Spoiler alert: This story contains details from tonight’s episode.
There was no holding back in Episode 8/Season 4 of The Affair on Showtime. There were bad days, unexpected meetings, blasts from the past, and a huge, shocking development for one key character, as the time shifting story line kept viewers guessing until the big reveal.
Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson), the focus of the show, naturally had the worst of it, even though she didn’t say a word or take so much as a single breath on the episode.
In recent weeks, her life has been in even more upheaval than usual. She met a long-lost father, who tells her he wanted to make contact earlier in her life but was denied by Alison’s mother. Then he asked Alison for a kidney. Perhaps she owes him – he did rescue her from drowning when she was a child, as she suddenly recalls.
It got worse.
When Alison asked her mother about the father being denied access, she learned that she is the product of a rape, not an affair. The rape was never reported.
Reeling from that news, Alison heads to her boyfriend, Ben, seeking comfort. Instead of a hug, she got to meet his wife, never before revealed.
It got even worse.
Alison hopped a plane to see ex-husband Noah, and was groped by her obnoxious airplane seatmate. Adding insult to injury, she is the one who got arrested, not the groper.
But, amazingly, all that was just preamble to the tragedy of tonight’s episode.
Alison’s exes Cole (Joshua Jackson) and Noah (Dominic West) join forces to search for the missing woman (they’re joined by Noah’s student, played by Christopher Meyer). They were at the palatial East Hampton home of Alison’s long-lost father when the news arrived: Alison’s body had been found. She drowned herself. The news is confirmed when Cole and Noah – or one of them- identified her body at the morgue.
The shocker – in some ways The Affair has always been Alison’s story, right down to Fiona Apple’s haunting, now sadly prescient theme song – will change the entire series going forward, and there’s still plenty of time left to tell the story: The Affair has two episodes left in this season and was recently renewed by Showtime for a fifth.
Alison’s disappearance was foreshadowed at the beginning of the fourth season, but few viewers could have predicted tonight’s outcome for such a key character. Tonight’s turn of events should make for some intriguing television to come.