We’ve jumped forward in time, four months, there is snow on the ground and Noah is teaching a lesson about Romeo and Juliet. His comment how “pure love cannot sustain in an imperfect world” keeps hitting hard. There is so much truth in that one line. Pure love? Is there such a thing as that? Pure love might lend to the idea of a perfect love and nothing can be perfect in a world where there is betrayal, heartbreak, tears. The Affair is Romeo and Juliet in a general sense. Innocence cannot survive in a world with so much betrayal. Allison and Cole, for example, mourn the ultimate loss of innocence. They mourn the loss of a child. The extreme, brutal loss of innocence.
The first half of this story is Noah’s, so let’s focus on Noah and Helen. Noah and Helen appear to have mended their family, from an outside perspective but when Helen turns down Noah’s “thanks for sticking it out” gift, maybe things aren’t as mended, maybe she hasn’t quite fully stuck it out. Life at home is not quite as harmonious, Martin is not liking school and wants to transfer to private school and Helen is convinced Whitney is bulimic and goes as far as to ask her that. The family is fractured and I adore Maura Tierney in this role, her anger is subtle and yet you can feel it through the screen when she tells Noah that they used to be a team but now “they’re just two idiots that don’t know how to handle anything.” The couples therapy sessions reveals that Helen still does not trust Noah even though Noah is ready to move on and is ready to be forgiven, but when Noah offers to go to Montauk for the weekend to go to Bruce’s Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony so Helen can take care of stuff at home, Helen does not believe Noah when he says he won’t see Allison. He tries to convince it her nothing will happen. There’s a revelation in this scene, the reason Helen married Noah was because she thought he was safe but it seems now she doesn’t feel that. She had hoped for a nice life but now that life no longer exists, the safety is gone.
Of course, Noah and Allison’s paths cross again at the Lifetime Achievement dinner and Noah takes Allison to the hospital to visit her dying grandmother. An inconsistency occurs in Noah’s story when Allison informs him that she has not told her husband about him, which of course, the viewer knows to be untrue. Inconsistency is a theme of this story, the narratives, the finding of the truth. The Affair requires you listen as the fights are never explosive. Noah’s side ends with Allison asleep in his car as they sit in his car by the light house and a time jump to Noah giving a reading about his best selling book, Descent, which is about to be turned into a major motion picture.
For Allison’s side of the story, it begins with the cooking of Christmas dinner. Everything seems happier in this version. Allison and Cole’s marriage is seemingly a lot back on track. They actually seem to be on better terms than they did at the beginning of the series as the couple is trying to conceive, trying to bring back innocence.
When Allison and Noah cross paths at the dinner, the inconsistencies between both of their stories becomes even more glaring. In Noah’s version, Allison is dressed in a skimpy black dress and pours him water. In her’s, she’s dressed down in black pants and black shirt and is working coat check. Noah flirts with Allison in her version and in his version, she flirts with him. There are always truths though in the story. Noah gives Allison a ride to the hospital but in her version, she turns down his offer to join her although he does eventually join her but there is no light house scene in her version, but when he drops her off, Noah tells her that she loves her.
Stories are always told from three points of view and the true mystery is finding that third point of view because somewhere in that third point of view, is the truth. There is a time jump in Allison’s story as well, the final scene in her story is the funeral of Scott. The detective appears at both the book signing and the funeral and it seems we are getting closer and closer to finding exactly what that is.