The Affair (2014) s05e08 Episode Script

Season 5, Episode 8

1 Previously on The Affair [Noah.]
She was sex.
The very definition of it.
She was the reason the word was invented.
[Alison.]
You were gonna say this book is true.
And then you make out that I'm some kind of cold-hearted, - drug-dealing psychopath.
- Okay, calm down, Alison.
No.
Nothing is sacred to you.
Nothing.
- [Eden.]
Helen Solloway? - Hi.
Eden Ellery.
I-I was Noah's publicist.
Bad idea.
We're working together.
[Helen.]
I think they were sleeping together.
- [Sasha.]
When? - On his book tour.
[Sasha.]
Didn't seem to end too well.
I'm really excited about this piece.
People love a comeback story.
When will they run it? Do you know? I hear that they want to time it with the release of the movie.
[Petra.]
Eden claims you pressured her into sleeping with you on the book tour.
This is fucking shit! What?! I think you had the world a little bit too much at your fingertips, didn't you? Damn, Ariel.
You really were paying attention.
There's a chapter in your last book, Descent, where you have sex with your wife against a tree.
- Was that supposed to be a rape? - No, I did not consider it to be a-a scene of rape.
Are you fucking kidding me?! - Can I help you? - You must be Helen.
I'm Christianna.
I'm sorry.
Should I know you? - I'm his daughter.
- [Sasha.]
Well, that's hardly - accurate, is it? - No.
Not now that it's inconvenient for you.
- How much?! - $25,000.
She shows up, pretends she wants a relationship.
- Oh, my God.
- So do you like it? Are you kidding me?! - You're a genius.
- Oh.
To new friends and new beginnings.
- Cheers.
- Cheers.
[laughs.]
The Maze 3 is a go.
What about Barry's movie? I can't make it work.
I'm sorry.
Hello, little love.
Hi, Mom.
[Sierra.]
Can you watch him for me? My mom was supposed to do it, but she just cancelled.
She has the flu or something.
Oh, I'd love to, but I have a work thing.
- What do you need? - [Eddie crying.]
What do you need, bud? You got to help me out.
I was screaming into the canyon At the moment of my death The echo I created Outlasted my last breath My voice it made an avalanche And buried a man I never knew And when he died, his widowed bride Met your daddy and they made you I have only one thing to do And that's be the wave that I am, and then Sink back into the ocean I have only one thing to do And that's be the wave that I am, and then Sink back into the ocean I have only one thing to do And that's be the wave that I am, and then Sink back into the ocean, sink back into the ocean Sink back into the o Sink back into the ocean Sink back into the o Sink back into the ocean Sink back into the ocean - - [phone ringing.]
[Rebecca.]
Amy is an absolute design prophet.
She's totally omniscient.
She has her hands in every aspect of her business.
She expects everyone to be operating at 100 at all times.
So what do you think you'd be able to contribute to the firm? Um I know I don't have a design degree, or an, um, NCIDQ certification, but I've been putting houses together my entire life.
And since I've started doing it professionally, my client list has grown pretty quickly.
I started off with one client, and since I don't know in the past few months, I've already done five other homes.
All on my own, so Well, and who are some of your other clients? Well Sasha Mann, Carolina Wineman.
Look, my son, uh, just put together this Instagram page for me.
I I held off on social media for as long as I could, but I had to bite the bullet.
You only have four followers.
Yeah, my kids.
You have four children? - Why? - Uh - [tablet buzzes.]
- Oh.
There's one more follower.
[Hailey.]
Oh.
Bringing your grand total up to five.
I can't see who it is, though.
They're probably private.
You have to follow them back.
Okay.
Anyway, um, getting back to what I think I could contribute to the firm [Rebecca.]
Amy is actually very good friends with Barry and Carolina Wineman.
[Hailey.]
The competition for the open designer position is pretty fierce.
A recommendation from Carolina would go a long way in moving your résumé to the top of the huge stack on Amy's desk.
Why don't you call Carolina right now? That is a great idea.
[chuckles softly.]
I think she's on vacation.
Yeah.
Far away.
Like, unreachable, really.
So [woman.]
Who's unreachable? - Amy! - You're back early! Hi.
Hi.
I'm Helen.
We were just talking about Carolina Wineman.
- Mm.
- She's in town.
They were supposed to leave to shoot Barry's new movie, but the funding fell out at the last minute, poor bastard.
I'll tell you this, though.
I was just at his 60th birthday party about a month or so ago, and whoever redid their house did a hell of a job.
Helen claims that was her work.
I'm sorry.
What did you say your name was? Helen Butler.
Oh, God.
Carolina told me all about you.
She did? She said you're a genius.
She's a great lady.
[car alarm system chirps.]
[sighs heavily.]
[phone buzzes.]
- [phone buzzes.]
- Oh.
Hi.
[Whitney.]
Happy birthday to you Happy birthday! Okay, all right.
Great.
Don't remind me.
Mom, come on.
I know this isn't your favorite day ever, but can we try to be a little happy? Yes, I am happy.
I just got that job.
Oh, my God! Congratulations! Thank you.
I'm really just relieved.
I mean, hopefully, this will cover Stacey and Trevor's tuitions, and I won't have to sell the house.
Uh, anyway, I'm sorry that I couldn't go out there with you.
I just couldn't turn down this interview.
Mom, it's okay.
Dad and I have the wedding thing totally covered.
You do? Yeah, he's actually been amazing.
We-we got a tent, the rentals, we found a DJ, we have flowers.
Wow.
Okay, um [laughing.]
Great.
I guess when you get back, we'll find you the perfect dress.
Oh, no, we found a dress.
You did? Yeah.
It's yours! Grandma showed you my dress? She hated that dress.
No, no, no, it was Dad's idea.
Oh, shit.
I should go.
We're heading back to the city.
I love you so much! Happy birthday! B Love you, too.
[quiet, atmospheric music.]
[phone buzzes.]
Uh Oh.
Christianna.
[car horn honks.]
Ooh.
Sorry! [NPR meteorologist.]
Now going into the fifth week of this record-breaking heat wave, local officials are closely monitoring all areas affected by the drought.
With reservoirs at an all-time low Are you Helen Butler? I am.
Can I help you? My name's Mariel Rodriguez.
I'm a social worker from the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.
I'd like to ask you some questions about your neighbor, - Sierra James.
- Is Sierra okay? It's standard procedure to speak with friends and neighbors of the subject of an open investigation.
Okay.
Do we need to go inside, or? This won't take that long.
When was the last time you saw Ms.
James with her child, and how did they appear? Mm, I-I haven't seen them for a couple weeks, but she seemed fine.
Can you be more specific? A little tired, maybe, but she's a new mother.
That's to be expected.
Anything else? Aberrant behavior? Drugs and alcohol? Poor decision-making? Nope.
Just tired.
Uh, can I ask what she's being investigated for? I'm not at liberty to say.
Thank you for your time.
- [knocking.]
- [meditative music playing.]
Sierra? [Eddie crying.]
Sierra? [Eddie crying.]
Sierra, what is going on? Where's Eddie? - He's upstairs.
- [music shuts off.]
I'm letting him cry it out.
That's for nighttime, not the middle of the day.
I'm just really stressed out right now, okay? Oh.
Okay.
Well, are you aware you're being investigated by Child Protective Services? It's not a big deal.
I got into a minor accident a couple weeks back.
Nobody was hurt.
Just, I hit a dumpster.
But why are social services investigating a car accident? Because the car was totaled.
And Eddie was in it.
Sierra, this is serious.
You could lose him! I know.
I'm handling it.
Okay.
Yeah.
[scoffs.]
Look, I have to go pick up Stacey and Trevor, but you need to get up and get dressed and clean the fucking house.
Okay? You are not the first woman on Earth to have a child.
You need to grow up and figure out how to take care of that baby! [Eddie wailing.]
Since when do you care about him? I What? The night that I crashed the car, I came over to your house, and I asked you for help.
You said you were too busy.
[Eddie wailing.]
And now, suddenly, you care about what happens to us? Please.
Can I have my weed back? [gentle music.]
[Eddie wailing.]
How about you get the fuck off the couch and go comfort your kid? [Eddie continues crying.]
[phone buzzes.]
[indistinct chatter.]
- Sure.
- [phone chimes.]
[Christianna.]
Thanks for coming all this way.
I hope you like iced lattes.
Thank you.
I am so sorry for the cryptic messages.
I just I really needed to talk to you.
Look, I could just tell that you're not like all of Sasha's other girlfriends.
You're like a real human being.
You're not just trying to get close to him because he's famous.
And I can tell he's really crazy about you, so Has he told you about my mother at all? Um, a little.
Yeah.
He told you she was an addict, right? Has he told you that he's the one who got her hooked? No.
Or how about the fact that she was the one who supported the two of them for an entire decade at the beginning of his career? Did he tell you that? No, um, I don't know, but I'm sorry.
I didn't What-what does this have to do with me exactly? She left me money.
My grandparents were rich, and Sasha's in charge of it.
He's supposed to pay me an income every year, but he never does.
I mean, I have to practically squat at his house to get him to pay me.
That money that you were asking for is your money? Well, why would he do that? I had a bad couple of years.
I fucked up a bit.
I tried committing suicide.
I mean, my mom had just died, for fuck's sake.
But all of that is behind me now.
I have an apartment, I have two jobs.
I'm writing a book.
That's great.
I mean, it sounds - really great.
- I want to terminate the trust.
And I need your help getting Sasha to listen to reason.
I'll be 21 next month.
I should be able to control my own money.
Why would he keep your mother's money? He doesn't need it.
[laughs softly.]
It's not about the money, Helen.
It's about control.
I mean, control me, and he controls the story I tell.
It's all about his image.
That's the only thing he actually cares about.
[knocking on window.]
Oh, fuck.
I've got to get back.
I can't lose this job.
Look, can you just talk to him for me? Please? Will you help me? I don't know.
I'll think about it.
[gentle music.]
Hey.
You look great.
Do you feel better? - Uh, Mariel's here.
- Who? Mariel, my social worker.
Oh.
- Come in.
- Oh, okay.
Can I get you anything, Mariel? Tea or biscuits or? No, thanks.
I'm all right.
There we go.
Okay.
Where are you from? Los Angeles, born and raised.
Oh, me, too! California girls! Do you have any relatives close by that you can rely on? Uh, yes.
My-my mother is close by.
Would you like some cheese? [Mariel.]
Uh, what is your mother's name? Her name is, um, Adeline Taylor.
[Mariel.]
And your mother lives in Los Angeles? [Sierra.]
Uh, her-her primary residence is Los Angeles, yes.
- Um, but she's an actress - [Eddie crying.]
so she moves around a lot Hey, hey, hey.
[Mariel.]
"Primary residence.
" Does that mean she has multiple homes? It's okay.
Yes.
Yeah.
Oh, my gosh.
I'm so sorry about the racket.
I totally forgot about Eddie's sweet potatoes.
I make all of his food from scratch.
It's okay.
Just one sec.
Okay.
Okay Ooh.
Ooh, ooh, ooh.
- Whoa.
- Hi.
You have the instincts of a panther, Helen.
Lucky you were there.
A-Are you leaving already? Yes, I-I think I have everything I need.
You don't want to ask me some more questions, or Have a nice day.
[slow, somber music.]
[Eddie cries.]
Um - It's okay.
Ooh.
- Whoopsie.
H-Hang on, hang on one second.
Uh, excuse me.
Ma'am, um, you're, uh Mariel, um, can you tell me what the next steps are? I'm sorry, I can't share that with anyone but Ms.
James.
Okay, but hypothetically, if it was an investigation like Sierra's, what-what-what would the next Hypothetically, if the subject of an investigation is found to be an unfit parent, the subject's child would be removed from the home and placed with the next of kin.
Like her mother? I really can't talk about this anymore.
[car door opens, closes.]
[engine starts.]
- [crying.]
- [Helen.]
Sierra.
- Sierra, it's okay.
- It's not.
It's not.
It's not.
I can't do anything right.
- I'm gonna end up killing him.
- Oh, no, you're not.
No, you're not.
It was one mistake.
I mean, this-this period is-is it's an adjustment.
And all mothers make mistakes.
No, you don't understand.
I-I can't get out of bed in the morning.
I just lay there staring at the ceiling and I I can't stop thinking, I can't stop thinking about hurting myself, and I just want to leave him somewhere so that somebody will find him and, and I think they should just take him away from me now so that he doesn't have to remember me.
Oh, no.
[Helen shushes.]
Oh, God.
Sierra.
Listen to me.
- Will you listen to me? - Mm-hmm.
I think that you need some help, okay? [sniffles.]
All right? You're not equipped to do this on your own.
How come everybody can do this but me? I don't think that you should be alone right now.
Hmm? So why don't you and Eddie come stay with me for a while? Hmm? - Okay.
- Okay.
Thank you.
We'll get you some help.
[babbles.]
[suitcase wheels rolling.]
Surprise! Oh, Jesus Christ, wow.
- Hey.
[laughs.]
- Hey.
How you doing? I thought you were in the Sahara? - Or something - Well, production got shut down.
I mean, uh, civil unrest in Chad or something.
Don't know.
Whatever.
Doesn't matter.
Can you pack a quick bag? Uh, we've got a jet waiting for us at Van Nuys and a reservation at the French Laundry in two hours.
Hi.
How are you? Hi.
I-I can't go to San Francisco.
I mean, my kids are in there.
They're making me dinner.
What the fuck do you mean? Helen, I flew 15 hours to surprise you.
Have you got any idea how hard it is to get a-a charter out of Chad during civil war? - No.
- Well, it's hard.
I'm sorry, I can't.
I mean, I just I can't.
Sorry.
[sighs.]
Well, whatever.
You just take these, then.
Uh, it was supposed to say "happy birthday," but, uh, somehow my assistant fucked up.
I mean, you're-you're welcome to come in and join us.
Um, I mean, it's no French Laundry, and-and we'll be with my kids and But [Sasha.]
Yeah.
Love to.
Yeah.
Okay, cool.
[Sasha.]
Um, you know, I picked up a few tricks when I played a chef some years back.
- Do you want me to take over? - I'm good.
This is my dad's recipe.
Oh.
Your dad's.
Mmm.
Stacey, that's an awful lot of sauce, isn't it? Nope, it's just right.
[Helen.]
Sasha.
Let her do it.
Yeah, sure.
Sorry.
Just trying to help.
Are you sure you're all right? [Trevor.]
Oh, uh, Mom hates her birthday.
Yep, even when we were kids, she wouldn't let us get her a cake.
My dad would make a lasagne, stick a candle in it, and that'd be it.
Birthday finito.
What a shock you left him.
I didn't, actually.
He left me.
[Sierra.]
Hello again.
[Sasha.]
Hi.
How's your baby? Uh, he's asleep.
Thank God.
[Sasha.]
See, that's why I never had kids.
I'm just absolutely useless without my sleep.
[Stacey.]
So, it's set in the future.
Two astronauts meet by chance on the International Space Station.
They fall desperately in love, but their love is doomed because they're being sent off on two different missions in opposite directions deep in the bowels of space.
Ooh.
Quite the little tragedian, isn't she? I wasn't finished.
Anyways, they try to forget each other.
They build completely new lives with new people.
But it hurts, you know? Because deep down, they secretly still love each other.
Until one day, they run into each other again on the opposite side of the galaxy.
Out in space? That's very convenient, isn't it? [Stacey.]
Because all this time they thought they were moving away from each other, they were actually in orbit.
They were always meant to meet again.
[slow, gentle music.]
I need more wine.
I think it's a very beautiful story, Stacey.
Thanks.
[knocking at door.]
- Hi.
- Hi.
- Is Sierra here? - Um - Hi, babe.
- [Sierra.]
Mom? I'm so sorry to just come over like this, but you're not answering your phone, and this Mariel woman keeps calling me.
She says she's your social worker? Hi, I'm Helen.
- I'm her neighbor.
- Oh, you're the neighbor.
- Yeah.
Hi.
- Right, right.
Hi.
Adeline Taylor.
- It's so nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.
Sweetie, we got to go.
Can you get Eddie? Um, where are we going? Um, well, first, we're gonna go back to my house.
And I got a terrific baby nurse for Eddie.
And Dr.
Miller says he can take you tonight.
No.
Mom, please, I don't want to go there.
Honey, he's doing us a tremendous favor, and it's all gonna be very private, which is good, because if the press gets a hold of this, they will have a field day.
[Sierra.]
Mom, nobody even knows who I am.
[Adeline.]
Of course they do, sweetheart, because they know who I am.
But if we get ahead of this, we can control it.
All right? But we need to go tonight.
Adeline? - Sasha Mann? - What the fuck are you doing here? Sierra's my daughter.
[Sasha.]
Fuck, no way.
You're, like, you're 35.
[Adeline.]
I love you.
Oh, what are you doing here? Well, I'm, um Hey, I'm, uh - I'm with, um - Helen.
- I'm with Helen.
- Oh, thank God.
For a second, thought you were [laughs.]
Well, okay, Cupid.
Your style's changing a bit.
[Sasha.]
Hey, I haven't seen you since, like Well, that press junket in Budapest, for fuck's sake.
What are What is she talking about? Um, she wants to institutionalize me.
- What? - Yeah, Dr.
Miller is, um He works at a psych ward.
She, um, she put me in there when I was a teenager.
[Sasha.]
[bad accent.]
"The sun is rising.
You have no dreams.
Your life is over.
Action!" - It's so good to see you.
- [Sasha.]
So good to see you.
Sierra, honey, we really got to go.
[quiet, tense music.]
Honey? Yeah, I think I know you've been away for a few months, but I live next door, and we spend quite a bit of time together, and I think Sierra is suffering from postpartum depression.
Are you a doctor? No.
[chuckles.]
That's funny, because you sounded like a doctor.
Yeah, I just think she needs some childcare.
And a therapist.
I don't think she needs to be institutionalized.
[Adeline.]
Institutionalized? I mean, it's called rehab.
If she's clean, we'll leave.
If she's not, it's the best place for her.
Helen, perhaps we should stay out of this.
I mean, let the ladies sort it themselves.
It's not really It's none of our business, is it? Perhaps you should stay out of this.
Um [clicks tongue.]
Do you mind if I just talk to my daughter privately for a moment? [Sasha.]
Look, all I'm saying is that this is kind of your Achilles' heel, isn't it? I wish you would stop trying to turn me wanting to help people into a pathology.
Helen, her mother is a movie star.
She's got all the money and resources in the world.
Well, I know this might be hard for you to believe, but sometimes people need more than money - thrown at their problems.
- I just think you fill your life with other people's problems in order to avoid addressing your own.
That's all I'm saying.
Do you think this is fun for me? Spending all this time with the woman my boyfriend cheated on me with and their baby? Then why do you do it? Because she needs help.
She's barely hanging on.
Her mother is a psychopath.
I've tried to hate her.
Believe me.
But I c I can't.
She's just She's too pathetic to hate.
Perhaps you do it because you hate her.
What? Helen, people will go to crazy lengths to avoid feeling that feeling.
All right, well Speaking of people you hate, guess who I had coffee with today.
Christianna.
Christianna.
Why? She reached out to me.
But how'd she find you? - What does it matter? - Well, you're kind of hard to track down.
You're not on social media or anything.
Why don't you want me to talk to her? Because why would you? She asked me for help getting through to you.
She says the money's hers.
Oh.
She told you about Lily's trust, did she? - Yeah.
- Mm-hmm.
Did she tell you she's writing a book? I think so.
Book about me? No.
Mm-hmm.
Listen, I know she can be very convincing, but she's lying.
She's full of horseshit.
I mean, Lily and I loved each other, Helen.
I met her when Christianna was five, and I helped raise her.
We were a family.
But when Christianna became a teenager, she got this asshole boyfriend that convinced her to break into Lily's phone and steal these photos of me and Lily naked, and Christianna went and sold them.
After that, Lily put a stipulation in Christianna's trust that if she wanted her grandparents' money when she was an adult, she could not disparage me or Lily publicly.
- And has she? - No, not yet.
But she's written this tell-all book, and she wants to publish it.
She gets her inheritance in full when she's 25, which gives me four years to change her mind.
I mean, why why did Lily put you in charge of her trust? Because she trusted me, Helen.
Christianna says you never send the checks.
Mm-hmm, because I don't know where she lives.
She's a grifter.
She moves around every six months.
You know, why don't you just give her the money and let her publish the book if you have nothing to hide? For fuck's sake! That would ruin my career.
I've worked too hard for too long to throw my whole life away just because Christianna is angry that her mother died and wants to blame it on somebody.
She says you got her mother hooked on drugs.
Are you f Are you fucking kidding me? [slow, somber music.]
[exhales.]
Your ex-husband did a truly amazing job of fucking you over.
But if you don't trust me by now, I don't know what the fuck to tell you.
[door slides open.]
[door slides closed.]
[Adeline.]
Sierra, honey, go get Eddie.
We're really late.
What's going on? I'm gonna go and see Dr.
Miller, and my mom is gonna take, uh, care of Eddie while I get some help.
Oh, Sierra, there has to be some other option.
No, I don't think so.
What if I take him? Helen.
What? You can stay here as long as you like, and I'll try to find someone to come here and help you.
What are you doing? She's his mother.
I don't think they should be separated right now.
[exhales.]
Hey, I'm beat.
I've been awake for 24 hours, so if you'll excuse me.
- Um, Adeline, wonderful to see you.
- [Adeline.]
Mwah! - Call me.
- I will.
- We'll have lunch or something.
- We will.
Bye.
[Adeline sighs.]
I-I can tell you care about my daughter.
Many people do.
She has a knack for finding those people who want to save her, but then they just end up enabling her addictions and laziness and her refusal to accept any responsibility for her life.
Excuse me? Oh, I'm sorry.
I'm not saying you're one of those people.
I-I don't know you.
But I do know my daughter.
She's sweet and beautiful, but she's also a fuckup, and she needs professional help.
She doesn't need another well-intentioned hanger-on.
What the fuck is wrong with you? Why do you think I'm such a fuckup, Mom? Did you know that until I met Helen, I didn't even realize there were people in the world who loved their kids just for being alive? Just because they fucking existed? You should see her with her kids.
She's amazing.
She loves them.
She just fucking loves them.
They can fuck up or, or say something stupid and it's like she doesn't even notice.
If I ever had a-a pimple on my face, you would tell me you couldn't even look at me.
I stopped eating because you said you'd rather have a dead daughter than a fat one.
I was kidding.
It wasn't fucking funny.
You didn't want a daughter.
You just wanted a doll that you could dress up and parade around and bring to interviews when you needed - to seem more human.
- Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.
I tried so hard.
My parents were useless.
Rich and famous - and useless.
- Oh, my God.
They had their assistant take me to get my tonsils out when I was five.
I did not want that to be your childhood.
I wanted you with me.
I-I-I wanted us to be in this together.
You know, but I guess I fucked up.
I-I pushed you too hard or I protected you too much.
I don't know.
I think I was just so afraid of the scrutiny you were gonna be under because you were my kid.
It's a scary world, Sierra.
The only thing that I'm scared of, Mom, in the whole world, the whole entire world is you.
How do you two know each other again? Don't do that, Mom.
Oh.
[sighs.]
Right.
She fucked your dying husband and then got pregnant and had his baby? Well, technically, he wasn't my husband.
Mm-hmm.
And you really feel you have her best interests at heart.
Life is short, Adeline.
Okay.
Sierra, I'll see you tomorrow.
[footsteps retreating.]
[exhales.]
- [sighs.]
- [door closes.]
Um Do you mind if I just go to bed? I'm very tired.
Of course.
Happy birthday.
Thank you.
[knocking at door.]
Happy birthday.
[Noah.]
Well, I kind of like the cover art they chose.
It's, like, bare trees in a winter wood.
It's kind of haunting.
It's a beautiful book, Noah.
- It really is.
- Thanks.
Thank you.
And thank you for your blurb.
- I'm really grateful.
- Ah, I loved reading it.
[sighs.]
I'm sorry about your mom, by the way.
That part was true, wasn't it? Mm-hmm.
I had no idea back at school.
Well, nobody did.
You know what I find sort of interesting, now that I'm getting older? All those people I thought were so cool back when I was young? - Mm-hmm.
- Just effortlessly cool Those people were in so much pain.
- You think? - Ah.
To a person.
There's no such thing as being cool when you're young.
- [laughs.]
- There's just different degrees of terrified and how adept you are at hiding it.
Which is inversely proportional, in my opinion.
I love you, Ariel.
I love you, too, Noah.
It feels like things are finally coming back together for you, huh? Hey, you want to get a coffee? - I'm buying.
- Sure.
Can I ask you something? I got a call a couple of days ago from a reporter who's doing this long-form story about me and my "resurrection.
" Where? For what? Vanity Fair.
- Wow.
- Mm.
No, it's great, but she asked me about this, uh, publicist I had on the Descent tour who, apparently, has said that I I don't know, tried to seduce her or something.
Tried to seduce her? Pressured her into sleeping with me.
That's different.
I know I know.
I mean, I-I don't know what she meant, but, I mean, she kind of blindsided me.
What did you say? Well, I told her it wasn't true.
Which it wasn't.
The opposite, in fact.
I mean, she was throwing herself at me the whole time.
[chuckles.]
What, you don't believe me? [chuckles.]
I didn't say that.
But you don't.
I'm telling you, she was, she was pretty aggressive.
Okay, so what are you worried about? Well, I don't know.
Nothing, I guess.
It's probably fine.
The reporter didn't seem that interested, actually.
She was probably just doing due diligence, but I mean, this publicist, Eden, she can't just make shit up about me, right? You know you don't have the best reputation around this stuff, right? Ariel, that was in college, that was 30 years ago.
That's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about your current reputation, Noah.
In the community.
What community? The publishing world.
You're seen as something of a loose cannon.
What? Why? Well, you've had a storied past.
You went to prison, after all.
Well, that's just fucking ridiculous.
I went to prison for my For what? Never mind.
I don't deserve that.
I-I-I have the most boring fucking life.
I work, I write, I see my kids, and I try to be a good person, that's it.
I know you do.
But, look when you got out of prison, you were a little bit angry, right? A little bit bitter? Sure.
Prison sucks.
Right, well Do you remember teaching a class with a student named Audrey in it? Audrey Nelson? Uh yeah.
Were you not very nice to her? Well, I was as nice to her as I was to anyone else in that class.
Why? She's written a book.
Good for her.
Apparently, you're in it.
Really? She doesn't name you directly, but it's a memoir about her abusive relationship with an older male professor.
She's going around town, telling people that the character is based on you.
The book is getting a lot of buzz.
[ominous piano music.]
[horn honks.]
[Harry.]
Look, Noah, I can't say that I am entirely surprised.
Nowadays, you can't be too careful.
These accusations are coming from anywhere.
Luckily, we are prepared.
You're gonna really love Joyce.
She's like the MVP of our firm these days.
So, how you been otherwise? Excited for the Descent premiere? We are gonna do a rerelease with Sasha Mann's face on the cover to coincide with the opening.
Get you some more moola.
Want to see the cover art? Not really.
Uh, I'm sure it's fine.
Sit, sit.
- I'm Joyce.
- Hey.
I'm Noah.
So Harry filled me in on most of the details.
The reporter is Petra Ranes from Vanity Fair.
- Mm-hmm.
- And this woman, uh, Eden Ellery, she used to work with us, right? Right, she was our in-house publicist about ten years ago.
She left a few years before you arrived.
Okay.
And this alleged incident happened over ten years ago? "Alleged incident"? - Nothing happened.
- [Harry.]
That's right.
It seems a little convenient, doesn't it? Just when he's got a movie and a new book coming out, suddenly she remembers - being harassed? - No, I didn't harass her.
Noah, it's okay.
We're on your side.
[Joyce.]
And so you want to know what to give her as a statement? He already gave her a statement.
Without talking to anyone? I didn't know I was supposed to.
Well, what did you say? Uh, basically, I said no.
Mm.
Do you remember exactly what you said? Uh But you denied it? - Yeah.
- [Harry.]
Well, we can call and we can find out exactly what he said, can't we? I don't know.
We can try, but she may not give it to us.
Guys, there's no truth to this story.
None at all? No.
I mean I remember Eden was very flirtatious, and I think maybe I kissed her in my hotel room, but it was totally consensual.
And you weren't married at the time.
No, I-I was married.
I was married to Alison, but, look, I know I wasn't the best guy at that time.
I know that.
Everybody knows that.
I mean, so much of what the Jack Hunter book is about is me wrestling with who I was and what I did and why.
But there's a difference between poor judgment and being a criminal, right? [scoffs.]
Well For fuck's sake, of course there is.
All I'm saying is that the court of public opinion isn't as rigorous as the court of law these days.
But, unfortunately, that's where many of these cases are being tried.
Do we have any way of getting to Eden at this point? Surely we-we have her contact information somewhere.
That would leave us incredibly exposed.
God forbid she turns that around and gives it to the reporter.
Oh, fuck, I didn't think of that Guys, this is idiotic.
I misspoke.
I should just call up Petra and tell her, okay, yes, there was a flirtation, but it was completely consensual.
- That's the truth.
- What do you think? I think it's risky, reopening the subject.
She might potentially interpret that as an admission of guilt.
We could try to kill the piece completely.
- What? - I-I'd rather we didn't, Joyce.
This is a very important moment for Noah and his career.
Not to mention, such great PR for the book.
Look, if we do go back to Petra, we need to arm you with some very specific language.
I need you to talk about how much you admire Eden Actually, no, Ms.
Ellery For stepping forward.
How you respect women and support the #MeToo movement as a long-overdue correction of the wrongs in our society.
How you assumed that your interactions with Ms.
Ellery were consensual, but if you misread her intentions, you truly apologize - for any - I-I'm not apologizing.
Eh, that's not what I'm saying You literally just said "apologize.
" I'm just trying to help you get ahead of this.
- If she's going to accuse you - She can't accuse me if I did nothing wrong.
We're both adults, we had a flirtation.
That's just the fucking truth.
Harry, you know me.
Come on, back me up here.
[exhales.]
I think you should do just what Joyce says.
Look, she's handled a few of these scandals for us already.
She knows what she is talking about.
You can't just invent reality.
Certain things happen, other things don't.
The reason it's called "truth" is 'cause you can prove it.
If you can't prove it, then it's just your fucking opinion.
Okay.
I will set a call with you, me and Petra, and I will explain that you would like to clarify your comment.
No, ple no, I can do that on my own.
We should do this call together.
Yeah, with all due respect, that's gonna look like I-I have something to hide.
Look, I'm in town, maybe I just go see her.
- Is that a good idea? - No.
Oh, for fuck's sake, Harry, you ask her when you want to wipe your own ass? Is she running this place now? Noah.
These are very precarious times, and men like you have a target on their backs.
Okay, fine.
Sorry.
Look, I-I gave an answer that was glib.
I just want to go back and correct it.
Can't I do that? Noah, let us handle this.
[tense, ominous music.]
So, thanks for letting me drop in on you like this.
Are you kidding? I'm delighted.
It's nice to see you again.
I, uh, I just happened to be down here in the neighborhood, and it occurred to me that your office was around here somewhere, so Please.
- It's such a great building.
- It really is.
Where were your offices before the, before the Towers came down? You know, um, I wasn't here.
I was still in school.
Of course.
[chuckles.]
- Oh, God, I'm so sorry.
- Don't be.
Where were you? I was in Brooklyn.
My daughter was, uh, I had just dropped her at preschool and, uh, I was walking back to the subway and I heard the news.
Now she's getting married.
In fact, that's why I'm over here.
I'm helping her plan the wedding.
Wow.
Time flies.
It really does.
So, anyway, I was, uh, I was thinking about the conversation we had the other day, and, uh, uh, while I was driving, and I just wanted to clarify my answer to you, - if that's okay with you.
- Of course.
Would you mind if we, if we talked without the Off the record? Yeah, that's yeah, that's the term.
Of course.
Thank you.
So I think I was just surprised by your question, uh, because it's been so long since, uh, Ms.
Ellery and I had any, had any, uh, involvement with each other, and So much has happened since then, I-I guess I needed more time to-to really, truly remember what-what happened between us on that book tour all those years ago.
And the truth is that, uh, Ms.
Ellery and I, we did engage in some flirtation.
But it never went beyond that.
I see.
Thanks for the clarification.
Do you mind if I ask some follow-up questions? Of course.
Yeah, that's why I'm here.
I want to be completely transparent.
So, then you never had sex? Uh, no.
No.
No.
I mean, I, I respected Eden Ms.
Ellery.
I-I And she was a colleague doing a, doing a job, and I-I supported that.
Ms.
Ellery, when we spoke, mentioned a party in the Hamptons at the home of a producer named Rodney Callahan.
Okay.
You didn't pressure her into sex that night? Absolutely not.
Are you sure? Yeah, I'm sure.
I-I remember the night very well.
It was it was the night my second wife went into labor.
And there was a giant hurricane, which was flooding the roads, and I-I was doing everything in my power to try and make it home to her.
That sounds dramatic.
Yeah well, it all worked out.
Okay.
Well, I appreciate your candor.
Thank you.
[exhales.]
Thank you.
Thank you.
Actually, Noah, do you mind if I ask a few more questions? I was gonna have someone call you to fact-check, but as long as I've got you here Of course.
Do you mind if we go on the record? Sure.
[exhales.]
Okay, so I wanted to go back to the origins of Descent.
I found out, from other interviews you gave at the time, that much of it was written in a rubber room where you were sent on probation from your teaching job at Kings Science and Tech.
That's right.
Why were you there? Uh, I'd recently split with my wife, and I'd had a, uh completely consensual liaison with another teacher.
"Liaison"? I can't think of any other way to describe it.
Zoe Sobler, right? She was a student teacher at the time.
So, under your supervision? No, no, she wasn't [stammers.]
She-she was a student teacher, but she wasn't under my supervis I mean, she-she never she didn't teach in my classroom.
She didn't report directly to you Is that what you're saying? No.
I mean, yes.
That-that is what I'm saying.
She didn't report to me.
Okay.
So I had that wrong.
Well, I'm sure there are records that could prove Likewise, do you remember a student from your seminar at Livingston? Audrey Nelson.
Uh, yes.
Yeah.
I understand she has a new memoir coming out.
I'm so proud of her, it's Yeah, I read it.
It's very good.
But, uh, most of it centers around the main character's relationship with her seminar professor, an aging white novelist who is verbally and emotionally abusive.
At one point he literally tells her that she can't be a writer because she has no inner life.
She also describes a conversation in which the professor claims that sex doesn't need to be consensual in order for a woman to enjoy it.
Noah, are you the professor in that book? [sighs.]
I, I mean, possibly, I But if so, then she has taken a few very nuanced and complicated conversations, uh, completely out of context.
I spoke to Audrey.
Oh, okay.
So that question was rhetorical.
She paints you as a rather unapologetic misogynist.
A misogynist? I For fuck's sake, Petra, I-I-I was I'd just gotten out of jail when I was teaching that seminar.
I-I had even attempted suicide, so, yes, in my state of mind at that time of my life, I was probably not the greatest kind of instructor.
But to tell her I wasn't responding to her material is not a criminal act.
She's obviously trying to conflate the current political climate with my very brief association with her in order to direct attention to her book.
I mean [sighs.]
Come on, you're an intelligent woman.
Isn't that obvious to you? Audrey told me that much of Descent was autobiographical.
Your second wife, Alison Bailey, committed suicide.
Could that be, in any way, related to your depiction of her in that book? [sighs.]
Noah.
[intense, dramatic music.]
Mm-hmm.
Yeah.
I understand.
We will.
Well, you've been so helpful.
Yes.
[clears throat.]
Thank you for your time.
You're fucked.
[exhales.]
I am having déjà vu.
Yeah, right.
How in the flying fuck did we end up back here again, Noah? I don't know.
What can I do, Jon? [chuckles.]
Well [clears throat.]
normally, in a case like this, we would go after your accuser.
What's her name? Emily.
Eden.
I mean, with a name like that, no wonder she fucked you.
Standard procedure would be to try to discredit this Eden character, try to establish a history of sexual promiscuity.
Better yet, mental illness.
Then we may have a fighting chance.
Did she ever mention anything about sleeping with other clients? What? No.
Oh.
I'll have a an intern scour her social media accounts.
Maybe we'll find something.
Worst comes to worst, we'll hire a private investigator.
Well, how's that gonna help? Well, if we can discredit Miss Eden, we may be able to threaten Vanity Fair with a character defamation lawsuit.
Though just because she fucked around doesn't mean she wanted to fuck you.
I didn't fuck her, Jon.
And, honestly, in this day and age, they'll probably tell us to go fuck ourselves and go publish it anyway.
[sighs.]
Shit.
Now that I'm thinking about it, the smarter play here We got to get to the girl.
Convince her to retract.
What do you know about her? Does she need money? Can she be bought? - What does she have to lose? - I don't know.
I-I don't understand why she's doing this to me.
I really don't.
We got along great.
We were friends.
[sighs.]
Maybe if I could just reach out to her and ask her what she wants Whoa, whoa, whoa.
No, for Christ's sake, Noah, under no circumstances are you to contact this woman.
But nothing happened between us.
I don't care if you fucked her, if she fucked you, if you shoved carrots up each other's asses and ate them, do not reach out to this woman.
Jon, I went to prison for three years for a crime I didn't commit.
Eh, don't remind me.
It was the nadir of my professional career.
I know I'm not guilty here.
How can it be possible there's nothing else I can do? I'm sorry, Solloway, it's like the French Revolution out there right now.
The best I can offer is we hire a private investigator, we see if she's retained a lawyer, and we float some under-the-table settlement for her silence.
I don't have the money to pay for a private investigator.
Or Eden.
Or you.
I'm putting my daughter's wedding on credit.
Been banking on this book and this movie to put me back in the black.
I should call my crisis PR girl right away.
She's the best.
Anthony Weiner.
Eliot Spitzer.
Weinstein.
But she fired him.
Oh, God.
[exhales.]
All right.
I'll set up a call for all of us tomorrow.
We'll discuss next steps in case the worst happens.
In the meantime, go home.
Cancel all public appearances.
And, for crying out loud, keep your hands to yourself.
And circle your wagons.
Meaning what? Tell your family.
[jazz playing.]
[sighs.]
[woman over P.
A.
.]
Flight 117 to Tel Aviv will now be departing from Gate 45.
Flight 117 to Tel Aviv will now be departing from Gate 45.
[quietly.]
Fuck, that's tonight.
[woman over P.
A.
.]
Good afternoon, passengers.
This is a pre-boarding announcement for Flight 1537 to Los Angeles.
We are now inviting those passengers with small children and passengers requiring special assistance to begin boarding at this time.
Please have your boarding pass and identification ready.
Regular boarding will begin in ten minutes.
Thank you.
[ominous piano music.]
[indistinct chatter.]
[MC.]
of the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, Armando Solis.
[applause.]
[Armando.]
Thank you.
Thank you, L.
A.
Times.
English wasn't my first language, but it was the language I chose to give voice to this first piece of fiction, this first declaration of self.
And I think it was the only choice, because English makes no sense.
I-In a wonderful way.
Really.
It has less of a road map, less internal logic.
[continues indistinctly.]
[applause.]
Eden, I just want to talk to you.
Noah, I'm a publicist, and I'm gonna give you some professional advice for free.
Walk away.
Right now.
Did you say all those things about me to Petra? I talked to Petra, yes.
Okay, now, I have a very different memory of what happened between us that night.
Uh, we-we were friends, weren't we? We-we were having fun.
- I worked for you.
- But It was my job to keep you happy.
Even as your demands got more and more ridiculous.
What demands? That I come to your hotel room.
When you were drunk.
Oh, come on.
Eden, that's not what happened.
That I do drugs with you.
[quietly.]
That I have sex with you.
Eden, that was your idea.
- [stammering.]
- [scoffs.]
At Rodney's party? I was just trying to get home to my wife! Oh, my God.
At least be honest with yourself.
No, you be honest with yourself.
You remember you remember how you were dressed that night? You remember how you were dancing with me? You were coming on to me.
Excuse me.
I've got to get back to my job.
No, Eden.
You wanted to fuck me, and I walked away.
Now, I don't know if that pissed you off, and this is some kind of sick revenge.
But I have a family.
I have two daughters.
And you're gonna ruin my life.
So, please, this is not a game.
[dramatic, tense music.]
I'm not afraid of you anymore, Noah.
Afraid of me? I didn't go looking for this moment.
A reporter called me, and I decided to tell the truth.
She called you? Why? Noah, I'm doing you a favor.
I won't tell anybody you stalked me here.
But you need to leave now.
Or everyone's gonna know about this.
[indistinct chatter.]
Seriously.
[crowd murmuring.]
[siren wailing.]
[horn honking.]
Hi.
- Hi.
- What a nice surprise.
I thought you were still in Montauk.
No, I-I just got home.
I just came by to wish you a happy birthday.
I brought dinner.
- I don't know if you guys have - Oh, that's so sweet.
I mean, we ate already, but the kids made cake.
Do you want to come in? Sure.
[Stacey.]
Dad! Hey.
Hey, Stacey.
[music playing faintly.]
Perfect timing.
We were just about to sing "Happy Birthday.
" [chuckles.]
Great.
- Hey, Dad.
- Hey, Trev.
Nice cake.
Thank you.
Lasagna for my birthday.
Thank you.
How's Whitney? Uh, she's good.
She's-she's great.
[Helen.]
Thank you again for doing that.
No, no.
It was my pleasure.
And Martin called today.
He says he made the dean's list.
- You're kidding me.
- Nope.
[exhales.]
We did good, Solloway, somehow.
Uh, do you want some? The kids and I are about to have a toast.
What, even Stacey? - She can have a little.
- [phone ringing.]
Sure.
That's so weird.
This New York number has been calling me all day, and they won't leave a voice mail.
Hello.
Yeah, this is Helen Solloway.
I'm sorry, from what magazine? [quietly.]
Vanity Fair.
- Helen - Uh, okay.
I need two minutes.
Can we start drinking without you? [whispers.]
It's just two minutes.
- Helen - Okay, Petra, what can I do for you? [dramatic, tense music.]
[balloon inflating.]