The Affair Recap: Scachs D’amor

Photo courtesy of Showtime.
The Affair brings our first look into the viewpoint of Juliette, the French professor who befriends Noah. We go back to the show's roots as it recounts the events of the third season premiere from her point of view. There are, as always, some major discrepancies from the story as Noah remembered it, including a very erotic eye-exchange during the dinner debate. Oh, and Juliette had sex with that male student that was so annoying during the dinner party. Interestingly, she remembers Audrey being absolutely in love with Noah, despite his public takedown of her in class and her never-ending assertions about consent. It's hard to say if Audrey is the typical bad-boy-loving girl or if Juliette is remembering her as a much more confident and sexual being than she is a manifestation of her own self-doubts. While Noah remembered himself as distracted and eager to leave, Juliette remembers him as self-assured, although his abrupt exit remains. Once again, the show's premise revolves around the idea that everyone wants to fuck Noah, even though he's a highly unlikable, self-centered jerk. If we could find a new conceit, that would be ideal. She clearly became obsessed with Noah at some point after meeting him, as we find her reading his erotic thriller, Descent, while she eats lunch out on the quad — but with a brown paper bag cover to obscure the title from prying eyes — and again at home where she masturbates to the text.
As for her personal life, we learn that Juliette is at this third-rate university to study a text in which she's an expert, called Scachs d'amor. We also learn that she's a mother, with an older husband who suffers from dementia. Then, something new: Juliette inexplicably goes to Noah's apartment at 2 a.m. and finds him after the stabbing. He doesn't die, but is admitted to the hospital, where we switch to his point of view. We see flashbacks to his time in jail, where we learn that the creepy guard cultivated a friendship with him based on them being from the same town. The guard, John Gunther, tells Noah he'll keep an eye out for him. He brings Noah a typewriter and paper, but seems to flip after reading his novel. (If you're keeping count, that brings the episode's total of people irrationally obsessed with Noah thanks to his erotic thriller to two — it must be one sexy book.) He becomes obsessed with a photo of Alison, taking it from Noah and seriously injuring his shoulder in the process — the injury that caused his current addiction to painkillers. So perhaps, Gunther isn't completely obsessed with Noah, but with Alison?
What we don't learn is who stabbed him in the neck. Noah wakes up with no memory of the incident, but Helen is there — forever his "in case of emergency" contact, no matter how poorly he treats her.

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