Things between Alison and Noah get shaky as the Lockharts' shady dealings are exposed.

By Sara Vilkomerson
Updated November 17, 2014 at 04:01 AM EST
Credit: Mark Schafer/Showtime

We’re back to hearing Noah’s side of the story first. He’s at a nightclub called The End—the very same one he denied even knowing about to the police detective last week. He’s meeting an old buddy, Max (Josh Stamberg), who is in town to visit and to paaaaarty. Max kicks the festivities off by doing a little coke in the back of Hal Lockhart’s cab. As they sit at a scenic outdoor table, the old friends sit around and catch up. Their talk turns to college and Max wonders (as do I, sometimes) how Noah managed to bag Helen. Max totally doth protests too much about how totally awesome the separation from his wife is going.

Suddenly Alison appears, in a slinky red dress, pretending to be all like, “Noah who?” and joins them. Max is immediately all over her. Noah smiles a little smugly. Cut to: Noah shoving a very drunk Max into a taxi and then running back inside to where Alison is waiting. There they make-out and dance/grind lovingly to Bar Mitzvah music in public, which seems kinda nuts to me, considering this is supposed to be a clandestine affair. You can’t get away with that kind of thing in New York City, let alone a small summer town. They take it to the their hotel room. Noah gazes at Alison and says, “Sometimes I worry you’re just a really great dream.” She replies he shouldn’t wake up, and then takes off her dress. Adult activities commence. After, they take a shower. Noah raises the issue of what will happen next week when he has to go back to the city. Alison is all la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you. But Noah has a plan: He can find an artist-in-residency somewhere that would allow him to come back to Montauk for a few weeks and finish his novel and spend every night with Alison. Neither mention their spouses, though Alison calls herself his mistress. Noah prefers the word concubine. Adultery is hilarious! But the point is, Noah is most definitely looking to continue this relationship in the future.

Alison surprises Noah when she starts putting clothes on and makes to leave. Cole is returning early, she says. Noah asks if Alison and Cole are still sleeping together, which she sidesteps. He then notices she had the foresight (some might say premeditation) to bring a change of clothes. She suggests he do the same and he bitterly asks if that’s so he can home and have sex with Helen. (He does not say “have sex” but uses a more vulgar term). He wants to drive her home—drunks still being on the road and all that—but she says no. The sun is just coming up, and he watches her bicycle away, suspicions raised when she turns in the opposite direction of her home.

He tails her, watches as she picks up that awfully suspicious cooler and follows to her drop-off at the taxi dispatch. Seems like someone is putting two and two and coke together. He creeps back home and crawls into bed. Helen wakes him some time later because Martin is missing—unsurprisingly he’s at the Lockhart ranch.

Noah swims some laps and then asks a sunbathing Whitney where someone could buy cocaine. Whitney, understandably, is all, whoa Dad. Why would *I* know that? It’s for his book, he claims, he needs to know how to “score some drugs.” Whitney laughs her bikini-clad ass off at that one.

Noah is working when Helen tells him that Whitney’s therapist wants them to come in too and she doesn’t think it’s a bad idea. Helen points out that Noah has been distant, and that he seems to have lost interest in having sex with her. (She does not use the word sex but a more vulgar term. Sheesh Solloways!) Helen feels old and unwanted and asks if she’s still a good lay. She says they should plan on doing it that night. “I’m going to buy a candle!” I love a woman with a plan. Noah feels like a heel.

Surprisingly he joins his family at the Lobster Roll, where a very hungover Max shows up. Almost immediately Max busts Noah’s cover that he was out all night with Max, an explanation Noah is saved from giving (an inscrutable Helen takes it all in behind sunglasses) when Jane the waitress arrives. Max spots Alison at another table, goes over to hit on her again, and Helen (interesting that she remembers Alison’s name) tells him he can do better. Meouch. Noah is all ha-ha-ha-she’s-married (Helen silently notes that Noah knows this too) which leads to a hilarious almost story from Whitney about what Grandma did when Grandpa was in Vietnam. Sadly Helen shuts her up before we can hear the end of that. Noah takes the little one to the bathroom and when there’s a knock on the door is horrified to see Alison. Just kidding, he pulls her in and they start madly making out. Then he leaves and takes his little girl’s hand to go back to the table. Yuck. Back at the table Max has lost it and is crying about being separated from his wife and boys. Hello physical manifestation of consequences! (Don’t Helen and Max kind of seem like they’d be a cute couple?)

When Noah pays, Oscar is all huffy from the other night. Noah apologizes for the other day and tries to make it up to him (and kill time till he can get with Alison) after Helen decides to peace off with Max and go mini-golfing. As they bro bond, Alison leaves the restaurant and Oscar agrees with Noah’s silent gaze that Alison is cute and then informs Noah he took Alison’s virginity (he uses a more vulgar term). Scottie Lockhart comes in—with a sneering “you sure do have a knack for making new friends” to Noah—and confronts Oscar about money owed him. Oscar is still talking about that damn bowling permit. Scottie just goes to the cash register and takes some cash out and shoves Oscar aside before punching him in the parking lot. Oscar loses it and comes back in, and picks up the phone: “I’d like to report some suspicious activity,” he says, going on to link the fishing boats with the taxi company and drugs. Oscar further explains to Noah: duh, the Lockharts are drug dealers. “They’re dirty as dirt.” That’s dirty.

Noah goes to the ranch and immediately tells Alison he needs to talk to her. Noah comes out with it: “Have you been dealing drugs?” Alison puts up a little resistance, but then he explains he followed her that morning. She denies it all till he tells her that Oscar called the police. And then things get real real fast. Her entire demeanor changes as Noah explains the call, her face gets harder and colder. He watches her run to Cole and explain the situation: Oscar narc’d them out. Noah is grossed out by everything.

He’s so disgusted, in fact, that he rushes home and attacks Helen. He holds onto his wife like he hasn’t seen her in years and starts to take off her clothes. She’s like, what the hell dude, but then is psyched that it’s happening so rolls with it. They tell each other that they missed each other as they have sex against a mirror where we can see the reflection of Noah’s face in tears.

NEXT: Alison has had it

It appears we’re repeating the same period of time in this episode as we’re back to Noah and Alison’s hotel room, where she gazes at him sleeping. The clock reads 4:39 and she sighs as she gets up. In her memory she showers alone and there’s no rosy future talk of the couple being together. In fact, in this version Noah pees while she’s in the shower. She and I say at almost the same time: really? Noah wonders why she has to be somewhere before 5 a.m. To the docks she rides (in a peach top and denim skirt, as opposed to the black tank Noah remembered) where she and I are both disappointed that cute Will isn’t in attendance. It’s another, less friendly dude.

At the taxi dispatch she asks Caleb about the blonde passed out on the couch. Alison is all jumpy as they head into the secret back drugs room. And there we see our evidence: bags of drugs under the fish. She mentions that Will wasn’t at the docks, that there was someone new. Weird, they agree.

At the ranch it’s Cole! And he’s walking a beautiful horse named Elizabeth Taylor—she reminds Cole of Alison. “She’s majestic, she’s stubborn, she likes apples.” Oh, Cole. Alison walks down a few stalls and sees Martin Solloway asleep in the hay. He just wanted to help with the new horse! He begs them not to tell his parents. Cole is the best person alive, so he messes with him a bit before inviting him to come up to the house for breakfast.

At the house Martin is all shy smiles amidst the noisy clatter of the Lockharts. Cole’s mom wonders if his parents are worried. “Like they’d care,” Martin says. He then goes on to do the regular kid thing of complaining about his dad being lame, especially with how a teacher matches up to all this ranch machismo. Cherry Lockhart tells him that she used to be a teacher. Cole is all like, chill dude. It’s just dad stuff. Alison smiles and takes in, with me, how awesome Cole is.

Later the phone rings. It’s Mrs. Solloway, who is where wondering her son is. Alison nervously tells her that it was just breakfast and covers for Martin. (Note: It was Noah who called in the previous retell.) She gets off the phone and is extra judgey about Helen’s tone and lack of concern. Cherry basically tells her to cool it—the woman has four kids. Alison blames it on her wealth.

Alison goes outside and watches how sweet Cole is to Martin as he teaches him to ride. She’s no doubt thinking about what a good father he’d be to their son who never grew to Martin’s age. Or maybe she’s thinking about the unfairness of life that a woman who is rich and has it all gets to have a son grow up in the world when she does not. Or maybe she’s just thinking that Cole is hot (that one is probably just me).

Alison leaves her shift at the Lobster Roll and finds a note from Noah in her bicycle basket to meet him at Phoebe’s house. He managed to somehow break in and is waiting for her with a somber expression. He tells her that he followed her from the hotel and has suspicions about the cooler. She goes for her cigarettes while Noah angrily asks what she thinks she’s doing. He yells at her for a bit about how stupid it is to deal coke and how she could go to jail. She basically gets to: “I don’t f’n care what happens to me! I don’t care if I live or die or go to jail or space.” (I could write 10,000 words why jail is way better than space, but we should just continue.) She breaks down a bit as Noah registers that he never really knew how screwed up this woman really is. She says they don’t have a choice because the ranch can’t sustain itself. Noah can’t believe it. But he can’t help himself from kissing her and wondering why she never told him. She didn’t think it mattered. Noah points out his son is at the ranch every day. She explains the rules of the coke dealing game that Noah, understandably scoffs at. Noah has had it and makes to leave, but first there’s something he needs to tell Alison.

Cut to her racing to the ranch to warn Cole, which cuts to a pretty impressively organized clean-up of drugs. Alison, in order to cover where she heard the info, tells the boys it was she who heard Oscar make the phone call to the cops. Scottie can’t believe it. The brothers want to dump the drugs into the ocean, but Cole says they should dig a hole on the property. Great plan. Alison offers to come with him, but he says if he’s going down alone in a blaze of glory, he’s going alone. Alison is left to talk to the cops when they show.

But it’s not the cops who knock on the door. It’s Oscar, who is all, oh hey there, just looking to buy drugs. Caleb calls him a narc and tells him to get out. Oscar claims innocence as Caleb tries to murder him because, he says Alison heard him herself. But Oscar knows better. Then he says sometimes he just likes to practice calling the cops. This doesn’t go over so well either. Alison sends Caleb out to go tell Cole it was a false alarm and also to get those two out of the same room. Once they’re alone, Oscar lays into her. “All this time I thought you were in mourning,” he says. “If you wanted to have sex with someone, Bailey, you could have had sex with me.” Except, you guys, he doesn’t say sex. You know what he says. She beats him around the face almost as effectively as Scottie, and she is a shaky wreck.

Back at the ranch, the boys argue about what to do. Cole thinks they’re back in business as long as they give Oscar his permit. Hal walks out and Cole shoots Alison a look. He thought she went home. She tells him all this stuff needs to stop and he tells her to relax; Oscar is just a weirdo who is really really into you. She points out that if it’s not Oscar, it’s someone else. Cole points out that they’re $100,000 (oof) in the hole and they have to sell the drugs to get out of it. She suggests selling the ranch because they’re miserable. He thinks the family is depending on them. She points out that selling the ranch means freedom and new lives and that they could “finally move on.” He’s all, move on from what? There is no moving on. And just as things start to get truly unbearably tense, Hal comes back with Martin, who is mortified to tell them that he managed to lose the new mare. Cole has had quite the day and leaves to go chase the horse down.

Alison offers to drive Martin home. They bond in the car about why they do the things they do and how they have no idea why they do them. He thanks her politely, and Noah comes to the door. Alison says she thought about what he said before. She doesn’t want that life anymore and wants to start over with Noah. Noah is all, yeah about that… he’s been thinking about it and he thinks they should just end things. He turns and heads back inside. Oops. Alison looks devastated.

Hey, were there no detective appearances at all this week: curious, don’t you think?

Episode Recaps

The Affair

Two marriages collide when a tragedy brings an affair to light; the Showtime original series stars Joshua Jackson and Maura Tierney.

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