The Affair Season 2 finale recap: One for all …

Lori Acken
Colin Donnell as Scotty in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). - Photo: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_212_4549

WARNING: If you have not watched The Affair Season 2 finale and do not want to know who killed Scott Lockhart, do not ready any further.

I’m serious. Not … another … word.

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Dominic West as Noah and Ruth Wilson as Alison in The Affair (Season 2). – Photo: Steven Lippman/SHOWTIME

That said, no matter which of the likely suspects you had your cash on (unless it was Whitney. Whitney doesn’t drive, people!), odds are good you’re, at least in part, correct. Depending, I guess, on whose version of events you believe. Only one, however, exonerates Noah.

We  open in the present, where Detective Jeffries has returned to the scene of the crime — the roadside spot with the weed-covered boat and sign pointing to The End. HehHe wanders a bit off the road, looks around, then stoops to pick up a stone. It’s just a regular–looking stone, but it makes an impression on him. A big one.

Then it’s Noah’s take — on what turns out to be Cole and Luisa’s wedding day. Oh oh.

He pulls up to the Marina, where Alison is happily chatting with a fisherman. She walks to the car, where they kiss and share pleasantries. But the mood is tense, to be sure.

The pair drive to the Lobster Roll where Alison has set up a barebones camp in Oscar’s old apartment. Seems she spends three days a week there, leaving Joanie in Noah’s care in the city. But tonight the couple will stay at The End. A treat, says Noah. Alison looks unconvinced.

Making small talk while she gets ready — these two are suddenly like strangers — Alison asks Noah what’s new. Well. He filed a bunch of chapters. Harry liked them. Oh, and he’s thinking of going to France sometime in the fall. Can’t keep writing in a vacuum, after all, when you’re writing about a globetrotting General. Where it used to make her jump out of skin when he said he was leaving for five minutes, this time Alison doesn’t bat an eyelash. Jabbing an earring into her lobe, she  nods approvingly and says she totally gets it. Not quite what Noah was expecting. He says he thought she and Joanie could come with him. Alison squirms.

Noah seems to realize that she is most deeply in love with the restaurant now.

Alison emerges in a pale yellow summer frock — looking like the local lass he fell for — and Noah admires her. New dress? Nope … old. She left at Cherry’s and her former mother-in-law just returned it. Noah says he’ll help her with final preparations for the wedding downstairs and, for the first time, Alison softens. She thanks Noah for being there with her, and he tells her she has made him proud. The Roll looks great and she’s worked her ass off to make that so.

She looks uncomfortable with the praise.

Downstairs, Noah notices a table topped with a sea grass arrangement, a candid snap of Cole and Luisa, pretty bits of pale blue sea glass and wave-worn stones with each guest’s name etched into them. Ah. Oh boy. Noah finds his and smiles.

Then he waits for Alison in a booth. Someone places a small white pill on the table in front of him. It’s Margaret. “Xanax,” she smiles, sitting down across from him. “You look like you could use it.” She pops one into her own mouth and Noah can’t help but chuckle. He takes his own and the former bitter enemies toast to anxiety at least temporarily quelled.

Soon Helen strolls up, slides in next to Noah and compliments her mother on the decor. She’s Margaret’s date. Vic’s on call.  Margaret asks to see photos of Joanie and Noah shows off a video of the little girl. Just then Alison appear; the happy reunion is over.

Noah asks Alison to sit down and give him a couple of minutes of her time. He shows her the video of their baby, but instead of beaming, Alison looks stricken. She apologizes for leaving Joanie with him so much. He shrugs — she’s his daughter, too. It was just a tough summer. But good stuff came from it. So cheer up, little hostess. They’ll get through tonight and then they go home together. She doesn’t look so sure.

During the small seaside ceremony (populated with an admirable number of frenemies, but where is Cherry?), Noah looks distracted. Or maybe conflicted. He looks over at Alison and sees that she is crying. They aren’t happy tears. He asks if she’s OK and she makes a run for it. Helen gives him a pointed look.

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Ruth Wilson as Alison and Dominic West as Noah in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). – Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME

Noah goes in search of Alison and finds her on the steps to her place above the restaurant. She tells him her tears have nothing to do with Cole getting married. And now she must tell him something. Could he please sit down?

She tells him she isn’t sure who fathered Joanie. Noah is stunned. She says tells him about sleeping with Cole right around the time she got pregnant. Noah was in the city dealing with the ailing Martin and she didn’t know if he was ever coming back. Robert and Yvonne didn’t want her at their house. All she could think of doing was going home.

She’ll get a paternity test if he wants that. It’s just that he’s such a wonderful dad. And she is so tired of secrets. She loves him. Cole was a one-time thing. (She just loves this restaurant, too. Maybe, for once, Alison has something of her own that is successful and tangible and has nothing to do with the human heart. A place near her little boy’s grave, even though we never see there.)

Noah paces, trying to make sense of the things she’s said. Is that why she bought into the Lobster Roll with Cole? To keep the connection alive. She assures him it’s business only. The sex was years ago — a single night. She begs him to forgive her. Even though she’s just fine with him going to France for, you know, however long.

Noah is a writer. There will now be words. Pithy ones.

He tells her that he never cheated on her. He came close (I’ll say!) but he never sealed the deal because he realized he was lusting after his own kid while waiting for Eden and bolted before there was nookie he hoped that all the pain they caused when they got together would be negated by her truly being his one true love. “ I wanted to be brave and make a choice and be happy. … I never thought it would be all … pointless.”

Hell, why not lump everyone‘s emotions into his pain. So much more literary that way. “Maybe it’s all meaningless,” he says. Oh, and “don’t take this the wrong way, but I never want to see you again.”

We already know he does. But points for big drama.

Heading back into the Lobster Roll, Noah grabs a goblet and fills it with booze. He downs the whole thing in a gulp as Helen walks up. She grabs his keys. He’s not driving like that and that’s final. Take it from a dame with a DUI and memories of a no-good hair-and-custody day.

They end up on the beach, taking turns swigging from a champagne bottle.

“Can I tell you something awful” Noah asks.
“Please do,” says his wry wife.
He tells her he never even wanted Joanie. He thought Alison got knocked up to trap him. To make sure he would never go back to Helen.

“Were you even thinking about that?” asks a bemused Helen.
“I always think about it,” Noah says.  Even now, he thinks of her and the kids every time he drives out to Montauk. Sometimes he wakes up and, for a moment, forgets any of the stuff with Alison happened.

“Sometimes I wake up and forget the last 25 years ever happened,” says Helen.
“Are you trying to cheer me up? Or finish me off?” says Noah.
They laugh.

Noah asks after Vic and Helen says that he got a dream job offer in L.A. He’s just waiting for Helen to beg him not to take it. She isn’t sure what she will do. They wonder how things ever turned out like this.

But hey! They’re here for a wedding, not a seaside therapy session. Helen yanks her dress over her head and runs into the surf in her skivvies. Noah follows and they frolic like a couple of kids.

Night falls and — soaked to the skin — Noah and Helen head for his car, arguing over who is sober enough to drive. Neither is, but Helen says she already has a DUI — it cannot be her. Noah gets behind the wheel.

Tis a dark and foggy night — one in which we already know tragedy will ring out. As Helen sings along to Chris Isaak’s “San Francisco Days,” Noah struggles to keep his focus on the road, seeing ghosts in his memory, the fog and the shadows. Finally he lurches the car to the side of the road and begs Helen to drive, then watches her tenderly as she take the wheel and continues to sing the pithy lyrics — “I still love you. I still want you. I still need you.” He reaches for her hand on the gear shift. She turns to look at him.

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Dominic West as Noah in The Affair . – Photo: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME 

WHAM! RIP, Scotty.

Helen is instantly in denial. It was a deer! It was a deer!
Noah knows it wasn’t and Helen begins shrieking as he gets out of the car to go stand over a ruined Scott Lockhart.

So there we have it. Helen killed Scott Lockhart, and Noah was somewhat complicit in that neither should have been behind the wheel. Unless Alison remembers it otherwise. Then we’re back to square one.

Standing beside Scotty’s body, Noah hears a rustling in the woods and looks up. He may see something, but I do not. He sprints back to the car and he and Helen drive away.

Pulling up to Margaret’s gate, Noah tells Helen to go inside, shower and go to bed. This never happened. She took a cab home. She was never with Noah. He will figure it out, but he doesn’t want her involved. Here’s your chance to take responsibility for your own s–t and not let someone else bail you out, Helen! Here it is! There it goes!

“I love you,” she tells Noah, then gets out of the car and heads inside. Her best currency: Noah’s flailing emotions.

Cut to Gottlief’s office, where he and Noah are looking at a binder of photos — specifically, a shot of the stone Jeffries found at the crime scene. Only guess what? It says Alison Bailey. What does it prove, Noah asks his attorney. Nothing, says Gottieff. Just that she was probably there. Jeffries found it when he went back there. Lingering suspicions. (For real? For what generally goes into crime scene investigation — and after all this time — the rock just stayed right where it was? Well. OK. I guess.)

Then Gottlief pulls the paternity test results from his pocket. The papers hold nothing that Noah does not already know. Gottlief is shocked. He tells Noah about the video and his hypothesis from it. Noah says his theory is ridiculous. Well, Gottlief says, it can at least raise enough reasonable doubt that Noah could get a lesser sentence. Maybe even off the hook entirely. Does he have Noah’s permission to present the Alison theory? Noah just looks at him.

Alison’s turn.

Once again, we’re at the dock where Alison is negotiating with the fisherman, just the way we saw in Noah’s recollection. But — per the usual — she’s wearing far more clothing. Noah arrives and waits in the car.

Back at the (much better appointed) upstairs apartment, Noah is full of questions as (a much less secretive) Alison gets ready, wearing — per the usual — a much more fashionable frock than the one in Noah’s recollection.

Alison tells Noah that she’s going to stay in Montauk a bit longer, so Cole and Luisa can go on their honeymoon without worrying about the Lobster Roll. Oh. And she and Cole were thinking about keeping the place open year round. But she’ll still come home. Sometimes.

Noah isn’t having it. Their deal was summer and fall, not a full-time gig. Alison tells him that she really likes her work.

But he booked the trip to Europe, remember? No sweat. She’ll bring Joanie and Gigi out here while he’s gone. Before the conversation can get heated, Luisa knocks at the door. She was going to get ready up there. Noah uses the opportunity to escape.

Alison heads to the beach to test the PA system. Test. Test. Then … Marco! Polo, Cole responds. They plop down in the sand and Cole tells her he feels like he’s coming down with something. Then he says sometimes Luisa acts nuts. Her family headed out here — even worse. Oh and guess what? Luisa can’t have kids. Because that’s Alison’s business. He says he and Luisa mostly talk around it, not about it. He thought he was cool with adoption, but maybe not. “I always thought I would get the chance to be a father again and not fuck it up. To be more … careful,” he laments.

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Ruth WIlson as Alison and Joshua Jackson as Cole in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). – Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME 

Alison looks justifiably rattled. Do you love Luisa, she asks. Cole does. Are you sure? Yes. But he was sure once before. Alison tells him that this is not the same thing. He’s a man now — he knows what he wants and how to protect it. This is his chance to be happy again. Take it.

Someone should.

Later she smiles wistfully from afar as the as wedding photos are taken.

Back inside the restaurant, she finds her engraved pebble, then notices Helen and Noah shoulder-to-shoulder and laughing in the booth. She heads their way, but stops and turns when Scotty comes in the door. Her face is the picture of conflict.

Noah interrupts her thoughts to ask if they can talk. They take a booth and he tells her that her working here full time is just really not OK with him. He wants her to come home. He wants to get married. Raise Joanie together. Doesn’t she want that? Let’s stop making things so difficult, get married, settle down and be normal, he beseeches her.

Wait. What. This is the same guy who was just talking about screwing everyone in France to see if that made him a great man. Or at least resulted in a great book. Alison, I don’t quite think you got this one right, even if he has been Mr. Mom for the past year.

Then Noah shows her the video of Joanie. He’s in it this time, bopping along as the toddler dances. Alison looks positively haunted.

At the ceremony, she listens to Cole’s and Lusia’s vows — love, trust, equality — then looks sidelong at Noah. She does not bolt, but does grab a minute for herself at the reception. Then she spies Scott — a stone sober Scott (It’s actually weird to see him well-coiffed and not … damp). She offers him a soda. They hug. He apologizes earnestly for his behavior the last time their paths crossed. They hug again.

Scott begins to describe rehab and how the Lobster Roll was his only beacon of hope through the tough spots. Before she can get clarification, Cole strolls up. Scott tells the two that knowing that he would become a partner in the restaurant literally saved his life. He’ll go back for a month just to tie up loose ends and then he’s ready to roll. Cole tries to brush him off. This is still Scotty. It doesn’t work. At all.

Colin Donnell as Scotty and Joshua Jackson as Cole in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). - Photo: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_212_4303
Colin Donnell as Scotty and Joshua Jackson as Cole in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). – Photo: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME 

Cole says here isn’t the place or time to talk business. Scott presses. Cole says strolling back in after 3 months does not constitute a turnaround. Stay clean for a year and then they’ll talk.

Rehab and sobriety did nothing for Scotty’s temper. Cole tells his brother not to ruin his wedding day. Scotty picks up a drink and when Alison tries to stop him, he drains the glass, then grabs the bottle and heads outside for the infamous scene captured on Oscar’s video.

Alison begs Scotty not to give up. Cole is just scared and wants to maintain control of the situation, she explains. Cole doesn’t want Scotty to end up like their dad. Speaking of dads, Scotty spies his way of getting Alison to help his current predicament. And lo, the “that’s our baby moment” happens. And guess who else is standing right around the corner when Alison hustles back inside. S’up, Oscar?

Alison goes in search of Noah and finds him talking with people who tell him there’s a Descent tour now — all the Montauk places from the book. Wild, huh? Speaking of wild, Scotty’s got the mic. Alison stares. He says he didn’t have time to get his brother and new sister-in-law a gift. He thinks he’ll sing them a song instead. And he does a mighty respectable job of singing a menacing version of “House of the Rising Sun,” looking like the devil himself in the red glow of the stage. Spend your life in sin and misery … what little you have left of it.

Colin Donnell as Scotty in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). - Photo: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: TheAffair_212_4549
Colin Donnell as Scotty in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). – Photo: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME 

As he sings, Alison whispers, “Joanie’s not your daughter.” Then she says it loud enough for Noah to hear. His hand slips from her shoulder but he stays put. It is she who walks away.

Finding no place to be alone, Alison heads off down the foggy road toward The End. Hearing a noise, she finds Scotty sprawled in the rowboat. He was headed to the inn, too, but he didn’t quite make it. Just cut me in, he begs Alison. You own half. Do this for me, and I’ll hush about Joanie.

Too late for that as a bargaining chip, son. Much too late.

Not in the mood to extend the conversation, Alison says she’ll consider his offer. Are you just saying that, he asks her. She most certainly is and she’s done coddling him.

He blows up again. Why does she get away with everything and he gets away with nothing? She tries to pass him and continue her walk to the inn. He leers at her and says he believes he won’t sleep in the old rowboat at all. He thinks he’ll sleep with her. Why not? Everyone else has. He grabs for her and as they struggle, she gives him a good shove. Right into the road. Just as Helen and Noah come by, Helen at the wheel.

WHAM! Noah runs to the body. Helen screams. Only this time, Alison reveals herself to Noah. “I pushed him,” she whispers. “I pushed him. I pushed him.”

Noah rushes back to the car. Now there’s not one woman to protect, but two.

Alison returns to the reception, cleaning up glasses and trying to compose herself. Noah comes back, too. An arranged situation? I can’t decide. Come dance with me, he tells her as the cover band plays Simon and Garfunkel’s “April Come She Will.” (“September, I’ll remember/A love once new has now grown old.”). Good a cover as any — both song and situation. They whisper to each other. Not much damage to the car. He told the mechanic he hit a deer. It will all be fixed in the morning.

Then he gathers her into his arms. “I’m sorry,” he sobs. “I’m so sorry. I love you.” She says she loves him, too, and they cling to each other, as Noah cries. Nothing like a murder to change your perspective on a problem. Now everyone has everyone by the nuts. Might as well close rank and make the best of it.

In the now, at the courthouse, Noah tells Alison that  Jeffries is going to the stand. Alison says that mean they’ll come after her, too. No they won’t, he assures her.

She wants him to just tell the truth about that night. “I can’t,” he says. Why not, she wants to know. “Because she’s the mother of my children” Oof!

Then you’ll have to choose, Alison tells him. But her face is oddly free of anger.

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Ruth Wilson as Alison in The Affair (season 2, episode 12). – Photo: Mark Schafer/SHOWTIME 

Alison takes her place back in the courtroom and watches as Noah whispers to Gottlief, who requests to approach the bench. Gottlief returns to the table and calls Jeffries to the stand. Noah looks at a stricken Alison. As the detective approaches, Noah stands. Gottlief orders him to sit; instead he speaks:

“I’m guilty,” says Noah. ” I killed Scott Lockhart.” He looks behind him. At Alison? At Helen? They’re both there.

The end.
Whoa.

So here’s what we know for sure. We know who — literally — killed Scotty. Alison with a shove and Helen with the car whose path he fell into. But Noah made Helen drive when she was clearly in no shape to do so — and Scotty did appear in her path without warning. Plus, Scotty was killing himself all along, abetted by a family welded together by tragedy,  secrets and lousy choices.

We know that Cole is Joanie’s daddy and, even with Cole’s admission that he wants a child of his own, she opts to let the one person who has always done right by her ostensibly get his happy ending.

We know why Helen was adamant that Noah not be convicted — and that she and Noah are perfectly capable of being civil. How civil is up for interpretation.

But there is so much to be answered in Season 3 … or maybe never. In an entire season where we’ve seen no real, genuine closeness between Noah and Alison (other than a little banging on the sofa), the part where he is still professing his love for her come wedding time is perplexing, even after the speech he gives in his own recollection. He’s clearly suffering domestication. If he really thought she was his true love … well, never mind. People are strange, especially where the heart is concerned. And Noah’s been a flake for a while.

As for Alison. She knew that Joanie isn’t Noah’s. That being a city girl isn’t for her. That Noah’s attentions seemed to be everywhere but on their home life, even when he was at home and she was wandering New York, too ashamed to tell him her fears. And that — with one revelation that they collaborated not just on the resurrection of the Lobster Roll, but on another child — she could possibly have a do-over on her peaceful little family life with Cole back in Montauk. So what exactly was she pleading for on the steps of the Lobster Roll? Any dad for Joanie is better than no dad at all? The idea that this has all been pointless has occurred to her, too? I’m stymied.

In either recollection, both scenarios made for a nicely dramatic setup for Scott’s death — but, at least to me, neither rang true of a real, whole, believable relationship. And maybe that’s on purpose. After all, their perspectives are only a quarter of the story, and worlds apart. Clearly, neither knows what they really want from their life — and it could be too late anyway.

So what will Season 3 bring? Noah has confessed, but will he be convicted? Will one woman come forth with the truth? Could both? And what will their action — or inaction — say about each? What do you hope to see when The Affair returns?  Tell us in the comments section below.

2 Comments

  1. The thing that confuses me…..surely Cole would have wondered if he’s Joanie’s father? He must know when she was born and he knows what went on with Alison, and when, better than Scottie. Surely the thought must have passed through his head.

    Also, in the scene where she’s giving birth Alison says that she’s not due for 5 weeks. When she meets Noah at the yoga retreat they havn’t met for 6 weeks and she’s already pregnant. From Noah’s perspective the baby must have been born late as the liason with Cole happened in that 6 week period. He would have assumed that she was already pregnant by the time he went back to NY to deal with Martin’s illness.

    • So, forgive my crudeness, but Alison and Noah were banging like dogs in heat! It would be easy for Noah to assume and not question that the baby was his because they most likely had sex even the very day that Noah saw her last. Due dates are also determined as an approximation based on menstrual cycles, not exact dates of conception. That’s most likely why it never dawned on Alison that Joanie could be Cole’s since it was only a one-nighter with him. Also, we don’t know what “protection” was used during Alison and Cole’s tryst. Obviously everyone acts very recklessly, but from my perspective based on season 1, Cole assumes that Alison perhaps can’t get pregnant anymore since he wanted to have another baby after Gabriel passed away and she never conceived.

      What will be interesting to see in season 3 (which I believe has been green-lit?) is how Noah, Alison and Helen interact in the wake of the incident and before the investigation begins which we begin to see in season 1. The season finale of season 1 finds Noah and Alison seemingly happy as the the police arrives to arrest Noah. We don’t know the status of Cole and Luisa’s relationship, and we have to assume that Alison and Cole don’t speak very much (although they are partners in the restaurant) based on the scene when they meet at the courthouse. Cole does not know that Joanie is his, but we have to assume that it will certainly change the situation when that truth is revealed. However, since the DNA results (again, presumably) came back that Joanie is not Noah’s, Gottleif is assuming that Joanie is Scotty’s, which will be hard not to prove since DNA results are nearly identical for brothers.

      I have to be honest and say that I loved season 1 and was swayed by the bad reviews the show received and nearly didn’t want to follow the show. I binge-watched season 2 in two days (sadly) and I am now hooked on the character developments. So long till season 3!

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About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.