How Did Alison Really Die on 'The Affair?'

Jessica Napoli
Patrick Wymore/SHOWTIME

[The following article contains spoilers from Season 4, Episode 9 of The Affair.]

Following one of the most shocking TV deaths of the year, fans of The Affair are still scratching their heads as to what exactly happened to Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson).

Last week, we found out that Alison was indeed dead after second ex-husband Noah Solloway (Dominic West) identified her body. It's being ruled a suicide by drowning but Cole Lockhart (Joshua Jackson), Alison's first ex-husband and baby daddy, isn't convinced. And on Sunday night, we learned what actually happened to the Montauk native.

Per usual, the penultimate episode of the Showtime drama series was split into two stories. This time, however, both were told from Alison's perspective.

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Alison Part I

A heartbroken Ben (Ramon Rodriguez) comes over to confess to Alison that he's married and has two sons — one of whom is ironically named Gabriel like her own dead child — but he's left his wife and their marriage is absolutely over.

Ben also opens up about his time at war in the Middle East and how the sandbox changed him, especially when he returned home and began to battle PTSD. He also reveals to Alison that he accidentally killed an unarmed boy while overseas and how the incident irrevocably damaged him.

He fixes her broken sink, hangs around for dinner, and the two wind up sleeping together. Alison asks Ben to promise to never hurt her again which suggests she made the decision to take her own life.

Alison Part II

The second half retells the story of her final night.

Ben comes over irritated and lies about his wife and family life when Alison probes him. Her questioning angers him and he starts to yell at her about what happened in Los Angeles when she fled to visit Noah.

She asks him more questions about his life before her, but in order to carry on the conversation, he has to pour himself multiple drinks, breaking his sobriety. Ben recounts the story of shooting the unarmed boy, but this time, the details are very different. Ben knew the boy wasn't dangerous but killed him anyway.

Alison tells him he has to leave; she doesn't want to be involved with him anymore but that only angers him more. She threatens to tell his wife Heidi everything, which enrages Ben. He grabs her by the throat and pins her up against the wall. She gets free but Ben grabs her from behind and violently throws her into the cabinet.

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She hits her head and blood pours down her face as she loses consciousness.

In the next scene, Ben is carrying her limp body out to the lighthouse and throws her into the water. She says as she drowns: “What are you gonna do, Ben? You gonna kill me? You think that scares me? My son died. He died in my f**king arms. What in God’s name do you think you can do to me that I haven’t done to myself a million times? I have been in pain my entire life. And maybe that’s what makes people think that I’m weak. And maybe that makes people treat me like some sort of receptacle for all their grief and rage and disappointment, but I am f**king sick of it.”

With that, the episode ends leaving viewers wondering which perspective was the real version of events. It's likely Part I was Alison's imagination: her living out what she would have ideally liked to happen.

Instead, Part II seems like the tragic truth.

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Wilson's decision to leave the show was entirely her own, according to showrunner Sarah Treem.

She told The Hollywood Reporter, "That was a request, so that was decided basically before we started writing. It wasn’t a discovery of any kind. That was very deliberate. And actually, we shot all of her work first. Her whole storyline was shot before we shot anything else."

The Affair's fifth and final season will hopefully be centered on finding justice for Alison's murder.

The Affair, Season 4 Finale, Sunday, 9/8c, Showtime

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