THE AFFAIR Recap: The Idealist and His Insider

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In Montauk, the ocean is mean, and summer people like Noah Solloway have a fantasy of what life is like for citizens like Cole and Alison Lockhart. For Cole, Montauk is a little piece of Heaven under God, and recently, it has been exposed to “people who come out here [that] think they’re in East Hampton.”

In episode three of “The Affair,” Noah and Alison have yet to wake to the realities of their relationship, and its eventual significance for both the regulars and the ‘summer people’.

Swimming is obviously not Noah’s distraction, but his current hindrance is not what stands in the way of his tale about a fisherman and a buxom waitress. The honest faced man feels compromised by a family that once fulfilled him in ways they no longer do. Of course, if this ‘city boy’ intends on keeping his family intact, he’ll have to kill his small town mistress in the end. At least that’s what the character in his book would do.

Helen last described her husband’s first book as noncommercial, and uneasy for common folk to dissect. To a person aware of Noah’s summer fling, “A Person Who Visits a Place” might read as a call for help from a man who feels trapped by his current situation. Margaret already dislikes that her daughter wed her fate to an idealist. God only knows what she would think if she knew that the “little girl who lost her boy” was his reinforcer.

We learned a lot about Alison – and by association, the ongoing feud between the Lockharts and Oscar Hodges – in this third installment. It’s a case of progress versus greed, at least in the eyes of Cole, a regular who would “fight to [his] last breath to keep Montauk local” in the wake of Oscar’s announcement to open a bowling alley/entertainment center for the summer people. This third hour showed both Noah and Alison informing Detective Jeffries of the ongoing riff, perhaps as a means of distracting from a lingering truth. Cole and his brothers may antagonize their longtime enemy, but it’s clear that they, like Noah, have a reason to fear the bearded entrepreneur. Not only has he threatened the preservation of Montauk and sexually harassed Alison, but he seems to already be catching on to his employee’s fling with the town’s latest summer person.

In Alison’s version of the day’s events, we learned that she was a former pediatric nurse who resigned after she and Cole lost Gabriel. Though she hoped to return to work, the sight of a young cancer patient spewing vomit into the hands of his equally helpless mother was enough to change her mind. Instead, she used her privilege as former staff to steal first aid supplies, which she later used to bandage an open thigh wound. It’s unclear whether she inflicted the wound upon herself, but there seemed to be a point behind zooming in, first upon the blood-stained beach rock she sat upon, and later, the cut on her upper leg.

In the present, amid the investigation, Noah is (still?) married, while Alison requests to phone her babysitter if Jeffries holds her for further questioning. It’s unclear how Helen and Cole are connected to these details, if at all, but we don’t know enough about the events of the crime at this point to assume we’ve stumbled upon answers, and that’s okay. Though the build has been slow, the mystery behind “The Affair” is its greatest merit.

Additional notes:
• Last week, Mary Kate told Alison about Scotty’s desire to have a threesome with an au pair. Surprise surprise: the au pair is none other than Noah’s teenaged daughter, Whitney.
• Alison got to the town hall meeting late, and missed Alec Baldwin. He was there defending his right to privacy. Again.
• Alison was the more forward partner in Noah’s recollection of their relationship in episodes one and two. In her version of the events detailed in episode three, she remained hesitant, but left work early to meet her fellow adulterer at a nearby library. Soon after, they were happily kissing out in the open once she got inside. Seems to me that he’s more than just a “beach stranger.” Similarly, in Noah’s version of events, he went from stopping Alison’s advances to insisting on taking charge.
• Despite Alison’s disgust in Cole for using their son’s death as a defense to preserve Montauk, Cole insists that he’s going to be buried next to his boy. (Be careful what you wish for, Pacey!)

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