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: We return to Montauk and see Alison’s slow transformation into a confident, strong woman, and Cole’s slow descent into the most unhappy life possible.
Season 3, Episode 8
At Joanie’s custody hearing, Luisa shocks the courtroom by suggesting Alison and Cole share custody of the little girl. Alison’s touched and confused, while Cole is furious with his wife. Alison’s lawyer informs her that Cole has agreed to share custody of Joanie, and Alison is elated. She goes to visit Cole at the house he’s building (which would never be permitted so close to the water) with coffee and a muffin and the two talk about what just happened. “You’re still you,” Cole sighs when Alison asks if he’s okay with everything. It turns out that Cole is upset that Alison lied about seeing Noah, but she stands her ground and reminds him that she needed to get the divorce papers signed. Later, Alison receives a call from her psychiatrist, who invites her to come to the fictional Woodlawn hospital to talk with a suicidal woman who just lost her child. Editor’s Note: Okay, pause. We get that Alison has made progress, but this woman is the last person on the planet who should be offering grief counseling or advice to someone on suicide watch. Anyhow, Alison gets through to the woman. “It’s incredible to be alive,” Alison tells her. Afterward, Alison goes to Cole and apologizes for lying about seeing Noah, then tells him how she wants to be a grief counselor. Cole, though, is angry and thinks she’s selfish. “You’re chaos,” he tells her. Upset, Alison goes to the bar and is greeted by Helen (?!) who orders them some Long Island Iced Teas. The two exchange bizarre pleasantries and sip their drinks. Helen tells Alison that Noah’s been staying with her. Helen is acting strangely and asks Alison, “Who was he with you?” Alison’s answer—that he was charming, ambitious and mature—surprises Helen, who says she found him to be insecure and unable to stand up for himself. “I think people see who they want to see in people,” Helen sighs. Alison apologizes for stealing Noah from Helen, but Helen blames herself. Alison tries to tell Helen the truth about Scotty (that she pushed him onto the road), but Helen bolts. Alison goes home and a cop shows up, saying that Cole is being questioned again because there’s evidence he was in New Jersey the night Noah was stabbed!
Cole talks with Luisa after the custody hearing, asking her why she vouched for Alison. He goes to the building site, which has a stop work order. Alison shows up (with donuts this time) and thanks him for sharing custody of Joanie. Cole heads to the building inspector, Timothy, who informs him that he needs a new survey. The smug dude isn’t helpful, and Cole tries to intimidate him by going all, “you’re in my town, bruh” but Timothy doesn’t budge. When he gets home, Luisa wants to talk about adopting or finding a surrogate. Cole clams up and doesn’t want to talk about it. The next day, Cole gets back to work on the house, and Oscar is sent from the town to stop him. Cole refuses to stop, and Oscar is more interested in talking about his somewhat unhappy marriage. The two commiserate and Oscar deduces that Cole still loves, and is sleeping with (actually just once), Alison. Later, at the Lobster Roll, Alison and Cole have their fight again, but this time Alison fights back. Cole rushes back home and tells Luisa they’re going to start a family. Luisa thinks Cole needs to calm down, but the two are interrupted by the cops, who have footage of him at a toll booth in New Jersey. Cole gets himself arrested. In the jail cell, he gets a visit from Alison, who wants to know the truth about why he was in New Jersey. Cole says that he went to Woodlawn to talk to her psychiatrist about his feelings for Alison. He admits to Alison that he’s still in love with her, but won’t be with her because he’s trying to be a good person. She admits that she still loves him, too. After Cole gets out of jail, he gets home and tells Luisa why he was in Jersey, leaving out his feelings for Alison and saying he wanted evidence for the custody case. “I think you’re still lying,” she whispers. They go to sleep, but Cole goes out to the dock and meets with Alison, who asks him if he wants to be a happy jerk or a miserable hero. He goes home to Luisa and makes her breakfast. And nobody lives happily ever after.
Hot damn, these people are miserable. Alison’s made a lot of headway with her stability, but she admits she’ll always be depressed and impulsive. Cole, meanwhile, is living in a world of false stability, and it looks like he’s about to crack at any moment. What was Helen doing in Montauk?