Is everybody going crazy watching The Affair yet?
The two sides of the same story scenario can be difficult to process at times, but it's a lot of fun discovering where the two sides merge and where they take off in different directions.
There were some similar themes explored in The Affair Season 1 Episode 3 that we can hope help shape the narrative going forward.
Once again, we had the usual differences in simple things like clothing, but there was more of a separation of their stories this week, although they also interconnected where needed. It seems as though the lies are either coming easier to them or their memories are being cleared of the falsities they have been telling.
It was interesting that they both had a recollection of making love to their spouses while their spouse was sleeping and telling them not to wake up. It's easier to think about the other person that way.
So what might impact the overarching mystery behind this affair? All we can do is guess, but here are some items that came to my attention.
- When Noah was speaking with Harry about his book, Harry told Noah he had an honest face. I'm not sure that it mattered, but Noah also set an end game for his book about an affair -- the man kills the woman at the end. Murder!
- Alison was raised by her grandfather. He was a storyteller and it was difficult to know whether what he said was the truth. Another indication that they're playing with honesty here.
- Cole's brother Scotty runs into Alison with Noah at Will the fisherman's boat. There seems to be no love lost between Alison and Scotty, but he's also a witness to the early progress of the affair.
- Noah told Jeffries that the town had generations of feuds, especially between the Hodges and the Lockharts. Oscar Hodge is Alison's boss at the Lobster Roll. We know he's alive. Given the topic, it's likely the victim was a Lockhart.
- At the town hall meeting, Oscar was trying to get his plans for a bowling alley passed when Cole launched into his The Affair quote about his desire to "fight to my last breath to keep Montauk local." Has he taken it?
- Jeffries asked Alison if Cole knew she was having an affair at this point. Can we assume Jeffries cannot ask Cole the question directly?
- Jeffries asks Alison why Oscar was invited to "the wedding." Because that's what people in Montauk do; weddings, funeral, whatever, they show up, she says. Jeffries then notes, "I guess that's why you were there." So it wasn't Alison's wedding.
Seriously, there are so many tantalizing clues that I cannot wait to discover at least what the mystery is, you know? I doubt we'll learn more than that because how could you sustain another season if all answers are supplied in The Affair Season 1?
Other than that, it became a little bit easier to understand why Alison was running into the arms of Noah. She was a nurse and whatever happened to her son drove her away from pediatrics, where she worked. Her hopes of returning to work were dashed when she she wanted to be reassigned. Even being a floater would require her to work in Pediatrics, and she couldn't do it.
We also learned Alison is a cutter. People cut to deal with intense pain and emotions. I'd say having an affair is another way to temper that pain.
Alison: Do you have a secret, Detective?
Jeffries: What kind of secret?
Alison: Something you don't even want to tell yourself?
Jeffries: How would I know if I did?
Alison: I think you do. I think everybody does. Every single person in the world.
How far out of hand does the affair between Alison and Noah get? In this hour they still see things differently. She can talk herself easily into thinking that they're "just friends" and she's showing him around the village for research for his book. Their recollections of their moment on the docks were similar in that each person recalls telling the other they couldn't do it anymore. Noah's version was steamier, but in Alison's they got interrupted.
Alison also seems confused about whether she was still in love with Cole at that point in her life or not. It's difficult not to imagine loving a man who could deliver this speech:
No, it's called greed. It's the pursuit of the almighty dollar and it's going to be the downfall of all of us. My family's been in Montauk for seven generations, my wife was born her and my son is buried here. This is sacred ground to me and I don't want too much, but I want my wife, and I want my family and I want this land and I know I'm not the only one because this is our town. These are our schools, our churches, our beaches, our docks, our sunrise, our little piece of heaven under God and I am never going to leave this place because I am going to be buried right next to my boy and I will fight to my last breath to keep Montauk local.Cole
Yet all Alison seemed to hear was Cole using his son to form his argument. She was appalled that he would call up the memory of Gabriel and his body in the ground as a reason to stop progress. Alison's pain blinded her to what Cole was trying to convey and he was visibly shocked by her reaction.
It's pretty clear that Alison's secret about cutting isn't her only one, and it's probably not her most dangerous. Yet I'm alright with the secrets coming out slowly, as the storytelling is so incredibly powerful.
This is firmly my favorite episode of the series so far. Memories don't seem as absolute and we're getting a broader scope of the main characters, as well as others in their lives. I only wish I could do the series justice by way of coverage.
Let me know your thoughts. Did any of the clues listed above lead you to form any theories about the crime (or accident) at hand? What about a time frame? I look forward to hearing from you!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.