So…it seems a little silly for us to still be doing this whole differing narrative thing, doesn’t it? At the end of the first season of The Affair, we learn that in present day Alison and Noah are living together in a NYC apartment that only an author that has dinners with super famous actors could afford. They seem happy, things seem normal, and most importantly they are both still alive. So. Why then is it even necessary for the nine previous episodes to have such drastic differences in Noah and Alison’s memories? It doesn’t appear either of them is setting the other one up, it doesn’t seem like they were being questioned for two different crimes, and one would even assume they would have wanted to at least try and get their stories straight before being questioned by the cops.
If the entire structure of this season was established because “sometimes people remember things differently” and that’s literally it, color me disappointed.
And if we’re still honestly saying that the first half of this episode is honestly how Noah remembers things, then the first ten minutes were the equivalent of watching Noah jerk himself off. How has his life been since he separated from Helen? Um, the answer is sex-filled and awesome. In a cool little call-back to episode one, we open on Noah swimming in a New York pool. He runs into the same woman he ran into in the premiere, and no names are needed when it comes to the great Noah Solloway, because these two are gonna’ get it on (we eventually find out her name is Jules. Jules and her unnamed fiance for Affair season two, please).
With this encounter at the pool we cue up a SEX MONTAGE, that on a scale of one to Sons of Anarchy was about half a Wedding Crashers. Eventually Noah’s reign of sexiness comes to a close after he gets caught having relations in his classroom. His punishment is to sit in the world’s most boring room every day next to friendly David Foster Wallace fans. But even the tedium of this punishment won’t stop Noah Solloway because, that’s right Affair fans, we get our second montage in ten minutes that highlights Noah finishing his second novel.
He brings his manuscript to the editor that Bruce Butler has basically handed to him, and it is so good and worth so much money, you guys. “Not everyone has a wife as hot as yours,” the editor mentions offhandedly, in case you weren’t sure what the general theme of all this was yet.
Man, something has to go wrong for Noah here. He goes to talk to Helen, so that’s hopeful. Turns out Helen’s mother hired a private investigator, who in turn kept a record of every step of Noah’s sex montage. I wonder if the private detective chose to play It’s My Life by The Animals over it, too. Solid choice.
Anywho, just as I was thinking Noah was about to hit some sort of setback, any sort of setback, turns out Helen desperately needs him back in her life. After an affair, part of which happened on the bed they’re standing next to, and video evidence that Noah has genuinely not given a fuck since leaving, Helen still wants Noah back. If you were wondering if I take careful, in-depth, real-time notes as I watch these shows, I actually wrote out “Yeah, get him good Helen wait no Helen no.”
Whitney is not a fan of her father just waltzing back into her life, telling her which men 20 years her senior are and aren’t allowed to get her pregnant. She runs away to, of all places, the Lockhart ranch. Alison, sweet ever-helpful Alison, texts Noah to let him know Whitney is there. Noah and Helen go to retrieve her and Helen is dead-set on pressing statutory rape charges and she doesn’t care how many cattle ranches you’ve lost in the past week, thank you very much. The whole thing is genuinely uncomfortable, especially when Helen yells at Alison to “stop staring at him.” Him is Noah, by the way. Everyone is always staring at Noah. He’s pretty great.
Just as you think the Solloways are going to leave with no problems, turns out Scottie was there the whole time. Noah, king of impulse control, starts beating the shit out of Scottie. How could this get any worse? Cole pops out of nowhere, and he’s got a gun. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t blow your fucking brains our right now because I can’t think of one,” he growls through his beard.
Cole, um, because murder…is…illegal? I know this is the season finale and #drama must be amped up, but even then Commando Cole seemed random.
Let’s pop over to Alison’s point of view, shall we? Remember how everyone loved Noah in his half of the episode? Well, everyone really really hates Alison. Well maybe her friend Phoebe doesn’t, but Alison used Phoebe’s house as an adultery den so Phoebe should hate Alison. The wife of that one Lockhart brother whose name I can never remember (Benny? Ron? Mail…Kimp?) gives Alison some pretty hefty shade for leaving her entire family behind. Cole himself really, really isn’t a fan of Alison, and that one is pretty understandable. The scene when Alison and Cole both lay blame on the other for the death of Gabriel was some heavy stuff.
“I’m gonna go surfing, and when I come back to this house I want you out of here and I never want to see you again,” Cole says, marking history’s angriest sentence that began with the words “I’m gonna go surfing.”
But Cole does have to see Alison again, because Whitney’s 17-year-old and pregnant self shows up, and Helen and Noah follow. When Alison remembers this encounter, there’s some key differences. Cherry Lockhart isn’t present. Helen is much, much more of a rampaging bitch. And Cole doesn’t pull out a gun to defend his brother, Cole pulls out a gun because Cole has been pushed to the edge. After a couple minutes of some solid gun-brandishing, Cole cools down and heads out without incident. When the dust settles Noah — possibly because he truly loves Alison, possibly because he’s a big fat idiot — decides to stay behind with Alison with what appears to be the official choice between his wife and his mistress.
Back in the present day, Noah fucked up.
Remember that AAA tow truck guy that I SAID would be important all the way back in episode five? Well, he’s back and he’s a key part of Detective Jeffries’ murder investigation. Noah, thinking he’s real slick, offers the dude $20,000 to tell the detective he knows nothing. Swerve the tow truck guy is wearing a wire under orders of the detective. To recap, the detective has 1) audio of Noah attempting to bribe a witness 2) video of Noah violently attacking the murder victim and 3) Noah’s balls in a vice, basically.
So as episode ten comes to a close, Detective Jeffries shows up at Noah and Alison’s swank-as-hell apartment, and officially places Noah under arrest for. Bing bam boom season one of The Affair is over. We now definitely know who the murderer is, the true version of what happened that summer on Montauk and the reason why anything on this show happened in the first place.
Just kidding, we basically still don’t know anything. The look on Noah’s face when the cops showed up was pretty funny, though.
- “Did you really sleep with my dad?…Why? he’s so old, and your husband is so hot.” Well, somebody had to say it.
- Noah totally didn’t kill Scottie. No way. There’s so much obvious evidence and foreshadowing for that to just be the answer. And if it is, the true story behind the murder better be intriguing as all hell. Worth noting: the detective does not mention the name Scottie Lockhart during the arrest.
- Want to hear my favorite Affair theory I’ve come up with for season two? Random, Outlandish The Affair Season 2 Theory of The Week: The child that Alison and Noah seem to be taking care of in present day wasn’t conceived by them, or Whitney and Scottie, or Cole and Alison, or Noah and Helen. It was conceived by Alison and…Oscar. Yup. That one night stand last episode that appeared to only be a single stop on Alison’s downward shit spiral actually resulted in Alison becoming pregnant, she just has no idea yet during the events of this episode. Like, right? Agree? Disagree?
You have probably just around a year to mull that one over and send me your favorite Affair theories before season 2. I welcome all ideas, unless your idea is that Max isn’t the best character on this show. Then your idea is wrong.