[Editor’s Note: In an attempt to best review the enticingly blended “facts” presented by each new episode of “The Affair,” Indiewire has tasked Liz Shannon Miller with analyzing Alison’s version of events, while Ben Travers will be providing perspective on Noah.]
Did the affair just end? “The Affair” still has four episodes left in its first season, but the relationship between Noah and Allison may already be over. In Episode 6, Noah met up with his BFF Max (more on the drugged-up divorcee later) for a night of boozing that Alison was secretly invited to crash. After dismissing Max, Noah stayed the night with Alison, before following her in the morning when she went the wrong way on her bike ride home.
From there, Noah uncovered how his mistress, er, concubine was helping the town “score drugs” with the help of her hubby and his brothers. This revelation lead to awkward conversations with Oscar, Scotty Lockhart, and eventually his wife, who is becoming all-the-more suspicious of her husband after Max ratted him out for “keeping the party going” long after Max went home. Luckily, sex solves all for Noah, as he desperately banged his wife into submission to close out the show.
Alison makes a pick-up at 5am, the morning after she and Noah meet at that bar that Noah lied about having ever visited last week, though her usual contact isn’t there; she delivers the package to Scotty before resuming their normal day. When Noah confronts her about seeing her at the docks, she tells him what they’ve been doing, and he lets her know that Oscar tipped off the cops; the Lockharts quickly work to hide the evidence. This turns out to be unnecessary when Oscar reveals that he faked the call to the police — instead, it’s a quick bit of blackmail on Oscar’s part to get the Lockharts behind his bowling alley plan. Oscar also takes the opportunity to let Alison know that he knows about her and Noah.
Cole and Alison have a heated argument about the possibility of moving on, which Cole just can’t fathom doing, and when Alison tells Noah that she wants a fresh start with him, he instead ends things between them. Also, Cole’s new horse gets loose, thanks to Noah’s son Martin. All in all, it’s not a good day on the Lockhart ranch.
His Biggest Lie
Noah’s biggest lie isn’t all that big, but it’s mainly because much of the episode didn’t feel like a lie. The couple’s stories lined up, for the most part, making me question only three things, two minor and one potentially major. The first, and what I’m choosing as Noah’s outright lie of the week, was when Alison forced her way into the bathroom and made out with her dreamy guy. I don’t believe Noah’s portrait of Alison as a sexually aggressive, “gah gah for No-ah” adulterer, if only because it doesn’t line up with her story or how she acts during the interviews (though, also, it doesn’t seem right considering she’s still mourning the loss of her child). The other inaccuracy was obvious: When Noah said his wife was “the best lay,” it marked a sad non-truth she nonetheless needed to hear.
Yet there was one other possibly inaccurate explanation this week: How Noah discovered the Lockhart family drug ring just doesn’t sit well with me. First, you have the random appearance of Max, Noah’s friend who likes to do coke in the back of a taxi cab. How he would know to “score drugs” from his driver, let alone snort coke right there in the parking lot, seems a bit unbelievable to begin with, but then you add on Noah literally (almost) running into the very same driver the next morning while following Alison and things become all too convenient for our male protagonist. Alison’s story matches a lot of what Noah said, but that doesn’t necessarily make it the truth. Why? Well…
His Clearest Truth
What’s notable right off the bat, regarding Episode 6 of “The Affair,” is that there’s no framing. For the first time in the series, neither Noah nor Alison are being interviewed by the detective. Both were dismissed by him last week, and thus we never got to see the present-day versions of the two in this week’s iteration. Whether that makes the story more or less reliable is still in question. They may be more open while not talking to the detective, thus leading to an honest telling of the events—this theory is substantiated by how closely the couple’s story lines up. That is, unless the two are corroborating each other’s stories to protect themselves from a much scarier truth. Without knowing who they’re talking to (if anyone), it still leaves questions as to the validity of what’s been told to us in Episode 6.
But if you need an answer, I’ll choose Noah’s drunken dance moves to Earth, Wind and Fire. He looked smooth enough, but not so smooth we wouldn’t believe a middle-aged white guy could do it—also, Dominic West only solidified his position in the Drunk Acting Hall of Fame with the post-dancing sex scene.
Her Biggest Lie
Welp, Alison might have come clean to Noah about the real nature of the “family business,” but the fact remains that the Lockhart sideline in cocaine distribution is a pretty huge thing she and the rest of her family have been lying about. Now that the full scope of the stakes involved are even bigger, it’s more clear why the events of this summer might have lead to the death of Scotty. More importantly, this reveal explains why in the flashforwards Alison is working so hard to keep certain things covered up, and why, when alone, she seems so scared.
Her Clearest Truth
It’s a sad and raw moment, when Alison tells Noah that she goes along with selling drugs because she doesn’t care what happens to her. It’s also the most honest thing she says all episode, especially when you consider that she’s also smoking at the same time. Alison’s illegal activities are just another sign of her mourning, but one with much greater repercussions than just some casual cutting.
(Also, Ben, I don’t care if Noah’s lying about what a great dancer he is. I’ll watch McNulty groove to classic funk tunes all episode long.)
Montauk Facts (Summer People Edition)
The Montauk night life is absolutely bangin’. It’s apparently not uncommon to be out until 5am when having a night out with your buddies in the quiet vacation community, a concept illustrated by Helen’s lack of surprise when her husband rolled into bed at half-past dawn. Sure, she became suspicious later when she found out Max wasn’t around for the wee hour dancing, but otherwise the practice of late night extra-happy hours seems pretty standard.
Montauk Facts (Locals Edition)
Are you a kid in search of cocaine? Tough luck. The Lockharts “have rules” about to whom they sell. Best to head to the Hamptons proper if you’re in need.
Shut Up, Max! (Him)
By all accounts and purposes, Max didn’t do anything wrong in his debut episode of “The Affair.” Well, he did snort some coke and only sorta flinch at the prospect of hitting on a married woman, but overall, he seemed like a perfectly nice, if badly hurt, friend to Noah. It’s a shame their bro-code doesn’t extend to extra-marital relations. Noah could use someone with an unbiased perspective to vent to, and Max is going through what Noah may be soon: divorce.
With that being said, shut the hell up, Max! You of all people should know not to rat out your buddies when they stay out of the house for a few extra hours. Just because your life is a mess, it doesn’t mean Noah’s has to be, too. It will be soon enough. Don’t speed up the process. (And don’t sleep with his wife when she comes calling in a few episodes!)
Shut Up, Oscar! (Her)
Oscar continues to be my second-least-favorite character on this show, and while he’ll basically have to murder a puppy on screen to make me dislike him more than Athena (ugh, Athena), his fake “nice guy” attitude and predatory obsession with Alison make him a dangerous presence on the show. Given his talent for pissing people off and stirring up dangerous situations, each week it becomes increasingly more shocking that it sounds like he’s still alive in the flashforwards.
Was It Good For Him?
Yes and yes. Noah had some good sex this episode, even if the apology sex with his wife was for the wrong reasons. His drunken, dream-like coitus with Allison wasn’t shown, but it had to be good after that much role play, foreplay and dancing. As for Helen, she asked for it, and boy did she get it. Good for her, too.
Was It Good For Her?
At the beginning, at least, things seem playful and fun between Alison and Noah. All that changes once truths start coming out, but at least for a brief time they’re having laughing sex — which can sometimes be the best sex.
Suggested Episode Titles:
His: “The Best Lay”
Hers: “Why We Do What We Do”
Ben’s Grade: B+
Liz’s Grade: B