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Well here we (belatedly—yay vacation!) are; the truth is out and the circumstances of Scottie’s death are revealed. To us anyway. We now know that Alison and Noah had a fight, that separated them for the evening—though the exact circumstances of that fight are divergent. Noah ended up drunkenly reconnecting and reappreciating ex-wife Helen, while despondent Alison went for a walk and happened upon (very) drunk Scottie. After he attacks her, she pushes him away…directly into the car being driven by a tipsy and distracted Helen.
We see Noah stumble from the car twice, once from his perspective, and once from Allie’s. It seems that he is the only one who really understands the full scope of the situation, how these two women he loves are both implicated in this deception, and he can’t bear to throw either to the wolves. (Though to be fair, it’s unclear how much of his night with Helen he’s shared with Alison in the days since the accident). It’s a fairly good twist, honestly; Noah has spent almost all of the show being one of the few characters who seems irredeemable. Knowing that so much of the present day fuckery stems from his guilt over his actions helps humanize him somewhat, even if it can’t quite bridge the gap between the simple fact that either of these women are too good for him and his ego.
Though the accident itself isn’t much of a revelation, the show does manage to use it as a way to dwarf all the other problems these characters were dealing with; seeing both Alison and Noah have their moment of redemption with their exes on the beach was quietly beautiful in their own ways, but blood of the murdered is thicker than water.
From here, it seems pretty clear why and how Alison and Noah are able to reconcile their differences and come together in the future. Their “alibi dance” seemed a bit weak to me, but I can see how once the shock wears off they’ve gotten to where they are in the future. Though only a few hours have passed since Alison told Noah that Joanie isn’t his (that much their accounts agree on) it may as well be years of therapy later. Noah seems to have come to terms with what it means to accept responsibility for things, whether or not that zen stays with him.
As we look forward to season 3, it’ll be interesting to see how The Affair plays around with time now that we’re largely caught up. I want to think that they’ll come up with inventive ways to keep it a part of the story telling, but honestly this show has underwhelmed me with what they’re willing to do with such a unique premise. The gimmick itself has changed the way I think about a great many pop culture artifacts, and where they posit the perspective. But the show itself seems reluctant to push the boundaries beyond wildly varying accounts of events and clothes.
- I’m still a bit in disbelief that Alison told him. Let alone at her ex-husband’s wedding. I mean, I understand getting to the point of understanding that you need to get it off your chest, but wait for the car ride home at least.
- I was really enjoying the weird modern family of Helen, her mom, and Noah all catching up over his new baby.
- Complaining aside, I did appreciate the way the show used the perspective gimmick to emphasize what each character took away from Cole and Luisa’s wedding ceremony, and why it impacted them so. It’s a bit heavy handed (as the show is wont to be), maybe, but it felt true to me.
- Congrats Cole and Luisa! Here’s hoping yours is a happy union, unlike basically everyone on this show.
- And that’s a wrap on season 2 y’all! See you in fall for the next season, and around here until then.