The Affair season 4 episode 3 review: Vik has one request for Helen

Affair season 4 episode 4The Affair season 4 episode 3 was another reminder that few shows do small, intimate, and powerful stories quite like it, and we saw that play out over the course of the entire hour with what were, by and large, very concentrated stories on Noah and Helen. We don’t want to gloss over the fact that Alison is still missing — something that was teased in the premiere before flashing back in episode 2 — but the bulk of this episode wasn’t spent focusing on that.

Instead, we saw within Noah’s chapter tonight the journey of a guy who wants to create some sort of revolutionary environment at the school — basically, he wants to continue feeling like he is a mover and a shaker. He likes enforcing some element of creative control, and in this case, that meant encouraging a walkout during his English class, one led by the new principal Janelle’s son Anton. Things were on the cusp of chaos outside with the police, but after that it was Noah that calmed things down … and it was also Noah who ended up growing close to Janelle at the very end of it.

Noah and his boss technically have a lot in common — both are divorced parents who do want the best for their kids, and both are mired with a sense of loneliness that comes via them being new to their environment. The stage has been set for some really interesting stories coming up featuring the two of them, but what we were perhaps most impressed with is that The Affair managed to get a good 25 minutes out of this story despite there not being too much actual movement. Nonetheless, it was completely compelling and makes us all the more intrigued in whatever could be coming up next.

There was a brief crossover within this episode as Noah went to pick up the kids from Helen, and from there, the story shifted as she had to figure out whether or not she was willing to have a baby with Vik. This was a question raised by the closing minutes, where Helen was seemingly at a fertility clinic, accepting the only request that Vik had of her.

Through most of the hour, the simple explanation for Vik’s behavior was that he was simply being a jerk. Yet, it turned out to be significantly more complicated than this. He has pancreatic cancer and he wants to be able to deal with it his own way. That included not telling his parents about it on the night that he was receiving his prestigious award — the pinnacle of his career. He didn’t want that to be overshadowed by his health, and he didn’t want Helen to clue them in to what was happening.

Herein lies the problem, and what The Affair recognizes so wonderfully about human communication: Sometimes a few sentences can change an action greatly. Helen felt compelled to go against Vik’s wishes just because she wanted them to know to better encourage him to undergo treatments. However, if he had explained himself and his intentions like he did at the end of the episode before going to the gala, maybe the situation would’ve never happened. He needed to be clear, and then she needed to have compassion for his wishes. He put her in a position where she was desperate and scrambling since she didn’t know what else to do. While Vik may take command often in his work, he didn’t properly do so within this moment. What we’re left with now are some of the aftereffects of all of this.

CarterMatt Verdict

While we’re not sure if Helen is going to get pregnant with Vik’s baby just yet, it’s clear that this is his dying wish and a way to feel like there is some sort of meaning to his life and the sacrifices his parents made. This episode was such an interesting character study because of that.

Slowly and surely, The Affair is reclaiming some of the greatness that it had back during its first season — it is more than an ever a show where even the smallest interaction can be examined and analyzed.

Related Be sure to get more news on The Affair, including a preview for what is coming up next

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