That wasn’t the greatest hour. In fact, it was probably my least favorite episode this year (apart from the season premiere).
It’s strange because Helen is my absolute favorite character on the show. But this episode succeeded in making her wholly unlikable. We’ve seen Helen be self destructive before, but it was never this bad. After Nina’s insane monologue (read below), Helen proceeded to sleep with Max of all people (remember him?), before completely obliterating poor Vik. But maybe that’s what makes The Affair so effective, it manages to make me hate my favorite character. That’s no easy feat! Still, props to Maura Tierney for continuing to imbue the character with so much contrast and complexity.
Now what’s going on with Noah? I know Vicodin gives you hallucinations, but the man has gone totally berserk. Aside from the atrocious CGI used in the hour’s finale moments to bring a young Noah to life, it was quite unsettling to see him hallucinate his son Martin in the lake. It’s funny, but everyone in the world seems to be on I-hate-Noah bandwagon. What starts out as a nice reunion with school friends soon turns sour as Noah’s ex-classmate proceeds to rip him a new one over dinner for being so arrogant as a kid. It’s uncomfortable to watch, but it also manages to make you somewhat sympathetic for our protagonist. Almost.
Bits & Flings
– I practically cheered when Helen’s parents made a return appearance. I love this toxic duo, and the fact that they’ve reunited is just epic.
– Hilarious visual gag: Margret hitting her husband and saving him from choking.
– How unlikeable is Martin?
– Even more awesome than Nina destroying Helen is the hint that she knows that Noah wasn’t the one driving that night. Uh oh.
– The shot of both of Helen and Max on the ground post-sex made me laugh.
– Max’s hurt when he realizes Helen only slept with him because of Noah was wonderfully well earned. We’ve known for a long time that he’s always had an inferiority complex about his friend, so I’m really glad he stood up to Helen and threw her out.
– I love the fact that Vik was reading the book written by Helen’s dad. Say what you will about the guy, at least he’s trying!
– Juliette wants kinky bondage sex inspired from Descent and Noah refuses: that must hurt the ego!
– Wanna place bets that Gunther’s gun shop is going to come into play at some point this season?
– Noah’s wound made me cringe. Yuck!
– Noah gives Martin the suicide note he wrote for his mom when he helped her kill herself. Ouch.
Helen: I knew he was grieving, Nina. It’s one of the things that drew me to him. I’m a caretaker. That’s my archetype.
Nina: Helen, okay, look, I know you thought you found a diamond in the rough that you were just gonna polish and shape and place on your dainty fingers and…
Helen: What? What?
Nina: You know, like he was some lost deer, and somehow you rescued him from obscurity and transplanted him into your… your little fancy life. Let me tell you what actually was going on. Noah was using you. He was using you to get the fuck away from us, and he knew the fastest way to do that was to marry some control-freak rich girl.
It’s got great individual moments, but I kind of wanted more. This felt strangely unsatisfying.