Showtime’s Montauk-set drama The Affair concluded its penultimate fourth season on Sunday, leaving a lot of open doors for how the series will resolve in its fifth and final season. It also may be the show’s last gasp in Montauk, but more on that later.
Season 4 delivered its most seismic shift with the death of Alison (Ruth Wilson), one of The Affair’s four main characters, who was killed by her new love interest, Ben (Ramon Rodriguez). As it stands now, everyone, including the police, believes Alison committed suicide, though we’re likely to see her ex-husbands uncovering Ben’s crime and meting out justice as a prominent plot line in Season 5.
Then again, the murder may very well be left unsolved as the story moves forward into new territory. This could really go either way.
For now, Alison’s first husband Cole (Joshua Jackson) is so heartbroken and distraught he makes a scene at Alison’s funeral—a new age, hippy-dippy ceremony directed by her mother Athena (Deirdre O’Connell) on the beach in Montauk. Cole grabs the urn containing Alison’s ashes and makes a run for it. He wants Alison buried in his family’s cemetery plot alongside their dead son Gabriel, but Cole is not her husband anymore.
This outrageous behavior and Cole’s obvious love for Alison extinguishes any remaining hope of saving his marriage with Luisa (Catalina Sandino Moreno), but he wants her to continue helping him raise his and Alison’s daughter Joanie, who she loves. They will also stay married so Luisa can apply for citizenship.
If Showtime intends on moving all production to California, this setup—giving Luisa guardianship of Joanie—could help them send Cole back to Morro Bay, where his dead father’s lover lives. Let’s hope he remains in Montauk, where the series began, and where it should end.
Meanwhile, as we predicted in our Episode 9 recap, Helen’s (Maura Tierney) dying husband Vic (Omar Metwally) did indeed impregnate their neighbor Sierra (Emily Browning) during their one sexual encounter. Of course Helen also had sex with Sierra, and if Vic is dead as Season 5 begins, we still think there’s a good chance the two women will be a couple, raising Vic’s child together.
After all, the sexually fluid Sierra tells Helen she loves her, not Vic in this episode.
But Helen still holds a seemingly eternal flame for Noah, her first husband and the father of her four children. In fact, Helen and Noah’s interaction in the Season 4 finale was the best scene of the episode. He comes to her side as she grieves dying Vic, attempts to unpack her feelings about Sierra’s pregnancy and come to terms with the truth that she never loved Vic like she did/does Noah.
This episode is all about death and the truth born in the face of our mortality. Helen’s acceptance of Sierra’s pregnancy comes with her acceptance that Vic is going to die. Vic, too, finally comes to grips with his situation and allows himself to voice his fear as he mourns his own life.
But Vic’s doctor—an old girlfriend who clearly still loves him—does say treatment could still buy him some time. He talks like he’s too far gone for treatment, and it’s safe to assume he’ll be dead by Season 5, but possible that Showtime may keep him around.
Seeing the tenderness between Helen and Noah in this episode could lead some to root for the couple to reunite before the show is done, but this just seems like a bad, unrealistic direction to go. There’s something far more beautiful about their relationship evolving into a deep friendship.
While visiting Princeton with his student Anton (Christopher Meyer), Noah also reconnects with an old friend, English Department head and successful author Ariel (Janel Maloney), who’s had feelings for him since college. Could she play a role in Season 5? Or will Noah continue his relationship with Anton’s mother Janelle (Sanaa Lathan), who is also the principal of the school where he teaches? Will he end up back at Princeton teaching alongside Ariel?
Like we said, Season 4 has left a lot of doors open for the final season of The Affair. Characters easily come and go—as seen with Juliette (Irene Jacob), Noah’s love interest in Season 3 who we never heard from at all in Season 4—so anything is possible.
Above all, we’re hoping Montauk continues to play a powerful part in the show, but that’s definitely not guaranteed.
Tell us your predictions in the comments below or on social media.