The Affair, Season 2, Episode 7: “207″
Written by Abe Sylvia
Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck
The Affair, Season 2, Episode 8: “208″
Written by Sharr White
Directed by Laura Innes
Airs Sundays at 10 pm ET on Showtime
With the immediate aftermath of the separation of the two couples now over, the four individuals affected by Noah and Alison’s affairs have now turned their focus to rebuilding their lives in the aftermath of this gigantic change. With Noah’s book now published, and Alison pregnant and living back in the city with Noah, the past two episodes have focused on how the book has affected the lives of those who recognise themselves in its pages, as well as how Helen and Whitney are dealing with both the publication of the book and their immediate future, resulting in a strong pair of episodes.
It’s interesting to see the Lockharts interacting as a family after losing the ranch, and how it has strained the relationships between them. The fact that Noah’s book is what propels the family to learn more about their dark history is particularly noteworthy, as it shows how much the novel is affecting the lives even of people who aren’t involved in Noah’s life anymore. The fact that the Crab Shack is now owned by the Lockharts indicates that Cole does reconcile with the family and use his finances to get them back on their feet, and how that happens, and what role Luisa plays in that, will be worth watching. The idea that the Lockhart family feels cursed with regards to a next generation is particularly telling. Assuming that Oscar is telling the truth about what he heard Scotty and Alison arguing about, the idea of the curse opens an intriguing idea. Before going to the retreat with her mother, Alison did go to Montauk, and did visit Cole. If the two of them did sleep together, the possibility that the baby’s father is Cole is not something that can be easily dismissed, and if the Lockhart family unit is working as one once again, Scotty stepping in on behalf of Cole is completely understandable. How this shades the interactions between the Lockharts and Alison going forward, as well as Alison’s relationship with Noah, should be interesting to watch, as the repercussions, even if the baby does turn out to be Noah’s, are bound to be huge.
Whitney’s story has also become quite intriguing over the past two weeks. While her life has been filtered through the perspective of others, it’s clear that she’s going through some turmoil, spurred both by the divorce and by the book, and it’s possible that nobody is getting a full picture of exactly what she’s going through. Her actions going forward will thus be worth keeping an eye on. Whitney’s assertion to Cole that Noah doesn’t seem to care about her, while not entirely true, is not without merit, as the differences in his and Helen’s viewpoints indicate, which means it’s up to the latter to closely watch and help Whitney. Despite everything that she’s going through, Helen’s viewpoint shows that she’s still focused on Whitney and the children, which puts her in the best position, and with the reveal of Whitney’s model aspirations, Helen is now clearly more alert about Whitney’s whereabouts as well. How Scotty fits into all this is perhaps the biggest question right now. While Alison and Noah are aware of Whitney’s continued pursuit of Scotty, Helen still appears to be in the dark, while Noah seems unconcerned about her behaviour. If and when Helen finds out, how she reacts, especially given her conversation with Noah, is likely to determine the course of Whitney’s immediate future. While Helen seems to be at the understanding that stifling Whitney will end up putting her in the same position Helen is in now, Helen is sure to draw a line at how much she is going to allow Whitney to explore on her own, and Scotty is likely to be on the other side of that line, given her abortion. At the same time, if Helen decides that letting Whitney make her own mistakes is for the best, she may also allow Whitney to pursue Scotty without resistance, which would give Whitney numerous avenues to explore with regards to her future.
Alison’s actions have also been fascinating to see. Her interactions with Noah clearly indicate that the honeymoon between the two is over, and they’re running into many of the same problems that Alison and Cole had. At the same time, Noah’s life, especially after writing the book, is so radically different from Alison’s life in Montauk that she is facing a whole new set of challenges, particularly with being careful whom she talks to. With a combination of both the baby and selling the Montauk house, Alison no longer has a choice but to remain committed to this relationship, but it’s clear that it won’t be easy, especially if and when her mother leaves again, which will once again make Noah her only source of support, something he’s been unable to be very reliably of late. With Noah clearly willing to cheat on Alison, as his interactions with Eden prove, how long until Alison begins regretting the level of commitment she’s made, and how she reacts, will be very telling. Similarly, how Noah reacts to the relationship and the baby in the coming months will be worth a watch. With him focused on the book to the point that he’s willing to start fights over it, and clearly balking over the nursery that Alison built, it’s clear where Noah’s priorities and hopes lie, and his willingness to cheat on Alison is further proof of that. How much he immerses himself in the book’s promotion, especially after losing the Faulkner prize, will determine the possibility of happiness in his relationship with Alison. With Alison not understanding the literary world and its pitfalls, especially as well as Helen does, Noah will have to make an extra effort to bring her in, and by being on the book tour, he will also have to put in more effort to make Alison feel like part of a partnership, especially as her pregnancy advances. Whether or not he understands and is willing to put in that effort, and what happens if he doesn’t, will dictate how the rest of the season goes, and it promises to be compelling no matter what.