Recap: THE AFFAIR is Rocked By a Larger Scandal

the affair

Noah doesn’t want to think of Alison as his mistress, or as Oscar so delicately puts it, “some married yuppie’s summer slut.”

Alison doesn’t want to think of herself as a drug dealer, or a concubine. For her, Noah is more than just a fling. He’s a way out of a century’s old drug smuggling business operating behind closed doors at Blue Water Taxi Dispatch.

In episode six of “The Affair,” Noah and Alison’s relationship fizzled out, and the ongoing tension between Oscar and the Lockharts was finally explained by the brothers’ shady entrepreneurship.

Alison doesn’t want out of her marriage because she isn’t in love with Cole. She wants out of her marriage because she isn’t happy about the man he has become. He refuses to sell off the ranch to make up for the $100,000 debt he and his brothers have consumed, and until he changes his mind, he and Alison can never truly recover from the strain that losing a son has put on their relationship.

The combination of seeing his heartbroken best friend, Max (Josh Stamberg, “Parenthood”), and the heartbreak of being kept in the dark by Alison, has provoked Noah to have a change of heart. Last night he went running back to Helen after weeks of running astray.

Noah was worried that Alison was just a really great dream. Unfortunately, she’s turning out to be a real nightmare, and he can’t erase their time together. He might not think that doing one bad thing makes him a bad person, but his words and actions have consequences that can hurt someone else, and I’m frightened he can’t see that.

If any of that sounds familiar, it should. It’s exactly what Noah said to Whitney after her social media snafu in last week’s installment. This week, he was asking his daughter where to buy cocaine to confirm his suspicions about Alison’s morning whereabouts. Thankfully, drugs seem to be the one thing Whitney won’t do, or so she says.

Perhaps the Soloways should be less concerned about their eldest daughter, and more concerned about their eldest son. This week, while Noah was busy reconsidering his summer tryst, his oldest son, Martin, was causing trouble for the Lockharts. After sneaking away from the Butler estate and spending the night sleeping on the floor of the Lockharts’ barn, Martin let one of the horses loose, knowing full well he was doing something he shouldn’t have. Alison, however, is less concerned about Martin’s behavior, and more concerned about the fact that Helen hadn’t noticed he was gone. She chalks it up to Helen being a snotty rich girl, but I can’t help but think it might be something more. Max stopped partying with Noah and ‘the girl in the red dress’ long before 5 A.M., and the next day, Helen was quick to take Max up on his offer to take her and the kids out for mini-golf. After an entire summer seemingly content with her lack of a sex life, Helen asked her husband if he still found her sexually desirable. Even if he hadn’t, I imagine a vulnerable, cocaine-addled Max would.

Perhaps I’m just letting my imagination get the best of me. Or perhaps anything seems possible after a show introduces a lucrative drug-smuggling business gone awry.

When Showtime renewed THE AFFAIR last week, I was partially surprised. It was never clear whether the show was an anthology series, or a show envisioned to stretch its current affair over multiple seasons. Last night, the show began to expand its reach beyond the titular tryst, making it easy to understand why Showtime brass wants to spend additional summers in Montauk.

Side notes:
• Please note: In my recap of last week’s episode, I mistakenly inferred that Detective Jeffries had asked Noah if he had ever been to a place called The Inn, which was the Block Island hotel where Noah and Alison first consummated their relationship in episode four. That was incorrect. Jeffries asked Noah about a nightclub called The End. This correction also means that Noah wasn’t incriminating himself. As far as we know, Noah hasn’t been to a place called The End, at least not yet. The only crime here is my inaccurate transcribing of Detective Jeffries’ mumbles.
• A cocaine habit explains Oscar’s erratic behavior. It also explains why Scotty keeps stopping by the Lobster Roll looking for money.
• All of this time, it was hard to side with Noah over Alison when considering their different tales. Now it’s hard to side with either of them. Alison might not like being labeled, but she’s not doing much to escape the labels she’s created for herself.

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