That was just brutal!
Is it any wonder why The Affair is one of my most favorite shows of all time? With its layered storytelling and impeccable performances, it always keeps me completely engrossed the entire way through.
First of all, let’s take a moment to talk about Dominic West. I’m sometimes harsh on the character of Noah (he is so unlikeable after all), but West completely knocked this episode out of the park. His extended monologue by the fireplace as he discussed his mother’s sickness was one of the most raw and gut-wrenching things I’ve ever seen put on film. Everything about his performance was exceptional, from the way he described his mother’s deterioration in painstaking detail, to the heartbreaking reveal of how he helped her commit suicide. If this scene alone doesn’t win West an Emmy, I don’t know what will.
That’s not to say that Alison’s perspective wasn’t also enormously fascinating. The couple’s return to Block Island was a joy to behold – if you’ve forgotten, the lovers first consummated their relationship on the island all the way back in season one. Naturally, it’s a shell of what it used to be with an eerie setting and a ghost-town vibe that perfectly parallels the show’s love affair. Alison’s viewpoint also emphasized just how much she sees Noah as a seductive presence who’s constantly trying to win her back while getting in the way of a stable life with her daughter.
And then there’s that ending with Gunther crashing into Noah. Did it really happen, or is it a hallucination, much like the possibility of Noah stabbing himself in the pilot? Whatever it was, it was a remarkably tense sequence to bookend the episode with, culminating in a very effective shot of Noah stranded in the middle of the street completely hopeless.
Bits & Flings
– I love the fact that this episode picked up right where the previous one left off with Alison biking past Noah on the street.
– How slimy is Noah blackmailing Alison with Block Island for the divorce papers? Good he signed them in the end.
– Even more annoying Noah: screaming Titanic-style on the boat. Alison’s “get the fuck off me” was oh so gratifying.
– The fact that that the iconic squid restaurant is beaten down and closed is a perfect metaphor for Alison and Noah’s relationship.
– Alison wisely says that Scotty almost-raping her would have helped their case. She also cleverly points out that it’s like Noah “wanted” to go to prison. No surprise there!
– The hot tub scene was quite captivating: it was fascinating to hear Alison basically recap the entire show (found below) and call their relationship a mistake.
– Who forgets their shoes Alison?
– The most poignant thing Noah’s ever said: telling Alison that she just has to be there for her daughter.
– Worth noting: Noah’s perspective continued past Alison’s and didn’t replay the same events. We did however cut back to the several times he had fallen asleep throughout the episode and experienced some much-needed prison flashbacks.
– I was extremely unsettled as Noah thought he saw Gunther on the terrifying island streets outside.
– Interesting coincidence: Alison’s mom left her for six months too as a child.
– Noah realizing that he loved Alison because she watched someone she loved die as well was a pretty poignant revelation.
– It’s interesting to note that for the first time in forever, Noah and Alison’s lovemaking is actually kind of romantic and not animalistic.
– The most disgusting thing I’ve seen on TV in years: Gunther giving Noah the crumpled up and semen-soaked picture of Alison. Did we really need to see the liquid too? I think we got it writers!
– Extremely satisfying moment with Noah going berserk and trying to attack Gunther in prison only for the riot guards to beat him senseless.
– Sweet moment with Noah watching Alison hug Joanie.
Alison: (to Cole) So, I’m healthy enough to fuck, but not to be the mother of our child.
Noah: Why didn’t you answer any of my letters?
Alison: I didn’t get any while I was away. Sorry.
Noah: Where? In the loony bin?
Alison: No. The rehabilitation institution.
Noah: Oh. How did that go?
Alison: Fine. How was prison?
Noah: What are the chances of us both being hungry at the exact same time?
Alison: Noah, did someone stab you in the brain?
Noah: You were the best thing that ever happened to me.
Alison; No. No, don’t say that.
Noah: It’s true.
Alison: No, it’s not. You’re rewriting history. You and I were a mistake.
Noah: A mistake?
Noah: Come on.
Alison: You know, you fell for me because you were bored and you felt trapped by Helen, your kids, your fucking father-in-law. And you wanted a fling, but you chose me, who had lost a child, and who was so incredibly sad you couldn’t just abandon me, so you convinced yourself that you loved me. And I convinced myself that I loved you, because I so desperately needed someone just to take me away. I used you. You used me too. That’s what happened between us.
Noah: You… you really think that?
Alison: Yeah. I know it’s true. And you do too.
Noah: I just want to say one thing, though. I did love you. Yeah, I fucked up, and maybe… maybe it was a mistake from the start, but… it was love. At least it was for me. So don’t… don’t take it all away from me by saying it wasn’t real. You may not want to remember me, but… I want to remember you, okay?
Alison: I have these moments of, like, such darkness. I don’t know how I’ll get past them.
Alison: Fires, oceans, and babies. Those are the things I could watch forever. Fires, oceans, babies.
An insightful and incredibly powerful hour of The Affair. Amazing!