THE AFFAIR has entered into psychotic territory. Noah (Dominic West) is the culprit in his own unsolved stabbing. He suffers from some type of psychosis he inherited in prison. With a drug addiction, he is inflicting pain on himself. I am starting to wonder whether Gunther (Brendan Fraser) is real. And Helen (Maura Tierney) is right there to pick up the pieces.
“What you won’t do for love?” Isn’t that what Bobby Caldwell sings? Isn’t it so true? When you’re so focused on someone, you would do anything and everything for him/her. You may get to the point where you’re hurting yourself in the process because you can’t think of living without that person. Carrie from “Sex and the City” was a victim of this. So was Yvette from “Baby Boy.” And Elijah from “Girls.” And you. And me, of course. The thing is that, hopefully, you get to a point where you realize it’s not love. It’s obsession. Helen is obsessed with Noah. To the point where she is enabling his drug habit.
Now, this episode gets a little tricky because from Noah’s perspective, he sees Gunther attack him again. As a viewer, I now know that he’s imagining those things. So, when he perceives Helen as an enabler, I’m forced to question his perspective. Well, I question it in a certain way. I believe Helen provides him with opioids to feed his habit. But I don’t believe she was so excited to do so. Excited in the way that a predator gets excited before s/he is about to devour its prey. The latter is how Noah perceives her. But again, he’s an addict, so can I believe anything he sees from this point on?
From Helen’s perspective, she and he are meant to be together. She doesn’t say that outright, but she acts like it. Helen broke up with Vic (Omar Metwally) just so that Noah could stay there. This man tried to be a father figure to her kids; he muscled his way into meeting her parents; and he took a look at Noah just for Helen. And she breaks up with him? Sheesh.
What Helen doesn’t get is that she and Noah are very broken people. His broken-ness is attractive to her because she is, too. Who can claim that they can fix another person besides a delusional one? Didn’t Mama Oprah teach us anything?? You can’t make someone else happy, ever!
I brought this point up in my last post, but it is a shame that Helen isn’t working harder to wean herself off this obsession she has with Noah. She is in her 50s. But I guess the counter argument is that she is in her 50s after being “in love” with someone for umpteen years. Ugh. We can all recall the glorious days of being with our beau only to land in a pile of shit at the end of it. You relive those glorious days every day, every hour, every minute, hoping they return. Helen is living inside her head, delusional about what’s in front of her: an asshole now addicted to pain meds. What a combo!
The incomparable Iyanla Vanzant teaches us that we “must do the work.” After a trauma, we need to do the work, meaning we need to do whatever it takes to heal. That may include physically removing yourself from that person that caused trauma. That may include confronting that person about the trauma. It could include being introspective about that trauma. It’s all work, and it’s always hard (in the beginning). Some beginnings can last longer than others, but there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. ALWAYS.
Helen refuses to see that light because she thinks she knows Noah. She thinks he is her dog. That she can anticipate his needs. During mad sex, Noah flat-out tells her that she doesn’t know him. And he’s right. After so many years, she still doesn’t know him, and that’s fine, but to go on about how she does is not truthful. She knows the idea of Noah. Not Noah. She loves the idea of Noah. Not Noah. She is battling with a type of psychosis as well – a love one (to be corny).
Life just gets trippier and tripper with “The Affair.” Not sure where this rabbit hole is leading, but I’m following all the way to the end to see.
Season 3, Episode 7 (S03E07)
The Affair airs Sunday at 9PM on Showtime
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor