Part One: Noah
Noah is teaching a class, the topic? Romeo & Juliet. A comedy until the night of the wedding. Why did he change it up? One of his students thinks there just too happy. The adults "fuck it up." Noah agrees.
Noah meets Helen at a restaurant after work. It seems like their place, as the waiter knows them personally. Helen has news, the paper wants to feature the store on the front page of the style section. Noah happens to have a gift for Helen and gives it to her. It's a lovely necklace. What's it for? Sticking it out.
She does the worst thing I can think of – asks him to return it. He can't believe it.
At home, Noah talks to Martin about his report card. He can't hear in algebra but also won't move to the front of the class to hear better. If other kids find out he goes in for extra help, he'll get the shit kicked out of him. Noah hopes he'll stick it out at public school for one more semester.
Helen interrupts. Whitney is throwing up in the bathroom. Helen thinks she's bulimic. Helen tells Noah he shouldn't bring it up but, as soon as Whitney emerges, she asks if Whitney's bulimic.
Helen's dad is getting a lifetime achievement award and she has to go to represent the family. She thinks she has to stay home and Noah thinks she's overreacting. He lost the right to tell her that.
Noah will to to Montauk to represent the family, he says in therapy. Helen thinks it's crazy. The therapist doesn't. Then Helen tells Noah she married him because he was safe. She could have had anyone but she chose him. She knew he would never cheat and he would never leave and it was a really smart choice. Ha.
Noah shares with her again why he feels emasculated. He does nothing for the family. He wanted to make a mistake because he'd never made a single one in his life. He wants Helen to forgive him. Please.
The next scene shows Noah at his father in laws party. Alison is serving wine. Bruce comes over and asks how he did. Bruce takes Noah outside to ask, "was that her?" He can't believe Helen told him. She didn't. Through a long circle of people, it got to him.
Bruce calls Alison Noah's muse. He shares his own story of a muse from years ago. He channeled all of his disappointment from not being with the girl into his next book.
Bruce leaves and Noah hears Alison on the phone. Her grandmother had a heart attack. Noah takes her. Alison wants Noah to go into the hospital with her. It's not his place.
Noah gets back to the house to discover Bruce in his chair, moaning. He can't get out of the chair. When Bruce admits he thinks about the student in Michigan every day, Noah goes back to the hospital.
As he gets there, he thinks Alison's grandmother is about to go. He tells her to go to her and hold her. Noah leaves. It looks like he's alone until he arrives at the lighthouse, with Alison in the front seat beside him.
Det. Jeffries is heading in to listen to Noah at a book signing. As Noah starts to read, he's describing the boat Jeffries photographed earlier that is on road leading to The End.
Part Two: Alison
Alison and Cherry are cooking dinner. They're getting the house ready to sell, and it's the holidays.
Cole wants to sell the house knowing it will stand, not to someone who will tear it down. As they're arguing about when it will go on the market, they notice the ceiling. Cherry left the bath running. Cole wants to take her to see a doctor for early onset Alzheimer's but Alison thinks she's trying to delay the sale of the ranch.
In bed, Cole and Alison talk about what he should do with his share of the money. He wants to burn it for fuel, but she wants him to buy something he's always wanted. He has everything he's always wanted, right here. They make love.
Alison takes a pregnancy test; it's negative.
Alison gets a call when she makes breakfast from Athena. Gram's had a heart attack and is in the ICU. She tells Cole to stay home and wait for the appraiser.
At the hospital Athena has a friend, Dennis, with her who is happy to be in the same room with such a powerful lineage of women. Huh? Alison wants to know how Grams is, but Athena wants her to consent to a DNR so they can respect what is happening and make this part of Grams' journey peaceful.
At home, Cole is on the line with the appraiser. He needs to produce receipts of all the repairs to show they've been done. Alison tells him about the DNR. He's not nearly as concerned as he should be. He tells her not to do it and sits down to talk about the appraiser and comps.
Alison asks if he can drop her at Gordon Hall later for a catering job. Only at the event does she learn it's for Bruce Butler. She asks to go home. They're understaffed and she agrees to work coat check so she doesn't have to move around much.
From the check stand, she sees Noah. She's not wearing a black strappy dress as in Noah's memory, but a black short sleeved blouse. He walks over, calls her a trailer for reading Bruce's book. They go out on the roof to smoke a cigarette, which Alison claims she hasn't done since this summer.
Noah tells Alison she looks beautiful. She replies that things have been really good between her and Cole lately, that they're trying to get pregnant. They agree it's wonderful.
Alison gets a call and Noah takes her to the hospital. He offers to stay to take her home later. She says no and tells him to take care. While she's arguing with her mother over the DNR, Noah comes into the hospital, the cavalry, as Athena calls him.
Noah tells Alison letting her grandmother go is an act of compassion. It feels like hell, but it's an act of compassion. In the next scene, Alison is sitting next to her grandmother's empty bed. Athena isn't even staying for the funeral. The pathways are too muddled and she needs to be somewhere she feels supported to start to heal. It's such an archetypal wound to lose her mother, she says. Alison agrees.
As Alison is leaving, she finds Noah still sitting on the stairs, waiting.
Noah takes her home. Before she gets out of the car, Noah tells her he loves her. Alison says she loves him too and gets out. Everyone at the house is playing poker. They're laughing and having a good time. She sneaks upstairs.
When Scotty found the toy box earlier, Cherry asked him to take it to her room. It belonged to Gabriel. Alison sits down with the box and remembers. There is a photo in the box of Cole and Gabriel. It makes Alison smile as she sits, surrounded by the toys.
Det. Jeffries attends the memorial service for Scot. The service had been delayed. Alison is at the service, but she's not sitting with the family. She has the new haircut.
Jeffries looks at the Labor Day reservations for The End again, this time under cancellations. It was cancelled at 2pm that day. Jeffries says he got into a fender bender and asks for a name. He drives off.