PART THREE, ALISON
I was amused that Alison is starting to see Noah as somewhat of a jerk as well. Selfish and insensitive, easy to ridicule either openly or in his disapproving grimace. The producers much have gotten so much feedback about negative viewer perception that rather than try to "redeem" the character, they decided to run with his selfishness.
They start off in bed and he is leaving. He resists being pulled towards her, briefly because he doesn't want to be late and she says, sure it's HER insatiable sexual appetite that's causing the problem, right? They laugh. He says she should not use the bathroom because it broke. When? Just now (so that tells us this is starting where the beginning of Noah's story started last week). She says she will get the landlady to take care of it. He doesn't have to worry about it. His agent Harry, hooked him up with the owners, Robert and Yvonne. Alison wonders what he told the owner about her. Who is she to him? Do they assume they're married. He said he doesn't know. She says they need to have a discussion about their connection in the eyes of the world. He says he promises they will that evening.
What does she care what his agent or the owners of a cabin think about them? And if she didn't want to seem like a dishonorable woman, then maybe she shouldn't have slept with a married father of 4.
She looks at Noah's manuscript pages on the desk and sees the dedication to "Alison". She smiles and then stops reading (which is probably not what really happened) gets dressed, goes to town and is walking when her calloused feet start to hurt. This is a woman who was cutting herself a few months ago. Why should calloused feet be a problem. She stops on the side of the road and the strap of her shoe is biting into the back of her ankle. She looks like she might turn back but a car comes along and it's her landlord. He offers to give her a ride. She hesitantly accepts.
He says she looks like she belongs there (really? he sure summed that up fast) and she must have grown up in a small town. She says that she did. So, she looks like she is missing Montauk already. But is she missing the PEOPLE there? I can't wait until she starts to miss Cole. Unfortunately, Josh let slip that Cole gets married. I had guessed that he might be the groom at the wedding Alison attended last season, because Alison was saying that the people might fight but they're still family, talking about Oscar and the detective asked her why SHE was at the wedding. I wondered whose wedding it would be where Alison wouldn't be attending and Cole's was the only name that came up, for me. So, now that has been confirmed by Josh, but I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible. Still, I hope she is jealous when she learns that Cole is happy and in love again. And I hope he doesn't look like he wants her back at that point, which will ruin everything, because she wasn't healthy for him either and Josh's explanations about how he drove her away by not sharing his grief with her are just a way for him to understand why his character was cuckolded. Actually, Cole didn't push her away any more than she did him.
Josh did talk about that large tattoo he got (on his back where Cole doesn't have to see it) being insensitive and I definitely agree with that. I said last season that Alison should leave him for that Gabriel tattoo alone.
So, in the car with the landlord, he tells Alison that his wife hates the town and he is going to have to sell. "No," she yelps and then apologizes for speaking her mind about a stranger's decision. He says he feels the same way. But his wife can't stand the stagnancy. What does she do for a living? The landlord is surprised that she doesn't know. His wife is the top editor for a big publisher. With Noah being a writer, the landlord obviously thought she'd be aware of this. Alison said she didn't know and said she knows nothing about publishing?
I'd think this would show a divide between her and Noah, but in the cliffhanger from last season, they were happy after his 2nd book was a success. They had money and a new baby, so I don't think he believes she is too uninterested in his career and it's not the obstacle for them that I might hope it would be.
She eats lunch at a diner and asks the waitress what she makes. Why is she thinking about working there? Alison says no. And with her nursing skills, I wonder why she is considering another job as a waitress. Working for Oscar (who was a harasser) seemed to stifle her, so why wouldn't she look for medical jobs, that have nothing to do with pediatrics? Even being a receptionist would be better than being a waitress. Last year I wondered why Cole would let her work as a waitress rather than sell the ranch, but maybe it's her low self-esteem that keeps her working as a waitress and not financial straits. And how much of that low self-esteem was always there and is not a function of having lost her son and feeling helpless or at fault because of the secondary drowning?
In town, she sees children playing and saddens. Back at the house, the landlord asks her over for tea and says she looked bored earlier that morning. Oh, is she bored already?
She goes and his wife is a whirlwind, talking on the phone, to people in NY. The husband needs physical therapy but won't get him. Alison advises him and the wife says she sounds like she knows what she is talking about. Alison says she was a nurse. When the wife leaves to make another call, the husband says why doesn't Alison work for them as the personal assistant Now, other than giving him some physical therapy tips, I don't know what about her makes him think she'd be good at being an assistant to a publishing exec. Is she good at making phone calls, typing emails, etc.? They don't know and they don't seem to care. The wife is happy when the husband says Alison is her new assistant. But the wife seems to be somewhat of a pain, so I wonder if they will soon lock heads.
Alison heads to the guest house and, to me, she sees a bike there. I had wondered about her own bike that she had in Montauk and thought she would rent one instead of trying to walk 6 miles into town. So, I'm not sure what the bike meant. Did Cole bring it to her? If so, that was really thoughtful. Did Cole ride the bike there? Or was there a car/truck in the scene too that I missed and didn't bother to rewind to find out? Any way, when she sees that bike, she has trepidation. I didn't know why, but Cole is inside the house when she enters.
He's pleasant in a sarcastic way, rather than a warm one. He is sitting at the desk, reading Noah's manuscript on the table and she locks it up. He says, "You seem a little nervous to see me." She says, "Well do you have any weapons on you." Relax. He just came to bring her her stuff. He says he was nice enough to bring her belongings rather than have her friend do it. I wasn't sure who the friend was. I thought it might be her sister-in-law (but it turned out to be the woman who worked at the diner with her) but I think it was wrong of the person to give Cole the address, without letting Alison know. Even if they hadn't broken up badly, you don't give someone's ex the address they're staying at with the man they had an affair with during the marriage. She says she thinks he should leave. He sits down. Shouldn't she offer him something after he came all of that way to bring her her clothes, he demands? She says that depends on whether he's armed with a weapon this time. He says he has to use the bathroom. She says he can't, it's broken. He asks where the tools are. She doesn't have an answer. "don't tell me the guy doesn't even have tools." He says he'll get the tools from his truck. So, he's handy, self-sufficient, not ineffectual. That wouldn't impress me. I just want someone who knows how to call a plumber. I'd perhaps prefer that to someone who does it themselves, but maybe Alison doesn't.
He fixes the toilet, but menaces Alison, cornering her against the wall at one point, but laughing it off when he sees her anxiety. He leaves. She is outside, still calming down when the landlady comes up. She feels guilty when Cole comes back carrying Gabriel's toy box. "The most important piece of the puzzle of all." He says he is SURE she didn't mean to leave that behind. She is tortured, angry, heartbroken as she takes it from him. When he goes the landlady asks who he is. She says just someone she knew who delivered her things. The landlady asks if he is single. Alison stutters and says she guesses, she doesn't know. The landlady said that she wants to introduce him to someone who has the same weakness as she does: a man with rough hands.
I really resent Josh playing the guy with rough hands. Why would you cast him as a cowboy or, as Josh says, the "Marlboro Man" when his strong points as an actor are not brawn -- just the opposite, in fact. I think Cole would be a more interesting character if he were identified by his wit, not his "rough hands" and ability to robo root.
At least he is not disheveled in her version as he is in his own and I'm glad she still sees him as somewhat together, even if he feels otherwise.
The landlady says living with a writer is a horrible thing with all of their secret worlds, when Alison tells her that she hasn't read Noah's book yet. So, I guess Alison feels that Noah is keeping parts of himself from her, keeping secrets.
Alison fixes dinner. Noah comes home in a horrible mood. Says he had a bad day. She asks if there is anything she can do to help? He says, what's she going to do with her house? Is she going to sell it or what? I absolutely LOVE this. Alison is starting to see Noah as someone who would use her for her money, which makes them alike, since she was trying to stay with Cole just until he got HIS money from the ranch. But it's hilarious and it's a nice contrast from Cole who fixed up her house and refused to buy it from her, even for a dollar, because he considered it hers. Of course, Noah probably wouldn't sell cocaine to make ends meet, so Cole's superiority ends there, but I'm sensing that's not how Alison will see it longterm. Anyway, Cole was against using a family legacy to make money and I gather Alison feels the same way about the house that her grandparents left to her.
He storms, asking if she read his script, when he sees the pages in disarray. He TOLD her he didn't want anyone reading it. She says no she didn't, defensively. She was afraid of it blowing away, because it's been windy. That's why she moved it.
She says she got a job and when Noah hears it is with the landlord, he thinks that's a terrible idea. I'm not sure why. I mean, they aren't important enough to his life, his family or his work, for it to be that awkward and he doesn't plan to live in that guesthouse forever anyway. So, what does it matter if Alison seals a few envelopes for them? He walked out of the room, but later returns and apologizes for being so cranky. She says it's ok and they have sex at the counter, which -- is that good for anyone? Are there Dominic or Ruth fans who find that a turn on?
Flash forward. In the future, she gets to the courtroom pushing a strolling, on her way to see Noah and is stopped by Noah's new lawyer. She says they can't afford him and wonders if Helen is paying? Why is Helen making decisions, after all SHE is his wife now. This makes Alison look bad, because even in her own version, rather than being relieved that her husband will have good legal representation, she is just jealous of his ex-wife, the one she stole him from. It seems petty, under the circumstances. The lawyer patronizes her and says they'll contact her if she's needed.
PART FOUR, COLE
He is driving around in the taxi, looking beat, hair shaggy, can barely keep his eyes open. He picks up a fair at the airport, it is Butler, Noah's father-in-law. He gets in and asks Cole a question, Cole is not in a talking mood and doesn't answer, Butler asks if he can speak English. Cole says, "of course, I speak English." Butler says he is leaving his wife. He figures if his no-talent son-in-law can do it, he can too. This gets Cole's interest. Cole asks what happened to the son-in-law. Butler is startled by the question, because Cole honed in on the part of the conversation that mattered least to the self-interested Butler. I almost think he will recognize Cole at this point, but he doesn't. He just says he feels bad for his son-in-law in a way because he has no money and is living in a small place with the mistress he ran off with. What information does Cole want with his questions? Does he want to know if Alison is ok, being treated well, is happy? Or does he just want to know if he can get her back.
He drops Butler off at home and is backing up when he almost hits a kid who ran out behind the car. He is paralyzed with fear and jumps out of the car. The kid is ok. A woman comes out after him and Cole apologizes profusely, frightened at what he almost did after losing a son of his own. Is it her boy? No, she says, she is babysitting. But isn't that Butler's house? How is this kid related to Butler? The woman's mother comes out and is talking in Spanish. The woman tells Cole not to worry about it. Nothing bad happened. I think she's not a very good caretaker if she's this nonchalant about the kid almost getting hit by a car.
Cole drives on and picks up a woman who makes a pass at him. Honestly, he and Noah think every woman they encounter is hot for them and then orders him to pull over, because she's drunk and sick to her stomach. Cole listens to her vomit, disgusted. He drives alone and falls asleep at the will, veering into the opposing lane of traffic. He awakes with a start and takes cocaine to stay alert. He smokes a cigarette. I didn't know he did that. Maybe a bad habit he picked up from Alison -- or Diane Kruger.
Back at the taxi depot he puts his cash into a safe. They put a lot of emphasis on this safe as they did last season and I wonder how it will figure into the plot, if they aren't smuggling drugs anymore. Cole only has a few dollars in there, probably not much more than a few hundred. So, if it's stolen, I don't know why it would be significant. The guy at the desk tells Cole to take a nap. He says it's fine. Scott comes up and hassles him. He says that their mother wants to see him and she is living in poverty, since the foreclosure. Cole should see it and he needs to help the family. He hasn't seen them in months. Mary Kate is pregnant. They need the money and he should demand half of Alison's house. It's a community property state and Cole is entitled to 50%. Cole doesn't even bother saying that he won't live off of his ex-wife and I appreciate that. We all know he won't do that, no matter what ever else he is capable of. And they are trying to "redeem" him since the hostage scenes in the cliffhanger, but they aren't overdoing it too much, because Cole can still menace with the best. Cole says that if Scott doesn't get the ____ out of his way he will run him over. I like the mad serious way Josh delivers the line. They are setting it up to make Cole a suspect in his own brother's murder, which I don't buy at all. Scott hangs onto the car window and Cole drives off, not exactly running him but not exactly non-threatening either.
He goes back to Alison's house. He is living outside in a trailer. I guess because it's hers and he doesn't feel he should be inhabiting it. The trailer is a mess with discarded fast food cartons everywhere. Glancing at the house, he seems someone inside and runs in. Alison? He calls, with soft hope. It's Jane her friend. She didn't know Cole was home. She was packing up things to send to Alison. Cole says he'll take them himself. Jane doesn't think that's a good idea. He says she was trespassing on his property and if she doesn't want him to call the police, she'll just give him Alison's address and he'll mail the UNDERWEAR to her. Well, she had Alison's permission to be there, so I don't know why that police threat worked, but maybe she was just understandably afraid of Cole. Which is fine, but she should have texted Alison that very moment and let her know Cole had the address. I think she was a very careless friend.
So, Cole drives up to Alison's house. On the road there he stops, goes into a diner (the same one Alison visited) and sees Noah on the street. He extends his arm and makes his finger into a gun, which he shoots at Noah. This is the shot they use in the promos for the show, to indicate that Cole is still murderous, but that's not how he comes across in the episode.
Cole drives up the road to Alison's. I guess it looks peaceful to him, beautiful everything he wanted in a life with her, but doesn't have and hadn't had in a long time. He is in her house looking around at the rafters. She comes in, book in hand as if she's been out meditating, all Walden's Pond. Rather than being apprehensive when she sees him, the guy who broke into her home in her absence, she is so grateful that he came that long way to bring her things. And I guess this is realistic, from his perspective in the sense that guys always think they are doing you a favor and being nice when what they are really being is STALKERS.
But I'm not sure if men who press themselves on you really know the attention is unwanted. I think they lie about it after the fact. In Cole's case, maybe Alison was warmer than she let on in her version.
She still can't believe he came all that way and he says he was in the area. Oh, what for? Oh to see a horse. "What? I thought you had to sell the ranch." He did, he says. I don't know what this means, that he lied and now she knows it and she caught him making up an excuse to see him again or ... does she think he still goes around looking at horses even though he no longer owns a ranch? I guess it's the former, but it's hard to tell from their expressions.
She asks if she can make him something. She is in the kitchen cooking, looking all happy in her home (but in a big sweater because Treem thinks he sees her as closed off -- which is the opposite of what he is perceiving in his version of the events). He tells her Mary Kate is pregnant. While she dices in the kitchen, he is on the sofa, self-conscious. He says that he thought of funny he wanted to tell her. What was it? He can't remember. There's an awkward pause, but it's a nice moment. My mom says she would think of things she wanted to tell my grandmother after my grandmother passed. She'd even pick up the phone to call her sometimes. My grandma said that when my mother married and moved away from home, it took her awhile to stop going to my mother's bedroom to wake her in the morning. You get used to sharing part of your life with another and your body still has the muscle memory of doing it, even when that person is gone.
She senses his awkwardness. She asks if he remembers a day they spent together, before she got pregnant. They were out and made pancakes afterwards. Yes, he remembers. That was a good day, she says. He agrees. She pulled out a happy memory from all the bad ones they've had and built a bridge. They hug and she thanks him again for coming. As he is ready to part he asks if he can ask a question. She seems afraid that it might cause tension. But his is quiet, sad, pitiable. Not menacing as in her version. He wonders if she is ever coming back home. She says, no she doesn't think so. He nods. Josh says he needed to hear that, because it opened the door to stop hoping and let him return to life, a new life without her.
In the future he is going to the courtroom. He looks dapper, in a button up shirt (but still has a bit of a stomach. Probably Josh's real one, but in Cole's past version of events, I think wardrobe gave him a little added pot belly). He sees Alison and she is frantically trying to shush the baby. She looks out of control, frantic. She says she's SO sorry about his brother's death. I had hoped her reaction would be more personal, like she had lost a brother too, rather than just giving a friend condolences. He asks if this is her daughter. Yeah, whose kid WOULD it be, Cole. Cole heads into the Courtroom and she says maybe the baby will be quiet enough for her to go back in. Inside, Noah is charged with Scott's murder: leaving the scene of a crime, vehicular homicide: obstructing an investigation (he did get his car fixed, to protect his kid I think whom he thinks was driving. I think it was Martin. Noah may think it's Whitney). Alarmed, Noah looks at Alison and the baby. Cole looks over to the strained Alison looking frozen, but comforting her baby. He better not be thinking of confessing to the murder so as to keep Alison and her daughter safe, because I'd kill him myself if that crossed his mind. Although, from the spoilers, I know Cole has his own life now and wouldn't give all of that up to comfort dopey Alison, so his life is spared.
Ok episode. Not exciting or funny. Josh said the show is mostly a slow character study and maybe it's too slow, but I prefer that to a lot of action that makes Cole look homicidal or loserish. Altogether, the episode was not as painful as it could have been for me and I look forward to seeing the next, rather than dreading it.