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, and occasionally poke some fun at the often-dark drama.
This week: Alison and Noah are reunited in Montauk, and then Block Island. Noah’s brutal past is revealed on two levels. Sicko guard John Gunther has sex with Alison, sort of. And another baby might be conceived?
SEASON 3, EPISODE 5
When last we saw Alison, she caught a glimpse of Noah driving by in Montauk. Now we begin with the two meeting on the road. A clearly shaken Alison stammers to tell Noah she can’t be seen with him, and he tells her he was stabbed, which she already knows thanks to a recent visit from the police looking to alibi Cole for the crime. Alison disapproves of Noah’s (Juliette’s) red Mini Cooper, and probably knows it’s not a man’s car when he tells her it’s borrowed. After the two drive to Alison’s house for a more clandestine meeting, they talk about the stabbing, but Noah quickly passes out on the sofa, probably, it’s revealed, because he’s popping the opioid painkiller Vicodin, which Alison reminds him (really the audience) is highly addictive. It’s a safe bet Noah is already well aware of this.
The next morning, Noah suggests they revisit Block Island, where they went at the start of their affair. Allsion shows Noah divorce papers and he says he’s not ready to give up on their relationship. Then Cole pulls up so she hides Noah outside. Cole and Alison discuss their one-time sexual indiscretion and Cole explains that he’s married to Luisa. Things go south when he says, “I do not want something like this to derail you.” Alison takes offense, asking “Do you think I’m crazy?” and Cole says he wants her to get shared custody back “without any hiccups,” but he refuses to do it without going through the court procedure. After Cole leaves, Noah convinces Alison to go to Block Island, saying he’ll sign the divorce papers if she gives him the day. Here, Noah begins showing the first tiny glimmers of his gratingly cheerful mood, which comes out full force during their trip to Block Island and carries through the rest of her segment. Of course the summer season has just ended and the Block Island Noah and Alison visit is a very different place from the tourist town of their first trip. The metaphor continues when she sees the Dirty Squid clothing store, where they once fooled around in a dressing room, is having a going out of business sale—it’s a stark comparison and shows the difference between their relationship then and now.
Noah, who seems high, convinces Alison to jump into a hot tub at a beachfront house where they have no right to be, and he even steals some wine. He’s beginning to wear her down and they’re starting to have some fun—a bit like the old days—when the homeowner arrives, running them off. During their day on Block Island, Alison asks Noah why he hasn’t told Helen she was there when Scott Lockhart was killed and explains how Scott was attacking her, so it could have easily been called self defense when she pushed him into the road. She says Noah seemed like he wanted to go to jail. Allison also gives him more details about her custody situation. “You will always be damaged goods to him,” Noah says, pointing out that Cole will never trust her with Joanie. He also suggests that he’s reformed and would like to move to Montauk to be with Alison. They miss the last ferry off the island and stay in a hotel—the real Narragansett Inn (see below)—together. There, Alison spills all about her leaving Joanie with Cole and Luisa and questions her fitness to care for her, but Noah, speaking from experience, tells her she just has to be there for her, not leave her, and that’s enough.
This segment, which does not directly replay the same events as the first, begins with Alison visiting Noah is prison for the last time. She explains how he will damage any chance of reclaiming shared custody of Joanie, so Noah must be completely cut out of her life. Then we return to Noah’s cell and a chat with endlessly creepy and sadistic corrections officer John Gunther, played by Brendan Fraser, who knew the writer when he was a star swimmer in high school. “She’s even hotter in person,” Gunther says of Alison. He’s obsessed with Noah and takes some pages he’s been writing with a typewriter Gunther gave him. He reads a passage from the story about Noah’s swimming days aloud and proclaims, “Oh my God, I’ve got a hard-on!” and then takes the pages—Noah’s only copies—for supposed safekeeping. Later, he returns, furious because he recognizes himself as a loser character in the memoir, which is thinly veiled as fiction. As a kind of revenge, Gunther masturbates (offscreen) on the picture of Alison he confiscated in a previous episode and returns it to Noah, folded up with the fresh, ahem, deposit inside. “I f_cked your wife this morning,” the guard says. Naturally, Noah goes crazy and attempts to attack Gunther through the bars, landing him in solitary confinement, where surely, the worst horrors are yet to come. It’s easy to see now why he’s suffering such awful post traumatic stress disorder, and this is very probably just the beginning.
On Block Island, Noah believes he sees Gunther out their hotel window and he goes outside to find no one there. Back inside, Noah tells Alison about his father’s death and then shares the heartbreaking story of caring for, and eventually euthanizing, his mother who was suffering from multiple sclerosis 20 years ago. This scene reveals what his sister has been so guilty about because she and their father left. In a wonderful piece of acting by Dominic West, he tells the harrowing tale of his mother’s downward spiral and how he was forced to give up his own life to take care of her. It’s a hugely redemptive scene for Noah. He says that he and Alison are so connected because they both suffered the loss of a loved one alone. They also discuss Alison’s father, who she doesn’t know but could definitely be brought on as a new character on the show at some point.
Back in Montauk, Noah signs the divorce papers, as promised. As he’s driving home alone, he imagines Gunther is behind him, running him off the road, and he crashes. It seems his visit to Montauk won’t be a secret anymore.
Bringing Noah and Alison back together helps remind viewers what drew us into this sordid story in the first place, while also bringing forth some beautiful, human moments—especially for Noah, who has been mostly unlikeable for quite a while. It speaks of love against all odds and of the motivations that drive people to do the things they do, even when it hurts people. As for the thickening plot, it’s quite possible Alison might get pregnant again, and have to wonder whether Noah or Cole is the father, again. It’s also possible Alison’s father may come into the picture soon. And finally, we can only expect the worst for Noah in prison. With him in the hole, Gunther will have carte blanch to torment and torture him, emotionally and physically. But is Gunther actually following Noah in the here and now? It doesn’t appear so. In fact, it’s quite possible Noah stabbed himself in the neck. Wouldn’t that be a twist?
Want to take a trip to Block Island like Noah and Alison? The Viking Fleet runs boats out of Montauk to the Rhode Island getaway from May 27–October 10. Find more, including schedules and ticket info, at vikingfleet.com.