Welcome to our weekly recap of The Affair Season 3! Each week we’ll go over the latest developments on the show, point out Hamptons locales and scenes (when applicable), and occasionally poke some fun at the often-dark drama.
This week: The season finale is here! The setting shifts from Montauk to Paris, where Juliette faces her real life, Noah has a Furkat encounter and lessons are learned all around.
Season 3, Episode 10
We open on Juliette and Noah in bed. In France. Noah’s bandage is gone. Juliette tells Noah she can’t have dinner with him tonight because her daughter, Sabine, is coming home. Noah is surprisingly…nice and normal. Juliette and Noah walk in the street, where two of her friends approach and slut-shame Jules for not being with Etienne (in French). She bids Noah adieu and heads to her house, where Sabine is already there. Sabine informs Juliette that Etienne is awake and back to his normal self! Juliette is spooked by Etienne’s lucidity. Etienne tells them how he’s going to research the manuscript that Juliette’s been researching in New Jersey. Sabine is heartbroken when Etienne suddenly loses his memory again and calls Juliette “Brigitte.” She plays along as he professes his love for Brigitte. After Etienne falls asleep, Juliette heads to the university, where she meets with her boss, Julia, and breaks the news that Etienne is too ill to go on teaching. Julia is angry to find that Etienne’s been sick for three years, and realizes that Juliette’s been sending emails under his name. Things get tense when Julia tells Juliette that she’ll likely lose her position at the university since nobody knows where Etienne’s work ends and her work begins. Juliette meets Noah for an early dinner, where he gives her a rare book as a gift. Noah thanks Juliette for saving his life and bringing him back from the brink. Their romantic evening is cut short when Sabine calls—Etienne is dead. It appears that earlier, he experienced terminal lucidity, “a final gift,” as the doctor says. When Juliette returns to the apartment, Sabine snaps at her and says that everyone at the university knows about her affair with “the American.” Juliette watches as Etienne’s carried off in a body bag (that gets stuck in the door of the elevator—terrible). Later, Noah shows up at her doorstep, and before he can ask her what happened, she kisses him and the two have sex right outside her house.
“This is not the real Paris,” Juliette jokes as she and Noah stroll through the street. “It’s for tourists.” They meet Juliette’s friends, but this time we don’t hear what they’re talking about (unless you speak French, as the subtitles are removed). Noah heads to a bookstore, where he finds an old copy of Peter Pan. He thinks back to when he and Alison talked about it. Then he finds a 100-plus-year-old book about King Arthur and picks it up for Juliette. Outside, Noah is horrified to see a poster for an art show featuring the work of—wait for it—Furkat! He heads to the gallery, where he sees Furkat flirting—and grabbing the butt of—a new, younger woman. Furkat notices Noah and comes outside to invite him to the show. After learning which hotel they’re staying at, Noah rushes to find Whitney, who is not happy to see him and immediately leaves. Noah goes to meet Juliette for dinner and finds her reading the French edition of his first novel. She tells him that Etienne woke up. He suggests she go be with him, because he knows how much damage his affair caused—but Juliette shakes her head. “You think you’re some expert on affairs?” she asks. Juliette then explains that Etienne had many affairs, making Noah look like an “amateur.” Sabine calls, and Juliette gets some news, but doesn’t tell Noah what it is. Noah gives her the book (this time wrapped in brown paper, as opposed to the gorgeous gold box from Juliette’s perspective), and Juliette suddenly bolts. Noah goes to the gallery, where he sees that Whitney has been reduced to handing out drinks. Whitney and Furkat get into an argument, and outside, he slaps Whitney. Noah intervenes and chases after Whitney, who is shaken but begs Noah to not make a scene. Noah tries to tell Whitney that being abused isn’t love, but she calls him out on how he treated Helen. “I never hit your mother,” Noah says, defending himself. Noah admits he failed Whitney and didn’t protect her from men like himself. The two partially reconcile and agree to go back to Brooklyn in the morning. Noah heads to Juliette’s, where she invites him in this time and they talk about Etienne’s death. Juliette admits that she prayed for Etienne to die. Noah, who experienced this with his mother, says that people come up with stories of how someone’s death is their fault, but they’re just stories. The next day, Noah and Juliette say their goodbyes, and head back to Brooklyn. Noah drops Whitney off at Helen’s house (Vik’s back!). Martin invites Noah to go sledding with them in the morning. Noah waves at Helen and gets into the taxi. “Where we going?” the taxi driver asks…
While this was a good episode, with poignant moments between Noah and Whitney, (who shows signs of growing up), it didn’t quite feel like a finale. Alison and Cole are nowhere to be found, Helen only gets a cameo and there’s no closure for any of those stories, other than what we’ve already seen over the past weeks. This season feels like it was about Noah’s ongoing attempts at redemption, and it feels like he’s finally made some strides to be a better person. But why the focus on Juliette?
Thanks for reading our recaps of The Affair! We’ll be back next season with more Montauk mayhem (assuming the show doesn’t switch to being about Juliette’s adventures in academia).