Review: ‘The Affair’ – ‘Episode 6’

A quick review of tonight's “The Affair” coming up just as soon as I compare my wife to a horse…

We're only beginning the second half of this first season (Showtime ordered a second earlier this week), yet episode 6 puts us near the end of this summer in the Hamptons, with Noah's family a week away from returning to normal life in Brooklyn. I suppose time flies while Noah and Alison are having fun, but this episode seems to be bringing the fun to an end.

Noah's part of the episode is one elaborate cautionary tale, with his broke, miserable, coke-sniffing friend Max as a Ghost of Hamptons Future, and then with the discovery (hinted at in earlier episodes) that the Lockharts are drug dealers. Early in the hour, he's talking to Alison about ways to keep their relationship going once he's back in Brooklyn; by the end, he's ready to wrap things up immediately, and even has sex with Helen – for what sounds like the first time since episode 1 – just to feel more secure about the marriage he's now very afraid to lose.

Alison also gets a few reminders of why she shouldn't be so eager to discard Cole. She gets to see his paternal skills in action for the first time in years when Noah's son Martin sneaks away to sleep at the ranch – in keeping with all the blurring of lines between the two families, for a few minutes, Cole seems like more of a caring father to the boy than Noah has. But then Cole takes out his frustration over the drug stash on Martin after Martin lets a mare run off.

With the cop's interrogation over – for now, at least – this is a fairly straightforward episode. It's not strictly chronological like the trip to Block Island, but there's minimal overlap of events between the two perspectives. And when we get the same scene twice, the differences between the two versions are less illuminating than they've been in some other episodes. But the glimpses of the two marriages are interesting, and I'm curious to see how the story moves forward after Noah's declaration to Alison at episode's end that “I'd have to be insane to keep this going.” Obviously, the story continues, in both the present and the future, but the framework we've had so far is just about gone.

What did everybody else think?