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Welcome to episode 4, where most things aren’t made up and the family doesn’t quite matter. That statement’s only really about 43 percent true, but this episode is a sort of game-changer, even if it’s got a more mellow tone to it than the previous three.
For starters, consider this affair blasting off, with Allison and Noah consummating their relationship and going away on a day trip together. Like I said last time, this show is all about laying it on thick, and the fact that they are removing and isolating themselves on an island is sort of poetic. They both seem to be on the same, albeit seemingly unspoken, page that this trip is a significant development to their relationship.
What they don’t seem to be on the same page about, is what that means. They both know that they still love their families, and will never leave them. They’re aware that though some of the appeal is in not knowing the person they’re with (or more accurately being a blank slate to them). They are both under the impression that they are being pulled together by some sort of invisible string they can’t fight. But that doesn’t mean they’re not going to feel very unsynced in how they’re approaching that moment.
It wasn’t only a way to avoid editorial redundancies, using the view switch as a pause rather than a rewind was a brilliant way to show sort of how Allison and Noah differed in their approach to sex: Noah, concerned that he was crossing a line he couldn’t uncross, that he may enjoy it even though he never wanted it to be permanent, and that he needed the validation that he was still a good guy even if he was stepping out on his wife. Allison, concerned that if she took the huge step to consummate her affair it would be the only thing that could make her feel better, feel removed from death, and also afraid that it wouldn’t do a damn thing. We go from watching Noah grapple with the uneasy excitement he feels directly to Allison’s anxious grief setting back in.
It seems odd and yet fitting, then, that the only part where they’re account noticeably differed was when they visited the sunken pirate ship look out. Noah, who remembers the discussion before the sex, remembers conversations around Peter Pan, and Allison’s childhood memories. Allison, who remembers the conversation during a break from their lovemaking, seems haunted by the wind whistling like a child crying out for his mother.
Given that Allison’s lost a kid, it makes sense that she’d be bothered, but why then would Noah remember it as Allison’s favorite place? It’s another example of just how out of sync their memories seem to be, even when they almost perfectly align. But it’s also a way of rooting these characters in the lives they can’t break out of, no matter how hard they try.