The Affair 1.6

The Affair took home a few surprise awards at the Golden Globes this past weekend, including Best Drama Series (beating out the likes of Game of Thrones and House of Cards) and a Best Actress trophy for Ruth Wilson. Dominic West was nominated as well, but lost out to Kevin Spacey for Cards. As a consolation prize (and because episode six was very much The Dominic West Show), this review will be very Noah-centric. You’re welcome, Dominic.

We catch up with Noah as his best friend Max visits him out in Montauk. They go drinking, clubbing, and guess who they meet during their night of revelry? I may have said this before, but Noah and Alison running into each other constantly just seems a bit contrived. This time, though, that aspect is at least partially left to the imagination. Noah plays it like he has no idea who Alison is, for the sake of appearances in front of family friend Max — but as Max’s taxi pulls away from the club later that night, Noah spins and scampers back up the stairs like a child on Christmas (in reverse) and promptly and passionately kisses Alison. So it could have been the case that this particular run-in wasn’t at all accidental, and Noah’s getting more and more bold in his fling. More importantly, West absolutely nails that giddy super-romantic childlike glee.

But it isn’t all roses. Episode six is considerably darker and, frankly, way better than episodes three or four, and it builds on the previous week nicely as well. Alison is basically outed as a drug dealer — betcha didn’t see that coming! — and Noah tries to wrap his brain around cute little Alison transporting a load of dope through cute little Montauk on her cute little bike. The “darkness” part comes from that, but not in the way you’d immediately expect. The fact that the Lockharts deal drugs isn’t particularly dark and interesting in and of itself. It might be, someday, but in this episode it’s actually partially just ridiculous. It’s the uncertainty associated with meeting someone new — in this case, having a love affair with someone new — that The Affair has done so well in episodes past and does so well with this new revelation. That’s where the dread comes from in this hour. Once the involvement of Oscar Hodges and Scotty Lockhart is explained, the whole dealer thing might not actually seem so far-fetched to us. To Noah, though, this drug-slinging Alison is an alien.

And so that revelation ultimately leads to what very well may be the end of the affair. I expect The Affair will continue to concern itself with…you know, the affair. But after Noah stalks Alison to the pier and discovers her illicit activities, after Oscar proves himself to be one crafty bastard by essentially discovering Alison’s affair with a drug bust-related con, after Noah and Alison confront the issue head-on — after all of that, Noah leaves by telling Alison “after today I’d have to be insane to keep this going.”

That’s about as definitive as it gets for Noah. Where will the show go next? It’s an often-asked question at the end of each episode, and I appreciate any show that can keep up with its own twists and turns and keep viewers guessing. Episode six, though, ends with a truly foreboding sense of uncertainty. There was no future-set interrogation scenes, nothing to frame the episode aside from the white-on-black NOAH and ALISON title cards. It’s always been the case that The Affair leaves me guessing — but for the first time, I really have no idea what could possibly come next.

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