The Affair Season 2 Episode 3 recap
I snarked on Twitter early in the episode that Noah is terrible even in his own memory. I was amused by myself actually. But then I realized that it’s true. That he’s actually nicer in Alison’s memory than in his own. Actually, so is Whitney. I know that’s because she’s a manipulative teenager you can’t trust no matter what, but I almost wonder if it’s less about the changing nature of memory than it is about the unchanging nature of Alison.
That is, the word ‘mistake’, as in ‘are we making a huge one, oh please someone talk about the huge mistake we’re making’, comes up a lot tonight. Alison knows very well that she’s doing the wrong, wrong, wrong thing. But it seems to me that if she remembers the people close to her as basically good people, then she doesn’t have to confront the terrible mistakes she walked into.
We all do this, of course. We all think we’re making the best decisions we can with the information we have. Except maybe for Noah. I’ve made no secret of the fact that he makes me crazy, but I can’t shake how terribly he represents himself in all of ‘his’ memories.
You know who thinks that poorly of themselves? Writers.
By contrast, look at this tweet from Julia Goldani Telles, who plays Whitney, about Whitney:
She has fear & drive in equal amounts-- but she somehow finds ways for her drive to outweigh her fear. https://t.co/13G7NCAxnQ— Julia Goldani Telles (@JuliaGTelles) October 19, 2015
Isn’t that incredible? How much of that is due to being Whitney, and how much is due to being seventeen? How much of it can she hang onto?
Also, marriage is everywhere this episode. Cole got remarried (!), and the prospect of Alison and Noah getting married again, which we know they do, causes us to hear lots about couples and how they get together, what you should expect from a marriage and what you can’t. Through both stories though, the tension between Yvonne and her husband next door is palpable – after all, even in the ‘good’ version he’s not allowed in her private sanctioned study. So, are we meant to think that this is one particular couple? Or is this how Alison thinks all marriages wind up, if they last that long? If she’d bothered to stick it out with Cole?
Other stray thoughts – could Noah get over his damn self already? You’ve written one, out-of-print, far-behind-you book. Do you know everything? You do not. Just take the editor’s advice. I have to assume that part of the reason we keep hearing about this is because of what Toby Ziegler – I mean, high priced lawyer Gottlief – lets us know, that part of the reason Montauk hates him is because of something in the book. Otherwise, why keep this going so long?
Other questions: Is Alison really going to ‘help him with his physical therapy’? Yuck, even if she didn’t think she saw him where she obviously saw him. Way to overpromise your employees, Yvonne (related: really enjoying Yvonne).
Oh. We heard about Oscar again or the first time all season. Remember he had it in for Noah, too? Is that coming up again?
Attached - pictures of the cast at PaleyFest last week. On the one hand, the showrunner looks young and gorgeous enough to be one of them. On the other hand, the fact that Maura Tierney can barely be bothered to smile makes me love her all the more.