Saturday, December 13, 2014

Episode 8

Unfortunately, this show got nominated for a Golden Globe, doubtless making the producers feel even smugger about this Harlequin romance they've cooked up.

The Rashomon point of views? The murder mystery? Both Macguffins, luring people who watched the first episodes into thinking the show was psychologically compelling, deeper than it actually is. The murder involves periphery characters who seem to have been created just to be suspects in a crime we don't care about. On the other hand, looking for murder clues helps distract me from the tedium of the relationship at the core of this trite story. It's a soap opera, but one without humor, action or adventure, so if you're, say, a General Hospital fan, this won't hold your attention. You're used to far more fun with your adultery than The Affair has to offer.

Sarah Treem continues with her condescending twitter observations, pointing out that the feedback she receives gives her insight into the minds and biases of the viewers. I'd turn that around and say that Treem's tweets give me insight into her inability to transfer her views of these people onto the screen. She tells us Noah is a good guy and people just dislike him because they're biased against weak men??? Noah isn't liked, because he isn't likable. How many men try to rationalize an affair by telling their wives, "she was in a dark place and really came at me hard." First, it makes it sound like he took advantage of someone vulnerable, if you knew they were in a "dark place." This is a guy who shouldn't be teaching young co-eds if he is turned on by susceptible younger women who needily approach him. Secondly, it disparages "the other woman" without also reassuring his wife. Sure, trash Alison if it will help Helen forgive the infidelity. Lie and say you were drunk (for 8 weeks) or she drugged you or something. But saying she was in a dark place doesn't help Helen forgive your weakness. Instead, it reveals how quick Noah is to cast blame away from himself.

THAT is what is unlikable about Noah. He is too quick to offer reasons that explain his actions. Alison, by contrast, doesn't do much in the way of explaining herself. No, the writers let her son's death stand in as the reason she does everything, which is maddening in a different way. Alison doesn't offer us lame verbal excuses, but the writers show us one of her dead son's crayons, every time she does something unsavory. It's the writers' out, "get out of ethical jail free" card which they constantly play for Alison. Noah, on the other hand, presents his own excuses.

He protects himself before anyone else and that's what makes him bad, not the affair. So, if Treem thinks he's only unliked by those protective of Helen, she's as nutty as Noah is. There are pretty of beloved philanderers out there. I just finished watching and rooting for John Ross Ewing on Dallas. Adultery is not a deal breaker, nor is villainy. What's wrong is when you have an unsympathetic character that the script thinks you should love. That's a problem. This makes Treem & Company's point of view more intriguing than either Noah or Alison's. They're drinking their own kool=aid, while this viewer is standing at a distance saying, "Wait, don't do that. This is Jonestown and that's POISON." Next on Showtime, the Jim Jones story starring Sarah Treem.


Professor Solloway is teaching Romeo and Juliet to a lethargic class. The students talk slang and are mostly black, so automatically this is some reverse To Sir With Love thing that you see so often in movies. We are supposed to infer Noah's nobility, just based on the students he teaches. These surroundings are so different from the world enjoyed by his frivolous in-laws. They tell us he's a man of substance. To me, it just makes him even more obnoxious.

At his urging, a student points out that Romeo and Juliet were doing fine until others (Friar Lawrence and The Nurse) intervened and even though they were trying to help, they ended up creating trouble that led to the lovers' death. I only wish this metaphor was dead on and that Alison and Noah will be dying soon. Noah concludes that the well-meaning outsiders ruined everything for Romeo and Juliet because "pure love cannot survive in an imperfect world."

At that point, I'm genuinely confused. I don't have any idea who in the show is supposed to have "pure love" It's only later that I realize it's supposed to be Noah and Alison. Huh? Their love is as impure as it comes. Not because they're married, but because neither has seemed that interested in being exclusive with the other. Romeo and Juliet wouldn't work as a story, if Juliet's loyalty to Paris were stronger than her love for Romeo. There was one time when Noah had trouble getting aroused enough to sleep with Helen, because he was thinking of Alison, but until this episode, we never had a clue that he was struggling within, not to choose her over his family. We don't get that with Alison either. In fact, she asked Cole to run away before she asked Noah to do so. Since we aren't told that she loves Cole outright, I'm not sure why she would stay with him over life with her true soulmate, unless she felt pity or guilt. But I don't get that from her either, since she didn't consider his feelings at all when he caught her leaving to see Noah and said, "I love you in that dress." There was no, "I don't want to hurt my husband, but I can't help myself" vibe from her. She seems indifferent to hurting Cole and ambivalent about Noah. So, how was I to know that Noah is really Romeo to her Juliet?

What the writers don't understand is that even if you can't be with the one you love, you do loving things on their behalf. You can't help yourself. Cole does that with Alison. His first instinct is always to push her out of the way of something and it's how we know he's a loving husband, even when he does bonehead things. Noah, is always saying he loves someone, but he never worries about them, before himself. In fact, he doesn't seem to worry enough at all. He cares for them distractedly. Oh, pretend to hang yourself, no big deal. When he told Alison he wasn't going to answer the phone call from his family, she said, "but it could be a crisis." His answer was, "it's always a crisis. So that means, it's never a crisis." That exemplifies his attitude. Stacey chokes? She'll get over it soon enough. There's something about the way he glosses over potential trauma that suggests his feelings don't run that deep. It's been true of him since the pilot.

When he told Helen that Alison was unimportant, we knew that any man would say that to preserve his marriage, but Noah didn't say it hesitantly or reluctantly. He actually said it like he meant it and he's not that good of a liar. If he'd really been in love, I don't think he could discount Alison so easily -- not even to his wife. It's not like he's telling Alison that Helen means nothing to him, just to cheer her up. Real love would have made the words he used to minimize Alison stick in his throat just a bit. Instead, they tripped lightly off the tongue.

After his class, Noah meets Helen at a restaurant. A magazine wants to profile her shop. She's had some celebrities in and people are beginning to notice it. That's great. Noah didn't know about that beforehand, but he has a perfect gift. He gives her a Tiffany's box. Wow she says. What's it for. He says it's for sticking with it. She says they can't afford it and gives it back. He presses, but she is cool, firm, won't be dissuaded. He is chagrined. I think that she's not sure she does want to hang onto the marriage. He's still on probation and accepting the jewelry would indicate that they'd moved pass it. She doesn't want to say they have yet. I think if he'd worded his presentation differently, she would have graciously accepted the present. He probably thinks that's proof of how rigid she is.

At home, Noah is talking to Martin about his book report. I don't see the book Martin was reading, but it was probably relevant to the plot. Noah said it was his favorite as a kid. I don't know if it was Lord of the Flies or Swiss Family Robinson ... I could replay the show to find out, but I really don't want to know that much more about Noah. Martin is saying he doesn't want to do a book report in class (although in the future, he seems to be doing one when Noah is being interviewed by the detective) because the kids will make fun of him. He says they'd tear him apart and I think the kid's words are a bit strong. He seems to be talking about more than light teasing. He may be going through some bullying issues at school that Noah could expose if he probed further, but he just doesn't think the kid is weird. He says that he should give it another year and if it doesn't work out at that school, he can go to private school like Whitney. He was hoping Martin could stay in public. But if he can't, Noah will ask Margaret for the money. He won't have to ask because Helen would love to do it. I gather that Helen has wanted the boy in private school all along, Noah resisted because he wanted Martin to grow up like he did, more centered.

This suggests to me that one reason Noah doesn't talk to Helen about the weird things Martin does is because he doesn't want her to think that Martin needs help adjusting. If she did, she would insist he go to private school and Noah is trying to delay that. So, he's ignoring warning signs from his kid and not talking to Helen who might recognize them as such. I don't know if Martin will have a crisis before the season is, but if he does, I place the blame SQUARELY at Noah's feet. Cole saw it and it's not just because Noah is too close to the situation to see, because I believe that Helen would have seen it too.

She interrupts his conversation with Martin and Noah doesn't return to it. Whitney is throwing up in the bathroom and they listen. Helen thinks the girl is bulimic. When Whitney opens the door and asks what they're doing there, Noah jumps and says, "Nothing!" And that's really funny. His first reflex is to tell a bad, guilty lie. I wish the show had more humor.

Whitney denies being bulimic. Again, since Noah saw her sneaking up the stairs with Scott and Helen didn't, you'd think it might occur to him that the girl was pregnant. But, of course, it doesn't. He tells Helen that she overreacts. She screams that he lost the right to say that to her. There's an awkward silence. She says they used to be a team. He says they still are. She says they're not. "Now we're just two idiots that don't know how to handle things." Well, he's always been an idiot, even if he was her teammate.

They go to the therapist. It's Blair Brown. Hey Nina! Helen reveals more of her ugly side (the side that loves to spit out the word "waitress" as if that's the worse thing she can say of a person) by saying that she married Noah because she thought he was safe. When she was younger, she could have had anyone. But her father was a famous, millionaire and he was a jerk, so she wasn't drawn to the hotshots. She wanted someone she could count on. Noah was so quiet. Her friends thought he was a mute. He only talked if there were only 2-3 people around. She knew he would be a great father and never cheat and that in fifty years when everyone was divorced, they'd say look at what a good choice she had made. She'd be the envy of their friends.

So, she has basically said that she married him because he was a safe loser and I can understand why Noah wants to get away from her, but he's also sort of a creep and he probably had that pervy side in college, so in her, he probably got more than he deserves.

Noah says doesn't she think he has always known that's how she felt. But he doesn't concentrate on the "loser" insinuations. He just said that he always felt that they had to put up a perfect front for their friends and he got tired of it. Why can't they just be themselves, foibles and all. Why do they have to live so expensively. He can barely clothe their kids. She scoffs. It's not like he's unemployed. He can support his family. He says she gets Stacey's clothes dry-cleaned. "Only the French ones."

Helen says her father is getting a lifetime achievement in Montauk and Margaret won't be there, so he needs her there. Yet, she needs to get the store ready for the magazine interview and she can't leave Whitney. She doesn't know what to do. Noah says he'll go to represent the family. Helen balks. Not with Alison there. He says he won't see Alison. Helen thinks it's a great idea, but the therapist disagrees.

Noah's at the award ceremony and he sees Alison. She heads right over to him. He keeps his distance. Later Bruce asks if that's the one he was sleeping with. "Helen told you?" Of course not. She told Margaret and he heard about it through her. Bruce says that Alison can still be his muse. Bruce had an affair with some woman when he was at the University of Michigan and he thought of running away with her. At their house Margaret was putting up a massive tree and he knew with that woman, he'd have a tiny tree in a barren apartment and his little Helen would have to play with her toys in the closet, when she came over. So, he stopped the affair.

He took his feelings for the woman and put it his next book. It was his first award winning book. His only one. They are ready to leave, but Noah sees Alison and tells Bruce he forgot something and will catch up with him later.

He talks to Alison. She gets a phone call and is upset. Her grandmother has had a heart attack. She says she doesn't have her car and has no way to get to the hospital. Can he drive her? Won't her husband be there? She hasn't told him. He drives her to the place and she asks him to come in. He says it's not his place. She thanks him and walks in looking all alone and forlorn.

He goes back to Bruce's and hears groaning. The moans are such that it's not clear to me someone is in pain. I think he's about to walk in on Whit and Scott having sex, but it's just Bruce trying to get out of a chair. He seems injured and I wonder if he's been in an accident we don't know about. He notes that Noah took the long way home. It would be nice if Bruce was more upset that his daughter is being cheated on, but why should I expect anything from him when the main characters disappoint me so?

Noah asks if Bruce ever thinks about that woman in Michigan anymore. Bruce says every single day of his life.

Noah then runs to the hospital, determined not to regret something for the rest of his life I suppose. But this is the first time we saw he might feel this way about Alison. On twitter, the writers act like it's the accumulation of something that's been building (and cheered for) for a long time. Wrong! Just because Noah once told Alison that he thought about her when he slept with his wife, doesn't mean we realized he thought of her with affection that didn't involve sex.

At the hospital, Alison is so wiped out that he has to be the one to wake her, to let her know Grandma is on her last leg. Alison goes to the bed and her grandmother says that they need to get somewhere right away, how fast can Alison drive. Alison smiles and says "pretty fast" and I wonder if this is a clue. If maybe Alison was driving the car when Scotty was hit. I don't think they killed Scotty, but it does seem like Noah's car (or is it Bruce's) is involved and has been to the mechanic's to conceal the damage, from what we learn later.

He takes her home and I'm afraid that we're left not knowing how the night ended. Did they sleep together then? She's asleep in the car and later Sarah Treem tweets about how romantic it is to watch another person sleep. Hmmm. That is the last thing that occurred to me when I saw Noah doing it. There was no particular softness in his eyes. It's not like All Things when Mulder put the blanket on Scully and moved the hair from her eyes, before alighting from the sofa. Now, that was romantic. Or in the finale when Mulder kissed Scully before leaving the car (to urinate). Even that was romantic. Noah? He was just looking at Alison. Thank goodness Sarah Treem tweets or I never would have known what the look was supposed to convey. Is this a shortcoming in Dominic West, the actor, not the writer? Who can say.

Later we see the detective reading a passage from Noah's book and it describes the place he was parked with Alison.


Cherry is cooking and the daughters-in-law ask her what she wants for Christmas. She says she just wants her family together and dinner at her house. Hal is recovered from his injuries. It's been four months since he was beaten. We don't know if the family is still selling cocaine or not. What an odd plot device. Again proof to me that the writers are a little crazy and are incapable of gauging audience reaction, because they have no idea how "normal" people think.

The boys are moving boxes and she is throwing stuff out. Scotty asks Ali what about this and his voice is gentle. It is a treasure chest, a kid's box. Alison looks stricken. Cherry looks up and says she wants to save that. Put that in her room. Alison thanks Cherry. Cherry kindly says "of course." They are having dinner and discussing the sell and Cole says they have to fix up the place first.

If it looks awful, the new owner will tear it down. If it looks like a working ranch, then they can preserve it as such. The place is going to take months to fix up. Alison looks somber. He and the brothers begin to argue and Alison calls his attention to a hole in the ceiling. Alison reaches up to help, but he pushes her back. He puts a pot under the leak quickly. Cherry left the bath running upstairs. He is always pushing her away or cutting off her words. He does seem to be the patronizing cowboy who sees her as his "little woman" but he breaks the mode, because he's backs down from possessiveness. He lets her go. When they went to Oscars, he asked her if she wanted to stay in the car or not. He didn't tell her. While his first instinct might be to lead her (like the mare, Elizabeth Taylor) when she resists, he backs off quickly. He may be a cowboy, but he doesn't insist on being macho. He's open to change as she needs it. So, when she doesn't let him know she needs it, when just a word from her can change his behavior, I have to blame her for the distance between them, not him.

At least tell him, then cheat. Don't just say nothing. Constantly withdrawing. If you want to be alone, be alone. But don't be in a marriage that you betray, to a man who's told you you're his world and would open his heart, if you wanted to walk in.

When they are home, it is cold in their house. Cole says he is going to take Cherry to see a doctor. She's been forgetting a lot lately. He thinks its early Alzheimer's. Alison thinks Cherry is just thinking of ways to delay sell of the ranch and that she left the bath running on purpose. Cole says why would she do that. I don't know if Alison thinks Cole is delaying the sell of the ranch himself and if that pushes her away from him or not. But the suggestion is there.

They get in bed and it is freezing. Cole takes off his shirt and asks her if she wants to stoke the fire. She giggles no and says he is always a raging furnace. She asks what he will do with his share of the money. He says he doesn't know. She wants him to buy something he really wants. I'd like to think she is thinking of him, but it's not clear to me she actually cares that much, she just wants the money so that they can live better -- although she should care about his needs, if she's known him since they were children. I don't know if the failure to define the relationship is because it's something the writers want to expand later or if it's just a story structure mistake on their part. Like Peter said when Olivia asked him a similar question, Cole tells Alison he doesn't want anything. "I've got everything I need right here." He kisses her tenderly. Then they scramble under the covers to take off her pants.

The next morning, she takes a pregnancy test and it comes back negative. She gets a phone call about her grandmother having a heart attack. He says he'll drive her to the hospital. She says no, Athena will be there. He'll take her anyway. She pulls away and is more adamant in telling him no. He looks stunned, but backs off.

At the hospital, Athena is there with her new boyfriend. They called Athena because the grandmother asked for her daughter. "They meant me," Alison says. Athena and the boyfriend sprout new age nonsense at her. Alison asks the boyfriend to give them privacy and Athena tells her that the grandmother's old body should not be put through the trauma of them trying to revive her. She thinks Alison should sign a "do not resuscitate" order. Alison says that means that the hospital won't help the grandmother no matter what, even if she just chokes on a grape. She's not willing to do that and if Athena thinks it's the right thing, Alison should sign her proxy over to her and let Athena bear the responsibility.

Upset, Alison goes home. Cole is pouring over bills. The grandmother is stable. Alison looks at Cole who is preoccupied and then does try to let him in to what she is feeling by saying that they want her to sign a DNR. What should she do. Cole is rather brusque. He doesn't know. What does she want to do? She doesn't want to sign it. Then don't, he tells her curtly. Alison turns away, disappointed. Well, yes, he could have been more supportive, but if she'd let him come to the hospital in the first place and they'd been together when she was most distraught, I think he would have reacted differently. She can't push him away one moment and then get hurt and have another affair just because he pushes her away the next.

Someone wrote that he was too preoccupied to see her needs and Josh says that about Cole too, but this was more than that. He wasn't merely inattentive. He was cold. Where is that coming from. I assume from Noah's words later that Gabriel didn't just die in the water. He was taken to the hospital brain dead and they had to make the decision to take him off of life support. Did Cole press for it, then? Is that why Alison didn't want him at the hospital, because it would remind her the time he made her do something she didn't want to.
Of course, she's the nurse. Maybe she's the one who released Gabriel, pulled the plugs, and now is afraid it was the wrong thing and wanted Cole to, indirectly say he doesn't blame her, by taking a stance on the grandmother's DNR. He doesn't do that. He shuts down, as if he blames her for whatever happened.

She says she has a catering job. Can he drive her? He says, of course. What's the job. She doesn't know and doesn't care. She puts the tea kettle on and says she just wants to get warm. Of course, the show loves to hit us on the head with the relationship metaphors. Clearly she needs comfort. The thing is, so does Cole. After their talk on the curb, you'd think she'd reach out to him, when he pulls away, because he will open up in time. If she doesn't want to do that, just leave him. But I can't forgive her for just hurting him. Then, having him make it clear to her that she's the only one that kept him going after their son's death. Only to have her hurt him again. Eyes wide open this second time, even if they weren't the first.

She asks if he will give her a ride to a catering job. Of course. What's the event. She doesn't know and doesn't care.

We learn that she was truthful about not knowing what the job was for. When she sees Bruce's picture on the posters, she goes to the supervisor, says she's sick and tries to leave. The woman says she's in a jam and needs her to say. Alison agrees. Alison does coat check. She talks to Bruce. It looks like Noah sees her from the corner of his eye, but it's not clear.

But then he comes over and catches her reading another book (Bruce's) and says she's being disloyal (true). She says it's the only thing she could find.

They go outside. He hands her a cigarette (is that a symbol that he's the aggressor or what) and she says she hasn't smoked since the summer. He seems skeptical, but she says it's true.
She asks him why his wife isn't there, but he doesn't want to talk about his family. She says that she and Cole are doing well, really well. They're even trying to get pregnant. He smiles.

She gets the call from the hospital about her grandmother. He offers her a ride and she doesn't want to take it, but has no choice. When they get there, he wants to go in with her, but she firmly says goodbye.

She is having a fight with Athena when Noah strides in. Athena says, "here comes the cavalry." Like a knight in shining armor, Noah talks her through the DNR and it's fitting that in Alison's memory he was called "cavalry" because he saves the day. He doesn't mention the conversation in his version and if she imagined it, it could not be just a question of remembering things differently. She'd have to be a loony tunes, who made him her imaginary friend who said and did all the right things when real people in her life failed her. Likewise, from his perspective, I've sometimes wondered if he just fantasized an affair with Alison, rather than it being the real thing. Rashomon views can diverge this widely (think of the All in the Family episode with Ron Glass), but not in stories that are supposed to be taken seriously.

In Noah's version Athena and her boyfriend aren't even present. Whether Athena meant anything to him or not, he should have a fleeting memory of her being around -- if she was and he was. Or we saw Alison tell him about her son in her version of the story, but he's never acknowledged the kid in his. Did she really tell him? If she did and he doesn't even bother to mention such a tragic event in passing, in his POV, he can't really love her. You can't love her and think the event that has shaped her existence is too inconsequential to gloss over in a flashback.

At the hospital that night, he's all about Gabriel. He tells Alison that holding onto a life that has reached its end won't bring back a life that was taken too soon. She can't keep her son, by clinging to her grandmother. He's been in hospital waiting rooms before. He knows what it's like and what she's going through, but releasing her grandmother would not be letting her down, it would be a gift. Alison gratefully accepts his words.

We see her sitting by her grandmother's empty, stripped bed. Athena says that losing one's mother is such an archetypal event. Yes it is, Alison agrees. I think that Athena is just a caricature. I'm sure Sarah Treem would say that that's just the way Alison sees her, but while I used to let her off with that logic in the pilot (with Bruce and Margaret), Oscar is unrealistic in both Alison and Noah's view. I think it's just bad writing, not bad imagining by Alison. So, anyway, I just pass off Athena's archetypal comment, but others point out that when Alison agreed with her, Alison was really acknowledging the loss of her own mother. That's a good point. She is past arguing with Athena anymore, she is just letting that bad influence leave her life.

I wish she'd leave the show completely too, because she's too much of a Shirley Maclaine spoof to be accepted in anything but a comedy. When I said that this show needed more humor, cartoon characters is not what I meant. Alison talks to Athena about the memorial, but Athena says she's not staying for that. It's too depressing. She and the boyfriend will move on. Alison accepts this with "why am I even surprised" resignation.

Noah takes Alison home. When they get to her in-law's house, they sit in silence before he says, "I love you." She answers, "I love you, too." Well, this was handled nice between them, because it came off as not a revelation, but as something they've both known but never put into words before. They understood it. And that's nice. But hey, the audience should have been in on their secret. Mulder and Scully didn't say ILY for 9 years, but the audience always knew it. On twitter, the producers are tweeting "Finally!" like the viewers have been expecting this all along. I don't think so. I think even those who want the two together are surprised that they, supposedly, love each other. I think their fans (team Noah and Alison, whom Sarah Treem says she admires) hoped they would love to each other, but didn't know it had already come to pass. Allegedly. So, this doesn't feel like a "payoff" to dedicated romantics. It comes off as a plot twist that happened without proper foundation.

We often see these two unhappy in their own lives, but don't see them pining for each other. They enjoy sex, but don't linger on smiles or soulful gazes. And they don't offer each other what they lack. In fact, when he gave her the DNR advice, this was the first time we'd seen Noah offer Alison what she is missing in her marriage. As for Noah, if he wants to live a hard-working, meaningful life, that is close to the way he grew up, maybe he should be having an affair with Cole, who seems to value those traditions more than Alison does. She feels smothered by the past and the dreams she didn't realize. On top of that, I don't think she'd think Noah was a good father, if she spent more time with him. She thinks she saved Stacey's life, because maybe she needs to save a child, but also maybe it's because Stacey's parents weren't being as attentive as Alison thinks parents need to be, after having lost her own child.

It's not uncommon for people to seek lovers to fill a gap. We also may frequently fall in love because we project onto the other person those things we need, whether they actually possess them or not. So, it would make sense for Noah and Alison to envision each other as the opposite of all they want to escape. The problem is, although I have seen them together more than enough, I haven't seen what they see in each other. This was the first episode that offered a glimpse of that. The proceeding 7 did not lead up to the "I love yous" exchanged tonight.

Alison goes into the house and Cole and the boys are playing cards, joking and laughing. I don't like this. Cole didn't know her grandmother had died, but he knew the old lady was in the hospital. Did he check in with Ali? I guess he thought she was still catering, so why should he? But it makes him seem inconsiderate. Ali leaves him like that, ignorant, proving to me once again that she doesn't care about him. Please, treat him like a friend at the very least. You don't have to be his wife or his lover, but stop being a stranger.

She sneaks upstairs to Cherry's room, not wanting the family to hear her and opens the treasure box that belonged to Gabriel. Why does this have to be a secret? In fact, why is Cherry keeping the box? Why couldn't Alison just take it back to her house? I know in the pilot Cole said that they should try to make their son's birthday a good day, indicating that he doesn't like to see her moping about, but that hasn't been the vibe we get from him at other times. He held her and said he didn't know how to make it stop hurting. He yelled at her and said he wanted to hear her say they could leave Montauk and move on. He told her there is no moving on, as if he was the one who couldn't get past his grief (and maybe the one who partially blamed her for it, which makes me think of the DNR again). Although he may not know how to comfort her, he doesn't seem to be forcing her to put up this brave front. One time in a voiceover she said she had to be strong for everyone else, but she's not being strong, she's being removed from everyone else. She makes them "them" and her grief "hers." And maybe it's a survival tactic, but it makes me feel she left her marriage long ago and I resent her thinking that she's been trying to put it together these last four months. As if she and Noah gave staying apart and rebuilding their relationships their best shot. They never did.

Alison pulls out Gabriel's things, smells his baby clothes. She sees a picture of Cole and Gabriel together and smiles at it tenderly. For that I am grateful. But previews tell me my single solace will be short-lived.

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