The Affair Recap: That Is Not Happening

Photo courtesy of Showtime.
We start this week with Helen, one year ago. This episode will jump between her POV and Alison's, setting a precedent for the season: episodes will not only jump in time, but jump in POV. We join Helen having very hot, very tantric sex with her current boyfriend and roommate, Dr. Vic. For a sense of her reality, we see her go from super-hot sex to making lunch for kids to thinking about visiting her ex-husband, who took the rap for a hit and run she committed, in a record amount of time. To call it exhausting is an understatement, but throw into the mix her overhearing a conversation where Dr. Vic may or may not be cheating on her, given that her ex left her for his affair, and, honestly, I'd rather slip into a coma than be Helen.

But for Helen, this is business as usual. We watch her go through her day as a real estate agent, bullshitting a couple into staging their apartment to reach a higher sales price and, therefore, a higher commission. She then bullshits her coworker that she doesn't know why she ever got married and that she's never been happier. We watch her visit Noah in prison, where he's got a black eye — which he all but tells her came from the creepy guard Brendan Fraser — although this week, we also get the info that the creepy guard is from Noah's hometown as a little breadcrumb towards figuring out that bizarro relationship. And while that's going down, she bullshits Noah about some missing earrings they bought together in Mexico. It's obviously a nugget that's going to become a bombshell at some future point. She has a mini-meltdown in her car after that, but it's only a hint of the meltdown that is to come, courtesy of her daughter Whitney and a misfired text from Dr. Vic.

That night, Helen goes to dinner with Dr. Vic at Whitney's new (and much older) boyfriend's place in Greenpoint. It's just bombshell after bombshell after (trying to avoid yet another) bombshell. Helen nearly spills the beans that she's the one who hit Scotty while explaining to Whitney why she shouldn't hate her dad, which is somehow intertwined into a conversation about why she shouldn't both date and work with a random older dude who is an "artist" (which means there are a million close-up shots of vaginas and breasts hanging in his apartments, photographed by him, because clichés). Oh, and she has to dance around revealing that she went to prison visiting hours, which she forgot to tell Dr. Vic. The best way to do that? By picking a fight, which Helen does by jumping on his misfired text to whomever he had lunch with. That ends in one of those yelling-in-the-streets-of-NYC fights between them, which leads to more hot sex and promises Helen absolutely won't keep. Honestly, the amount of stuff Helen is hiding from people is exhausting and clearly going to bite her in the ass before this season is over. It's only a matter of who she'll explode on — or possibly who explodes on her and cracks her into a million pieces.

Then, we shift to Alison's POV, for some she said/she said. Alison's got 99 problems, but Noah ain't one. We catch up with her upon her arrival back in Montauk after she's been in what she describes as "the institute." Apparently, she lost her mind right around the time Joanie, her daughter with Cole, turned 4 — that's the age at which her first child drowned. While she was getting help, she signed custody away to Cole and his new wife, the latter of whom clearly hates her as for the former, well...it's complicated. In season 2, we were hurtling towards a world where Alison and Cole never had to see each other again. Now, we find ourselves in the middle of their forever intertwined lives.

As for Noah, he's on the outs with Alison, but trying desperately to get back in. While we watched him reject Helen at every turn in the season premiere, what we didn't see is that he was sending a few letters a week to Alison, trying to reopen the lines of communication. Put it down to true love, because only a deep and passionate love would drive a man to try and reconcile with a woman who lied to him about whose child she was pregnant with, right? Or do those letter contain something less reconciliatory? We may never know, because Alison doesn't seem terribly interested in opening them.

Alison spends most of her time trying to negotiate for visitation with Joanie, which Cole is inclined to give her, but his wife isn't. He breaks down in the end, bringing the little girl to visit in the new house Alison is renting back in Montauk.

What's interesting here are the parallels between Helen and Alison's lives. They're both taking baby steps towards becoming someone new and better — without Noah. They could be allies, but for their shared history with the one man who stands between them.

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