Is it great or terrible to be the subject of someone's book? Alison finds out the hard way.
Credit: Mark Schafer/Showtime

It’s an Alison/Cole split this week for an event-filled episode. And who saw all this coming?

We begin with Alison, who wakes up alone in the magical house on the Hudson that seems less magical without Noah. She leaves him a fake, cheery voicemail, asking what the deal is and realizes she’s late for work at the big house.

Things there seem quite odd and strained. Yvonne starts snapping at her immediately — and we can see she’s about three-quarters of the way through Noah’s manuscript. She throws a little passive-aggressive shade about Alison’s short shorts and is generally unpleasant about just about everything. Alison asks how Noah’s book is, and Yvonne gives her a long look. “It’s fascinating.” Uh-oh.

Alison works with Robert on his knee exercises, and he’s as nice usual. When she asks if Yvonne is mad at her, he assures her that she’s not. Part of his therapy is Alison massaging his upper leg (uh-oh again), and they get to chatting about cheating on spouses. Turns out Yvonne and Robert had their own torrid affair back in the day, and Alison starts telling Robert — whom she really seems to trust and let her guard down around — the real story of her and Noah. She sort of goes into a daze and starts talking about how much she tried to resist Noah but couldn’t due to their wild sexual love connection. Robert’s eyes sort of glaze over and go black as she’s talking and talking about this wonderful connection, and when she comes back to herself, she and Robert both realize she can’t keep touching him because he’s, um, very excited. (The erection shot here is sort of funny, but this is an upsetting scene, so not really). It’s awkward all around but certainly not helped by Robert saying, “I guess you just have this effect on men.” Ugh.

She takes off on her bicycle to town, experimenting with letting go of the handles and trying to shake off the weirdness of what just happened. In town, she picks up the food that Yvonne requested, and the chatty lady behind the counter realizes who she is and let’s her know that Yvonne has talked (positively) about her and how she and Noah might get married on the property. You can sort of see Alison thinking, phew, maybe i was wrong about what I was picking up before.

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But back at the house, Yvonne is still treating her like she’s some sort of idiot and generally ignores her when she’s serving the family their food. She goes back to her cabin, and Robert surprises her with a visit. And ooof: He goes into a lame thing about how Yvonne found a better assistant — someone who just graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop — and oh yeah, he doesn’t need her to help him with leg exercises anymore. So, anyway, nice knowing you! This is basically a more polite version of what happened with Pete, the wolf dog. She tries to fight it and says she’s doesn’t understand, and he’s like, “Oh, I think you do.” Poor Alison. She runs up to the house to talk to Yvonne and figure out what sort of misunderstanding has occurred.

Instead she’s sees Noah’s book on Yvonne’s desk, and she figures out what we have already suspected (right?): This change of attitude is somehow coming from how she’s been depicted in this book. And as she flips through, every page she lands on is basically calling her sex-on-a-stick and a siren who lures helpless men with four children to their destruction. Quite frankly, Noah’s book sounds sort of smutty!

Alison, understandably, is quite upset. She even wrecks Yvonne’s office a little bit and leaves Noah a much less cheerful voicemail to call her ASAP. She packs a bag (also understandable) and catches sight of herself in the mirror. Her bra is hanging out a little bit, and you can see her looking at herself, trying to figure out if this is all men see when they look at her.

She takes the subway to Fort Greene and — I can’t believe this one — rings Helen’s bell. Bold move. Helen, looking as composed as usual, comes out. Alison has maybe lost her mind as she takes a bit of a tone with Helen and asks where Noah is. Helen agrees with me. Alison tells her she wasn’t trying to steal her husband, she didn’t make him do this, and she is sorry. Helen shuts this all down, incredibly coldly and with deadly accuracy. Helen starts painting a picture of how Noah can seem great but then he starts taking his fears out on the woman he’s with. “And then you become the enemy just because you know who he is. And then one day, somebody is going to show up at your house, thinking they fell in love with the greatest guy on earth.” And on that note she drops the mic, basically — excellent touch showing those bleach streaks in Helen’s hair — and closes the door behind her.

Alison is a wreck. She gets on a train, looks at her engagement ring, and tosses it in her bag. When she exits, we see that she’s run back to home, which still feels to her like Montauk.

Next: Cole falls for a new lady only to have the old one show up….

A scruffy Cole bounds up to the door of a nice Hamptons mansion. He looks a combination of psyched and horrified as he recognizes the hot nanny Luisa he almost backed over a few weeks ago. (And I am horrified to only realize now that Luisa is played by the beautiful Catalina Sandino, star of 2004’s Maria Full of Grace.) We figure out the source of Cole’s mixed feelings when he’s summoned upstairs by that drunk lady from a couple of episodes ago who managed to make “private landscape artist” sound like a sex position. She takes off all her clothes, and her instructions are a simple: “quick and quiet.” They get to it, though Cole is understandably freaked out by her insistence on calling him “ranch hand.” Rich people and their working-man fantasies! For someone who requested quick and quiet, this lady can’t shut up, though Cole eventually tell her to do just that. (She thinks this is hot, too. It IS Cole we’re talking about here). Her husband comes in from golfing at the worst moment, and Cole resigns himself to getting punched in the face because I think dudes have a code of ethics about such things.

He is sleeping peacefully in his trailer of solitude when he hears realtors prowling around his property, which pisses him off. Scott Lockhart apparently sent over some agents to appraise it. Cole is like, “Ugh, get out of here please while I can still bear to be polite.

He goes down to the dock where he catches Scott clearly in the middle of something (or someone). Cole starts yelling at Scott, and Scott starts wheeling and dealing: Oscar lost his loan, and they could swoop in and get the Lobster Roll. Scott has an investor, a hedge fund guy (holy hell, could this possibly be Max? I fear it could turn out to be), and he wants Cole to get Alison to sell the house so he can invest the profits into a nightclub. He needs a million dollars. Cole is like, “Uh, I sleep in a trailer, and you sleep on a boat.” Meanwhile, guess who Scott was with? Hot Luisa! She and Cole share a rather hilarious neither-of-us-can-judge-each-other-can-we look. Nope.

Scott’s fur ruffles up a little bit, so Cole leaves and passes two dudes clearly on their way to buy drugs from Scott. Cole watches this deal go down and Luisa lose her mind over it, stomping right off the boat. Cole, ever the gentleman, offers to go retrieve her work clothes off the boat. Scott, who can smell competition like a superhero, pleads with his brother not to have sex with her. Luisa can’t get a cab, but you know who has a cab, has two thumbs and is super hot? Yeah, you guessed it.

As they drive, Luisa changes in the back seat, late for her shift at The End. She tells Cole that she’s not dating Scott; it’s more of an arrangement like the one Cole has with private landscape artist lady. It also turns out Scott is a manager at The End, in addition to drug dealing and club scheming. She talks a little bit to Cole about being undocumented — she’s real sassy about it, and I like her — and picks up that Cole and Scott are no longer close.

Cole starts to drive away and then thinks better of it. He find Luisa behind the bar, and he settles in. He’s clearly interested — hopefully not just propelled along out of Scotty spite. Night falls, and Cole is still chilling at the bar, finishing a meal, and drinking bourbon. We learn that Luisa is from Ecuador. Cole explains how all the Lockharts have been born in Montauk, and Luisa innocently cracks a joke about Cole’s son. Poor thing, she couldn’t have known! Cole gets immediately sad and tries to bolt, but Luisa, showing good intuition, gets the real story and invites him to sit back down and start again from the beginning. They share a nice moment as they drink to “something else.” I’ll say!

Cole drives home (good lord, after how many drinks!??) with a smile on his face. It’s the smile of a man who has finally emerged from a fog to realize that life is full of unexpected possibilities and that some of them are hot and hail from Queens. Sometimes life surprises you, though, like when you are finally sort of good for the first time in forever and your estranged wife — right when your heart has started to heal — shows up asleep in your bed.

This all makes sense, even if it’s really one of those things that makes you want to scream “nooooo” at the TV. She’s feeling lost, and Cole is home and safe. I don’t know if her enticing him into having sex with her is the greatest way to wrestle with those feelings of identity and sexuality and people thinking you are a slut, but hey, whatever works. Ugh, these two: I love these two together, though I know from our time traveling it doesn’t work, and this makes me sad.

After, Cole sits out in back of the house, looking at the ocean and noticing that he has Luisa’s phone number written on his hand. Scott Lockhart comes stumbling up, clearly wondering if Cole has brought Luisa home with him. Cole won’t let him in which enrages Scott further. Oh, brothers. “She is mine,” says Scott, going full caveman. And he gets all pushy and shovey, and that’s when he sees Alison appear wrapped in a blanket. Oops. Awkward all around.

We cut to the future, and we see detective whatshisname and lawyer Toby meeting at a restaurant. The lawyer says that half the town wanted to see Scott Lockhart dead and he wants to know why the police zeroed in on Noah. He then brings up Cole as an alternate possibility because Cole’s motivation would be that he stole Scott’s business plan out from under his nose. He gestures around him. The detective leaves, and guess who offers the expensive lawyer a menu and a phone number? It’s Oscar! He’s a-back! And oh my goodness, the restaurant is now called Lockhart’s Lobster Roll! The plot thickens. ‘Til next week!

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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