This season is proving to be much more fascinating than the first, and it’s all thanks to the addition of Helen’s astounding perspective.
Maura Tierney is undeniably the MVP of this episode (and quite frankly, the entire show) as she singlehandedly steals every scene she’s in with her incredibly raw performance, making everyone else seem incompetent in comparison. Surprising absolutely no one, her viewpoint ends up being infinitely more captivating than Noah’s.
Once again, the show deviates from its spot-the-differences form and relies on a linear approach instead, starting with Martin getting sick again and his parents rushing him to the hospital. That entire scene at the emergency room is quite unimportant if you look at it from a story perspective, but the realism of that sequence is what’s haunting and simultaneously beautiful. The unsettling feeling of having to wait in line while your son screams and pukes in a crowded city ER is so spot-on and painful to watch, the show has to be commended for it. Sure, most of that scene relied on Tierney’s performance knocking it out of the park, but I also loved how the writing incorporated some small accurate details such as the nurse calling for security when Noah touches her and Helen frantically pacing back and forth from her son to the waiting lines. What an impressive, unnerving scene.
This episode also managed to do the impossible: actually make me like Noah a little more (just a little). Waiting on their son after surgery, Noah and Helen share a truly heartwarming scene that’s also very representative of how two divorced people get together in family emergencies. To end that moment with Helen agreeing on joint custody only makes it much more significant and gratifying.
Noah’s part started off quite strong too, with a rare look into the family’s happy moments. It was weird and quite different from what we’ve gotten used to on this show, but still nevertheless amusing to see Noah, Helen and the kids actually cheerful for once. Sadly, the final 15 minutes seemed to take an abrupt change in tone that literally flipped the hour 180 degrees (not even in a good way). To say that I didn’t enjoy any of Noah’s scenes with Alison is an understatement as this show hasn’t been even trying to make us root for these two. It confuses me because I can’t tell if the writers want this couple to come off as complex and interesting instead of two people who really just don’t belong with each other.
Regardless of the tone shift and some really uncomfortable moments (Athena bugs the hell out of me), this is certainly still the most compelling thing on television in recent years. If the show, Maura Tierney and the writing doesn’t get showered with awards this year, I will lose faith in humanity.
Unfaithful Flings & Bits
– Margaret is a freaking nightmare, no? She had some of the most villainous lines I have ever heard (check them out below), and I absolutely loved her screaming match with Helen that ended with her kicking her mother out of the house. And yet, something about seeing the old, sad woman walk down the stairs with her stuff was cold and painful.
– The doctor telling Helen and Noah about Martin’s chronic condition is absolutely heartbreaking and, again, very real. This certainly isn’t the way Grey’s Anatomy would have done it.
– It’s nice to see the kids actually have a sense of humor and aren’t as edgy as their father.
– Incredible moment with Helen asking Noah to call Alison back as she stares at him when he gets a text.
– Tearjerker of a moment as Helen and Whitney passionately share a hug.
– Helen agreeing to pay Oscar a shitload of money was a major yawn moment for me. Still feeling indifferent about the flash forwards.
– I seriously loved all the cute family vibes at the house. Can we get more of those and just drop Alison and Cole out of the picture?
– Alison’s friends sure are interesting. I have no idea what to make of that nude scene at the beach.
– We almost had another erection scene this week with Noah and Athena. How uncomfortably weird and awkward. I hated everything about that session.
– At least Noah knows how to finish his book now: by killing Alison. Didn’t we already know about that last season? I vaguely remember Noah telling Harry that it would end with “he kills her”.
– I would call that Noah/Alison scene in the woods rape, but that’s just me. God, I hate these two.
– Certainly didn’t expect Alison to declare that she’s pregnant, especially after such an unromantic scene.
Margaret: The only thing wrong with that boy is Noah fucking Solloway.
Margaret: Helen, is that what you’re wearing? We talked about this. You have to wear something that makes you look sober.
Bruce: I didn’t buy her, you bitch, I seduced her!
Margaret: Martin, you can tell your father you hate him.
Noah: Where do you want to go for vacation next? You get to decide.
Martin: Not Montauk.
Helen: I don’t want to do this anymore. It has to stop. I hate this fucking divorce. I just want it over. I want to go back to mediation, and I’ll give you whatever you want.
Helen: I listened to you. I always fucking listen to you, and you talk, and you talk, and you talk until your voice is the only thing in my head and I cannot even think straight.
Trevor: You met a girl? Did she die?
Trevor: If she died, it would’ve been a good story. You know, like, years later, you could tell your grandchildren, “I knew a girl once, but she died”.
Alison: I’m ‘sex’. I’m ‘the reason the word was invented’. ‘No marriage could survive’ me.
Noah: Is that all you read?
Alison: No, I read some choice passages about my supple breasts, my perfect ass, my long tongue on your…
Noah: So you only read the sex scenes.
The fascinating look into Helen and Noah’s family life makes this masterpiece of a show absolutely riveting, but the final act takes a strange, unwelcome detour.