Welcome back everyone! Who remembers anything? Not me. (My recaps from last season, which I can admit I myself had to read for a refresher, can be found here.) There’s a long, long “previously on” that takes us through the last two seasons and ends with Noah taking the fall for both the women in his life and heading to jail. Sing it, Fiona Apple!!
Okay, so this episode begins and ends with Noah and Noah only. But really, it’s always been all about Noah, so why not? He’s looking a lot gaunter and sadder than we are used to, and we soon learn that three years have gone by and he’s only been out of prison for two months. Yeowza. His father has also died, and he’s living in his sister’s house. Noah sort of skulks in the back row of the funeral, and Helen and three of the kids (where’s my Whitney?) arrive. Martin ices Noah out hard. Noah ices Helen in return. Hmmm. But then Noah is all distracted by a shadowy figure creeping around the graveyard.
When Noah stands to give his eulogy, we learn that prison may have taken the eloquence away from our old pal as well. He fumbles around and admits he and his dad never got along; it was bad when his sister left for school, but once they went fishing. Shout out for the priest’s response: “Thank you, Noah, for those…. words.” The funeral concludes, awesomely, with everyone singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
After the service we learn that Noah has been ducking Helen’s calls, that Stacy is afraid of him, and things are not looking all that sweet between the Solloways. Things back at the house aren’t much better as Noah discovers many of his father’s friends think he killed his father by being generally awful. We learn also that Noah has to take muscle relaxants for his arm, that he’s teaching part-time at a good university, and that Nina hates his beard and believes him innocent.
Noah dreams of prison. It does not look awesome. He does, however, shave the beard and hears his sister and her husband fighting about him. Turns out his father left the house to Noah, even though it’s always been Nina who took care of everything both emotionally and financially. His brother-in-law seems like a jerk, yet makes some compelling points about how unfair this all is. Poor Nina. Maybe in the seventh season we’ll get her perspective.
Is Noah supposed to be teaching at Princeton maybe? A.k.a. your humble recapper’s hometown? Big beautiful campus, gothic buildings, snooty students, etc. Noah tells his sister he’ll move out and get his own place, and he stresses that he doesn’t want his father’s house.
Noah is teaching creative writing. Duh. And look who is in his class! It’s Sarah Ramos — a.k.a. Haddie Braverman from Parenthood — playing Audrey. Love her! She earnestly reads a story that is written the way most of us in college tried — earnestly and a little bit like Raymond Carver. Noah is only half paying attention because he sees the same shadowy figure on campus that he saw earlier. As the kids compliment Audrey on her great wind and weather imagery, Noah can’t help himself and snorts. Then he completely trashes Audrey’s story. It’s rough. His class looks at him in disbelief and Audrey cries and runs out of class. Noah genuinely seems buzzled about what just happened.
Noah sees a notice for cheap student housing. (I apologize for my nerdiness here, but the area code on this notice is 562, which is California. For those who are interested, the Princeton area code is 609. I’ll stop now.) Noah walks back and goes into the chapel, which has that nice dreamy chapel feel to it, and lays down in a pew.
He dreams of a time that Helen comes to visit him in prison. It’s obviously from the early days — he appears as the cocky breezy Noah of old, and it’s Helen who can’t deal. Helen thinks she can get him out. Noah is all, it’s not that bad, I have my own cell, lots of exercise, good stories for my next novel, etc. He’s like I’m pretty tough, and I owe this to you… after what I put you through. He thinks they won’t keep him for the full three years (flash-forward says they sure do). She’s like, what about me? He just tells her to wait. Hmm.
NEXT: Noah meets a sexy French lady