SPOILER ALERT: This article and the interview with Sarah Treem contain details of today's episode of The Affair.
Showtime's The Affair has returned for the fifth and last time with some real surprises. The show was based on the different points of view of four main characters: Noah and Helen Solloway, as well as Alison and Cole Lockhart. Noah (Dominic West) and Helen (Maura Tierney) are the only ones left. Ruth Wilson was a guest in the final season when Alison – whose affair with Noah triggered the drama – was either murdered or committed suicide. Both versions were shown in a shocking episode last season. Now her husband Cole, who last saw him driving away with daughter Joanie of Montauk and asking questions about her dead mother, whom he could not answer, has disappeared. Joshua Jackson, an important part of this wonderful quartet of actors who created amazing emotional pains not normally seen outside of a great James L. Brooks movie, will not participate in the final season.
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This gives executive producer and co-creator Sarah Treem and her creative team the need and opportunity to plot strands narrated by a broader group to concretize characters, to which Janelle (Sanaa Lathan), who is Noah's lover and his boss at a charter school, and Whitney belong. The latter, played by Julia Goldani Telles, is a long way from going too far for her British brutal teenage daughter Noah and Helen, who seemed to be nagging her in her abusive relationship with a douchey artist named Furcat. She is now struggling to assert herself as an art gallery assistant whose boss is too cheap to turn on the air conditioner, and she supports a fiancee from Ireland who may or may not be a real artist, but who contributes little while he waits for her, to marry him and to end the chance that he can be deported.
Today's episode contains several exciting stories. The first is Noah, who has sold his Descent book to be filmed by a huge James Bond-style action star named Sasha Mann (Claes Bang), who wants to star and stage the scandal story, the Noah and Helen broke up and their children continued to be traumatized. Man spends breakfast asking Noah about how to betray a great woman like Helen and copying any physical activity that Noah makes as the actor prepares to sink into the role. It is clear that his infiltration in Noah's life will go much deeper and it is hard to believe that Noah, the Philandering Cad, gets a well-deserved taste of his own medicine. As a man trying to get Noah to the point of ruining a happy marriage with a wonderful partner, Noah says he feels his wife holds him back and that Alison seems to be everything his wife was not Sasha also admits he was once addicted to toxic relationships. Noah did not understand, but he will soon.
Next is the story of Helen trying to keep it together when Vik Ullah (Omar Metwally), the brilliant surgeon who fell ill late last season, is dying in which Sierra is trying to give birth to his son to bring before he dies. At the funeral, there is a bitter dispute between Helen and Vik's mother and father (Zuhair Haddad & Zenobia Shroff) over adhering to Hindu cremation traditions – which was not what Vik wanted – and clear memories of how much Vik Noah had supplanted as leader and influence on Helen and her children. That's clear when Vik gives a posthumous speech and says how much he regrets that he could not stick to seeing Whitney marry her fiancé Colin. It is clear that Noah was told nothing about it.
Noah follows Helen's request to stay there and act as a support mechanism during Vik's funeral, which will strain his relationship with Janelle. Helen Hemingway-style writer Father Bruce (John Doman) asks Noah's girlfriend to refresh his drink and thinks she's a waitress at the funeral reception. Noah, who can not do anything right in this gloomy affair, stands ready and allows it. While Noah tells Janelle that his ex-father-in-law fails to remember – Noah had previously introduced Helen's parents to Janelle as his girlfriend – the moment is indelible, especially if the version is told from her perspective, along with the other compulsions that are opposite her. This includes moving her charter school to replace her with a younger colleague after the outbreak of violence on campus, and forcing her to reapply for her own job. It's clear that Helen, who is spreading her wings, will be a big part of the series' final season, even though her dysfunctional mother (Kathleen Chalfant) is trying to push her back to New York to take care of her dying father.
The last vantage point is the biggest departure for the show and a fascinating immersion in futuristic storytelling. This is the introduction of Joanie, who was last seen as a young daughter of Alison and Cole and asked questions about her mother's suicide, which her father simply could not answer. Anna Paquin plays the young girl at the age of 38, the age when Alison died. She is a young woman in great emotional distress. Married to a loving husband and two own young daughters, she will seek every opportunity to move away from them. These include making a job in Montauk and waiting until you see the futuristic look of The Affair on the East End of Long Island, a boring seaside resort for the original affair between the bored, unsuccessful writer served / teacher Noah and Alison, the waitress of the seafood restaurant in an endless mourning spiral about the death of their little son Gabriel. In the futuristic version, Montauk has been hit by climate change and global warming, and storms and floods have destroyed the tourist destination. It is a very disturbing moment, especially at a moment when the rainforests are burning in Brazil and the Conservative government is slow to put an end to it.
The most emotionally touching moment in season five's starting episode is Sierra's attempt to use natural means to give birth to the child she has fathered with Vik. The result is that you can be surprised even if you think you know what to expect in this incredibly well-written emotional drama. And Vik leaves Helen a message from the grave that will help her to resume life.
What remains untouched so far are the circumstances of Alison's death and the role in which Ben Cruz played her death. It seemed as if he had murdered her when Alison threatened to expose her relationship with Ben's wife. Or what about Cole or Luisa (Catalina Sandino Moreno), his long-suffering partner who simply had no chance to compete with Cole's memory of Alison.
Here is an interview I had last night with The Affair co-creator Sarah Treem, in which she deals with today's episode and gives a glimpse of how she and her creative team solve all of them Connect ends together and make it without Wilson and Jackson. These actors have disappeared, but their characters will never be far away. I've seen the first four episodes and will do my best to keep the spoilers to a minimum.
DEADLINE: The format of the show was based on stories told from the perspective of the four main characters. They started the fifth season without two of them. What can you say about the outcome of Joshua Jackson, who was last seen running away with Alison's ashes and finally driving away with daughter Joanie to ask questions about her dead mother he could not answer?
TREEM : We love Josh, he's incredible. His contract was only for three years. This is the time he agreed with us at the beginning of the process. Then I advertised him for the fourth year and he liked it and signed it. But he was pretty sure it would be his last year. He has a lot of things he wants to do; He is at the peak of his career and incredibly talented. And he is in demand. I do not want to speak for him, but I think he was happy after the fourth season. I felt like he was doing a great job and playing a few things, and I do not know that he felt he had anything else to give the character. But you should talk to him, I do not want to talk about it for him, but that was the feeling I had. He had done what he wanted to do with the character. Of course I love and miss him, but he does other incredible things.
FRIST: Maybe he felt you had beaten Cole emotionally enough?
TREEM : Poor Cole. He's such a noble character, Cole. And if you write such a noble character, you just have to kick him out, put that nobility to the test.
DEADLINE: So you knew he would be gone and that you would have changed the last season of the show differently. Which storylines were most important to you, some of which are to be seen in this season's premiere?
TREEM : At least in my head, so much of the show revolved around repercussions. The metaphor I gave when I first pitched it was that the issue is the pebble falling into the lake, and the show is about the waves that go out and out forever. There is this one action that you believe has no consequences. Obviously, people hope to limit themselves to this quiet sequence of events that nobody knows. But often people do it. And the effects will stay forever. I was interested in exploring the generation trauma and how the trauma of an action does not necessarily affect the generation it endures. It is codified in the DNA and can be passed on to subsequent generations. This idea of life and death was of paramount importance at the beginning of the season. That's why this cycle happens when Vik dies and Sierra gets his baby at the same time. And Helen is witnessing both events, which is important for her character in terms of the journey she will undertake this season.
Deadline: Noah is still this villain, and the worse it gets for him because of his original infidelity, the happier it makes me for some reason. Now he actually sees his wife Helen and what he lost. It is augmented by Sasha Mann, the actor who staged and plays Noah in a movie based on Noah's all-new sensation Descent . He seems to be a mirror of Noah, and Noah feels unwell from the moment they discuss the project at breakfast, and Sasha seems to be copying each of his moves.
TREEM : Claes Bang I had seen him in The Square . I love this movie, have seen it three times and am a bit of groupie for this director, Ruben Ostlund.
Deadline: Dominic West is also in this film.
TREEM : I thought who the F is this actor who shows up in his fifties and is just so good. I really wanted to work with him. We had the idea of a character who enters Helen's life and is somehow perfect. Who is beyond their wildest dreams as a partner? He is incredibly rich. Very successful, but he is also such a good man who does these things for charity and he is undeniable. It has become a bit difficult to outperform Alpha Dominic West at this time. He is a handsome alpha and always the man in these scenes. It was a challenge; Can we create a character who is more alpha than Noah? And we thought, of course, we can if he's a movie star. Who is the character who is more Noah than Noah? So we created Sasha Mann. I think what we will learn about Sasha and what Helen will learn about him is that he really is not who he seems to be. This year, we're working on the idea that there really are no heroes, and the more someone tries to convince you, the more likely they are to cover up a real darkness. We tried to create a classic Hollywood hero and thought, why should not he just become a real Hollywood hero? And you will see what happens.
FRIST: You mentioned that you created the perfect guy. Sure, he kept his feelings inside and when he knew he was dying of pancreatic cancer, he bought a fast car and slept with his neighbor, Sierra (Emily Browning), and impregnated her for having something of himself wanted to leave behind. But he was a brilliant surgeon who was reliable when Noah was not, and became the father of Helen's children. And then I thought Ben was a perfectly decent guy when he came into Alison's life, and boy, was I wrong about this? Or I think I was wrong; I think he killed Alison, but we saw two different versions, one in which she committed suicide …
TREEM : Surely you'll find out the truth about this season …  Paul Sarkis / Showtime
Deadline: The bridge from the first to the second season contained a great deal of information about the death of Coles brother Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell). Did you want to transfer this strategy to the last season, which asked if Alison killed himself or was murdered?
TREEM : I think the show is going well, if so this engine. We did not have it every year, but it was always the platonic ideal of the show that there is a secret behind it. Yes, the idea would ever be discovered and understood Alison's death, would the truth ever come to light? That's the guiding principle of this fifth season.
DEADLINE: The relationship between Sasha and Noah begins in this episode, but perhaps it's not too much to reveal the things that Noah tells him TREEM : Exactly.
Deadline: The biggest surprise here is the decision to establish Joanie, the daughter of Alison and Cole, as the main character. You have it fixed in the future when she grows up and is a mother herself. There is a technology we do not have yet. Explain why you chose Anna Paquin and where you wanted to go with this story?
TREEM : It was the idea that there would be a future generation that is still affected by the affair was always something I wanted to do. This idea of waves that you think that she lives in your life and dies, but sometimes not. Your children have to bear the consequences. There are parallels between the Whitney story and the Joanie story. The daughters of Alison and Noah, but obviously Whitney is older. Joanie, I always knew that I wanted to meet Joanie as an adult. The question was, how old would she be if the crisis of what had happened to her mother really came home to sleep for her? To be completely honest, as a woman with children and many of my staff have children. I understand that you do not really start unpacking what happens until you have children and you realize how much more complicated it is than you originally thought. You can come over and think that this is your parents' story, and it is only when you have your own children that you really have quarrels both in your relationships with them and in your marriage. And it comes to mind that you think, is the story that I knew about my parents, really true or not? It became clear that in order to investigate what was happening to her mother, Joanie herself had to be a mother and a wife and face this conflict. Therefore, we decided to accommodate Joanie at the age of 38 and the age at which Alison died. I've been a fan of Anna Paquin for years and I think she looks a bit like Ruth. She was funny. She said she The Affair to see if it was a part she wanted to take with her. She watched her house and her 5-year-old son came in and looked at Alison and asked if she was. We thought that was a funny synchrony. I think Anna is a unique and courageous actress and unusual in that she has no fear of darkness and plunges fully into this kind of world. She just seemed to be a spiritual fit for the show and I think she would say the same thing. I wanted Anna Paquin from the beginning when we started the character sheet, so it was lucky she said yes.
In terms of the future, that was an interesting thing. We talked to a number of futurists about what the technology will look like in the future. We talked to many environmental futurists and climate researchers. What we found in television about the future was that a small future comes a long way. When we shot the first scenes, we used holodecks. Apparently that comes. We will be able to communicate in meetings, and our similarities will be projected. And all Futurists say that's coming. But when you bring it to the screen, it looks ridiculous and distracting. So we had to retreat and shoot again because there was too much future. And there comes a time when we may wear bracelets, and there will be a kind of projection on our wrists. So instead of typing on a keyboard, we might type on our own skin. We tried something like that and thought it looks too funny, too different. They think back over 30 years, into the 80s, and much has changed. The Internet or cell phones did not exist. There have been tremendous innovations and you really can not imagine that as a 1980s child. It was interesting to look ahead and try to integrate it into the world of The Affair which is a naturalistic and natural world.
FRIST: Based on what I saw, the future for the eastern end of Long Island does not look good …
TREEM : I knew that Montauk had to be hit by climate change. That seems to come and the more we researched, the more we realized that these coastal communities just will not survive. That seemed to be a fitting metaphor for the show, where nothing lasts forever. Not in relationships and not in nature. Likewise, you can not abuse a relationship and expect it to last. They also can not abuse your planet and expect it to last. Everything has consequences. The more we dealt with the climate metaphor, the more excited we became.
DEADLINE: We'll see that Joanie does some desperate things, even if she's coming to Montauk. What is her attitude and why is she so desperate what we immediately see when she takes excess pills to harm herself.
TREEM : We were very interested in The narration we have about our parents and how often, is not true. We formulate our lives around these stories of our past. Some of us have more access to the truth about their parents and others have less, but so much of what we become as human beings depends on a projection of our parents' lives and what they say they are , One of my favorite pieces is Richard Greenberg's Three Days Of Rain a play about these three kids trying to figure out what happened to their parents. The play goes back and the three are their parents and a friend of their parents, and you realize that the story these kids have about what happened to their parents is completely wrong. Her parents had a different story. I think that's true, tragic and interesting. When she thinks of Joanie, her mother dies when she is seven years old. Everyone thinks that it is suicide. Her father drives her out of Montauk a few days after the funeral and he can not talk about it because he loved his dead ex – wife so much. He's a pretty shy person and we think he's not going to be the guy who opens up and tells his daughter all the weirdness that's happened. He would try to preserve the veneer of the nobility in the past. The truth, then, is that everything she knows about this past is wrong. By this principle, a family secret is corrupt, and you think you would protect it by keeping it secret, but it's wrong. A lie is more hurtful and harmful to children than the truth. What you see in Joanie is the darkness she carries with her. She has the idea that her mother left her and that she does not care enough to live. She has formulated her entire identity as someone who is not Alison. She has incredible pain because of this experience and nobody has talked to her about it. Everything is coming out right now.
FRIST: But Joanie seems to want nothing more than to do the same to her two daughters.
TREEM : Yes, that's perfectly true. It is a cycle that continues because it has not been addressed. That's exactly the principle we worked on. I'm glad you understood that. She is doing exactly the same with her daughters as her mother. Slowly. Because she is a child of abandonment.
FRIST: They mention the parallel to Whitney, the eldest daughter of Helen and Noah. She began the series as uncontrollable, promiscuous and rebellious. She now has to earn a living and seems to appreciate her mother's path more. She has become a main character in this past season.
TREEM : She certainly has. When we first met Whitney, she was 16, a pretty, privileged New York teenage girl. I think there is something that happens to women between the ages of 16 and 20 and now 25, as it is now. There has been a development. She has grown up a lot and she is in the workplace and she is fighting. It is an experience that I remember in my life as a young woman in her early 20s, in which there was so much I wanted to do with my life, and so much that I wanted to say, and so much ambition, and me just wanted someone who takes me seriously. And nobody did it. I do not know if young women are still going through this, but it was a very specific developmental experience and a slightly traumatic experience at that age. To feel, was I crazy? Was it me? Was it sexism? What happened? I could not figure out why no one listened to me when I spoke. I had these male colleagues who came from the Yale Drama School when I was 25, and I thought, why does not anyone take my writing as seriously as they do these guys? I wanted Whitney to be in that age where you have so much what you want to do, and you do not know how you'll ever get there, because it seems nobody's listening. I also wanted, when we came to Whitney's perspective for the first time, that the fragility, the self-absorption that her parents had seen all these years, was to some extent a projection. That's not how she sees herself and so she does not move around the world. If you see Whitney with her mother, you'll see Helen in episode four, if Helen is such a mess. Whitney with Helen is just the best. Maura is just a master of the character who had to create many variations of this woman and she had to do it again this season when we saw Helen from Whitney's eyes. She had the idea that in Whitney's eyes Helen would be a catastrophe very dependent on Whitney. Which was such a big reversal as you think you understand the Whitney-Helen relationship. But the most important thing about Whitney's existence this season is that she has become her father's daughter. In the fifth episode, something happens that sets the tone for the remainder of the season, and it's a surprise, but it's kind of like the chickens are coming home to settle there. And Whitney gets caught and finally wonders what's wrong with me. Why did I do that, and why do I keep putting myself in all those self-destructive experiences she's in? And that's because of her father and the relationship she saw as a model.
FRIST: She makes terrible decisions in men. In his posthumous speech, Vik says he likes Colin, her fiancee. But he seems like a deadbeat artist with her to protect himself from deportation, and Whitney, who marries him, will allow him to stay in America. And this Furcat artist type …
TREEM : Furcat is like Noah on steroids. The worst version of this man. I think Colin will surprise you. He is more than he seems to be at the beginning of the season.
Deadline: Well, even though Vik should have gone to treat his pancreatic cancer when he had time, instead of saying defiantly that he had no chance to live and repent, he seemed a wise judge to be the person who made his judgments. They mention this relationship dynamics and these women who are unrecognized for their abilities, and that brings us to another character whose perspective lies in these early episodes. This is Janelle (Sanaa Lathan), the mother of prodigy Anton (Christopher Meyer), who helps Noah attend an Ivy League school. One of the interesting ways in which the show has evolved from simply telling stories from the four main characters' point of view is that you've broadened the narrative possibilities by using the perspective of a larger number of characters. Janelle's experience of Vik's funeral, when Helen's mentally failing father asks her to get him another drink, and Noah just stands by and allows it, was incredibly demeaning. She is a very interesting character, and if it is possible that she will return with her husband, it somehow feels right. Noah remains a narcissist and a train wreck.
TREEM : That's how we felt. I love the scenes between her and Russell (Hornsby, her ex-husband Carl) because you sense they may be together, that they're on a long journey to each other. In the way that everything happens for a reason, the experiences she has with Noah could bring her back to a sense of home and someone who understands her. After all, that's what we're all looking for, someone who understands us and sees us. And Noah could not see her.
Deadline: Noah seems to have a similar insight into the fabulousness of his own wife Helen, whom he often cheated on before he met Alison. Is there a chance for Noah and Helen?
TREEM : This is definitely the big question of this fifth season. I love Noah and Helen together, but I think they hurt so badly. That's the question we would ask in the Writers Room. Is there a way back if you hurt yourself so much? If so, what would it look like? Es gibt keine Menge guten Vaters, die Noah tun könnte, um den Verrat in seinem Umfeld zunichte zu machen. Du siehst zu Beginn der Saison, wie er versucht, für sie und sie da zu sein, als Vaterfigur und nur etwas von diesem Zeug zu schultern. Helen will gerade abheben und Noah dreht sich um, um einen Teil der Ladung mit den Kindern zu übernehmen. Aber ich weiß nicht, dass das jemals genug sein kann. Die Frage, naja, was wäre genug, damit haben wir im Writers Room viel gerungen.
Deadline: Wir haben gesehen, wie Alison von jedem Mann betrogen wurde, den sie getroffen hat, außer von ihrem Ehemann Cole. und wir beobachten alles, was Noah getan hat, und es ist irgendwie erfreulich zu sehen, wie Noah in den ersten vier Folgen weiterhin im Fass an der Reihe ist. Ich weiß nicht, wie er sich einlösen kann, wenn er weiterhin die schlimmsten Entscheidungen trifft und mit seiner Libido führt.
TREEM : Es steht eine Menge Saison bevor, aber Dominic West leistet in dieser Saison so unglaubliche Arbeit und landet an einem Ort, der einfach außergewöhnlich ist. Ich möchte es nicht ruinieren. Aber die Arbeit, die er am Ende leistet, ist einfach umwerfend. Er ist einfach so ein guter Schauspieler.
Deadline: Sie erwähnen die Wellen einer Affäre. Nicht alle von ihnen sind schlecht und das fühlt sich an wie die Jahreszeit von Helen. Ihre Erfahrungen mit Vik schienen wie echte Liebe von einem Mann zu sein, der alles war, was Noah nicht ist. Diese Szene, in der er den Atem seines neugeborenen Kindes fühlt, bevor er stirbt, ist so berührend, und ich bin sicher, Helen bereut nichts davon.
TREEM : Ich glaube nicht, dass sie bedauert das. Das Thema dieser Saison ist, dass Menschen einfach zu sich nach Hause kommen, lernen, akzeptieren und einfach Frieden schließen mit dem, wer sie tatsächlich sind und was sie wirklich wollen. Das ist eine schwierige Sache in Ihrem Leben, wenn Sie keine wirklichen Prüfungen durchlaufen und wirklich schwierige Dinge durchmachen, die Sie zwingen, sich am Ende die Frage zu stellen, wer Sie sein möchten.