On this week’s The Affair, we spend a 24-hour (or thereabouts) stretch with all four of our main characters as a hurricane bears down on New York, lending extra drama to the myriad bad decisions that abound. The Lockhart case doesn’t really factor in at all. It’s just four people and the choices they make … and what it might say about them.
After a quick look at Alison cleaning her fridge, we begin with Helen, who is in a wine bar, waiting for a Tinder date. Deciding he isn’t about to show, she gets her check and does her best not to clobber the young hipster waitress who advises her that Match.com is where all the divorced folk troll for dates.
As she gets ready to leave, a sole figure at the bar turns around. It’s Vic, the ER doctor who performed Martin’s surgery. Helen apologizes profusely for not sending a thank-you, and he calmly — and seriously — recommends she mail alcohol to his house. Whiskey. Gets you drunk faster than wine. In fact, he’s in the bar now killing time while he’s on-call. Urf! Helen eyes him dubiously. She got a happy ending, but still …
The conversation is cut short when the waitress says the mayor is closing the subways because of the weather, so they’ll have to take it outside. The doctor asks for Helen’s number, and she lets him walk her home, where she checks on the kids — everyone’s there but Whitney — then lets him in the basement door so they can get busy amid the boxes on the floor.
Afterward, in the kitchen, Vic gets a call from a patient’s mother fretting that the coming storm will leave the hospital without power. He reassures her sweetly, then calls her a needy bitch when he hangs up the phone. Helen eyes him incredulously once again.
Just then Martin shows up and Vic says what he is doing there is checking in on Martin. Helen admits that Martin doesn’t like the way she administers his aftercare shots, and the good doctor says he knows a way that’s much less painful. Martin is buying it. Vic says he’ll stick around for a half-hour and if Martin changes his mind, so much the better.
“I don’t get it,” Helen says when Martin leaves the room. “Are you nice guy that acts like a dick or a dick that acts like a nice guy?”
Vic doesn’t know the difference. Feelings, Helen tells him. Is the warmth he shows towards others genuine or performance? He rationalizes. His heart is an organ, nothing more. Nothing to do with how he goes about life. She leaves the room and cries.
He follows her and asks if he should leave. She says he should give Martin his shots and then leave, because she can’t hurt Martin anymore. All she has done in the past year and hurt her kids and now she just wants to get her shit together. “Sometimes I think I hate being a mother.”
The good doctor has no time for the unraveling emotions of a stranger. His phone rings. Hurray, a Tinder message! Helen throws a book at him and orders him to leave. She pulls herself together and finds Vic in the kitchen giving Martin his shot. Martin smiles and admits the new technique is better. Helen softens. Vic can ride the storm out with them if he wants. He glances at her kids and says he’d rather drown. But he kisses the inside of her wrist seductively before he leaves. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Vic.
Meanwhile, as the storm intensifies, Alison’s contractions begin. Noah doesn’t answer the phone, so she calls her doctor instead then heads to the hospital alone, where she learns her own OB/GYN can’t make it in because of the storm, so a young female doctor subs in. Alison says the baby’s not due for more than a month, but the doctor says the kid is coming now.
Noah and Eden are driving through the driving rain. Someone named Rodney Callahan (guest star James Naughton) wants to make the movie version of Descent and George Clooney is possibly attached. The reason they are not headed home to ride out the storm is because Clooney’s only coming out on a night like this to meet Noah. When they arrive at the club where the meeting will take place, Noah’s buzzing cell falls between the seats. He fumbles for it, but Eden drags him into the club.
Rodney Callahan is an utter piece of work. He loves the discussion about the novel. He loves that it’s high art with “good old fashioned f–king.” He name drops Mailer and says that Noah stirs up the same kind of sh-t, then offers Noah some coke. Noah takes him up on it.
Here’s the thing, though, Callahan says. The ending of the book is a bummer. No one would want to see, say, Jennifer Lawrence plowed down by a minivan, now would they? What say we go for something more romantic?
Just then Max interrupts, running his mouth and partaking of Callahan’s blow. When he clearly overstays his welcome, Noah ushers him away and an unpleasant exchange ensues.
Noah returns to Callahan just in time for a club employee to announce that anyone who wants to leave should do so now because the cops will be shutting down the roads. Callahan leaves. Noah doesn’t. What if Clooney still shows up?
By the time he second-guesses the decision, the roads are closed, Eden is in full seduction mode and Noah is sixteen shades of wasted. With LCD Soundsystem’s “North American Scum“(“But in the end /We make the same mistakes/all over again/Come on, North Americans!”) as a soundtrack, Eden tells him to meet her upstairs in 15 minutes for a little extracurricular fun. Why 15, he wonders, but she’s already gone.
Noah wanders through the club and finds a swimming pool and club-goers in various states of undress. He jumps in, enjoys the blurry moment, then gets out to watch two young women make out. Oops. One of them is Whitney. She freaks out, and he bolts out of the club, fumbling in the valet box for his keys. He fishes his phone from under the seat and sees a dozen messages from Alison. Realizing he can’t navigate the barricaded roads, he slumps over and begins to cry.
Alison is in hard labor and still begging for Noah. The doctor tells her to forget about that, because the roads and the cell service are out of commission and this baby is coming now. Just then the power goes out in the hospital
In Alison and Cole’s former house, Luisa is demonstrating how she once did ballet as a child, but Cole doesn’t really hear her. He’s stewing because Alison never showed up to do her half of the moving out and everything that was her responsibility Luisa did instead.
Luisa smiles and says a little thank-you might be in order. They start to get busy, but he realizes his wallet is condom-free. She says that’s fine and he looks at her tenderly. Afterward, Luisa says he should hire a financial planner, what with him about to get half of the house money after all. Cole says Alison is only giving him the cash to assuage her guilt. He won’t take a penny of it.
Luisa asks if he’d consider moving to the city, too, now that she’s about to begin her new job. He says they’ll figure something out. The storm quiets and Luisa says they should go while they can, but Cole wants to show her something first. It’s the beam with little Gabriel’s measurements on it. He wonders if he should pry the board loose and take it with him, since the new owners are going to raze the place anyway.
“It will be like we were never here,” he says. “Maybe someday they’ll make notches for their own kids.” Maybe someday he and Luisa will make notches for their own. Luisa looks pained. About that? Back when she didn’t have insurance, she had uterine tumors removed by a less-than-reputable doctor. There will be no babies.
Cole looks stunned then wails that everything Cherry said about the family curse is true. Luisa gives him what for. Stop being so dramatic and expecting the world to revolve your pain. Scotty might be an addict, but at least he’s trying for something better in his life.
Cole says he was joking about that curse thing. Luisa isn’t amused. She tells him that this just cements her suspicion that he will always blame someone else for the things that go wrong in his life. “I love you, Cole,” she says, heading for the door, “but I can’t get rid of your curse. You have to do that for yourself.”
In the darkened hospital room, Alison is fighting her labor and crying out — “I don’t want this baby!” Now? Or at all? The doctor says she must stop fighting it or the baby won’t survive.
It launches a montage of moments between Alison giving birth and Cole finally facing his demons — albeit in a drunken unravel.
Gulping moonshine as the rain comes down, he looks out the window and sees little Gabriel standing outside looking in. “Daddy!” the apparition calls. “Daddy, come into the water with me! Daddy!”
Cole smashes all the moonshine jars on the walls around him, flicks his light and send the place up in a blaze.
In New York, in the dark, Alison’s baby finally arrives.
Noah arrives in the morning. The doctor says she’ll show him back. Alison looks down at her perfectly formed daughter resting in her arms. ”
No,” she says. “Not yet.”
So what say you? Does this dark and stormy night give Alison cause for revenge? A way to land Noah’s money without dealing with Noah or the secrets she seems to be keeping from him? Have we seen the last of Dr. Vic — or is Helen irreparably drawn to men that would give Margaret an ulcer? Is Vic’s behavior that odd for an ER doc who must keep his emotions in check? Is Cole finished with Luisa or will love conquer all? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Next week on The Affair, Cynthia Nixon guest stars as Noah’s therapist and Scotty makes Alison an offer she may not be able to refuse.
New episodes of The Affair premiere Sundays at 10/9CT on Showtime.