The Affair Season 1 Episode 9 recap

Ooh, an episode that starts with Alison is always a bit offbeat and her genuine smile as we open the episode tells me I’m right. This isn’t going to be a typical episode.

Oh ha, right. Look at all the levity upon us.

Basically, the first half of this episode shows us how much Alison wants to die and that she was only clinging to her affair with Noah to put off what seems like the inevitable. The only answer to all of Alison’s problems lies at the bottom of the ocean. And then she gets a reprieve.

The second half of this episode shows us that no matter what Noah chooses to do, he’s going to be dragged down into the ocean and will drown. Is there a distinction there? Maybe not, right?

This episode was hard to do. The details of Gabriel’s death were hard to hear.   Watching Mare Winningham turn on Alison brutally, but with some sort of motherly precision, was so uncomfortable. Alison, so close to committing suicide, was hard.   Cole, so hopeful that maybe if he came with her they could start again, well, maybe it’s not heartbreaking because maybe it’s all going to be fine, but we still have one episode left so I’m not banking it.

Then Noah – God, Noah – I just can’t even process who this man is. He doesn’t love Alison, which is fine I guess, except that I’m not sure he knows it. Not only doesn’t he love her,  he doesn’t know her! Think about the trigger for him for this episode – she says “I’m yours, I’m yours, I’m yours”. That’s what Noah wants – something that belongs to him and him alone, that isn’t Helen’s, or her father’s, or Max’s castoff.   Incidentally, the fact that Alison is Cole’s (and please don’t misunderstand, I hate the whole I’m-his-you’re-mine stuff, but to continue the language we’ve been working with here) doesn’t seem to bother him at all.

Not much bothers Noah. Everything bothers Alison. She’s not to blame in the whole worthless-ranch debacle but she wears it. Wears the affair, wears Gabriel’s death.  Wears her worthlessness so much that she sleeps with Oscar, who inexplicably winds up as a sympathetic character in this episode, which was a wrinkle I could have done without.

But Noah wears nothing. Not that he’s screwing up his marriage or his children.   None of it.   

This all could have been the usual kind of meditation on a theme except that we had to deal with television’s calmest pregnancy. I don’t know what happened there, exactly, except that Whitney seemed a lot like she was admitting to being high, to the point where I wondered whether she knew what ‘pregnant’ meant. Helen is…dare I say… psychotically pragmatic about the whole thing, and the show is careful to show us that while Noah is a douche, it always takes two – Helen kicks him out of the room to be alone with Whitney almost as soon as she can.   

So all his recourse is to go to Planned Parenthood to kill Scotty, if he can, then lick his wounds until he can vent his Id on Helen and run off to Alison. I mean it certainly gives more motive, doesn’t it? 

I care less about the murder mystery. I care deeply about what happens to these marriages, and Joshua Jackson’s puppy eyes. I can only imagine where we leave this next week, but I think it’s a little late in the game for the detective to start becoming the clever kind who pulls punches, don’t you?

Attached - Ruth Wilson at Broadway's opening night of Elephant Man last week.