Sunday, November 15, 2015

REVIEW: 'The Affair' - Family Drama for Alison and Cole Dominates Their Thanksgiving Dinners in '207'

Showtime's The Affair - Episode 2.07 "207"

Alison's mother raises her concerns about Noah and Alison's new lifestyle. Alison confronts Noah about his revealing new book over Thanksgiving dinner. As their passion intensifies, Cole groundlessly lashes out at Luisa and is further alienated from his family in the wake of startling revelations.

Once again, Alison has committed to a life with Noah. Not only are they living together again, they are living in a much more impressive apartment than what they had originally planned. It's all because of that money Max gave Noah and the sum Noah got from finishing his book. And yet, there is still tension between the two. It seems as if Alison has only been willing to move in with Noah and work on their problems because she is pregnant. She wants to do the right thing for her baby. But that becomes increasingly harder to do when some harsh truths finally come out during Thanksgiving.

Alison doesn't exactly fit in to the life that Noah has now created for himself. He is so happy with the launch of his book. It's a whirlwind adventure for Alison though. She's not used to this type of environment. When Noah's editor throws a party, Alison feels more comfortable with the staff than the socialites and journalists Noah needs to talk with. It's not by much but the divide is still there. She's uncomfortable in her own shows - literally in fact. She has changed herself in order to fit into this society. She wears heels instead of flats. But that's not inherently her. She is trying to leave because of all the work they still need to do for Thanksgiving. He just wants to stay longer and longer because there's always one more person who he needs to talk with. Alison and Noah may be living together but it doesn't seem like they are communicating in a healthy way.

Some time has passed in order to get these people comfortable in their new roles. Alison has a noticeable baby bump now while Noah's book is on the shelves. Even though Alison has made some headway with getting Noah's kids to like her, she still isn't exactly living her truth. She believes this is the world that she wants. That's what she is trying to tell herself as well as her mother. She wants this life because she doesn't want to be a free spirit and loose cannon like her mother. She wants stability and happiness. She wants a life she can build on. This baby represents all of that for her. But that can only calm her fears about Noah for so long.

Alison has now read all of Noah's book. She knows exactly how it begins and how it ends. Plus, she knows what all of it means. She's not just taking a few key phrases out of context. Now, she has all the sufficient text to understand the actual story of the book. She is aware of just how creepy all the parallels to real life are. The explanation of it being fiction isn't enough to discredit all of her worries that this is how Noah truly feels about her world. To her, this is how he defined his relationship with her in the early going. She fully believes that he wants to kill her just like the ending of the book. The audience knows that to be true. Noah saw that painful reality in himself in the previous episode which helped motivate him into committing to that ending. It's a tragedy he choose to do in the book but not in real life. He wants to embrace happiness with Alison. He wants to believe that they can create a family together and live happily ever after. Alison has doubts and is more willing to confront those feelings than Noah is. It's a moment of high drama as she calls him out during their big Thanksgiving dinner. She wants him to separate the book from his life as much as possible moving forward. And yet, that may be impossible to do because everyone else in Noah's life wants him to commit to it more. He says all the right things to Alison. But how long is that going to last?

Noah's book is also a huge defining story in Cole's perspective. The time jump also means Cole's relationship with Luisa has gotten much more serious. His side of the story opens with the two of them having sex in the house for what could be one of the last times. Alison has finally decided to sell the place. Cole is actually living there though. He's not in a trailer just outside the house. He's inside and rebuilding his life with a beautiful woman. Of course, he potentially ruins all of that with his self-destructive ways. He lets the pain of his past keep him from embracing the possible happiness of the future. When Luisa says she loves him during sex, he physically can't continue. When she wants to know why, he pushes her a way. First, he uses an excuse to get out of the house. And then, he accuses Luisa of stealing so that she leaves him alone so that he can read Noah's book.

Cole wants to avoid his fate like all the other main characters. He doesn't want to be engulfed in darkness just like his father and grandfather. He wants to do and be better than them. Over the last few months though, he hasn't. He has embraced the sadness and darkness of his existence. Sure, he has this exciting new romance. But he's still refusing to commit to it as something that he actually deserves to have. He wants to hold onto all of his anger and animosity. It's hard for him to forget about all the ways his mother and Noah destroyed his life. It's frustrating to read all the horrible things Noah has to say about the Lockhart family in this book. He believes it makes them out to be evil. He was provoked into buying the book by Oscar. But now, he needs to share it with the rest of his family so that they can be just as outraged as he is.

But it seems Noah actually got the majority of the details right about the Lockhart's and their history in Montauk. Cole's mother finally shares the truth about all the pain Cole's grandfather caused and that his father had to deal with before taking his own live. It's a heartbreaking scene that shows the kind of extremes this family lives in. The mom tried to protect her sons from this dark and tragic path in the hopes that they wouldn't turn into that themselves. And yet, by keeping it a secret, Cole has turned exactly into his father. It's a comparison he does not welcome. He does not want to be seen in the same way as a man who blamed all of his problems on his childhood and killed himself when all of his kids were under 10 years old. That's an insult to him. He's not just going to sit and take it either. He's going to escape to continue dealing with this pain by himself. His family is nuts and he's better off without them. However, that could only continue to lead him done this horrible path as well.

Cole's life starts to change when Whitney decides to crash the Lockhart family Thanksgiving. She has been able to get to Montauk without either one of her parents knowing where she is. She is there to plead her love to Scotty. He no longer loves her though because of how it could destroy his plans for the future. She can't understand that though. Cole is the person tasked with calming her down. That's not something either one wants considering Cole pointed a gun in her face the last time they saw each other. And yet, Cole decides to take her back to the city because it's the right thing to do. He is willing to face seeing Alison's happy life with Noah as long as it means this girl is taken care off. He does it because he wants to be seen as a good person. But he also comes to some pretty big emotional realizations during the car ride as well. He no longer understands himself. He knows that he can't be in certain situations right now. But despite the uncertainty, he still wants to commit himself to this relationship with Luisa. The night ends with the two of them together again. That's a hopeful sign that he wants to move on and find happiness as well. Now the question just becomes whether or not he can maintain it in a healthy way.

Some more thoughts:
  • "207" was written by Abe Sylvia and directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck.
  • It felt inevitable that the show was setting up a mystery regarding who the father is of Alison's baby. And sure enough, that is exactly what comes to fruition in the future. It may be enough to give Alison motive for killing Scotty - who knows for some reason.
  • The show is also really hitting things over-the-top with the thought that the baby could be Cole's considering Mama Lockhart's big proclamations that the family is now cursed and every baby will die in a tragic way.
  • Max is really obnoxious in Alison's point-of-view. He keeps making casual references that Noah will be on the phone all night with Helen. Plus, he's very quick to start kissing with Alison's friend.
  • Oscar continues to be quite the dick both in the present and the future.
  • Athena really wants to know how much Noah and Alison's new apartment costs. She also is very upset when she learns that Alison is selling the family home - especially after all the effort she put in to make sure that Alison got the home in her grandmother's will.