Episode 2 of Showtime’s “The Affair” introduced two new perspectives for this season: Helen Solloway and Alison Bailey. The Season 3 premiere focused on Noah as he dealt with life after prison, but Sunday’s episode was a flashback to a year ago and showed how Helen and Alison were dealing with Noah being locked away.
The episode kicks off with Helen’s (Maura Tierney) point-of-view. She’s still with Vik (Omar Metwally). It’s revealed that he’s living in her basement, and Whitney (Julia Goldani Telles) is no longer living at home. Before Vik heads to work, she reminds him that they’re meeting with Whitney later that night for dinner.
Helen seems to be doing pretty well while Noah (Dominic West) is serving time behind bars. She’s in a happy romance and is successful at her job. However, things between Helen and Noah are still tense, and things only get worse for them when she decides to visit him in prison. Helen is worried about Noah and wants to help him change prisons because he has a swollen eye and a gash on his face. When Helen asks what happened, he lies and says that he slipped in the lunch line. Helen isn’t buying it, but Noah tells her to be quiet and drop it when the security guard Gunther (Brendan Fraser) approaches. As the guard walks by Noah, he hits him in the back. Noah tells Helen that he doesn’t want her help and asks why the kids aren’t visiting him in prison.
Helen tells her ex-husband that they’re in school and starts giving him updates on how they’re doing. As she’s telling Noah about her plans to meet Whitney’s boyfriend that night, Noah interrupts and says he needs to see his kids. Noah points out that there are other kids visiting at the prison, and Helen tells him that their kids don’t want to come because they don’t like seeing him bruised and beat up. Noah is getting angry and tells Helen that he doesn’t want her to visit him anymore since she’s not bringing the kids with him. “That’s what I want, Helen. I want you to leave me alone. Is that too much to ask? Haven’t I done enough?” he asks.
Noah gets up to leave and Helen quickly hands him a drawing their daughter Stacey (Leya Catlett) did. Noah looks at it, drops it on the table and walks away.
After Helen’s disastrous prison visit, she gets a text message from Vik saying that he enjoyed their lunch together and hopes they catch up again soon. Clearly, Vik sent the text to the wrong person since Helen has been at the prison all afternoon and made him a sandwich for lunch before he left for work earlier in the morning.
Later, Helen and Vik go to Whitney’s to meet her boyfriend Furkat (Jonathan Cake). Helen seems a bit annoyed, and also doesn’t seem onboard with Whitney’s new romance or living situation. There are photographs of half-naked women hanging on the walls and Whitney reveals that Furkat took the pictures. When Vik asks if he could buy one of the photos, Helen asks her daughter if it’s her in the images. She laughs and says no telling her mom that one day she might model for Furkat. Helen asks if Whitey is still in college, and Whitney says she’s working for Furkat as his assistant. Furkat thinks he can teach Whitney more about art than she can learn in class.
When the conversation switches to Noah and the accident that killed Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell), Helen gets upset and fakes a headache. She tells Vik she’s ready to leave. Before going after Helen, Vik buys one of Fukrat’s paintings.
Back at Helen’s house, she confronts Vik about the text message, and he explains that he met up with a friend’s daughter who is trying to get a residency at the hospital he works at. Vik says there is nothing going on between them, but Helen is still mad and tells him that their “relationship” isn’t working for her anymore. She doesn’t like him living downstairs and them living their own separate lives. Vik walks away, goes down to his basement apartment and brings his things up to Helen’s room. Vik wants Helen to stop lying to him and to stop going to the prison to see Noah.
The second part of episode 2 begins with Alison on a train. She’s headed to Montauk where she has her own apartment. Alison is seen decorating one of the bedrooms for a child, presumably her daughter Joanie, but she doesn’t have a child with her. After fixing up the room, Alison heads over to a playground, where she’s seen watching a little girl. Alison is hiding between cars and clearly doesn’t want anyone to see her. Cole (Joshua Jackson) calls the little girl, Joanie, over to him and they get into a car and leave.
Alison calls someone panicking telling the person on the other end of the line that she couldn’t do it and didn’t approach Cole. The person reminds Alison that she’s Joanie’s mother. Alison makes her way to the Lockhart’s Lobster Roll and asks Cole if she can talk to him. Cole doesn’t seem happy to see her, and tells her they should talk in the back.
Apparently, Alison has been gone for six months and left Cole and his wife Luisa (Catalina Sandino Moreno) in charge of taking care of Joanie. Alison explains that she left because she was sick but she’s better now. Alison wants to see Joanie but Cole tells her no. He eventually agrees to let her see their daughter and tells her to come by their house later that evening.
When Alison gets to Cole’s home, Luisa is there and tells her that Joanie isn’t there. Luisa says that she knows Cole agreed to let Alison see Joanie, but she doesn’t think that’s a good idea. They tell her that Joanie cried for months when Alison left, and they don’t want to traumatize her again. Alison begs to see Joanie telling them that she bought her a purple dress because that’s her favorite color. Luisa tells Alison that Joanie’s favorite color is yellow, but she’ll give the dress to her. Alison says no and leaves.
After she leaves Cole’s home, Alison runs into Oscar (Darren Goldstein) who tells her that his wife is pregnant. Oscar wants to celebrate and takes her to the local bar. Oscar wants to know where Alison has been for the past few months, and she tells him that she left and checked herself into an institution. Alison says that when Joanie was four she got really sick with a cold and because Joanie was the same age her son Gabriel was when he died, she started seeing “flashes of things that could happen” to Joanie.
Alison said one night Joanie was so sick that she panicked and dropped the little girl off at Cole’s. She told him that she would be back in a few days, but she left for six months. Alison also reveals that she signed over her rights to Cole and Luisa, but she wants to be able to see her child. Oscar tells Alison that she needs a good lawyer.
The episode ends with Alison painting Joanie’s room yellow, and Cole showing up at her door with the little girl. Cole tells Alison that she has an hour to visit with Joanie.
“The Affair” Season 3 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime.