In this penultimate episode, we begin with Alison. Despite being in New York where Noah lives, both of them are dicking around town and he has a great idea (not) to take her back to his and bang her in his own bed, and then talk about having their own place in the form of a studio flat which he’d rent out as his own ‘writing space’ to finish off the book. Christ, why am I bothering with this terrible programme? He’s playing an incredibly dangerous game and you know he’s going to get caught out in the end.
After accidentally smashing something in his kitchen, Alison bins it and finds a pregnancy test which confirms Helen’s up the duff. No doubt he has no idea, as he hasn’t mentioned it yet.
They go studio flat hunting, but it’s less a home and more a hovel. No surprise that she hates it. And she calls him on the fact that he’ll never leave his missus, but he won’t admit it. Bleah, this is more predictable than the after-effects of stubbing your toe!
Booze is the answer, and as Alison goes to the bar, Oscar turns up having sorted out his new venture with bowling alley, etc. Clearly she’s somehow quickly ended up back in her hometown. Oscar pretends to care, but we know he doesn’t. He spills his blackmail-attempt plan about Noah, but she stops him in his tracks, offering a ‘fuck’. They do the do, and his response in the morning is to take her down the shops to buy a Christmas tree. Awww…
For no apparent reason, she spills her own beans about selling the ranch and getting as far away on her own as possible, but Oscar counters that it’s a matter of public record how Cherry’s been refinancing the place for years, so the ranch is worth precisely zero. And she ain’t going nowhere.
She goes back to challenge Cherry, who tries to weasel out of it, but like Labour MP Liam Byrne back in 2010, when he left a note for the incoming Tory/LibDem coalition, Alison makes the sharp assessment: “There’s no money left.”
As she threatens to tell everyone else who thought they’d be rich, Cherry, in return, threatens to tell Cole about her affair, but she pretends she’s already told him. As a last throw of the dice, Cherry throws Alison’s dead son, Gabriel, in her face, claiming she didn’t do enough by not taking him to the hospital. Something like that, anyway. She kinda waffled and it upset Alison, but the jist of it was basically to say that she was such an unfit mother that she let her kid die. Her response is to self-harm so badly that she slices her thigh open and it requires treatment from the local doctor.
Scared she’s blocked it all from her memory, she asks the doc to refresh her memory as to what happened, first recounting what she knew, when Gabriel nearly drowned. This led to the lad feeling so tired that he fell asleep in her arms and she put him to bed, assuming she’d get to the root of it in the morning, except that he never woke up, having suffered the rare case of “secondary drowning”, when they look like they’re tired but it’s much worse than that. Ruth Wilson proves herself to be a good actress in this depressingly sad scene as Alison relives the horror of the day, but she’s lumped with a lousy script.
At her wits end, she heads back to the beach and tries to do a Reggie Perrin, but the memory of Gabriel stops her in her tracks, or so she thinks, but it’s actually a passerby with her son begging her to stop being a dick and get out of the water. I think.
As her segment comes to an end, she tells Cole about the ranch and how she’s going back to New York for a while. We know it’s to bonk Noah, but she claims it’s just to spend more time with mumsy.
And then to Part 2, with Noah, and he’s been pulled back in for questioning with Annoying Cop, because Scotty was hit by a car. And Noah drives a car, so… let’s jump to conclusions!
So, then we go back to the tedious nonsense with him banging Alison, this time round him begging her to tell him “I’m yours” over and over, just to boost his ego even more.
What deflates it is when HE finds the pregnancy test, and he hides it away in his pocket. Then, with her top accidentally in the washing machine along with the bedding, he gives her something of Helen’s to wear in the meantime. When she comes home, he quizzes her on the pregnancy test, but with her dropping the bombshell that it’s not hers, that only leaves one person… Whitney! And then typical kitchen sink drama plays out as Daddy wants to know who did it, while Mommy is all caring.
And since she’s three months gone, it must’ve happened while they were on holiday – although, surprisingly, that doesn’t get mentioned. Helen tells Noah that she monitors everything her daughter posts on Facebook, and suspects a boy in particular, but how does she monitor it? She doesn’t know her password… they’re friends! And she says that through gritted teeth, which rang true with me, as my Mum used to be friends with me on Facebook, but I think we get on better now that we’re not 🙂
He chances on meeting Whitney at the abortion clinic, but instead kicks off at the first lad in their 20s that he sees, jumping to conclusions. To calm down, he heads off to Max’s pad to bitch about his life.
While looking across from Max’s roof terrace, where a building has some rather late advice for Whitney as it’s advertising “Rubber products”, Noah spots a man jumping from a roof, but is too late to be able to do anything about it. In telling the police what he saw, he speculates on how hard it must be to take your own life, and is told in reply that it’s not hard – “You just… make a choice.”
Back home, he overhears Helen telling Whitney about her own abortion, then later spills the beans to Helen that he wants to split up because he’s still in love with Alison, and not her. He thinks he can do this slowly slowly, waiting until Whitney’s feeling better, post-abortion. Not so. She chucks him out… even more speedily when she spots the waitress’ bra in the drawers and puts two and two together about that morning.
Getting the train over to Alison’s town, there’s a final, hilarious moment when he gets off the train just as Alison is still with Cole in the very same place, just as she’s about to head back to New York. She gets on the train. ‘hashtag awkward’! End scene.
The final scene bumped this episode up slightly to 3/10. But only just…
The Affair concludes on Sky Atlantic next Wednesday at 9pm.
Episode 9 Score: 3/10
Director: Jeffrey Reiner
Producer: Andrea P Stilgenbauer
Writers: Dan LeFranc, Melanie Marnich and Kate Robin
Creators: Sarah Treem and Hagai Levi
Sound: Marcelo Zarvos
Noah Solloway: Dominic West
Alison Bailey: Ruth Wilson
Helen Solloway: Maura Tierney
Cole Lockhart: Joshua Jackson
Whitney Solloway: Julia Goldani Telles
Cherry Lockhart: Mare Winningham
Detective Jeffries: Victor Williams
Oscar Hodges: Darren Goldstein
Max: Josh Stamberg
Dr Henry: Jeffrey De Munn
Scotty Lockhart: Colin Donnell
Hal Lockhart: Danny Fischer
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.