Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Episode 5

I've got nothing else to do but just be the wave that I am and then sink back into the ocean.

I listened to the words of the theme song for the first time tonight. A wave forms, crests, causes trouble, sometimes takes life and then it collapses into nothing, as if was never there, after having changed everything. In a way, this is good news to me, because I'm hopeful that whatever the outcome for the Lockhart marriage that Noah and Alison as a pair will wreak havoc, then melt away and become nothing.

Did a wave come and take Gabriel? I still think that Cole will have a surfing accident, before all is said and done.

Alison: Part One

I had just been wondering if the sequence of POV presented would change. I figured that after half the shows had aired, then Alison would go first, but her version starts the fifth episode. I predict that she will start episodes 4-8 and then the 9th episode might be an objective point of view.

As with last week, the story is less compelling when Noah and Alison are alternating and taking consecutive turns telling the story, than when they are giving us two different version of the exact same events. I realize that the writers feel Rashomon gets repetitive after a while and impedes plot progession. Yet, the domestic tale is a familiar and mundane one. It's the storytelling gimmick that spiced things up. If the writers think they've gotten to the point where the soap opera can intrigue all by itself, they're wrong. This isn't the Lifetime channel.

Alison's tale starts with her in bed. A man comes up behind her, wearing a wedding band and I’m relieved that it’s Cole. For a second. He asks her if she wants to come and watch him surf [I still think he’ll have a surfing accident, before the season is over]. She says she didn’t get any sleep last night and wants to catch up. He asks why she didn’t sleep and she doesn’t answer.

He kisses her goodbye and says, “OK, Stinko.” She answers, “You’re Stinko,” good naturedly. As soon as he is out the door, she jumps up and puts on a dress. He returns and is puzzled to see her out of bed. She looks awkward but says nothing. He says, “I forgot my wax.” He retrieves it from the dresser. His brow is furrowed. You think he might say something angry or accusatory, but he only mutters, “I love you in that dress,” his voice thick. She still says nothing, face guilty.

I had just said last week that, uncharacteristically, even though she was cheating on my beloved, I didn’t want him to find out and dump him hard. I still wanted the two kids to work it out. Well, all of that changed. The minute he didn’t challenge her, but just soaked in the hurt and she didn’t repent, I began to want him out of that relationship.

He’s flawed and frustrating, to be sure, but she should leave him. To stay and cheat is bad enough, but to stay and lie repeatedly is worse. Walking out is a single injury, lying every day is a thousand deaths. Many pinpricks vs. one stab. If she EVER loved him, she wouldn’t do that. It doesn’t matter what he’s done and what they’ve lost or who fault it is. She doesn’t have to love him now, but if she loved him once, she wouldn’t lie and sneak and make many breaks, where one would suffice.

And it doesn't help that the "dress" comment reminds me of Peter Bishop complimenting Olivia in her evening gown.

Back to the Affair, I don't know how soon after the last episode that this one is. I hope it's not the next morning. It was interesting to me that Alison was sleeping on Cole's side of the bed, clutching his pillow. Assuming that that wasn't where Noah lay when she had him over at her house, her being on Cole's side -- literally -- is an intimate marital gesture.

To destroy that fantasy, I hate it that Alison really has never displayed guilt. She’s hesitated, but her face has never really been suffused with guilt, shame or regret. The closest she came was standing in that closet, in the nondescript shift that he said he loved. But as soon as he was gone, she hopped on her bike and ran to a house. She hurriedly dusted, preparing for Noah. He gets there and they claw each other’s clothes off.

She says the home belongs to her friend Phoebe. She’s a folk singer and travels around the country. Noah asks if she ever thinks of leaving. In the preview, I thought the question was if she ever thought of leaving Cole, but Noah is asking if she ever thought of leaving Montauk. She says yes. She wanted to become a doctor. A doctor, he questions, but not as if he thinks she’s not capable of it. He respects her more now than he did in the beginning.

She says they didn’t have the money. Her boards weren’t high enough for a scholarship. He knows what that’s like. She turns away. He says, “You think I’m rich don’t you?” “What?” Doesn’t she? She admits that she does. I don’t know why. He said his in-laws were rich and when he did it was as if their wealth was foreign to them. He doesn’t strike me as particularly cultured and he already told her he married his wife because she was artsy, rich and beautiful and he wanted to be those things, so I don’t know why Alison assumed his status. He says his family was hard working. His mother was a waitress. A waitress? She questions. Yep. He went to school on a swim scholarship. Well …. I guess that’s why we have to constantly see him swimming.
She gets a call from the nursing home. Her mother is there, trying to take her grandmother off of her medication. She dresses hurriedly. Noah asks to see her again and she says she has to work, but maybe at 5:30 when she gets off. He says he’ll take it.
At the nursing home, everyone greets her, tells her she looks good. Oh, love has turned her into a new woman? Gag.

She sees her mother in a corridor. New Age woman. New and Aging woman, in flowing garb. Maybe they’re striving for Shirley MacLainesque She says the grandmother is on too much medication and doesn’t recognize her. Alison said she was fine when Alison was there last week. “You only come once a week?” Alison says she needs the medication, because when she’s not on it, she realizes that she’s losing her mind and it terrifies her.

When she goes into the grandmother’s room, the grandmother recognizes her instantly, but not the mother, Athena. Grandma says she used to have a daughter named Shelly who was a nurse. Athena says she’s Shelly and changed her name and she’s not a nurse, but a healer. Alison soothes the old woman and says that she is the one who went to nursing school, tells her she was right. When they leave Athena says that being a proxy for Grandma may be too much for Alison and Athena should take over. Alison wonders if she is kidding.

Athena wants to spend time with her, but Alison says she is going to Cherry’s tonight and she knows Athena hates Cherry. Then, can they get together after work? They can’t because Alison has to watch the house for her friend Phoebe. As Alison gets in her car, she can’t believe that Athena is going back into the nursing home. Athena snaps, “Well, I WANT to spend time with MY mother.” Alison has to go, but tells Athena not to upset grandma any further.

Alison rushes into work and she’s late. The other waitress covers for her. Oscar wants to know what she is up to. Is she still house sitting for Phoebe. Yes, she says. This maddens me, because she is telling everyone that she is at Phoebe’s and Oscar’s intent to cause trouble is transparent. She WANTS to be discovered. Again, I’d much rather she leave Cole than make such a fool of him.

Oscar is looking for Scotty and wants her phone. Alison says she will message Scotty herself and shows Oscar the text telling Scotty that Oscar is looking for her. I thought that Oscar was always a boor, but online, people speculate that Oscar is high. Scotty might be his dealer, but Alison and Cole are smuggling too and I don’t think they’d bring drugs into Montauk and spoil the city. They want to preserve it. At least, I think Cole does and Alison always speaks with fondness of the grandfather who raised and taught her so much. For his memory, I don’t think she’d want to start running drugs in Montauk. So, I don’t know how they’re making money, but I don’t think they’re doing drugs. Who knows what Scotty is up to.

Oscar tells the other waitress she can leave and Alison wonders why, since her tables are done and the other waitress has 2 more. “Because you came in late and she covered for you. So she can leave early.” “Who told you that?” The waitress says that she didn’t say anything. Oscar laughs and says that Alison just told him herself, because he had only guessed that’s what happened until she confirmed it.

So, he’s clearly on to her and hates the Lockharts and would like nothing more than to expose her to Cole. Is that ground for caution on her part? Nope!

She rushes back to Phoebe’s to steal a few more stolen moments with Noah. He talks about the places he wants to take her, Sonoma, California. At first she tells him not to discuss that, but then she listens, as if she imagines himself in those distant cities. With him. She tells him he’s so hot (oh brother; he’s so not) and he wonders which part of him she likes best. Pulls her over his lap, swats her bottom. They’re just having a grand time. He asks if she's using some protection. She says it's a little late for that question but "of course." She asks if he has STDS and he says, current or past? I'd like her pregnancy to be with Cole, of course, but I also wish it was planned, not accidental. That won't happen. I still think she may have been pregnant in the pilot and that's why she threw up when upset over Stacey choking.

He asks if she considers herself a good person. She says no. She doesn't think anyone is a "good" or "bad" person. Everyone just does what they can in the situation.

When Noah leaves, he meets Athena in the drive. Alison clumsily introduces them. He says that he’s a friend of Phoebe’s. Athena wonders if he calls HIS mother “Mom”. He says his mother is dead, so he doesn’t really call her anything, but Athena has made her point with Alison. Who changes her name to Athena if she doesn’t want to be called that?

Noah drives off and Athena says she knows they’ve had sex. Alison denies it. Athena can tell and says that Alison has opened up her heart again since “we” lost Gabriel. She could feel Alison being shut down. Even when she’s far away, she’s still near Alison in her heart. She approves of her finding someone to open up with. I grow perplexed and depressed. She closed her heart to protect herself from pain. Did she stop loving Cole? If so, why not just leave him. Is she staying because she can’t support herself alone. Later, her mother says she always wanted the security. So, is she saying because that’s the safe choice? I guess I could buy that, if there didn’t seem to be love there and if there is, I don’t know how she can do this. I’d judge her less for cheating if they had NOT lost their son. But the tragedy should make her more sensitive, not less so.

Athena says she has changed her mind and will go to Cherry’s. At the Lockharts, the boys are removing stuff from upstairs. I think that Cherry is having the garage sale that she promised, but they had a roof leak. Cole says she thought she would get it fixed, but she says that would be $50,000. Mary Kate calculates that’s about 6000 bottles of jam. Mary Kate wants Athena's advice about feeling her energies. Athena lies her prostrate and waves a hand over her stomach. She says that Mary Kate was sexually blocked and that it's a problem for a lot of people in that region. Mary Kate undulates, says she can feel the energies flowing now. Alison looks on. She's partly disgusted, but also looks like she could be in Mary Kate's place. I thought Noah was "unblocking" her. Maybe she should have gone to a spiritualist, rather than have an affair.

Cherry says she got another offer. How much? Larger than before. It’s $30,000,000. One brother says it’s $6 million for each of them. Cole says they are not selling the ranch. Alison argues back that it’s Cherry’s decision. Cherry says that it’s her boy’s inheritance and it’s up to them. Cole says no way. His brother says, “you’re not our father”. Cole says that the brother would just blow the money. He says, maybe he’d go back to school and they yell.

Wow, I’m proud because it sounds like the Lockharts are worth as much as the Butlers. I am glad that they are rich. Of course, they have to live like paupers because Cole won’t sell. Alison couldn’t go to med school. She has to work for Oscar. Does she resent Cole for everything she’s been deprived of, because of what HE wants.

Cherry pulls Alison away and gives her her wedding ring. Says she wants her to have it. Doesn’t that make the other daughters-in-law jealous, I wonder. Cherry says that she and Cole have been so intent on being strong for each other that maybe they don’t know how to be SOFT with each other. Alison jumps, “Why has he said something?” I don’t now what she is feeling, but it’s close to making me think she might care about his pain. Or maybe she just doesn’t want Cherry to know she’s cheated and could care less about Cole, per usual. Cherry says of course Cole has said nothing, he never would, but she knows her son. Just because he acts like he doesn’t need anyone, doesn’t mean Alison shouldn’t know he DOES need her.

That’s just what I don’t want. I don’t want her to stay because of his “need.” I want her to stay because she needs or wants HIM. I don’t need Cherry to lay a guilt trip on her. I want to see Alison’s on conscience and consciousness reaffirm loyalty to Cole.

At the table, Cherry shows it to Cole. Does he recognize it. “That’s your wedding ring, isn’t it ma?” Athena scoffs. Cherry has tried to take over her daughter enough.

Cole says that it was HIS mother who was there for Alison, not Cherry. Where was she when Cherry fed Alison and held her when she couldn’t sleep and bathed her when she was still afraid to go in the water?” Of course, he yells this in front of everyone, like Alison and her feelings are not even there. Like he did at the town hall. Like he does with the tattoo. Why expose her deepest pain and weakness, to win an argument? Also, I know that he was grieving too, but why was his mother doing all of that for Alison? Where was HE? Did he hold her when she couldn’t sleep? He held her in the pilot. That’s why it’s not easy for me to see him as distancing himself from her agony, entirely, to deflect his own.

I don't know if Alison realizes this (or cares) but Noah forfeited his integrity for money. He lets in-laws he doesn't like or respect dictate large aspects of his and his children's lives, because he wants what they give him. Cole on the other hand, has let his family live in near poverty and eschewed $30 million because he wants to hold on to his heritage, his values, his view of what life should be. He has caused others to make sacrifices for his vision. It's selfish and honorable at the same time. Does he know that Oscar slept with his wife and she probably did it grudgingly, back when she was young and needed the job. If Cole is aware of this, his refusal to cash in is all the more crippling for the family that is struggling because of it. Although, I'm not sure if all of his brothers are against selling the ranch or just one. Also, if the land is worth $30 million, I can't see why they can't get a loan on it and have to live in a house that is falling down around them. Finally, if Alison married Cole for "security" as her mother later says and it was not a love match, then it serves her right that Cole didn't bestow his inheritance on her dreams. If she married him for love, that's different, then he should love her back enough to help her find fulfillment (if she's told him about her aspirations). But if she didn't love him deeply anyway, she got what she deserved.

Athena says that Cole can bully everyone else, but not her. She stayed away because Cole did not want her. Alison stands and asks where Cherry is staying. She’s going to take her home.

At the police station, she goes out and pretends to take a smoke, but she is really on the phone asking someone where they are, while she’s at the police station being interrogated. I wonder if she’s talking to Cole. I don’t want it to be Noah on the other end, but I want her and Cole to be in a better place by the finale, not still blaming each other and screaming as they do in flashbacks.

In the interrogation room, the detective thanks her and says she’s free to go. “you’re through with me?” She is surprised. He says yes, but he asks if she saw Scotty at the wedding. Of course. Was he acting strange. No, he was acting like himself. Did she see him leave. No, they left first and went back to the city. They confirm in this episode that Scotty is the one killed, but I guessed that a few weeks back.

As Alison is driving Athena home, Athena says Alison never should have chosen Cole over her. Alison says that Athena left. Athena says she would have taken Alison with her. But Alison chose to stay. She got married too young, because she always wanted security. Now, she’s older and she’s changed into a different person and perhaps she realizes that there is no such thing as security. Alison drives, staring straight ahead.

Noah: Part Two

Noah is at the Butler home and doesn’t see Whitney. He goes up and tells Helen that Whitney is missing, but she says she’s sleeping over at Ruby’s. Noah says he is anti-Ruby. He says he’s going for a run, but Helen wants him to bring back bagels. He is perturbed. She says that he can run with bagels. They’ll help build his biceps. He angrily leaves.

Downstairs Trevor wants to run with him and keeps asking until Noah yells at him, says he wants alone time and then apologizes.
When Noah gets to Phoebe’s, Alison is delighted to see him and practically skips to the door, but is not happy that he is rushing things and ripping her clothes off. He says he told them he was off getting bagels. She says that’s not enough time and he should call back and say that he’s waiting for a fresh batch of Helen’s favorite bagel to be made. He says that’s poppy. Alison says she doesn’t want the details, really and tells him to text Helen. Noah is exasperated, does she want this or doesn’t she? He wants to know. She makes him call home and then he gets texts back from Helen and he tells Alison that it’s her fault. They try to tango, but he gets a text about Whitney. He doesn’t know what the emergency is, but he has to leave.

He gets a flat, calls Triple A and runs into Oscar. Oscar says he’ll stay and keep him company, so he doesn’t look like a douche and asks questions about where he is coming from.

Back at the house, Noah learns that Whitney was bullying a girl online and the girl tried to commit suicide. He and Helen are upset, but the Butlers don’t want Whitney to admit anything. People will try to sue her to get Bruce’s money. Noah, explodes that all they care about is money. Butler says that they can stop paying for Noah’s house and private schools for his kids. Whitney begs her grandpa not to cut off the money. Bruce says they need a lawyer. Noah erupts.

Helen takes Noah outside and tells him to calm down. She’s his wife and should stand up to her parents with him. She says they don’t have to get Bruce’s lawyer, but they should see one. It’s more important to teach Whitney right from wrong than to worry about being sued Noah says. Helen says that she wants Whitney to apologize too, but maybe not in writing … NOW does he agree to get Whitney a therapist like Helen wanted? Well, Helen doesn’t even know about the fake suicide Martin attempted. She has two kids that need mental help. Again I wonder if this points to a genetic flaw on Noah’s side.

Helen says they should leave town tomorrow to take Whitney home. Suddenly, Noah backs off, has less of a sense of urgency. He doesn’t think they should leave. There are therapists here. He says he’s going to take Whitney to apologize to the girl she bullied. Whitney at first admits nothing, then says Ruby did the bullying on Whitney’s account. Noah says that makes her stupid as well as insensitive. Whitney then asks if Noah thinks she’s a bad person. He says she did a bad thing. If she keeps doing bad things, will she be a bad person? [she sounds like she’s done other things wrong, that we don’t know about]. He doesn’t say she’d be a bad person, but he does say she’d be an AH. She cries and says she doesn’t want to be one. He says that you can't do bad things just because you're angry or bored, when they can have longterm consequences for others. Of course, the lecture he is giving her about doing bad things applies totally to himself. But I don’t really long for him to run back to Alison and break off the affair, because I would like HER to be the one to do that. If he's lashing out because he's angry or bored, what motivates Alison. She has said she's angry. She hasn't said bored, but her life isn't where she hoped and she doesn't even have the freedom to pursue her dreams and fail at them (like Noah's novel), because of their money problems. Her husband is sitting on millions while she's suffering. I guess this explains why she wasn't totally on Cole's side when it came to Oscar's bowling alley plans and she is not outraged by the building going on next door to them. She thinks he's crippling them by holding onto his dream to preserve Montauk.

Yet, she minds the invasion from outsiders too. I'd like to know where she stands regarding Montauk and the small town mentality holding her back. Yet, I mind the introduction of Athena just to make observations about Alison that the script can't reveal in more subtle ways.

And I want Cole to dump her and for her to beg his forgiveness, out of love and not pity or the need for “security.”
He takes Whitney back home and tells Helen she did a good job apologizing. Oscar comes and says that Noah lost his AAA card at Ditch Plains. He sees that Noah wants him to leave and decides to cause trouble. Asks if Helen remembers him from when they grew up there. Wants to go in and say hi to Bruce and Margaret. Noah pushes him out the door. They get into a tussle. Oscar calls him a douche.

Later, Helen says she found a therapist that will see Whitney there. Helen is testing out a new natural deodorant that doesn’t work. She changes her shirt. The therapist told her they need to spend more time with the girl. Maybe she will close her store. Is she kidding, Noah asks. She loves the store. Then maybe he can take off a semester from school. He can stay at home and write and watch the kids.

It’s summer time. He can’t take the semester off in September on such short notice. How will they pay their bills. They will get money from her parents. They’ve already taken so much, he exclaims. So, what does it matter how much they take. It will all be hers some day anyway. And Noah needs to write anyway. He’ll never be successful writing one novel every ten years. He is stunned. So, he’s not a success, just because he hasn’t sold a million books. She says that’s not what she meant.

She ends up asking him why he was in Ditch Plains today, when he was supposed to be running in the neighborhood. Why was he far away with his car? He says because he had to get her bagels, because he has to get her everything she wants the minute she wants it. She curses him out and he curses her back.

In the interrogation room he says, “So, I had a fight with my wife. Do you really need to hear that?” The detective says no, it reminds him too much of the fights he used to have with his wife. Noah says that Oscar has a violent temper and that he really thinks Oscar should be looked at as a suspect. The detective tells Noah he is free to go and thanks him for his help.

Back in the past, Noah shows up at Alison’s door looking regretful and she asks what’s wrong. I think he’s going to say they can’t do this anymore, but we cut to them on the bed having sex. I resent that it’s the same position she was in with Cole in the pilot. While she didn’t always face Cole, she and Noah are breathing into each other’s open mouths as they grind. Mid-thrust, he asks if she wants to run away with him. They pause. She says yes, yes.

I assume they both know that that’s impossible and never really considered leaving together. We know what his responsibilities are, but what are hers? What keeps her tied to Montauk now that her son is gone? I’d like to hear her voice her reasons for staying and don’t want to hear that it’s obligation or gratitude to Cherry. I want to know that she didn’t just marry Cole to find security. The marriage may be in shards now, but I’d like to think it was once whole and that she felt the same affection for him that I heard in his husky voice: “I love you in that dress.”

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