I think this is the first episode we’ve seen where we’re in no character’s perspective! What are we to make of such a thing? Who is driving this bus?
We begin at noon with a very pregnant Alison cleaning out her fridge and helpfully listening to the radio, which tells us that it’s March and a huge hurricane is heading towards the area.
An hour later, we’re with Helen who is moodily sitting in a cute cafe/bar and telling the waitress that she’s being stood up on a Tinder date. It just never gets easier dating in New York City, does it? The waitress helpfully tells her to try Match instead because Tinder is a hookup app. But look who is at the bar! It’s the handsome surgeon, Dr. Ullah, who some of you sharp-eyed readers noticed was making eyes at Helen during the great Martin stomach crisis. He’s very sexy in a rakish kind of way and has that kind of deadpan sarcasm thing that makes it incredibly hard to tell if he’s kidding or not. Helen is having trouble with this — especially when he says/jokes that surgeons just want to booze it up with whiskey all the time. (By the way, he’s drinking at a bar near the hospital, which is indeed a little worrying.) He’s clearly got a case of the Helens, though, and his ears perk up a bit when he hears she’s divorced.
They get kicked out of the bar on account of the storm and he immediately starts hitting on her. The waitress is like, “Um, keep it on the sidewalk people,” but does the universal girl signal for you-go-girl-he’s-hot. Outside, Helen is all like, “Ugh, you want to ask me out? Why?” “It’s just an interview for sex,” she says. He’s all, “Cool, want to have sex?” And Helen, bless her, says yes. So this is the wild Helen we’ve heard so much about! I’m into it. She sneaks him into the basement entrance of the brownstone while the little kids are watching TV. They proceed to have some hot-looking basement sex.
Afterward she somehow brings him up stairs for a glass of water and some awkward chit-chat without the kids catching wind of anything. He gets a call from the hospital and very patiently and sweetly talks a very nervous parent off a ledge. Helen takes note, but then the mood is broken after he hangs up and is all, “Needy b—-.” Before she can investigate, Martin is like, “Oh hey, why is my surgeon in my kitchen?” Again this dude again seems like the greatest guy in the world. He asks if Martin has been taking some injections, and Helen and Martin admit they’ve been skipping them because they hurt and Helen’s hands shake. Dr. U is all like, “Wait I can show you a trick!” Martin starts to freak out, but the good doctor manages to chill Martin out and give it a chance to work. After Martin leaves, Helen is basically, “Okay, so who are you?” “Are you a nice guy that acts like a d–k or a d–k that acts like a nice guy?” Excellent question, Helen! He doesn’t get it. She keeps pressing about what on earth is going on inside this guy’s heart. His response: “My heart is a muscular organ with four chambers… It doesn’t feel anything. It works.” Well, that is it for Helen. She’s done trying to figure these monster men out. She goes upstairs and cries. Dr. U comes in, and she really rants to him about how hard it’s been and how did this happen and how it’s a lot. Poor Helen. I can’t for the life of me answer Helen’s question about this guy — I keep going back and forth. I do know that in the midst of all this heart exposing, he’s distracted by a Tinder message! Nope.
He does help Martin, though, so that’s something. Helen gets her kids settled on the couch and tells Dr. U he can wait out the the storm with them if he wants. “I’d rather drown,” he says, but sort of sweetly, and kisses the inside of her wrist goodbye. Huh! A real head scratcher.
Meanwhile, Alison is in labor. She keeps calling Noah, who is not picking up. Of course. At the hospital she learns her regular doctor won’t be making it due to the storm, and instead she has a sweet young doctor named Dr. DiMato. Alison is all, “Hey, I’m not due for another five weeks.” And honestly I don’t know what this math does for all us Cole-as-Daddy conspiracy theorists, but I’m sure it means something. The doctor lets her know that whether she planned on it or not, this baby is coming tonight.
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At 7 p.m., Noah and Eden are pulling up to the fancy house of a producer who wants to adapt Noah’s book. There’s even talk of George Clooney committing — man, I love the idea of George Clooney portraying a fictionalized Noah Solloway! Noah hears his phone buzzing but can’t find it, and Eden convinces him to just leave it in the car. Which…no way. No way on a normal day, but especially no way when you have a very pregnant wife and there’s a crazy storm, right?
Inside, the party is raging as hard as the storm outside. Eden is all sexy kitten’d out and brings him back to meet the producer, Rodney Callahan. (Place your guesses on who this guy is based on but I’ll go with Jerry Weintraub mixed with Robert Evans with a sprinkling of Scott Rudin for fun.) He tells Noah that he’s the literary son of Norman Mailer. (Ugh, please don’t tell Noah that.) He puts out a table of cocaine, too, and Noah partakes. Hilariously, Rodney wants to change the ending of the movie version to what Noah originally fought for: the couple sitting down to dinner instead of the guy running the woman down with his car. Jennifer Lawrence’s name is dropped as a potential Alison character. But imagine if Decent was really this popular of a book and then Hollywood just up and changed the ending? People would lose their mind.
Anyway, maybe this isn’t even going to happen because here comes bumbling idiot friend Max. Hi, Max! Max immediately puts his foot in it, insulting Rodney, gobbling down some coke without being invited, and in general being a boob. Noah tries to toss him, and Max bristles. He reminds Noah that he was the one who leant him 50K when he needed it. As they bicker, there’s an announcement that the roads will be closing soon, so if people need to leave, they should do it soon. Noah hurries back to Rodney and tries to pretend like Max is Helen’s friend. (If Noah only knew the half of it!) Noah does some more coke and is clearly getting trashed but also is having a good time. He and Eden dance, and ugh, you all know how I feel about this lady. Her whole no-mixing-work-with-pleasure rule is apparently over because when Noah makes to leave, she gives him a pretty good invitation to stay with her. Oh, Noah. Sigh. It doesn’t really matter because the announcement comes moments later that the roads are closing. Eden and Noah start making out, and she tells him to meet her in a guest bedroom in fifteen minutes.
Next: things are always darkest before dawn
Why the delay, Eden? Noah and I are both wondering. I suppose a lady needs her time. However, this turns out to be a bad call on her part as now Noah is wandering the party in a drunken/drugged/sexual haze. He smokes some pot and smiles when he see’s Norman Mailer’s An American Dream on the coffee table. The party, by the way, now looks more Plato’s Retreat than fancy cocktail party, what with all the naked ladies in the pool. And we all know that Noah has a tough time resisting both nubile young women and swimming pools. So off go his clothes and in he goes.
The show does a nice job of showing the impaired brain in this scene: Underwater everyone is naked; above water everything is just dreamy and hazy. When he swims to the side of the pool, he spies two young women making out in the hot tub. Noah is all id at this point, and he hops out of the pool and plops down beside them, no doubt hoping for an invitation to join or, at the very least, for a free show. But…well, oops: One of the young women is Whitney. (Cue screaming.)
And I mean…this is enough to kill every sexual impulse for the rest of your life, right? Whitney screams, and Noah flees into the rain. He should definitely not be driving, but I understand the need to get the hell out of that situation. He wrestles the keys away from the valet and gets in. And that’s when he notices the millions of missed messages and calls from Alison and the hospital. Side note: It is only 9:27 p.m., which seems pretty early for such late-night behavior, but I suppose everyone goes a little hard during a hurricane party.
Noah realizes he’s managed to really screw the pooch on this one and starts cursing and driving. Of course, no one was kidding about the roads being out, and he ends up getting stuck in the muck behind a blockade. And maybe this is bottom? Noah realizes he’s also spiritually stuck in some mud and begins to cry. Pull it together, Noah!
It’s 10 p.m., and Alison has been in labor for at least five hours, poor thing. She’s scared and freaked out and wants her husband. The doctor, who I like, stays calm and tells her she won’t leave Alison, even when the power is flickering in and out.
Meanwhile, an hour later we’re back in Montauk. Cole is in a gloomy funk and barely paying attention to his lovely girlfriend as she tries to entertain him with stories of her failed ballet lessons. He’s pissed because he got stuck cleaning out Alison’s crap. Well, it sounds like Luisa was stuck cleaning out Alison’s crap. Luisa, bless her, is like, “I know how you can thank me: Let’s get busy!” So they do. Hooray for hurricane sex! But wait: Cole says he didn’t bring a condom. No problem, says Luisa.
Afterward Luisa gets practical: Cole is about to be homeless and rich. Cole is doing that dumb dude thing where he’s saying he refuses to take any money from the sale of the house. She also points out that she has a new job and it will be harder for her to get back and forth to Montauk. She floats the idea of Cole moving to the city which he clearly is not into. He brings her to the piece of wood where he recorded Gabriel’s height over the years (ending, sadly, in 2013). He asks if he should take it, and Luisa tells him, of course. But when he mentions that perhaps one day they’ll be cutting notches into the wood for their own kids, Luisa freaks out. Turns out she can’t get pregnant. Poor Luisa! She had fibroids and didn’t have health insurance and went to some quack who removed the fibroids but left so much scarring that she can no longer carry a baby to term.
Cole has just about the worst reaction to this. He’s all, “Oh my god, my crazy grandmother was right: This family is cursed!” And if you hear screaming, it’s because I’m shouting in my empty apartment about adoption and surrogacy. I mean, come on people. Thankfully, Luisa tells him a thing or three about how offensive it is that Cole turns everything that happens — including her terrible tale of infertility — into something that’s about him. I agree, lady. “The world does not revolve around your pain.” Word, Luisa! She stomps off, and Cole lets her.
At 2 a.m., things have gotten really dark. Alison is crying about not even wanting to have this baby. (Boy, The Affair sure wants you to know how horrific childbirth is.) The doctor tells her to pull it together. Not too far away, Cole is drinking Grandpa Babykiller’s moonshine and is straight up hallucinating visions of his dead son. Boy, everyone is hitting a real low this episode. We cut back and forth between Alison and Cole both in a lot of pain. (For you Cole-daddy theorists, this seems to be giving you a lot of bolstering.)
Cole decides to straight up light the place on fire, which is sad because I love this house, but I suppose that doesn’t matter because he already mentioned earlier that the new owners were planning to knock it down anyway. As the old home and memories go up in literal flames, the new baby is being born.
And then it’s morning, and Alison is smiling (with remarkably clean and shiny hair) at her new beautiful daughter. The doctor tells her that Noah has finally arrived, but Alison tells her to not let him in just yet. Golly.