a complete reversal in realities. She begins in what might be the happiest of moods, walking about New York as if a new girl on the block. Noah picks her up and they have sex in Noah and Helen’s bed (which, really?). The sexual bliss lasts for a short time, turned into a rude awakening by Noah. Noah, who seems to have about as much tact as a loud bear with a giant gong, invites her to see an apartment. For a second that flame of escape is lit within Alison before it is immediately extinguished. A two-year-lease on a tiny apartment for one person to her signifies that Noah thinks it’s all a game and she inherently becomes his mistress and nothing more. After this, who does she end up meeting in he great city besides Oscar. I get that Alison feels super depressed, but I found it super difficult to believe that she would sleep with Oscar in any circumstance. He does give her valuable information that Cherry’s been refinancing for years and the ranch has basically become worthless. There are no major millions coming their way.
Cherry is a psychopathic bitch. I’m sorry, I don’t like to throw that word around, but there is something seriously wrong with her here. Not only did she keep the refinancing thing to herself, which would have been nice to tell everyone when they were at the dinner table and speaking about the dreams they would achieve with that money, she turns the entire thing around and begins taunting Alison again about what a s***ty mother she was. As it turns out, Gabriel died of secondary drowning, where there was still water in his lungs and it overwhelmed him. Cherry remembers it as her saying that the child should be taken to the hospital and Alison resisting, which as we later discover isn’t true. As she is sitting in her old physician’s office, she recounts how so much water was taken out of Gabriel’s lungs and he just looked exhausted. So Alison put him to bed, vowing to take him to the hospital if he got worse. Alison breaks down, crying “Just let me take him back to the hospital!” It’s heartbreaking to watch and credit is due to Ruth Wilson’s fantastic performance here. Nearly overwhelmed by the waters of the ocean after her visit to the office, Alison begins to pack in front of a clearly hurt Cole. “I love you, but I don’t want to die,” she says quietly. She leaves, only to find a heartbroken but hopeful Cole running up to her. The refinancing is true and now he wants to go wherever Alison wants.
Less slightly positive is Noah’s situation and it is intriguing to note that Noah in his version never walked Alison to the apartment. The pregnancy test that Alison had clearly thought was Helen’s turns out to be Whitney’s. Noah is understandably furious while Helen is truing to figure out how that escaped their notice. That revelation coupled with everything else propels Noah to seek a drink at Max’s office. Max advises Noah to not rush into anything in regards to Alison, but before that message could sink in, Noah witnesses a man committing suicide off of a high-rise. Max wonders how someone could just do that. “It’s not that hard, buddy. You just make a choice,” an officer responds. Noah is oddly kicked into gear with this unorthodox pep talk. He begins his confession to Helen with “You’re a great mother,” he begins while managing to make the conversation immediately thereafter about himself anyhow. He confesses that he loves her and that he wants to leave. Helen, who isn’t having any crap thrown at her like that, begins to pack away his clothes before she finds Alison’s undergarments. “Was she here?” she asked quietly, danger seeping from every syllable. Noah’s silence speaks volumes and the disgust across Maura Tierney’s face is phenomenal. Thunderously she throws him out of the house and he promptly goes on the train to inform Alison that he left Helen and was arriving her way. Little did he know that he wasn’t the only one there.
Great Moments Mentioned Above:
+“You need some fucking faith, Alison.”
+Alison cutting herself was heartbreaking
+“I believe in Hell.”
+“I thought you said you had boys”; was this the show making fun of itself a little?
+Alison using Helen’s shampoo and wearing her shirt
+“No, we’re friends.”
+Of course Whitney went to the Planned Parenthood on Wall Street
+Noah beating up Scotty (slightly) at the clinic was great
+Max’s facial reactions were perfect
+“It doesn’t last.”
+Stock market analogy
+Noah is petulant and whiny in both versions
Alternative Title: A Train at the Station
Teleplay By: Melanie Marnich & Kate Robin
Story By: Dan LFracn
Directed By: Jeffrey Reiner
Image Courtesy: Hitfix, Tomand Lorenzo