It was the loss of a child that tore Cole and Alison apart.
On The Affair Season 3 Episode 4, it seemed like their love for Joanie might start to bring them back together again.
Cole has never lost his love for Alison, despite all that she's done to break his desire for her. And if Alison was truly listening to her heart, she'd realize she never stopped loving him, either. But there is still a world of hurt stacked against them.
One of the most disturbing things about this series from The Affair Season 1 was watching the relationship of Alison and Cole disintegrate.
Cole was deeply in love with Alison, but she was in so much pain after the loss of her son, Gabriel, that even looking at him cause her more pain, reminded her of what she could no longer have: her happy family.
By watching these two, we know Cole still wants and feels for Alison, and Alison is open to the possibility of being with Cole again.
But while Cole's feeling are genuine, I think Alison's are driven more by the need to be with her daughter, as well as the belief she's run out of other options.
Alison has never been one to take her time with her decision making, and this time doesn't seem any different.
I can't remember anymore if I ever liked Luisa as a character, but I can remember her first introductions. There are no fond memories that I can pinpoint.
Luisa made Cole happy, even though she only seemed like a lukewarm substitute for Alison. Now that she's helping to raise Alison's child with Alison's ex-husband, it feels even more like she's standing in Alison's worn out shoes.
Part of me feels sorry for her, because she's right about never being able to compete with what Cole and Alison shared. But who would want to compete with such a heartbreaking history?
What Luisa has been doing wrong is making it into a competition. Instead of being warm and welcoming, understanding the pain and trauma Alison suffered, she's using it against her.
The part of Luisa's story in 304 that bothered me the most was that she was shocked Cole invited Alison to Joanie's party and that Alison accepted. Why would either of those two scenarios be shocking?
She, better than anyone, knows all they've been doing is in the best interest of Joanie. Joanie having her mom at the party fits that purpose for all involved.
All, I suppose, except Luisa.
But the more Luisa inserts herself into the situation between Cole, Joanie and Alison, the closer it drives them. Luisa, of course, can't see that from her vantage point. She's too wrapped up in her own feelings.
She's become as attached to Joanie as she ever will with any child, because she can't have any of her own. She must have been delighted when Alison fell apart.
Alison knew, when she was in her right mind, Luisa couldn't have kids. If she had been in her right mind, maybe she wouldn't have left Joanie in a situation where another mother would grow so attached.
Hindsight and all that.
The two different birthday party scenarios were like old times. How Alison and Cole recalled the pony/horse situation differently, as well as what went down with the cake.
Alison is definitely still a little too worried about Joanie. Earlier, at the playground, Alison imagined Joanie in a most perilous situation, yet Alison did quite well with it. In Cole's version, Joanie barely made it up and Alison was more concerned.
But with the pony, Cole imagined Alison more in control, while Alison recalled being terrified, but recovering before Joanie noticed. All told, the situations were a wash.
What wasn't was whether or not Alison used peanut butter on Joanie's cake knowing fully well Luisa is allergic. For what other reason would Luisa return the cake?
That was really strange. Other than having an extra cake during Cole's recollection, there wasn't an issue. But Alison not only knowingly made an additional cake, but made one with peanut butter frosting after Cole told her about Luisa's allergy.
Then the two had a bit of a row in the street, when Alison called her a monster. Did Alison really move forward with that cake even after the cops showed up, in the middle of a custody situation?
Alison still worries me.
On one hand, she wants desperately to be a good mom. She wants Joanie back. She's steering clear of Noah, apparently for that reason.
But when she learned he was out of prison and attacked, she tried to call him. Her concern was apparent. After what he did for her, how could she not be grateful?
She's suspicious that Cole may have been the one to attack Noah, but we know from his side he had no idea Noah was out of prison. I sincerely don't think he'd do anything to jeopardize things with Joanie.
And when he got close to Alison, all bets were off. From either perspective, they wound up sleeping together, so it's the real deal.
It only made Cole fight harder for Alison to have her unsupervised visit with Joanie.
Who couldn't see the look on Alison's face when the monster showed up, claiming she didn't want that at all, and Cole was right; Alison had earned an unsupervised visit with her daughter for her birthday.
Just don't make her regret it. Ummm...too late?
And since we know how much Cole loves Noah, let's just get him tangled into the mix again, too. Because as if this threesome wasn't enough, looks like we're about to make it five.
Here's a photo of what we didn't see after the credits rolled:
Noah stopped and got out of the car. The two conversed (according to yet another photo CBS had on their site). Noah must have asked Juliette to use her car after seeing the dropped call from Alison.
Noah's ardor for Alison obviously hasn't cooled, and if he feels anything for Juliette, it doesn't match what she's feeling for him, or he wouldn't have taken her car to go see his wife.
Oh the tangled webs we weave, people! So what's coming our way on The Affair Season 3 Episode 5? Looks like a Noah and Alison reunion. Are we ready for that?
Drop me your thoughts on this. My greatest wish would be for Alison to calm down and reunite permanently with Cole. Would Noah allow that to happen or would he spill what he knows about Scotty's death to retain his hold on Alison?
Is there ever going to be a happy ending for these people? Make sure you watch The Affair online to relive what's come before.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.