Seventy-five minutes weren't necessary to close out The Affair Season 4.
By the time The Affair Season 4 Episode 10 credits started rolling, it was hard to remember the opening credits. Was a little too much time allowed for a finale that wasn't tying all of the loose ends permanently? Yes.
It would have been more appropriate for a series finale, and for the life of me, I can't imagine what's to come for the fifth and final season.
Alright. That's not true. At all. But I'm hoping I'm wrong about the possibilities, but we'll get there at the end!
I can tell you where I would have saved time. In a season where the kids weren't a priority, it wasn't necessary to return to the insufferable Whitney. I'll just speak on behalf of fans everywhere when I say we'd rather be watching Bunheads Season 7 than ever suffer through another scene with Whitney Solloway.
Hell, even Anton used the lack of attention Noah pays to the Solloway brook as fodder for his Princeton debut.
The guest-starring role from Janel Moloney surely surprised all fans of The West Wing even if the part of Ariel was very small.
Ariel: Wow. Noah and Helen. Requiescat in pace.
Noah: Yeah, thanks.
Ariel: I thought you guys were gonna last forever. You were campus celebrities.
Noah: Yeah, well... Plans change.
The most notable part about the trip to Princeton was that Noah wasn't thinking any more clearly than Cole and neither man really thought of Alison as an ex.
While that has always been the case with Cole, with Noah it was only when he didn't correct Ariel's supposition that he had lost his current wife how close Noah still felt to Alison in the end.
Anton, though, had spent time with the two men closest to Alison and knew better than anybody Noah was in the wrong place by remaining in Princeton. His essay tearing into Noah purposefully shook his new friend and mentor out of his funk and sent him on his way.
A lesser man than Anton wouldn't have used the opportunity given to him in that classroom to his greatest advantage. The understanding in those scenes gives me hope I'm way off base in what could happen in the upcoming season of The Affair.
There are times when The Affair feels like it's trying too hard to send a message, like Luisa and Joanie singing This Land is Your Land, in which I lose hope, and then there those like the Princeton classroom, and I breathe easy again.
The more complicated the better.
Unless it comes to Athena and the beaching service. Could there be a more terrible name for a memorial? It sounds like something that happens when a whale passes.
Cole should have been upfront with Athena about how he felt about Alison, in the end, to keep himself in the planning process. As weird as Athena can be, she loved Alison. If Luisa was speaking on Cole's behalf, there would be a big disconnect because Cole's attention wasn't on Luisa.
Cole's fuming as the urn was passed around reminds him that Alison belonged to everybody when he wanted her so desperately to belong to him. That's all he ever wanted and circumstances not only killed their son but they love they once shared.
What could have happened when he got his hands on the urn was concerning. That he only got up and ran was a relief. From Cherry we know the beachiing went on without him or Alison, food was served and all was well with the world.
The bonding between Cole and Noah that occurred on the trip might seem strange, but it was years in the making. They shared something very few do: their love for the same woman.
Cole: You know, if she was still my wife, no one would have questioned what I wanted to do with her body.
Noah: I'm sorry.
Cole: Why'd you do it? Why her?
Noah: I was unhappy.
Cole: Did she make you happy?
Noah: [shakes his head no]
Cole: She made me happy.
Once upon a time, Cole wouldn't have been able to handle that conversation. Everything was raw and red, and their lives were full of pain and regret. That's not the case anymore. They've gone through too much by now to take any connections they have for granted.
That's why Cole is keeping Luisa in his life. His love is gone, but the woman at his side loves his daughter and needs his help to stay in the country. Considering the less-than-stellar life he's given to her, he feels like that's a fair trade.
Helen's hands are full enough to forget about the fall holidays. Who cares when you're clinging to life because your partner is allowing himself to die before your eyes?
For all of his education and experience with the dying, it never occurred to Vic to look beyond the patients he was treating to the people themselves. Death was a concept, nothing else.
Everyone comes into their own at different times, I suppose. It took the physical pain of dying for Vic to realize he wanted to live. Thanks to Sierra, he will, just not in the way he expected.
Noah: Vic OK?
Helen: No. Vic is going to die.
Noah: I'm so sorry.
Helen: Me, too. I'm so very, very sorry. Did you ever meet our neighbor Sierra?
Noah: I don't think so, no.
Helen: She's pregnant. With Vic's baby.
Noah: What? [pulls Helen into an embrace] Oh, God. Helen. Look, Vic's not in his right mind now, you know?
Helen: Look, it's alright. I don't care. I don't care! I fucked her, too.
Noah: Really? [chuckles] And I missed it?
The conversation between Noah and Helen on the ground outside the hospital was one of their best since the show's inception.
Alison has just died and the man who helped Helen finally get over Noah is going to die. It's not a possibility, but a matter of time. Even if he gets treatment, it will only add months to his life. Even if he had gotten treatment when it was first available, that may have been the best he could do.
You know the saying -- life sucks and then you die. We're all going to do it.
Noah and Helen have come a long way since she was the overbearing bitch and he was the cowering failure living off of her daddy's money.
Noah: Stop, OK? Seriously, stop. That's enough. You are a lot of things, Helen. You are neurotic and overbearing and you're snobby and you're judgmental and superior, but you're...
Helen: Are you gonna stop?
Noah: But you are not broken. I don't know anyone who is tougher than you.
Helen: That might be the nicest thing you've ever said to me.
They've discovered a begrudging friendship that is rich with history, family, and tradition that they couldn't break if they tried, and they did try.
Some of the worst experiences take you to some of the most amazing places, and a more solid, healthy relationship between Helen and Noah is a terrific destination for two who met so young and were campus celebrities.
Their relationship isn't over, it's only evolved.
When The Affair first began, I would have placed my bets on both original couples making their way back to each other. Cole recognized he never stopped loving Alison and wanted her back, he was just too late.
I was coming back for her. [sighs] I drove across the entire country to come and get her, but I was too late. I am always too late.Cole
Seeing Ben at the memorial threw me, but I don't want to see him again. Whether Alison was murdered or committed suicide shouldn't be drudged up again. Let her find peace in her daughter's life.
As for Helen and Noah, their love for each other is grounded in all that I said above, and their ever-evolving relationship may change again, but I'd rather they remained steadfast friends than recommit in any way.
Noah: But I gotta say, if there is one person that I would want to be with when I die, if there is one person who would make me feel no matter what that I was safe and I was loved, it'd be you.
Helen: OK, that really IS the nicest thing you've ever said to me.
Noah was like a drug for Helen, and she finally broke free. When they talked about how lucky they are to be alive, it wasn't a joke. So many people have so much less than they do.
What will The Affair Season 5 bring? It's hard to imagine.
Sierra has a child on the way that Helen may want to know. Will there or won't there be a time jump? Will we meet Alison's daughter as she grows into her teen years? Who will be sticking around to watch The Affair online and discover what compelling reason is there for the story to continue?
The look on Helen's face said it all for me.
With all the shit life throws your way, if you can find a reason to look at the sun and smile at the end of the day, what more do you need?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.