Welcome to our weekly recap of The Affair Season 3! Each week we’ll go over the latest developments on the show, point out Hamptons locales and scenes (when applicable), and occasionally poke some fun at the often-dark drama.
This week: Helen spirals out of control when confronted with hard truths, Noah tries to make amends with a loved one, and Nina tells it like it is and asks a question nobody wants to answer.
Season 3, Episode 6
Helen and Vik have dinner with Helen’s parents, Bruce and Margaret, who are back together after splitting up. Bruce and Margaret make mean-spirited jokes about Noah, and Helen defends him. Later, Vik jokes that they should have a double wedding. The next day, Helen goes to Martin’s prep school for an important meeting. Noah never shows up, and Helen is informed that Martin’s been blowing off school. Martin and Helen argue over her continued support for Noah and he storms off. Worried about Noah, Helen goes to Nina’s house. Nina and Helen argue when Nina suggests Helen let him go. “Noah was using you,” says Nina (and the audience). The two continue to argue and Nina points out that Helen doesn’t even know why Noah was so damaged following his mother’s death. As Helen storms out, Nina wisely asks her if she really thinks Noah killed Scotty. Continuing her no-good-very-bad day, Helen stops by our old pal Max’s apartment, where she finds out he’s engaged. “I guess I’m not the love of your life anymore,” Helen sighs. The two inexplicably proceed to have what can only be described as misery sex. After the awkward encounter, Helen vents about everyone trying to convince her that Noah never loved her, which angers Max (Nice guys never win, Max. Haven’t you figured that out by now?). He kicks her out. At home, Helen picks a fight with Vik when she finds out Martin’s not around. Martin walks in and Helen finds out he was in Pennsylvania with Noah. Being the desperate nutjob she’s slowly becoming, Helen decides SHE should go to Pennsylvania. When she gets there, she finds Noah in the backyard by the lake, thrashing about and screaming for Martin…
Noah returns to the ever-patient Juliette with the crashed car. She’s upset, but lets him stay with her for the night since his apartment is still a crime scene. Noah asks her if she and her husband have an arrangement, but Juliette explains that he has Alzheimer’s and either doesn’t remember he’s married or thinks she’s his first wife. The two almost have sex, but Juliette wants Noah to tie her up, like in his book. He can’t go through with it, despite her being the best thing that’s happened to him in nearly three seasons. The next day, Noah heads to Pennsylvania. He passes a gun store called Gunther’s, then goes to his family’s decrepit old house. Noah runs into his friend Grant at the convenience store and the two reminisce. Grant invites him for dinner. Back at the house, Noah sees a car drive up and thinks it’s Gunther, but it’s just Martin, who wanted to spend some time alone (in Pennsylvania?). The two have an icy encounter, until Noah gives him his father’s medals from the army. The two go for dinner, where Martin and Grant’s daughter Lila hit it off. Another former schoolmate, Stevie, shows up, and is less than pleasant, calling Noah out for leaving his small town for college and never looking back. Noah asks Grant and Stevie if they know Gunther, but all they know is that his family owns the gun shop. When Noah gets back to his house, his injury is bleeding heavily and he faints. Martin saves the day, and Noah opens up to him about his mother’s assisted suicide. Noah apologizes for being such a terrible father, and the two share a warm moment of partial reconciliation. The next morning, Noah hears a train and goes for a walk in the woods to the lake, where he thinks he sees Martin walking into the lake…but he’s really seeing a younger version of himself.
This was a great episode. Helen’s growing desperation for Noah is tragic and yet immensely watchable—Maura Tierney is a talented actor, and she’s playing the challenging character in a very raw, real way. Her exchange with a shockingly hostile Nina was especially strong. It was nice to see Noah make inroads with his son, and it nicely set up another mystery: What’s up with the lake?