A return to the place where it all began

By Sara Vilkomerson
December 19, 2016 at 05:13 PM EST
Phil Caruso/SHOWTIME
S3 E5
B+
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  • TV Show
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It turns out Alison wasn’t seeing things — it really was Noah in that little red car. She is not super-jazzed about seeing him. He tries to talk to her about the stabbing and she tries to explain what a precarious position she’s in with the courts. But Noah (being Noah) is not listening to her or respecting her wishes: Instead, he has passed out in her house.

She moves him over to Joanie’s room and sees it’s not really Tic Tacs he’s popping; in fact, it’s Vicodin. That ought to please the courts, right? She tells him he has to be out in the morning.

And yet there he is in the morning, making eggs and staying relentlessly cheerful. He’s like, hey, let’s go to Block Island! She’s like, how about signing these divorce papers instead? They’re not exactly on the same page and, of course, that’s when she sees Cole approaching, which leads to Alison tossing Noah out on the back deck. (This whole thing stressed me out way more than it should have.)

Cole comes in and is doing the whole what-were-we-thinking routine. He tells her they had their chance and they screwed it up; he loves Luisa and is not going to hurt her the way Alison once hurt him. This is the ethically correct thing to do, but I’m a little bit bummed we weren’t going to watch Alison and Cole have an affair for a change. Alison is still just focused on getting custody of Joanie and asks him to intervene with the judge. He refuses and she’s all, so I’m good enough to you-know-what, but not to take care of our very brown-eyed child?

Cole is all: I’m just trying to get through. She agrees to pretend the other night never happened. He leaves. Noah comes back inside. He says if she goes with him to Block Island for the day and still wants to get divorced, he’ll sign the papers. She says, “If you touch me, I’ll yell rape.” Sounds awesome, you guys!

They get on a ferry and he wants to know why she didn’t respond to his letters. She explains she didn’t get them when she was away. He starts yelling “Block Island! Block Island!” — which is actually pretty charming — and singing the lyrics to Camelot. (I thought a lot about this one, but haven’t come up with a theory as to why yet.)

And it’s weird to go back to the ground where a romance first began, right? So much has happened between the two of them. (The Dirty Squid, remember that place? It’s now out of business. How’s that for a heavy metaphor?)

They sit on the beach and Noah wants to know what her plan is. He’s rather dismissive of Cole, and Alison, thank goodness, stands up for him. Noah tells her Cole will only ever see her as damaged goods and will never trust her. Cool. What I really wish is we’d go back to see what happened between them, starting after he stood up and said he was guilty until now.

They’re walking through this beautiful shrubbery and going over the original crime. Alison wants to know why he didn’t tell the truth and raises the interesting notion that maybe he wanted to go to prison. He spies a hot tub and is all, score! She’s like, hey, aren’t you on parole? He finds wine and glasses, and starts stripping down and singing, and she can’t resist. She gets undressed and slips in.

Noah is all, hey, why don’t I just move to Montauk? Alison again explains that she wants a divorce. He tells her he just wants a simple life and to be with her. He says he has wasted so much time chasing the wrong things. Then Alison gives a simply amazing speech that seems like she must have gotten a ton of therapy to get right. “You are rewriting history. You and I were a mistake. You fell for me because you were bored and you felt trapped by Helen, the kids, your father-in-law. You wanted a fling. But you chose me, who lost a child and who was so incredibly sad. You couldn’t abandon me, so you convinced yourself that you loved me. And I convinced myself that I loved you because I so desperately needed someone to take me away. I used you. You used me, too. That’s what happened between us.”

(Uh, guess what. I believe all that to be true. Though, I also believe they had great sex, which confused things even further.)

The owners of the hot tub come home, so Noah and Alison run naked into the bushes; she leaves her shoes and misses the last ferry, which stressed me out more than I can even explain. They convince the lady at the local inn to let them stay.

They sit by the fire in Block Island sweatshirts and he tells her he’ll sign. But he also tells her it really was love for him, and he doesn’t want her to take that away. She talks about what it was like when she left Joanie. “I’m not okay,” she says. He talks about his mother’s illness and tells her to just not leave Joanie again. I’m screaming “Do not make out!” at the television when we fade to black and return with…

…Noah in jail, where he can’t listen to what Alison is blathering on about because he’s too distracted by freaky Fraser. What she’s trying to say is she can’t see him because of her custody issues. So, that explains that, I guess.

Back in his cell, Gunther taunts Noah about Alison and how hot she is. “She reminds me of the girls we grew up with, you know?” He also talks a lot about how she’s probably having sex with other people. Noah holds it together, but barely. Gunther is not done with him. He wants to know what Noah is in for. Noah tells him he hit someone with a car. Freaky Fraser is not buying it. “People like you don’t do time for that.” So true. Gunther promises to sniff out the truth.

He grabs some pages of Noah’s out of the typewriter. He starts reading them aloud. (No, prison has not made Noah a better writer.) It’s about a swimmer named Jack Hunter. When Gunther asks who Jack Hunter is, Noah shiftily says he made him up. Of course, even Freaky Fraser can hear the similarities between John Gunther and Jack Hunter. He loses his cool and screams at Noah, telling him he’s keeping the pages.

Noah wakes up and it’s the middle of the night. He hears a weird sound and looks outside. How can this be? It looks as though Gunther is strolling through the empty lot. Noah runs outside, where Alison finds him and asks what he’s doing.

They go back inside and settle down by the fire for a super-intense talk. He tells her about his dad’s death and how he left Noah the house. She tells him a little about her mysterious parentage. (How did these two not get around to these stories when they were falling in love/lust and stuff?) We also finally learn the truth about what happened with Noah’s mother — and boy, it’s a doozy. Short version: The day he was accepted into Williams with a full scholarship, she decided she should die and not be a burden. And guess who helped her? No wonder Noah has so many problems. He cries. It’s intimate. They decide to get intimate some more and have sex. Sigh.

He remembers Gunther coming to his cell and throwing the pages at him. “So I’m a loser, is that it?” Noah again pretends Gunter has nothing to do with it, but freaky Fraser isn’t buying it. He then tells Noah, “I fu-ked your wife this morning,” and throws in her and it’s all sticky. Ew! Noah loses it. He starts trying to attack Gunther, and unsurprisingly, a bunch of guards come in and beat him up.

He wakes up and sees Alison sleeping. He hears the ferry. They go back and he signs the papers. It’s very sweet and more than a little sad. He heads out and semi-creepily watches Alison greet Joanie and sees how happy she is. He takes the car to head home.

BUT! A car smashes into him at a light and Gunther’s the driver?! WHAT? Noah starts driving like a crazy person to get away and crashes into the guardrail, wrecking the car. And, of course, it turns out there’s no Gunther. Which leads me to wonder: Did Noah stab himself in the neck? Maybe we’ll find out next week.

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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seasons
  • 4
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  • 10/12/14
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