I connect to this episode of THE AFFAIR more than the others, and I’m sure its fans feel the same way. Everyone should be able to see him/herself in at least one of the characters because it gets real about why people marry who they marry; why love and marriage may be mutually exclusive for many couples; and how the insecurity from a partner is the manifestation of how the other partner is unhappy.
Basically, love is a hell of a drug.
Every character is in love. The issue is that they’re in love with people who don’t love them. Ha! Isn’t this so real life? If it’s never been your reality, then watch the film “He’s Just Not That Into You.” Everyone in that film pines after someone they can’t have. There are two couples who have a happy ending, but the moral is that if someone isn’t giving you the time of day, then you need to move on. Preach!
Helen (Maura Tierney) needs to hear that advice. Although her perspective isn’t shared in this episode, she shows up in Alison’s (Ruth Wilson). Helen claims that she’s in Montauk for dinner and saw Alison entering a bar and decided to come in and say hi (sure…). Helen’s problem is that she’s a trainwreck.
First of all, she’s in Montauk suspiciously, probably to stalk Alison. I think she got what she wanted when she asks Alison what kind of man Noah (Dominic West) was when she was with him. Turns out that Alison’s perspective of him is the complete opposite of hers, except being smart. Alison said he was ambitious, secure and took care of things. Helen almost snorted in smugness. Her conclusion is that people choose to see what they want to see in other people. If this is her conclusion, then she needs to take it a step further by realizing that her love for him is something she is choosing to see as real instead of fake. Boom!
But many people have lived in this delusion. Loving someone who is a disaster and may even hurt you. Helen isn’t the only one in this boat. Cole (Joshua Jackson) is, too.
He is in the teenage-love kind of love with Alison. Remember when you had a boyfriend at 15 years old who you thought was your world? Who you really, truly thought would be your husband? And then it never came to be? How shattered were you? After time passes, you forget that person’s last name. But Cole…he is 30-something and has been loving Alison since he was a kid. If anyone is truly in love, it is he.
He reveals that he is still in love with Alison, and it’s killing him. Alison says that he can either be a miserable hero by staying with his wife or be a happy asshole and be with her. As of now, he’s choosing to stay with his wife. But how sad is that? My heart aches seeing that Cole, who is such a good person, is yearning to be with Alison, another trainwreck, but is staying with his wife, someone who he respects and loves but is not in love with. Ahhhh…Is that marriage for some people? Isn’t that settling? And who wants to do that?
What’s troubling about Cole’s feelings, although genuine, is that he has them for her. Alison might be tri-polar. There’s no understanding her. I think she has moments of being well-intentioned, but she’s so all-over-the place with her feelings that Cole would never be able to trust her. He actually tells her this, and I think it’s fair to say. Her perspective of him in Season 1 is the biggest sign that he can’t trust her. She painted him to be a monster, a possibly wife beater and liar. Cole, as we’ve seen over the seasons, is not that. He is the truest of heart of all of them, and to see his heart crawling on its knees to be with Alison saddens and sickens me. When cupid his eye on you, you’re susceptible to it.
But Cole is trying to release himself from Cupid’s grasp. He indirectly fesses up to Luisa (Catalina Sandino Moreno) that he’s been seeing Alison. He asks her whether she will take him back, and she does. I think that Luisa’s decision was a hard one to make. Here she has a good man wanting to make it work with her, but she knows that he’s in love with his baby mama. Who wants to start all over again after being invested in this other person’s life so deeply?
Clearly, no one is happy. And that is sad. As the season nears its ending, I hope there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for one of these characters. Although relatable, it’s depressing af.
Season3, Episode 8 (S03E08)
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