” Your words and your actions have consequences. When you do something mean because you’re angry or bored, it happens to someone else. It hurts them. You’re not the only person who’s real.”
Last week brought us an episode that separated Noah and Alison from those around them, that stripped away the potential familial conflicts and troubles and disagreements and showed us an idealistic image of two people engaged in an affair. Last week’s episode involved two people learning about each other, two people clashing at times, yet growing more comfortable with each other by the minute. In “5”, though, the reality of their environment comes back around and slams them right in their faces.
The thing is, Noah and Alison are growing incredibly comfortable with each other. Earlier in the season, Alison’s stories–we see hers first in this episode, which certainly lends a different feel to the proceedings–consisted of a meek, uncertain woman who was hardly the aggressor in the relationship, but now, we’re seeing a more playful and confident person. She and Noah are like two teenagers sneaking around, giddy and playful and having a good time, and this is a clear indication that they’re both getting ready to dive into the rest of this affair with aplomb. Of course, it’s not that easy.
“5” throws a few wrenches into the proceedings with Athena, Alison’s mother, and with Whitney’s cyber-bullying–to the point of a suicide attempt–of another girl. Athena, who is clearly a polar opposite of Alison, visits the hospital that Alison’s grandmother is at, picks up on the fact that her daughter is having an affair, and feuds with Cole over the dinner table. Alison simply can’t keep any part of her life away from her mother, not even her affair, and it’s understandable that that, paired with the obvious history between her and Cole’s families, would push her away even further.
As for Whitney, her situation stirs things up even worse for Noah, bringing in all the aspects of his life that he wants to escape from. There are issues of money and privilege permeating every part of his life, and his argument with Helen becomes less about Whitney and more about whether or not to accept Bruce and Margaret’s money. The idea of money also comes into play with Oscar, whose family is on the lower end of the privilege spectrum, and it’s evident that he will play a larger role as the season heads into its second half; he has already, in essence, infiltrated Noah’s home, and it seems like other people are bearing down on Noah and Alison so much that they only have each other to turn to.
When Noah actually does take a second to talk to Whitney, we see him painted as someone who’s able to get through to his daughter, who has the moral high ground over everyone else in his life. However, the clear hypocrisy in his words–quoted at the top of this review–are beginning to reveal themselves to him. “Just stop,” he says after Whitney leaves the car, and he mulls over the words a bit. Last week, Alison said that she didn’t really view people as “good” or “bad”, but the question still becomes: will he see that he himself is doing “bad” things? Does that make him a bad person? Or, does that just make him an asshole?
– “How do I un-asshole myself?” More people should ask this.
-Alison’s grandmother has Alzheimer’s, which is especially relevant considering the series has its foundations in the idea of remembering things.
– “I love that dress on you.” This is perhaps the most devastating scene of the series so far, and trust me, there have been many. Simply a fantastic moment for Joshua Jackson, and the silence speaks volumes here.
-So, anyone who guessed that Scotty is the one who was killed, kudos to you. It looks like the interrogations themselves are done for now, so I wonder where the present day story will take us next.
-Wait, so did Noah ever get the bagels?
Photo credit: Showtime, The Affair