David Giesbrecht/SHOWTIME

It's a Cole and Madison memory split

The Affair

S3 E8
Show Details
TV Show
January 15, 2017 at 11:00 PM EST

It’s a Cole memory, hooray! We join him and Luisa in their argument outside the courthouse. Everyone is wearing different clothes. I’m totally with Luisa who is like, the path of least resistance is best. Always.

Cole drives out to his house and finds a stop work notice on his building. He’s real bummed about this. With classic bad timing, Alison arrives. In Cole’s mind it’s donuts and why these paths diverge on the subject of snacks, I have no idea.

He shuts her down pretty fast and she leaves, but it should be noted she’s a much more confident creature in Cole’s memory. He goes to find the new building inspector who is Timothy not Tim, and ole Timothy is not feeling Cole’s vibe (which is crazy). They bicker about new surveys and about getting roofs on a house before winter. Timothy is unmoved.

Cole gets home and Luisa is like hey, let’s have a baby. We can adopt or use a surrogate. And I’m raising my hand for a question now: Why wasn’t this always on the table? Cole chooses to plead exhaustion and defer the conversation for another time.

Oh look, it’s our exposition guy, Oscar! He comes out ostensibly to yell at Cole about not shutting down the work stoppage, but really he’s here to have amazing insight about how much Cole just wants to get with Alison. He counsels against this as I again wonder when we all became friends with Oscar. “Shut it down,” Oscar tells him. Meaning everything, I suppose.

Alison again shows up to work to tell Cole about the grief counseling. She’s much more annoying in Cole’s memory. But the conversation goes pretty much the same way. But this time she makes the not untrue point, well if I’m crazy, you get to be sane.

So he decides to lean in to his own crazy, and he comes home and tells Luisa he’s ready to start a family. Luisa, no fool, is like whoa dude. Take a breath. But before he can even do that, the cops show up and are like, we know you were lying. They talk about the picture of him by the tollbooth near “Livingston University.” Cole makes the mistake of being aggro with the cops, and they haul him off to… the local Montauk jail? Sure, that makes sense. And that’s where Alison goes to see him. (Not his actual wife, but Alison, it should be noted.)

And here comes the part that had me full body eye-rolling to the point of pain. He admits that — surprise! — he was actually just in New Jersey to try to talk to her therapist. Because phones don’t exist. Or confidentiality agreements. Sigh. And this would all be too easy if he was just easier. (Also, why do they keep saying go up to New Jersey when I believe it is geographically down. Anyway.)

Cole was like well seeing you with Joanie made me think about us getting back together. Oh, brother. He’s like, I can’t tell them that because then I have to tell them everything. Um, no, that’s not true either. He gives a whole speech about loving her and oh I can’t even recap this scene — it’s too frustrating. But, the point is, he’s like I’m not Noah, I can’t do it. She’s like, it’s your call. Since when? And what? Everyone is acting so weird.

He goes home, and Luisa wakes up. He tells her the truth about his New Jersey trip. She says, why did you lie for so long about something so simple? ANOTHER tag line for The Affair! He gets into bed, and she’s like I still think you are still lying. He’s like no can do tonight.

But he can’t sleep so he gets up and gets Alison out of her house, and tells her that he’s choosing Luisa. She’s like, but we keep coming back to each other. She also says that this is more about Cole’s fear in not being the good guy. Would he rather be a happy jerk? Or a miserable hero.

He sits on the beach and thinks for a while. But in the morning, he’s home and making breakfast for Luisa. She’s relieved to see him and says of course she’ll still have him. But boy, is that not a look of happiness on Cole’s face. Can’t Cole be happy? Sigh.

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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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