Season 1 | Episode 4 | “4” | Aired Nov 3, 2014
Letting go of the past is easier said than done.
Confronted by Noah, Alison knew she could no longer keep Gabriel a secret.
In episode four of “The Affair,” the darkness she was hiding was written all over her face. The loss of her son still haunted her, and it was almost enough to ruin her getaway. What was meant to be a romantic day trip turned into a days-long bout of second guesses and regrets.
On the beach on Block Island, “if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of the little boy that died on the ship calling for his mother.” That little boy was Gabriel, and he drowned out there just two years ago. Alison hasn’t forgiven herself since.
“He was perfect,” she said. “He had these wide, green eyes, and he thought everything was funny.” In the morning, she longed for his laugh, but instead, “the house [was] so quiet.” She cuts her thighs “every once in a while ’cause it makes [her] feel better.” It’s an unhealthy means of escape, and she knows it.
Her rejection of Cole, and thus, her dejection of fidelity, is in no way a direct fault of her husband. The Angel of Gabriel tattoo on his back reinforces her sorrow; it’s an unintentional reminder of what was. It’s why she strays from Cole’s affection, and has gone running into Noah’s arms.
Alison has never cheated on Cole, but she’s “definitely not” happy. And though Noah is never going to leave his wife, that’s okay, at least for now. Alison likes the way Noah talks, and the way that he thinks. She doesn’t even care what he’s saying; she just likes listening to him. Noah, on the other hand, is attracted by Alison’s vulnerability.
Noah swears he doesn’t mean to hurt Alison, but it’s hard to see things his way, even as their stories start to align. In fact, for the very first time, “The Affair” isn’t just telling two sides of the same part of a story. Noah told us the before, while Alison told us the after. The event at the center was the consummation of their tryst. Later, he joined her in her marital bed, and staring into his eyes, she no longer felt like death. Her bed was as haunted as the beach, but Noah provided a much needed distraction. The house was still quiet, but she no longer felt alone.
Noah is a grown man who knows what he wants, but the thrill of an unwarranted lover is bound to simmer down. He’s as much of a distraction for her as she is for him, but they’re using each other to fulfill very different needs. Summer has to end sometime, and it’s hard to imagine Noah and Alison leaving it behind unscathed.