The Affair Recap: This Is Why I Love You

Photo: Phil Caruso/Showtime.
Noah (Dominic West) and Alison (Ruth Wilson) are reunited for the first time this season and it's easy to see why they were together. Their relationship has previously been obscured by carnal desire and mitigating circumstances, but with this episode, we see how much they appeal to each other on a character level. It starts with Alison's point of view, when Noah shows up in Montauk trying to reconnect. Alison insists she wants a divorce, but it's clear she doesn't really — she has to get one to get custody of Joanie. Everything about her remembrance of Noah and all of how she sees him that day is surprisingly joyful. She paints him as a carefree, colorful character who takes her skinny-dipping in a stranger's hot tub; who loves and supports her when her ex, Cole (Joshua Jackson), is making life miserable; and who takes care of her when they miss the last ferry back. Through Alison's eyes, Noah is like the perfect boyfriend we all dream of. It's a piece of redemption his character sorely needed.
Noah's story is much darker. We don't see his recollection of their day together, but rather start when Alison visits him in jail and tells him she wants a divorce. For this, Gunther (Brendan Fraser), the creepy prison guard, shows up to ask Noah who she's sleeping with now and steals the notes from the book he's working on. When Gunther doesn't like said notes, he masturbates to his stolen photo of Alison. Then, we time jump to where Alison's memories stopped that evening. Noah is telling her about helping his mother, who had multiple sclerosis, arrange an assisted suicide when he was only 18 after being left alone by his father and sister to care for her. It's amazing that the show took three seasons to reveal this information about Noah. His selfishness and outlook on life are so much clearer now that we have it. At least now, we know it's not monogamy he's got such a problem with — it's connecting on an emotional level. Alison and Noah are looking star-crossed again, which puts us back to where they were in season 1. That's cool, not frustrating at all.

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