Sometimes, “The Affair” is action-packed. Sometimes. Most of the time, well, we have weeks like this, where the actors get a real chance to shine — Dominic West, in particular, is a standout — but otherwise it’s a relatively calm affair (pun not intended) and at times an underwhelming one.
This might be the shortest review of this show I’ve ever written. Not to suggest that nothing happened, of course…
Basically the centerpiece of the episode, on this side, is Noah in therapy — with special guest star Cynthia Nixon! He has a lot of stuff to talk out, including his now-official divorce and his fears over potentially cheating again. Noah confesses to a whole bunch of stuff over the course of this talk, while also revealing the topic of his next novel, one that doesn’t really involve women. But at the core of it all is whether Noah trusts himself because, really, he doesn’t.
Alison’s back in school, to pursue a medical degree, but she’s not loving college life, feeling overwhelmed by the workload. But how her classes make her feel has nothing on a surprise visit from Scotty, who first wants her help in buying the Lobster Roll, then gets angry when she says no. It’s a confrontation that goes bad fast and inspires Alison to reach out to Cole, who’s now living in Greenpoint. (A city boy! Who woulda thunk.) Alison comes home to Noah and a house full of kids, including baby Joanie, who says “Da Da” for apparently the first time. It’s a happy moment for him, but…
Meanwhile, In “Law and Order”-Ville
Last week had nothing related to Noah’s ongoing legal issues, but this week plunges us right back into it, as Noah and Alison arrive at the courthouse in the prologue, and we get to see Gottlieb’s opening statement as well. Perhaps an important tidbit: The jury is three-quarters female? The bad boy of the literary world will hopefully be able to charm them.
The Clearest Lie
Noah and Alison’s days end very differently. Noah remembers coming home to Alison and a quiet house, while Alison’s confronted by a pack of kids. Were these different days? It’s quite possible, but what really matters is that Alison isn’t telling Noah anything about her confrontation with Scotty — and that Noah hasn’t seen “Captain America.” (Such a weird lie.)
The Closest Thing to the Truth
It seems like we’re going to have to wait another week to confirm Joanie’s paternity, but we at least know that the truth is, ahem, out there. (Speaking of shows with mysterious babies: only 48 days until “The X-Files” is back, everybody!)
Shut Up, Scotty!
This is kinda by default — as nearly everyone else this week was pretty bearable — but Scotty, in his strung-out entitled state, was an unpleasant mess to behold. It’d be nice, to feel worse about him being dead, but this week that wasn’t in play.
Was It Good for Him? Was It Good for Her?
It seemed like it was good! Noah and Alison connecting at the end of the episode was a sweet moment made even sweeter by Joanie crying for her father. (Presuming, of course, that Noah is the father…)
“If that’s what being a good man is, I don’t want any part of it,” Noah remarks about his father, and his memories of him seem to justify that position. But it’s also an important reminder that Noah’s understanding of what makes a good man is shaky at best. (He’s the father of five children, let’s remember. That is, at times, a terrifying fact.)
Name the Episode!
Because the writers of “The Affair” choose not to name the episodes, we do it for them. This week, riffing off another revelation from Noah during therapy, we’ll go with “I Would Have Left Me.”