‘The Affair’ Premiere: Is [Spoiler] Really Dead? Plus, More Reveals

the affair recap
Spoiler Alert
Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Affair Season 5, Episode 1]

Showtime’s The Affair returned for its final season Sunday night and set up two different timelines by introducing Anna Paquin’s Joanie — Allison (Ruth Wilson) and Cole’s (Joshua Jackson) adult daughter. Along with this new character, some major events took place, mainly in the timeline most fans know.

Below, we’re breaking down all the drama from the final season premiere, including the biggest question of the night — is Cole dead?

Noah’s Movie Deal

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

The episode kicks off in a diner setting where Noah (Dominic West) is chatting with Sasha (Claes Bang), an actor/director who will bring the writer’s book Descent to the big screen. Their conversation is an illuminating thing for Noah, as Sasha shares that he was drawn to the source material because he’s addicted to toxic-relationships too, only Noah never got that memo about himself.

In Vik’s Wake

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

When Noah takes his leave from the meeting with Sasha, he reveals he’s attending a funeral, which fans quickly discover is Vik’s (Omar Metwally). It’s a tense occasion, as Helen (Maura Tierney) argues about her love’s final resting place and state — Vik’s mother wants him cremated, while Helen protests that he wanted to be buried.

Things go from bad to worse as the day carries on when Helen’s parents approach Noah and Janelle (Sanaa Lathan), and Bruce (John Doman) is overtly friendly to his ex-son-in-law before later confusing Janelle for the help by requesting a drink. It’s clear that the man is suffering from some sort of dementia or memory loss, but it’s enough to send Janelle flying out the door.

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Anna Paquin on Joanie's Story & Getting Answers in 'The Affair' Season 5

The actress will portray an adult version of Alison and Cole's daughter.

Why Not You?

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

In a heart-wrenching scene between Helen and Noah, he’s helping her with dishes after the funeral when he tells her she’s resilient. The compliment backfires, though, when she points out the reason she became resilient and it was because of his affair with Allison. Ultimately, the conversation ends with Helen saying Vik didn’t have a choice to leave because he got cancer. “Why not you?” she asks Noah.

Glimpse Into the Future

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

Joanie’s storyline is introduced as she and her family are cleaning up after daughter Madeline’s birthday. While her husband Paul (Lyriq Bent) tucks Madeline and other daughter Thea in for the night, Joanie watches through a monitor in the bathroom — a sign of the futuristic times.

When Paul joins her in there, he asks what she’d like for her birthday, but Joanie squashes any chance of fun by telling him it’s the same age her mother was when she died. Paul’s response is shock as he comments that she’d never told him that before, and agreed not to do anything to celebrate the milestone. In this exchange, we also learn that Madeline is adopted, and Joanie voices concern about her daughter knowing this so young.

Concern for Cole

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Later that night, when Joanie and Paul are in bed together, Joanie oddly remarks that she misses her father. But what does that mean? Is he dead or are they estranged? Either way it explains his absence and it was confirmed by creator Sarah Treem that Joshua Jackson would not return for the final season in an interview with Deadline. But when Joanie goes into the bathroom and swallows and handful of anti-anxiety meds, it’s clear there’s a lot more going on underneath the surface for her.


(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

In a flashback sequence, viewers are shown the last moments of Vik’s life through Helen’s eyes. In conjunction with Sierra’s (Emily Browning) birth of her and Vik’s baby, Helen is made aware that he’s reaching his final breathing moments. As he lay there barely breathing, Helen hears a knock at the bedroom door where Noah is pushing Sierra in a wheelchair as she clutches the baby. They have just moments to spare when they lay the child on Vik’s chest before he officially passes.

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'The Affair': Showtime Unveils Final Season Premiere Date

Plus, what to expect from the time-jumping season.

With all of the mystery and intrigue set up in this premiere, hopefully the upcoming episodes will provide some much needed answers and closure.

The Affair, Sundays, 9/8c, Showtime