What a beautiful hour.
Grief & Giggles
Ruth Wilson is magnificent this week. She does such a wonderful job channeling all the grief and sadness related to Gabriel’s death – just watch how she tries to suppress it all during that stressful EMDR session with Ben. It’s a masterclass in acting, and we get so much insight into Alison’s psyche. The “premonition” reveal is a particularly effective moment, because it illustrates just how much guilt and blame Alison had to shoulder over the years.
As for the new romance in Alison’s life, Ben continues to be a great addition to the show’s world. I bet Ramon Rodriguez loves that he gets to play such contrasting versions of the same character. In Alison’s perspective, he’s immensely lovable and sincere; you totally buy the duo’s chemistry and how much they have in common. However, Cole’s perspective of him (which brilliantly collides the two men’s worlds together through an AA meeting) showcases someone to be wary about (he is married after all, and Alison is oblivious to that fact). We’ve gotten so caught up in seeing how The Affair showcases the characters we do know, it’s a refreshing treat to see someone else contrasted so vividly.
It’s a bit surprising to see how quickly Cole decides to go on the walkabout ten minutes after Cherry recommends it. Still, I’m very intrigued by this development, and what a coincidence that the destination is California (Helen and Noah are there too). Now we just need Alison there for the reunion!
Most impressive is Catalina Sandino as Luisa hits rock bottom this week. It’s just gut-wrenching to see her come to terms with the reality that Cole will always choose Alison over her. The depressing thing about it all is that Cole never denies it – and doesn’t even ask Alison about the hardship waiver to prevent his wife from getting deported. Not cool dude!
Bits & Flings
– The flash-forwards are still far too mysterious. But, at least we know why Cole is so suspicious of Ben.
– I like that Noah and Alison have reached a place where they can joke about Joanie’s paternity. Talk about maturity!
– Is anyone else completely fascinated by EMDR now?
– The cinematography on the boat was just stunning wasn’t it?
– It’s a small moment, but Cole sends Alison a pic of him with Joanie and it’s pretty sweet.
– They didn’t eat the food on the boat! What a waste!
– The most stunning moment of all time: Alison falling back out of the boat into the water with the biggest smile on her face in slo-motion. It’s just so beautifully filmed and strangely therapeutic to watch. Alison even sees the hands from her dreams for a moment, and ends up floating peacefully with Ben by her side (love the overhead shot).
– I’m wondering if Cole taking Bram under his wing will be an actual subplot, or if it was just a means to get his storyline to intersect with Ben’s?
– Cole claps funny. And he eats fast when he’s hungry (as Cherry notes). Isn’t it always great to see Mare Winningham back on our screens?
– During AA in Cole’s perspective, Ben says that being on the boat was very difficult for him. From Alison’s perspective, he doesn’t have a hard time at all resisting alcohol which speaks volumes as to how we only see what we want to see.
– Joshua Jackson’s reaction to Alison “going on a date” is perfectly understated.
– So Alison will indeed be heading to Milwaukee for another conference to meet up with Ben. Guess we can go ahead and get that romantic comedy greenlit.
– Luisa telling Cole he treats her like the “help” was so darn powerful.
– Did we always know that Gabriel was named after Cole’s dad? You can see his name on the postcard.
Barbs & Betrayals
Ben: You know what we should do? We should meet up all over the country in different PTSD conferences.
Ben: I kinda like this idea. It’s like a really fucked up romantic comedy.
Cole: She liked that thing you got her.
Cherry: What thing
Cole: That stretchy thing that makes a noise.
Cherry: The accordion.
Cole: Were you happy together?
Cole: The whole time?
Cherry: Well your father was a very unhappy man.
Cole: So then how could you be happy?
Cherry: I loved him so I took all of him.
Luisa: (to Cole) I love you. And for years I have been waiting for you to choose me. For you to figure out that I am stronger and kinder and more capable than she will ever be. And that I am the one worth fighting for. But you don’t and you won’t.
A thoughtful and nuanced hour with impeccable performances.