The Affair Season 3 Episode 6 – You can never go home again. That is unless, of course, you are Bruce Butler. In a Helen/Noah couplet, Helen grapples with whether she ever knew Noah at all and Noah wanders through the wreckage.
Review and recap The Affair Season 3 Episode 6
The Affair Season 3 Episode 6 images from spoilertv.com
Whatever their motives way back when – Noah a broken young man using Helen as a way out of rural Pennsylvania; Helen finding a handsome young man sure to flummox her parents – by the end of Episode 6 it’s hard not to conclude that Helen and Noah deserved each other and every day of their 25 year-long marriage. (That’s the number Helen gives Max – but Noah has been married to Alison for the last 3 plus years so is it actually 22 years? I’m not sure)
The highlight of the episode is the reunion of Bruce and Margaret Butler. Bruce, having taken a page out of Noah’s book, had left Margaret for a younger woman and went off to live the life he believed he deserved. But it was short-lived and Bruce admits that his lover left him, so he returned to the woman who, in the end, really knew who he was – Margaret.
Ironically, this is the narrative Helen has been hoping for – with Alison leaving Noah, and Noah just out of prison and having limited options – that Noah would come back to her.
Helen has a pretty rough 24 – 48 hours. The dinner with her parents. The meeting with the headmaster of Martin’s school – a dire meeting where Noah doesn’t show up and it’s clear that Martin is going to be expelled for not attending class.
Helen makes a bee-line for Noah’s last known residence as far as she knows – Nina’s house. If the meeting with the headmaster was bad, her visit to Nina is worse. Nina brushes off Helen’s “I was just in the neighborhood routine” and unleashes on Helen beginning with an assessment of young Helen as a narcissistic young woman who was oblivious to the state of mind and motives of the man she married.
Nina cruelly (but maybe accurately) points out that Noah married Helen to escape small town Pennsylvania and enjoy the trappings of money and the access to a different society. If Nina’s observation wasn’t shattering enough, she wraps up her take by pointedly asking Helen who killed Scotty. It seems odd to her that with no evidence to convict him, Noah would confess and “volunteer” to go to prison. I must admit, when Nina spells it out, it is rather shocking. I chalk it up to being under the influence of a particular narrator perspective versus having a reliable narrator throughout the investigation, trial and sentencing.
As crushing as this is for Helen, it’s nowhere near as devastating as the real truth: Noah acted to protect Alison.
It’s interesting that Helen then seeks out Max, the man who held the torch for her for so many years. The fact that he loved her and she didn’t love him, provided her with narcissist catnip, someone she could use and abandon.
Max falls for her “I was just in the neighborhood” ploy and invites her in. Helen cannot be happy for him – he’s getting married, he’s moving out of the city, he’s happy. Tellingly, when he gushes about how wonderful his bride to be is and how – considering her intelligence, success, and beauty – he’s #winning. Helen is only half listening and assumes he’s comparing his situation to hers. When he makes it clear that he wasn’t, he’s just happy, Helen moves in like a predator and seduces him. Only too late does Max get fed up with her self-serving behavior and ask her to leave.
All and all a terrible day for Helen and nothing for her to do except go home and take it out on Vic.
Martin is not at home when she gets there and this is cause for Helen to escalate her hysteria. When Martin ultimately comes home he tells her he was “with Dad.” Leaving out key details such as, he went to Pennsylvania to be on his own in the house and was unpleasantly surprised when he found Noah there. (Did anyone else briefly think that Noah and Martin had been in Montauk? Given that’s where we last saw Noah, and given that Martin’s grandparents live there, I thought maybe Martin had gone to Montauk.)
Which brings us to Noah’s version. How symbolic is it that Noah’s arrival at Professor Le Gall’s house comes complete with wreckage?!
Despite the crumpled Mini Cooper, Professor Le Gall still wants to seduce Noah a la “Fifty Shades of Solloway” (as his Pennsylvania high school buddy puts it). There is nothing left of the manic joy and adventure that Noah experienced with Alison. Despite Juliette’s overtures, Noah declines.
Noah spends the night at Professor Le Gall’s but must find another place to stay given his sublet is now a crime scene. So, he heads off to the house his father left him (not Nina) – taking the bus to the small town which includes the Gunther’s storefront (am I remembering correctly – was it a gun shop?).
However annoying, it’s not surprising that the people Noah went to high school with have read Descent and are fascinated by the hometown boy’s notoriety. I’m more fascinated by Noah agreeing to go to the dinner and his decision to bring Martin with him. It seems like an unlikely preferable alternative to grocery shopping and cooking. But the dinner serves to give credence to Nina’s assessment of Noah’s state of mind when he left. Whether he felt superior to his classmates, we don’t know. But that a teenager would longingly look at college as a means to escape small town life – it is a common enough story.
(Did anyone else notice the daughter and Martin looking at each other? Maybe she’s the reason Martin has been visiting the lake house? Perhaps the desire for solitude drive him there in the first place, but maybe meeting the girl kept him coming back?)
Noah has a meaningful moment with Martin. The conversation is not as revealing and detailed as the one he had with Alison, but he takes this opportunity to tell Martin that he loves him. It is perhaps one of the most genuine things Noah has ever done.
The next morning Martin is gone and Noah has an episode. He sees Martin wading into to the deep waters of the lake and begins calling to him and goes after him only to see the figure turn and see a younger version of himself.
It seems as though Helen has arrived just in time.
The Affair Season 3 Episode 6 Odds and Ends:
Six episodes in and Furkat appears to be the most balanced, emotionally healthy, and trustworthy adult in young Whitney’s life.
Law enforcement seems to think that Professor Le Gall is their best person of interest.
It’s hard to imagine any other scenario other than Noah stabbing himself. Now he wanders into the lake. We know he’s an accomplished swimmer, but are these suicide attempts?
What a treat to have Bruce back in the picture!
Do you think Max has seen the last of Helen? I don’t think she’ll proactively seek him out, but I truly hope her path doesn’t cross that of Danielle’s – I can certainly image Helen letting it be known that she and Max had, as Professor Le Gall would say, an “adventure” shortly before the wedding.
I was very sympathetic to Helen last season. This season makes her very unlikable. And what about Vic? Is he “using” her the way Noah did years ago? Or is he an innocent bystander?
Other episodes of The Affair reviewed on TV Eskimo:
Season 3 – Episode 5 Hot Tubs and Ferries
Characters and cast of The Affair Season 3 Episode 1 include:
Noah Solloway – Dominic West (300, The Wire, Chicago, John Carter, The Square, The Hour, Hannibal Rising, 28 Days)
Helen Solloway – Maura Tierney (ER, Liar Liar, NewsRadio, Insomnia, The Good Wife, Rescue Me, Primal Fear)
Dr. Vic Ullah – Omar Metwally (Munich, Non-Stop, Rendition, Mr. Robot, The Slap, Complete Unknown)
Martin Solloway – Jake Siciliano (Shame, The Taking of Pelham 123, Solitary Man)
Nina Solloway – Jennifer Esposito (Crash, Summer of Sam, Don’t Say a Word, NCIS, Rescue Me, Blue Bloods)
Juliette Le Gall – Irene Jacob (Three Colors: Red, The Double Life of Veronique, U.S. Marshalls, The Secret Garden)