Jeff Neumann/Showtime

Helen and Noah act out in very different ways.

The Affair

S3 E6
Show Details
TV Show
January 01, 2017 at 11:03 PM EST

Tonight’s episode poses a few big questions: How well can you ever really know someone? Can fathers and sons become reacquainted? Can husbands and wives? When is it okay to be your true self? What happens when a lifetime of pretending to be someone else catches up to you?

We begin the hour from Helen’s perspective as she and Vic are having dinner with Bruce Butler, who’s as much of a blowhard as we all probably remember. He wants to introduce them to his new girlfriend: Margaret, Helen’s mother. (Ha!) The Butlers are pleased as punch about this; Vic is amused and so am I, but you know who isn’t? Helen.

“At the end of the day, your mother just knows me better than anyone else ever will,” says Bruce.  Start the ticking time-bomb at this exact moment.

The Butlers seem to like Vic and sort of casually hate on Noah, which makes Helen even angrier. She explains Noah is showing up for Martin at a big school meeting the next day (news to Vic, clearly).

After dinner, Helen is still fuming on the walk home. Vic is essentially like, “They’re crazy but that was fun.” He’s happy he finally met them, even half-seriously suggesting he and Helen have a double wedding with her reunited parents. Helen laughs in his face, so Vic pretends he’s joking, too. Uh-oh. Helen, please don’t ruin things with Vic!

Unsurprisingly, Noah doesn’t show up to the aforementioned school meeting for his son. As it turns out, Martin’s been skipping a lot of class and is in danger of having to repeat his senior year — again. Helen is pissed but makes all the excuses: Martin’s illness, the divorce, the murder, etc. A silent and surly teenager, Martin isn’t exactly helping his cause.

Helen, still enraged over Noah going AWOL, goes to see Noah’s sister, Nina. And you know who else has had it? Nina. She tells Helen off, delivering a pretty amazing yet devastating speech. The long and short of it? Nina thinks Noah used Helen as an escape from his horrific family life. Moreover, Helen doesn’t know Noah at all — for example, she doesn’t even know (as we do) the truth behind his mother’s death or just how screwed up it made him. (In fairness, Helen was 18 when she met Noah, an age not exactly known for bestowing people with great empathy.)

Helen and Nina go a few rounds, but Nina clearly wins the fight, especially when she lands the knockout blow by correctly guessing who was really driving the night Scotty Lockhart died. Is Nina the smartest person on this show? Perhaps.

Helen leaves immediately, almost barfing on the driveway on her way out. She’s clearly spiraling and ends up calling poor Max. Max! Who, thankfully, has been out of the Solloway orbit for some time now. He’s made good use of that time, too: He’s packing up his apartment for Brooklyn Heights and is engaged to a beautiful and smart Vogue editor. Helen is unfairly stung, saying something along the lines of “I guess I’m not the love of your life after all.” And THEN she aggressively seduces Max despite my screaming NOOOOO at the TV. Ugh.

Afterward, Helen continues acting like a lunatic as she presses Max for how much he knew about Noah’s troubled childhood. Max, finally, loses it. “I can’t believe I fell for this sh-t again. It’s never about us, it’s always about him,” he says. Correct. Even so, Helen can’t stop herself from asking if Noah cheated on her in college, which results in Max (fairly) throwing her out. Go live your life, Max!

Back at home, Dr. Vic is just minding his own business and reading her father’s book because he’s trying to establish a rapport with his girlfriend’s parents. Helen, on the other hand, is being straight-up awful and I hate it. She tells him he doesn’t know her and she doesn’t know him. She’s incredibly dismissive and monstrous, and the fact he doesn’t break up with her on the spot is some real TV fantasy. Instead, he gets right to the heart of the matter: “Tell me, Helen: How have I failed you?” Could Helen just be waiting for people to fail her?

Martin is AWOL and when he finally shows up, he tells Vic to f-ck off (not nice!), after which Helen piles on with the whole “Yeah, you’re not his dad.” Finally, Vic says he needs a drink and takes off. (Call me, Doctor!)

Helen goes to talk to Martin, who tells her he was at his grandfather’s lake house with Noah. Helen doesn’t like that one bit, immediately jumping in the car and arriving in Pennsylvania just after dawn. Noah’s not at the house, but there’s blood in the bathroom and she can hear Noah shouting Martin’s name. She finds him at the lake and when she calls for him, he turns around — looking straight-up like a wild animal.

NEXT: Noah’s brain seems like an unreliable narrator

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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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