Well, this was a soul-crushing episode in every way. Everything that I consoled myself with was taken away. Not only was Alison happily prepared to leave Cole, but she did leave, showed not the slightest pang about doing so, and was mightily miffed to find that he was relatively broke and she couldn't get half of his ranch profits. Again, I can understand her not being in love with him -- if she ever was -- but he's kind to her and she doesn't even seem to feel that friendly about him. I understand that this is a person who self-mutilates. She feels she should be punished and does self-destructive things, but most of the stuff she does isn't punishment, because she feels downright happy about Noah and indifferent to Cole at best.
Sleeping with Oscar was a destructive act, sure, but Cole would feel worse about than she does. She was chagrined the morning after and I don't think she'd give it much thought otherwise. In fact, this episode makes it seem that the only reason she wanted to avoid Cole finding out about Noah is that she wanted to reap 1/2 of his millions before he dumped her -- which, unfortunately, he seems far from doing. I hate that Cole is the lap dog in this. It's one thing to forget about her affair with Noah, maybe he's had his own, but for him to be so eager to sacrifice everything for her was hard to take, especially since I don't see what he sees. Or what Noah sees. Or what Oscar sees. Oh yeah, this makes it clear that Oscar doesn't just taunt Alison to be obnoxious. He loves her too! He's like the kid who pulls the girl's hair, so she'll notice him.
Nine episodes in, there's nothing likable about Alison, much less lovable. Since people at the hospital, her co-workers and that woman at the lighthouse like her, I have to assume she was once a good, friend who reciprocated affection. But since we've been introduced to her, she is always on the receiving end. Her friends cover for her at work, lend her a dress when she wants to take a catering job at the last minute, read her palm, let her stay at their NY apartment and she doesn't do anything in return. She's been nice to Cherry, but it seems like she's half due to fear. The only good thing I can about her was that she was a caring granddaughter. That's it. She is not particularly smart (as the Gabriel flashback makes clear this week). She's not sexy. She's not funny. Why are these men so crazy for her? If she's the best that Montauk has to offer, I don't think it would be as big of a tourist attraction as it is.
It's Christmas time and Alison is delighting in the NYC bustle. Noah comes up from behind and hugs her. She laughs and he lifts her and she had a hat to toss into the air, she'd be just as carefree as Mary Tyler Moore. They've been having an affair for the three months since we left them (Noah had just returned to school during the last episode, I'd say).
They don't know where they can go. Alison's friend is studying and Max is in town. Alison thought he'd be visiting family, but Noah says that Max has nowhere to be and no one to be with. I hope this is true of Noah very shortly.
His wife and kids are on a ski trip. They can go to his house. Alison gives him a sidelong look. He says he won't sleep with her in his wife's bed. Cut to ... him sleeping with her in his wife's bed. Alison begs for him to repeat that he loves her, as she nears orgasm.
He says he wants a place of their own. He'll get an apartment. He can use it to write and she can stay there when she's in town and it will be a starter home for them when he moves out. Moves out? She's surprised and almost afraid to be happy. But he confirms that he's leaving, if she's willing to move in with him. Yes, she exclaims.
She showers and pours out some of Helen's expensive shampoo, just to be devilish. She goes into the kitchen, breaks a glass and when she's cleaning up she sees a pregnancy test in the trash. Assuming she thinks Helen is pregnant, I think she'll break it off with Noah, but nooo. She still plans to be make a life with him. She looks around the kitchen, the signs of a family everywhere. It doesn't make her guilty. I guess it makes her envious.
If she is with Noah, does she think she will have that family too?
As Noah takes her to the station, he says he wants to show her something. He takes her to an apartment that is practically a studio. When she sees how small it is, her mood turns sour. This isn't a place where they can live together. This is a place for his mistress. He says it's only temporary, until Whitney goes off to college. She says that's 9 months away. He says which is no time at all when you're talking about ruining your children's life.
She says that he never planned to leave at all. This is just a game for him. He says she's got to have faith. In him? Why? I wonder. What has he done to deserve her faith? What has she done to be able to have faith in anyone, is the other question. She storms off. She sees a kid and his mother on the street. The child asks where she is going and the mother apologizes for having bothered her. Seeing the child, about 6, the same age as Gabriel would be, puts Alison in a tailspin. She stops at a bar and drinks heavily. I think the writer thinks that because they always give a "reason" for what she does that that makes her actions understandable.
It doesn't, because the reason begins to look like a wooden mallard after awhile, driving a phony plot rather than revealing character. Especially when ....
Oscar turns up, as he always does. He's more than a bad penny, he's a cheap writing device. He says he hasn't seen her since he was beaten by that Neanderthal husband of hers. She says he deserved it. He shrugged, practically admitting she's right. He wonders what she's still doing in town. Is she still having an affair with that guy. He thought that was over. He sees she is depressed and says it hurts to love someone who doesn't love you back. And I see for the first time that he's more than obsessed with taunting her. He has feelings for her and is jealous. He must have hated when she rejected him when she was a teen and has been carrying an angry torch ever since.
Tired of his harassment and drunk, Alison asks if Oscar wants to sleep with her. If so, they should just do it. He says that her Neanderthal husband will kill him. She gleefully says "I know." This comment suggests that it's an act of self-loathing. She is willing to sleep with him because she feels bad and this is the only thing that will make her feel worse. But does she do it because she wants Cole to feel worse too?
Cut to them having sex. The next morning she wakes up, looks around her and groans. She slips on her shirt and her worse fears are confirmed. There's Oscar in the kitchen, cooking.
She tells him that when they sell the ranch, she will get Cole's money and get as far away from here as possible. He pretends to be gentle, while still speaking slyly and says he doesn't want to hurt her, but he thinks she should know that the ranch is underwater. Cherry has refinanced it to the hilt. It's worth about $2 million, not $30. When you split that among all the kids it's not much.
Alison is horrified. He's lying, she insists. But he conveniently has the paperwork laying on the table (huh?). Alison is frantic to leave, but doesn't have a car. Oscar says she can take his, clearly eager to do anything he can do to accelerate everything hitting the fan.
The thing about Cole being a Neanderthal. Obviously, Oscar is biased and will say the worse of Cole, but the writers seem to think that Alison is more educated and intelligent than Cole as well. In fact, his intellect (?) seems to be part of what attracts her to Noah. Cole is who you marry when you grow up and live in the same place where you were born and your parents were born and you never explore the world or aspire for better. This is fine, but if that's who you want Cole to be and you want him to serve as a contrast to Noah, why would you cast Joshua Jackson in that role? I don't know if Joshua Jackson has been to college, but he's loquacious, quick, glib and speaks knowledgeable in his areas of interest, even if those areas are just Calvin and Hobbes. He played a genius in his last tv series, so why have him play a hard-drinking idiot here. First of all, Cole doesn't come off that way. Secondly, even if he did, you wouldn't be playing to Josh's strengths. There are plenty of people you could have hired to play a better Cole and plenty of roles you could have written, which Josh would have served more expertly. I'm not getting the casting decision here.
Perhaps they wanted us to make shallow assumptions about Cole early on, so that he could be explored and revealed as having more depth later. But when they started this show, they weren't sure that there would be a later. I'm not sure why we are given so little about Cole and the Lockhart marriage right now. We don't know why Alison married him, what she thinks about him, what she sees in Noah, by contrast. We know a great deal more about Noah and Helen and I can't figure out if they are saving material for later or just haven't written it yet. I wish Josh would leave the show and make it something I never had to worry about any further.
Leaving Oscar, Alison runs to Cherry. At first Cherry denies it, but Alison has the papers. Alison says she will tell the kids that they've been lied to. They all expect to be rich. How can Cherry do this. Cherry says it's a strange turn of events Alison telling her how to be a good mother. She says she thought the child looked funny and begged Alison to take him to the hospital, but Alison was a nurse and thought she knew better. Alison freezes. What's Cherry saying. Don't do this, she begs.
Cherry says that Alison should have listened to her. Because of Alison she lost a precious grandchild and she pulled Alison back from the brink of death, after Alison caused her child to die. Is this the thanks she gets? It should have been Alison who died.
Alison runs away. She sits in the car and cuts her inner thigh. Then, she can't stop the blood from gushing. She goes to the hospital. She is bandaged up by a doctor who appears to have known her since childhood. He says he tells other patients that he knew a little girl who busted open her chin four times and still turned out all right. I wouldn't say Alison has turned out well. Moreover, why did she bust her chin four times? Was she self-mutilating even back then.
He sees all the healed cuts on her leg when he bandages her wound, but says nothing about it. He's obviously a swell physician.
She asks him PLOT DEVICE/ POOR WRITING ALERT to refresh her memory about what happened when her son died, because she's losing track of the details. Surely there was another way of getting into this conversation without her using that excuse to explain her reason for recounting the facts. The doctor asks what she remembers. They were at the beach. There was a bonfire and the kids were in the water. She realized that Gabriel would be cold when he got out, so she went to the house to get him a towel.
Cole was watching him. Uh, well I don't know why Cole let the kid drown. I also don't know why, since that happened, the guy still loves hanging around bonfires with his surfer friends and invites his wife to join, as he did in the pilot. She can't swim anyway. The water probably was never her thing and now, he should be able to divine, it is even LESS so. I suppose he really is a Neanderthal, if that hasn't occurred to him.
As for Alison, what kind of mother wouldn't have towels down at the beach??
Anyway, when she came back from getting the towel, they were pulling Gabriel out of the water. She knew just what to do. She pumped his chest and a lot of water came out. He smiled at her. Then she wanted to get him away from everyone else and take him home. I did not know about secondary drowning when I watched this show. But I DID know that when you drown or almost drown, there is a lack of oxygen to the brain. Alison should have wanted to get the kid to the hospital to check him for brain damage if for nothing else. She's a nurse, so her decision is particularly stupid. Cherry condemned her, but there's no evidence that Cherry really questioned Alison's decision that day. Maybe she just said it now as a Monday morning quarterback who knew it would be the way to hurt Alison the most. But if Cherry and others did urge Alison to take the kid to the hospital and Alison declined and won, because she thought she knew better than all of them, then I NEED for Cole to throw this in her face next week. I need it bad.
I don't want him to do it spitefully like Cherry did. I want him to just reveal it as something that's been weighing on him heavily for two years. The "what if" that his wife consigned them both to live with for the rest of their lives.
Alison says when she carried Gabriel to the house, he wet himself, something he hadn't done for years. I don't think this particularly means something, because the kid had just been through a traumatic event. Trauma is another reason you'd think she'd have taken him to the hospital. But she wanted to calm him down. She put him to bed and put him to sleep. She cries saying that phrase, "put him to sleep."
The doctor says that secondary drowning is very rare and how could she have known. The only symptom is lethargy and any kid who spent a day at the beach would be tired anyway, so you can't diagnose it. But Alison presses, if she had gotten him to the hospital right away, would he still be alive today. Yeah lady! The doctor says no one can say. Alison says she just would do anything to do it over, to have the chance to take him to the hospital again. To do it right. She cries. I guess it will look good on Ruth's Emmy reel.
What they don't say is whether she woke up and found him dead or found something irregular and rushed him to the hospital. I think he must have gone to the hospital again, because if not, they'd just take him directly to the morgue and how would this doctor know anything about the events of his death? I want to think he went to the hospital and there was a life support question and that's why Cole acted so funny when she asked him about the DNR. I want him to say he's been dealing with as much hurt as she has, but didn't handle it the way that she has chosen to.
Hysterical she runs to the beach and walks into the waves, almost letting them swallow her, but she hears the little boy with his mother on the beach, the same one she saw in NY. He is calling to her, "where are you going. Where are you going."
She pulls herself out of the waves and walks back. She passes the boy and looks at him. She goes to Gabriel's grave, brushes it off and says thank you.
She goes home and packs. She takes a picture of Gabriel and puts it in her bag (but has no memories of Cole she wants to preserve apparently). If we find that she blames him for Gabriel's death, I'll be glad to have that articulated as an explanation for her coldness towards him. Right now, there is none and it makes me angry, mostly sad.
Cole comes in and breaks my heart looking so happy to see her. How was her mother? She says she's going back. What? She says she is leaving. He doesn't understand. He thought things were better between them. She says he needs to talk to Cherry. What about? Cherry lied about the ranch. It's underwater. There's no money coming in. At least she's truthful that the money is a factor in her leaving him and it's not just "I need to find myself." She does need to find herself, no doubt, but she was going to stay there sleeping with him and letting him think they had a future until the money came in.
She says "I love you, but if I stay here I'll die. I don't want to die." She kisses him, rather chastely and walks out. Well, just as she has decided that she doesn't want suicide is when I've decided I'd like to murder her. Murder her really hard.
She is at the train station. She is ready to board when he calls after her. He has his bags packed. He says he talked to Cherry. She was right. There's no money in the ranch and he's ready to leave it all. He's threw with Montauk. He'll go anywhere she wants to go. She looks at him. Fade to black.
Noah is talking to the detective and the detective mentions his two girls. Noah says he thought the guy had two sons. What's going on. Was the detective playing with his head.
He flashes back to when he and Alison are having sex in his bed and she says, "I'm yours." He makes her repeat it as he orgasms. He wants to own her and she wants to be loved, I guess we can gather from the POVs.
He says he wants to do something with her that she's never done with anyone else. She says anything, she's all his. He moves his finger around her back side and she says she has never done that before (we know she told Mary Kate that she had once with Cole and did not like it). She tells him maybe next time.
I wonder what the lie about anal sex means. Is it really in there just for a joke. Is it telling the audience that Alison is lying to Noah and making him think he is more special to her than he is, when really she has shared just as much and more with Cole. Or is she just stroking the guy's ego and making him think she's never given as much as she has with him, not as a "lie" but just because she does love him more, even though she's been with other men? I can't really tell.
He starts changing the sheets. He doesn't know how he's going to work out leaving, she says, "I have faith in you," a switch from her POV when he chided her for having none.
His family is coming back soon and she rushes to dress. She leaves and he says, "You know I love you right?" I am glad that that happened in his version, because he hadn't said he loved her in his version and I wondered if he ever had. She says she knows she does, but doesn't say it back and acknowledges his love in a rather perfunctory manner, so he doesn't think her love is all that deep. Also, at the town hall meeting, in her version, she kissed Cole goodbye when Cole got into the car, so although Noah said she never talked about her husband, he may believe that Alison is more attached to her mate than she shows us in her story. I hope that she is and that it is a repressed love, due to the loss of her son and that it will come out in a crisis. But I want it to emerge full, unambiguously and not just appear as a second choice, as something she settled for, because she can't have Noah.
The fact that he doesn't take her to the rental unit in his story at all is strange, just as is the fact that he didn't comfort her at the hospital about the DNR in his story. Or see Athena in his story. Or know about Gabriel in his story. This seems to be more than different points of view. Even his thinking she showered in the pilot to entice him, when that wasn't in her story was too wild an omission to just be different memories. One person has to be lying or, as Emily Nussbaum said, one person has to be crazy, or .... the way Noah said just what Alison needed to hear about the DNR made me think he was more her sub-conscious than a person.
Are they imagining this affair? Making it up? Is it fantasy? Maybe fictitious chapters in Noah's book. If they never really happened, I will kiss Sarah Treem, because it means that Cole would not have been treated so callously. I don't know how the viewers would trust her next season, if it turns out that most of this one was a dream, but it would suit me just fine.
Noah is cleaning up. He finds Alison's bra and stuffs it into his drawer. In the kitchen he looks in the garbage and finds the pregnancy test. I don't know why a teen would stuff something she wanted to keep secret in the KITCHEN trash. I'd put it in a plastic baggy and keep it in my room and dump it, in her place. But later Treem tweets that maybe Whitney wanted to get caught. So, that means the placement was not just dumb writing on the show's part. I wish that could be said of everything that they do. If Whitney planted the pregnancy test, maybe she wants to marry Scott and it could have been his wedding that they were going to when they talked to the detective.
When Helen gets home, Stacey starts setting the table, even though it's Martin's turn. Stacey says Martin will do his chores after dinner. This makes me think that Martin is missing for a reason. He is overlooked and will be part of the murder mystery trouble. Maybe he was driving the car.
Noah demands to know when she was going to tell him. She wonders what happened to her shampoo. Has he been using it? If so, it's ok, but he doesn't have that much hair and it's kind of expensive. He tells her about the pregnancy test. It's not hers. It must be Whitney's. He's incredulous. Duh, you saw her sneaking Scott up to her bedroom. Why are you so shocked.
It can't be Whitney's. Well, it's not Helen and it's not Stacey's, she points out. They confront Whitney. She denies it at first, but then says she is pregnant and is signed up to get an abortion. She won't say who the father is. Noah takes her phone and computer.
Helen says they are awful parents, could have done more. Noah says he wasn't there for her and the children like he should have been. She says it's not his fault. He says it is. He wants to know who the father is.
He follows Whit to the abortion clinic and since they won't give him any information about what time she is coming in, he just sits there. Scott comes in and he lunges at him. What was he doing sleeping with a 17 year old girl.
He goes to Max and tells him that Whit is pregnant and the father is Alison's brother-in-law. Is he still seeing Alison. Yes, he loves her. Max says that Helen can never find out. Noah says Helen will have to know, because he wants to be with Alison, this is not some passing lust. Max says that he thought he loved Helen and he, Max, loved Val, but that changed. If what he has for Alison is real, it will last. I thought we would see some inkling of Max's love for Helen and find that he had a crush on her in the past. I guess that wasn't hinted at in these scenes, but I think it is true.
At home, for some reason, Whitney didn't get the abortion yet. Helen is talking to her about her own abortion (with Noah's baby?) and says she was depressed afterwards. But she saw a psychic and the psychic told her that the baby's spirit would live again in her next child, Whitney. Whitney can't believe she went to a psychic. Helen says she went to several. Noah is listening outside and he wasn't surprised about the abortion, so I don't know if that means it was his or not.
When Helen returns to their room, he says that she's a great mom. I think he has recommitted to staying with her, but he actually tells her he is in love with someone else and wants to leave. Helen is angry but holds it in, says he should move out. He says yes and she appears to be agreeing when Noah says that he wants to stay and see Whitney through this and then he will leave. That's when she tells him he is leaving NOW. This minute, not a few months down the line. She starts throwing his belongings at him and finds Alison's red bra (would Alison really have worn a red bra in her version?). Has Alison been in her house? In her bed?? She really lets him have it.
He makes a phone call to Alison and says he did it. He left Helen and will be in Montauk in 3 hours. Now, I am upset wondering if Alison planned her train out, to coincide with his train in. Did she want him to see her at the train station? I tell myself no. She thought she would be gone and she would have been, if Cole had not detained her. At least I hope that's the case.
Noah gets to the train station. Sees Alison. Calls out to her. He sees Cole. Alison looks at both of them and then gets on the train alone.
This infuriates me. What right does she have to leave Cole there, without another word. This is the guy who, despite mistakes he might have made in the past, thought she was giving their marriage another chance. He didn't deserve more of an explanation. I sincerely hope she said something else to him before Noah arrived and didn't just silently react to his offer to go anywhere in the world with her, wherever she wanted.
If she did and he is still running after her, I not only hate her for being so heartless, I blame him for being so submissive. If she doesn't love you, it doesn't mean your love for her ends, but it does mean you should stop begging. This is not only a bad supporting role for Josh because he has so little airtime, but because his character is so unimpressive. He had one crying scene, but that did nothing for me and Cole is insignificant. They must be paying him well. If he had a small part and stole each scene that would be worthwhile. In fact, Ruth largely did that with Luther. But the only thing worth noting about Cole is that he is played by an actor that people have found attractive or interesting in other roles, not this one. I think taking this role, sets Josh up to be offered weak, supporting roles in the future. Maybe Treem has more for him to do S2, but the writing fell apart in S1 after the first episodes and why would Josh think it will be better next season?
I know Scott is the one who dies, but it seems like they are setting Oscar up to be a murder victim for sure. If he's the father of the baby or if says he is a candidate, that's a motive for his murder. Is that something that happens next season. We find out who kills Scotty this time and then we find Oscar dead as the cliffhanger?
The fact that they were not content to have two men in the paternity race tells me how slutty this show is. There has to be three men, the latest nominee is the husband's arch enemy. All the Rashomon talk, the fine actors, the debate about gender differences. The Affair pretended to be Phil Donahue in the press and it's really Maury Povich in the script. The first season is not even over yet and they have already jumped the shark.