I didn't realize that four points of views would mean Josh would be off the show for 2 weeks at a time. He probably wants this, as I am sure that the time off he got on Fringe was for his necessities, not the script's, but it tends to marginalize any character development that Cole makes.
They're in court fighting over child custody. Her lawyer says that Noah left once, asked to come back (well, from his pov she begged him to come back), vowing his re-commitment to their family, only to leave again. And he's still lying. Whitney told Helen that Noah was living with Alison. The judge seems to be on Noah's side until the lawyer says that the kids should not visit Noah's cramped space when they have their own brownstone. This sparks the judge's interest. He wants to know how much it is worth. Helen says that it is not hers. It's part of a trust. Noah's attorney is quick to say the brownstone is worth $3 mil. I don't know why this makes a difference to the judge. Helen was focusing on the fact that she was left with four kids all by herself, but I didn't know she was claiming it was a financial struggle. The judge says that Noah can have visitation with the kids, but they can't be around Alison.
Outside, Helen tells the lawyer how much she hates NOah. It's understandable. She's hurt, but to the extent that she's vengeful, it's irritating because she is using the kids to get back at him, which is realistic and what a lot of women do in divorce, but in those cases, the woman is financially crippled by the divorce and they have an extra dose of bitterness. For Helen, she's just trying to keep Noah and for what reason? I understand that she is lonely, but being with a man who doesn't want to be with you doesn't cure the loneliness. Just the opposite. She can't be clinging to him due to pride because taking him back after all that's gone on would make her seem more pathetic than just being dumped does. So, I don't get it. I thought Helen loved her kids more than to use them to punish Noah. The little kids need and love him. Martin may resent him, but is having issues right now (more than Helen even realizes) and needs him there and Whitney -- well, it definitely takes 2 parents to handle her.
So, why are the writers having Helen act like this. Last year, I think it's because they wanted people to root for Noah to get away from her. But since they've acknowledged that Noah is a creep this Season, why make (or keep) Helen unlikable too? Let her hate Noah -- as she tells her lawyer (now, miraculously Noah's criminal defense lawyer) she does. Let her do spiteful things to him, but at least let her keep her kids out of the melee.
She is getting texts from Whitney saying she hates Grandma and won't go anywhere with her and one can see that she is overwhelmed. But by the time she gets home, Whitney is on the way out with Grandma. When Helen wonders why she changed her mind, Whitney says because Grandma paid her.
Helen tells her mother that the judge freaked when he found out they have money. Noah didn't want the house before, but now he is making a claim (is he? I guess he realized that looking poor makes him more sympathetic) and she wants her mother to talk to her father, because if he knows anything, it's how to protect his money. Margaret says she can't talk to the father and busies herself preparing to leave. Helen balks that her mom is so frivolous and won't take the time to help her, even though she is the one who pulled for this divorce in the first place.
Margaret says she can't talk to the father, because he left her. He ran off with his mistress. Helen doesn't say she's sorry, but she backs off and hands her mother her drink to finish off. They share knowing looks of shared pain. Max surprises Helen. He has taken the day off.
He talks again how he can't believe he has her now, the prettiest, most popular girl in school. He doesn't deserve her, but Noah didn't either and she married him. He seems a bit bitter, but talks about his own divorce and says something about how sleeping together one last time freed them and got rid of the animosity. I can only think this was said to foreshadow Noah and Helen sleeping together at some point, but they already briefly reconciled and it didn't work.
Max wants to give her her present. Doesn't she want it before or after they have sex? He is vulgar about it, but on the border between insulting and amusing. She says, how about the present first. It's a trip for the holiday. She says she doesn't even know where her life will be at by then. He says Noah can take the kids. She says that he doesn't have a place to keep them. He gave Noah $50,000. He ought to be a able to find a place to stay. What?!
She is shocked that he gave Noah money. He said that he just thinks that the sooner she and Noah divorce, the happier they will all be. She says she thought she could do this, but she can't. It's too weird. She doesn't say that although she knew Max had been Noah's best friend, she didn't know that he intended to stay that. I sure didn't. Although Max's personality can put one off enough, this 50K revelation rightly bothers her and I think her reaction is sensible.
Max's bitter side comes out. Obsessed with "f---", he bitingly says that nothing is ever good enough for her and it never has been. Not in school and not now. She coldly says, "Noah is the one who left me." He leaves. I hope they don't make up later. It was as if he dropped a façade. She may not have known that part of him was there under all the friendly bluster, but now that he's revealed it, she'd be crazy to forget. He didn't just seem hurt or rejected, he seemed malevolent. And it was not as if he wanted her because he'd fawned all of these years. He wanted her to prove something to himself, another attainment. He may have looked like a long-time admirer, but he exposed long-term jealousy and resentment. Once someone shows their true self, believe them.
In her bedroom, she looks at her gray hair. Her nails need a manicure as well. At first I forgot this was intentional by the producers. I thought it was an oversight, but they are trying to show Helen disheveled, like they did with Cole. She puts on some music and takes the pot-laced candy that Max gave her. Is this more potent than regular pot, because the way she acts is outrageous. I don't think alcohol or drugs would actually cause this behavior. It's the writers indulging themselves.
She goes to the hairdresser and talks about queefing. She asks the hairdresser if they're friends and the woman says "sure" making it obvious that she doesn't consider them close, emphasizing how alone Helen is. Helen is bothered by the woman at the next table. She feels paranoid, thinks they're laughing at her, like all of her social friends are. They are only concerned about her divorce, because they think it's contagious and might happen to them. She looks in the mirror and sees her mother's face staring back. That's fine, but I would have liked to see a little more sympathy for her mother than she's shown, in addition to the realization that she's looking at her own unhappy future. She pushes aside the melancholy, is loud and laughing, but then realizes that she thinks it is the wrong day and her kids are at school waiting to be picked up. She thought it was Noah's day. She rushes out with foil still in her hair. She stops long enough to tell the woman at the next table to stop laughing.
At the school, she is talking too much as she picks up the kids. Stacey has made a rocket and it blocks the rear window. Helen tells her to push it down. A woman is yelling at Helen to move her car, which was parked in a handi-capped space. Helen backs out. Stacey hits her head. A woman in the parking lot is almost hit. They call the police. Helen is incoherent, not cooperative. Noah comes and as Helen looks at him from the police car, he seems confident and in charge. Everything she us not. He kisses and hugs the kids. Comes towards her. Stacey wasn't buckled in. What is THAT all about. She says only At the car, "why are you doing this to us." In jail, she is crying. Mascara running down her face. The foil having bleached her hair white. In jail women are talking about their baby daddies and how one is not going to see the kid, which is the same thing that Helen was doing to Noah, but we don't know if she appreciates the comparison or feels that she has nothing in common with those women.
Noah is in court and when his lawyer lies and says that Alison is not living with him, he tries to protest and interject the truth. He wants to object when the judge says that Allison can't be near the kids. He does say that the plan was to have her leave when he had the kids, though. He definitely does not recall the judge doing an about face and being on his side as Helen did.
Alison is waiting for him for lunch. She looks fresh and happy. An oasis where he'd like to escape. She tells him about an apartment she's found that's perfect for them. It's light and airy. He tells her that the judge says he can't live with her, so they can't take the apartment. She is angry and hurt. She says maybe they should give Helen what she wants. What? is she saying that he should only be a weekend father and not pursue joint custody. Is that what she thinks. She says she doesn't know what she thinks. He says it sounds like she does.
He gets a phone call and has to go.
He goes to the school and tends to his kids. When he confronts Helen, she is more high than miserable. She asks why does he get to mess up and she doesn't. Then, she giddily keels over. He takes the kids home. Trevor tells Stacey their mom is in jail, but Noah denies it.
When he goes through the house, he sees Helen's clothes strewn everywhere and it's clear to him that she's been having sex. When the kids asks if he will be staying there, he looks at Helen's rumpled bed and says no. He tells them to pack their things. They're going some place else. We wonder where they are driving. Is he going to Alison? He tries to make small talk with Martin, who loves sports. Martin knows that Noah is faking it. When he reaches their destination in a modest suburban neighborhood, we still don't know where they are, but the man mentions that his father is inside. Noah says that if Nina'd told him that, then he wouldn't have come. So, it's his sister's place.
The kids run and play with their cousins who have a new trampoline. In the house, his father ignores him, but is happy to watch a ball game with Martin. Noah tries to watch too, but doesn't even know which athlete plays for which sport. Martin tells Noah he's blocking the view of the screen. When he sends Martin off to get nuts, the dad corrects Noah about a player playing for the NFL, not baseball. Noah says he realizes that (belatedly). The father tells Noah that when his mother was ailing with cancer, she tried to fix him up with a pretty blond, but he said no, because he loved his wife. Noah is disgusted.
He goes into the kitchen. His sister is friendly. Does he remember the first time Noah brought Helen to the house. She offered Helen wine and Helen actually made a face. Did she really? Yes, Nina mimics it. Did Helen really drive those kids when she was high. He says yes and in a way it's a great thing. He didn't have a custody chance before. Now that this has happened, he might actually make a bid for full custody (which makes him look horrible). Nina becomes hesitant. Does he really think he can raise those four kids by himself? He says he can and is angry that she doubts it. She says she's sorry, but she loves those kids and she doesn't think he's up to it, even though she and Helen have had their differences, Noah is selfish and did leave to have an affair. He is furious and says they're going. She can't believe it. "This is why I never visit" he yells. He grabs his kids. Stops a protesting Martin from watching the game, actually has to get on the trampoline and chase and pull a resisting Trevor off of it. To spoil the rest of their night after their mother has been arrested and Stacy has been in a car accident is a bit much and proves that Nina's instincts about him being an awful father are right.
He takes them all to a motel. He calls Alison and tells her where he's at. He hangs up and wonders why Martin has been in the bathroom so long. He opens the door, even though Martin is yelling for him to get out. He calls Alison. Gee, he remembers that she's a nurse. She tells him to put pressure on Martin's stomach, try to get him to hop on one leg. He tries, but Martin shrieks at him. Noah tells her that Martin won't let him touch him. Eventually Martin feels the urge to evacuate and tells Noah to get out of the bathroom. Later Martin is asleep and Noah is stroking his head.
He gets a call and Alison is down in the parking lot. She is smiling. She has brought him a pack of beer. No pressure about choosing between her and the kids. She just makes him feel good. She's being that oasis in the desert again. He goes down to her. I question his judgment about leaving his kids alone in a motel room, given the security issues. Even if he's always in sight of the room, it doesn't seem to be the safest neighborhood.