First off, I’d like to thank those of you who wrote in last week. One of you even blew my mind a little with an answer to the wallpaper switch that was bugging me so last week. But now, a new week and new questions. The good news is that the show finally broke down and told us who is dead. AND, perhaps even more excitingly, the show has finally let Alison’s story go first!
We open with her in bed. Hot, wonderful Cole asks if she wants to come watch him surf and calls her stinko. Alison says she had trouble sleeping and wants to try to sleep for a few more hours. As soon as he leaves the room and we hear the screen door latch, Alison leaps out of bed like she’s Ferris Bueller, throwing off her shirt and hurriedly replacing it with a silky lavender slip dress. Cole comes back because he forgot something and sees that she’s not only not sleeping, she’s preening and looking to leave the house ASAP. They look at each other for a long, heavy moment. He explains he forgot his wax. It’s these little betrayals that hurt the most, right? Cole says, somewhat sadly, he’s always loved her in that dress. Oof. Felt that one.
Yet Alison seems to feel no lingering guilt as she jumps on her bicycle and rides down an idyllic path past sparkling waters and tall sea grass with a big summer smile on her face. She arrives at a house (maybe the cutest house in all the land) and starts dusting and futzing. We hear a car coming down the driveway and she quickly throws on a little mood music that she declares perfect. The show wants us to notice the music, I think, so I feel obliged to tell you it is called “Only Love” by Ken Roberts. (Sample lyric: Hey I know what it’s like to be lonely, I know how it feels / All I ever wanted was to hold you, just to make it real.) Noah is at the door and she starts kissing him and pulling him to the bedroom. He pulls her dress off and a lavender-colored bra is underneath. (When did she put that on?)
Cut to: adult activities that give Alison great pleasure. In the afterglow, Noah asks who owns the house they are in. It is a friend of Alison’s named Phoebe, who is a touring musician. Noah asks if Alison ever considered leaving Montauk, and Alison is all, duh, of course. She wanted to be a doctor but couldn’t afford medical school nor could she get a scholarship because her board scores weren’t good enough. She pointedly comments they couldn’t afford the prep classes that “everyone” takes to prepare. Noah, who knows enough to recognize a subtle jab, sets her straight: He was not some rich kid. He grew up with a truck-driving father and a mother who worked as a waitress. (Paging Dr. Freud!) He went to college on a swimming scholarship. So there. Not for nothing, the way this show deals with issue of social mobility and class is simply fascinating. The phone rings and it is the nursing home where Alison’s grandmother is. She refers to herself as Alison Bailey, for those of you keeping track of which surname she uses and when. She exposits to Noah that her mother, Athena, is in town after not being around for years and now is trying to change Alison’s grandmother’s Alzheimer’s medication. Alison works herself up in a lather over the selfishness of her mother breezing into town and stirring things up. Noah is all, chicks and their moms! They agree to meet after her shift.
Alison arrives at the nursing home and we meet Athena (played by Deirdre O’Connell), who is one of those hippy sanctimonious types. She’s amazing, of course—all long-haired and jangling bangles, and you totally believe she’s Alison’s mom because of the way Alison’s posture changes into instant sullen teen when her mother hugs her. Athena “sensed” that she was needed, could feel it all the way from Jaipur. She thinks that the grandmother is over-medicated because she didn’t recognize Athena, but the grandmother (played by the great Lynn Cohen, otherwise known as Magda from Sex and the City) instantly recognizes Alison—which goes to show that maybe Athena is just away too much. Grandmother knows a Shelley but no Athena, and Athena explains she changed her name and now works in energy healing. Oh brother. Grandmother Joan and Alison clearly adore each other, and Athena feels like the odd daughter out. She brags about her holistic private practices, but also admits she just went through a break-up, or as she puts it, they came to the end of their story. Take that, conscious un-coupling!
Athena and Alison fight about the amount of drugs given to Joan. Athena wants to take over as health proxy, and Alison is like, get real, hippie. You’re never around. Athena wants to take Alison to dinner but Alison has dinner at the Lockhearts, and apparently the moms don’t get along. A drink? Alison says she has to go take care of Phoebe’s house, which is a nice euphemism for what we know she really wants to do.
Alison heads to the restaurant in bad spirits where Jane is covering for her. Oscar comes in a little hungover and asks to borrow Alison’s phone. He can’t use the land line because he wants to talk to her brother-in-law about a delivery he’s owed. Hmmm. Sounds more and more like cocaine to me! Oscar asks if she’s still watching Phoebe’s house, which is as suspicious sounding to me as it seems to be for Alison.
It’s clearly a slow day at the restaurant and Alison is watching the clock (it is 3:45). She has a four top of annoying teen girls who debate the bread amount of breaded chicken (answer: lots) and Scottie Lockhart comes in to see Oscar. Scottie leaves 45 minutes later with a telltale sniff. Oscar is much more chipper and cuts Jane. Alison is bummed it’s not her, but then Oscar busts her for being late and, in general, acts like a creep.
NEXT: And the dead is…