The Affair Season 1 Episode 8 recap

Do you see how he’s still doing it, still now? Noah and his hedgehog-y weird hair get Alison to the hospital in time to say goodbye to her grandmother and help her be the support she needs to be. In his version.

In her version, he’s there for her and even though she may not have the same words and the same moments with her grandmother, he cuts to the heart of the matter.   That she can’t bring her son back by keeping her grandmother here. He gets very real about it in a gentle way.

In both versions, it’s what she needs to hear.   

So it’s interesting that what he needs to hear never comes. I didn’t believe him when he said “I love you”, if ‘he’ even said it at all. It seems much more likely a thing for Alison to remember, so that she could think of the dichotomy between ‘loving’ him and going into the big house where she doesn’t fit, quite – even though it seems like they’ve given her nothing but love, even if nobody knows what that’s supposed to look like.

Noah knows exactly what everything is supposed to look like. He’s supposed to be the “cool teach” (in another version of this story he would be the awesome-but-ultimately pervy Adam Scott as Mr. Rooks in Veronica Mars, inspiring knowledge and sleeping with teenagers), give his wife expensive baubles, follow in the footsteps of his father-in-law and be an amazing writer (and, it’s underwritten, an asshole just like him).  

But darnn it if Noah just can’t, if all the obligations of the world are just too much.  Sure, not one but two of his kids is in a serious situation (and I didn’t imagine the laugh I heard when the crisis was revealed to be ‘a B-minus’), but he just really wants to feel bad for his mistake, and be forgiven, and be loved! Can’t you be nice to him? Why not? Be nice to him!

If’ I’m being callous, Noah’s a manchild with a wife who, yes, is sort of very reasonably insufferable (the line about Stacey’s clothes to the drycleaner would have landed more if we remembered who Stacey is), and whose writing probably isn’t great. He’s a little boy who just wants to be patted on the head.

Alison on the other hand is a cold fish who can’t actually emote or connect with anyone. Am I wrong on this front? The scenes with her mother are a relief because you can actually see her reacting appropriately to someone who doesn’t respect her emotionally.  

“It’s a very hard thing to lose a mother”.  

Still, it tells us everything about where she is in her journey. We’re now in the winter-after-the-affair but maybe another year ahead in the investigation-world – remember that short-hair Allison already has a son in that instance,  so if he isn’t adopted, that means it has to be at least a year from the negative pregnancy test she just took.

I’m always less interested in these two than I am in each of them, and looking at the relationships they’re avoiding being in. Helen is not an easy woman, Cole is more compelling by the day (and what’s with his mother leaving the bath on?   Alzheimer’s or strategy?) and the worlds they come from are much more interesting than the banal affair, which of course this show knows, and it’s why it’s so good.