Vik Walks Out on The Affair Because He's Smarter Than We Are
Philip Michaels isn't a crackpot. He just thinks we should be happy for Vik after he takes his ball and goes home when it becomes clear that Helen will never ever quit Noah.
I've made no secret in these The Affair posts of my love for Dr. Vik Ullah, Helen's upgrade in the partner department after Noah ran off with his true love, himself. I squeal with delight at Vik's deadpan reactions, I smile happily each time he's on the screen, I draft letters to Showtime demanding an aftershow for The Affair featuring nothing but Vik and maybe Furkat commenting wryly on that night's episode.
So when Vik storms off in this episode -- presumably for good -- after receiving one too many doses of Helen's bullshit, you'd think I'd be devastated. And I am, if the single line of "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" in my notes for this episode is any indication. But I also understand.
Oh, there is the temptation to run after Vik Shane-style, begging him to return, or to pretend that he's just running out for cigarettes and that he'll be back any moment now. But honestly, isn't this best for Vik? He's been nothing but a gentleman to Helen and her brood of contemptible children -- a pissy, withholding gentleman, but a gentlemen nonetheless. And what has he gotten in return? Helen running back to Noah at every opportunity and fibbing about it whenever Vik presses her on the matter. As Vik points out in Helen's segment, she lies to him about Noah no less than three times in this episode, and while Vik may have his flaws -- and I will cut anyone who tries to enumerate them -- at least he's honest about things. There aren't many other top-billed characters on this show who can make that claim.
"I really don't understand," Vik tells Helen, as a parting shot about her ongoing devotion to Noah. "I have tried, but I dont." That makes two of us, buddy.
So Vik is gone, and we are the poorer for it. But at least in the world of The Affair-verse, Vik is in a better place, which can be simply defined as anywhere that is not in the immediate orbit of the Solloways. The question we should be asking ourselves in the aftermath of this episode is not "Why did Vik go?," but rather "Why are the rest of us still here?"
Consider the Helen segment, which works only if you pretend that it's not part of an intense drama about the repercussions of infidelity, but rather a farcical 1970s sitcom. Here's Helen trying to keep her opioid-addicted ex-husband stashed in the basement and away from her children and current live-in boyfriend, while she fields a call from her ex's parole officer, deals with a surprise drop-in visit from her daughter and the daughter's fifty-year-old boyfriend, and handles her ex's demand for pills, any kind of sweet, delicious pills. All that's missing is Mr. and Mrs. Roper stopping by for a hilarious misunderstanding.
Because how else to explain Helen's sudden descent into madness? Surely, she sees the same thing that every other character on this show has been telling her -- that Noah has an infected wound and is clearly in the grip of pill addiction -- so of course, this is the moment she decides that she needs a little more Noah in her life? Now's the time to hit the ol' reset button on that Noah relationship, as he stages his one-man version of Valley Of The Dolls?
On a related note, this is the second consecutive episode where Helen has slept with someone who is not Vik. Her judgment has officially moved from "suspect" to "unreliable."
Speaking of "unreliable," there's Noah's segment, which given the number of opioids he downs on a daily basis, should feature people with lizard heads and fantastic swirling colors. Disappointingly, we just get more flashbacks of him being menaced by John Gunther both back in prison and in the tripped-out corners of Noah's mind. We also get to see him react to being slugged by Furkat (glorious!) and reuniting in Helen's boudoir after she leaves a trail of Vicodin leading to her vagina (less glorious and kinda gross given the violent turn their coitus takes).
So we limp toward the end of Season 3 with Noah and Helen back together again, albeit not very happily if the closing moments of this episode are anything to go by. Noah's got a serious addiction and now a hunting knife, which seems like a winning combination. And Alison's apparently now living on Mars, for all that we've seen of her recently. This is the post-Vik world we must now live in, and while it's a darker, scarier place, at least we can be happy for Vik, who no longer has to roll his eyes at the antics of these remarkable dullards. I am not a crackpot.