Noah hasn’t learned from Bruce’s mistakes. Just like his aristocratic father-in-law, our male protagonist finds himself bewildered by temptation. His need for a little ‘me time’ is just a desire to further his iniquitous tryst with Alison.
Alison, on the other hand, succumbs to Noah’s advances whilst appearing to be on the cusp of a mental breakdown.
Their flirtation blossomed into a full blown make out sesh in episode two, though the tales of how they got there continued to differ greatly.
To Noah, Alison seemed like “the loneliest girl in the world.” Though he told the detective that he had gone out of his way to avoid her, he did little to avoid coming upon her home, looking out to see the outdoor shower where she allegedly tried seducing him, before returning home from his morning jog.
The so-called family man is sexually frustrated, and thus feels as though he is falling out of love with Helen, the one true rock in an earlier stage of his life after his mother had died and his father had developed an alcohol dependency. Last week, he was turned off by Helen’s laughter during sex. This week, his desire to be with Alison and her little black dress was only escalated by Helen’s refusal to dress provocatively at her parents’ fancy soiree.
Noah is in the research phase for book number two, a phase reinforced by Helen’s unintentionally condescending promise to Bruce’s agent that her husband’s book would be more commercial, and easier for common folk to dissect. Little does she know how emotionally complex it might very well get if Noah and Alison’s affair of the heart marches on.
Though their stories differ, one thing is vividly clear. Noah, distracted by whatever iteration of Alison is actually true, isn’t really listening to her while she speaks. In his version of the night of the party, Alison runs to the waves, asking him to join her as she heads towards the water; in Alison’s version, she had told her fellow adulterer that she couldn’t swim. This should come as no surprise to our female storyteller, though. She never thought she would see Noah again because “the summer people come, they leave, they barely even notice” Montauk’s permanent residents.
In Alison’s version of the story, she’s the anti-seductress, though her point of view is aesthetically out of focus. Her character remains frazzled by the loss of Gabriel, the son she had with Cole, and her blurred state of mind is only reinforced by her mother-in-law’s guilt trip. Cherry believes that Gabriel’s death, however it might have been caused, was a result of Alison’s unwillingness to let her help raise the child. This honest-to-God revelation appears to unhinge a deeply conflicted Alison, who says, “if [the Lockharts] knew what I was thinking, they’d be terrified of me.” She took the catering job at Bruce’s bash to avoid being home with her husband’s family, borrowing the dress that caught Noah’s eye from a fellow caterer.
Both Noah and Alison seem to regret ever getting married, and though she recalls it was he who made the first move, she acknowledges phrasing the then-current state of her marriage as “hoping she doesn’t kill him.” That’ll likely make our female lead suspect number one in the death of the man “she can’t believe is gone.” It’s unclear who that man is, or how she might have been involved in his demise, but episode two of “The Affair” makes it clear that the extent of the police investigation will depend on further details of the night of the Lockhart soiree.
Alison might not be guilty, but it’s just as likely that no one on “The Affair” is entirely innocent.