“The Affair” kicked off its second season Sunday night with Noah Solloway (Dominic West) and Helen Solloway (Maura Tierney) trying to end their marriage as amicably as possible. During the show’s first season, Noah had a summer-long affair with Alison Lockhart (Ruth Wilson). Noah ended up leaving his family to start a new life with Alison but it doesn’t seem like their new romance is off to a good start. Season 1 ended with Noah getting arrested for the murder of Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell).
As previously reported, Season 2 of “The Affair” will introduce new narratives in addition to Noah and Alison’s. The first episode focused solely on Noah and Helen trying to work through their divorce.
In a flashback, it’s revealed Noah is working on his second book, and it’s hinted the first book (which he spent last season trying to finish) was well received. Noah is no longer living with Helen and his family, and is instead staying at a cabin in upstate New York. At this point in the episode it’s assumed Noah lives alone.
After he has a meeting with his literary agent Harry (Stephen Kunken), Noah stops by the condo he once shared with Helen to pick up a few of his belongings. Helen’s mother Margaret Butler (Kathleen Chalfant) answers the door and tells him Helen and the kids are not home. Margaret tells Noah she sent the children away because she didn’t want them to witness Noah’s “psychosis.” Margaret tells Noah his things have been moved to the basement, but when he gets down there, Noah only sees one box of his stuff. Margaret explains everything else has to be appraised, and he’ll get a check in the mail when someone is able to determine what everything is worth.
Noah starts to leave the house with just a fold-up chair, but heads back inside to grab some more things. Obviously, this angers Margaret who starts following Noah through the house yelling at him. When she threatens to call the police, Noah snaps and tells Margaret he’ll shove her down the stairs and tell the coroner it was an accident. We have a feeling that threat is going to come back to haunt Noah as he’s trying to prove he didn’t kill Scotty.
Anyway, as Noah threatens to kill his mother-in-law his son Martin (Jake Siciliano) walks out of his bedroom. It turns out not all the kids had left the home. Noah tries to soothe Martin but it’s clear the boy wants nothing to do with his father. The scene also reveals Martin has been suffering from stomach aches, barely leaves his room and is seeing a psychologist.
As Noah is finally about to leave his old condo, he runs into his youngest son Trevor (Jadon Sand). Trevor is the only one in Noah’s family who is happy to see him, but that quickly changes when Noah explains to Trevor Noah is divorcing Trevor's mom and has fallen in love with another woman. Trevor gets upset and hits his dad in the face before running inside the house.
It’s probably safe to say Noah is having a bad day, and it’s about to get worse. Following his disastrous trip to his old house, Noah heads to a meeting with Helen and their divorce mediator. In Noah’s opinion, Helen -- wearing a cream colored tank top and grey pants -- seems a bit cold. She also seems uninterested in why Noah -- dressed in a blue suit -- is wiping blood away from his nose when he enters the room.
At the beginning of the mediation, it seems the divorce process is going to be smooth. Helen doesn’t want anything from Noah, and he lets her keep the house and her store. Noah says the only thing he wants is joint custody of their kids. Things get a little tense, however, when Helen starts laughing at the idea of Noah making a profit off his second book. Noah angrily calls her an “a------.”
After the mediation, Helen asks Noah if he’s still seeing Alison and tells him she doesn’t want her near their children. Noah refuses to divulge on his relationship with Alison, but it’s later revealed he is living with her.
In Helen’s narrative it’s revealed she’s been rebounding with Noah’s college friend Max (Josh Stamberg). She also has been coping with the divorce by smoking a little weed from time to time. At the divorce meeting, Helen -- dressed in a black blouse and grey skirt -- apologizes to the mediator for Noah being late. When Noah does show up he’s not in a suit like in his narrative, but is wearing a black leather jacket, jeans and a shirt. He also doesn’t have a bloody nose. At one point, Noah tells the mediator he’s in a hurry because he has a meeting with his editor. In Noah’s point of view, his meeting with the editor was before the divorce mediation.
The differences in Noah and Helen’s narratives don’t end there. In Helen’s view, she tells the mediator she wants to make sure their children maintain a good relationship with their father and even offers to help Noah find a four bedroom apartment in New York. She tells her ex she wants to ask her parents for money, but the suggestion annoys Noah and he starts cursing at her. Helen tells Noah he’s being “awful.” Helen’s narrative also makes it seem as if Noah is more interested in finishing his book than getting joint custody of their kids. Alison is also brought up again when Helen wants to know if Noah is living with his mistresses. Noah tells her no, but that's obviously a lie.
In The Present:
In the present, Noah is still in jail for Scotty’s murder. Detective Jeffries (Victor Williams ) tells Noah he should take a plea deal at his arraignment because if he goes to trial he could end up in prison for 15 to 25 years. Detective Jeffries tells Noah he needs to think about his “young baby” and take the deal.
Meanwhile, Helen shows up with a very expensive lawyer named Jon Gottlief (Richard Schiff) who is willing to help Noah win the murder case. Helen tells Noah she wants to pay for John’s services. Why Helen wants to help her ex-husband remains a mystery.