This certainly wasn't the finale I expected, and I'm not sure it's the finale we deserved, either.
The Affair Season 3 Episode 10 blew right by any self-discovery on Noah's part after he realized he was the one who had been harming himself, concocting Gunther out of thin air and was, perhaps, on the verge of a total mental breakdown.
I'd go so far as to say by the end of 310, it's even possible we were lead to believe nothing we though we'd come to believe was true at all, at least if we read a little bit into some of what Noah said.
If there's a time anyone doesn't read into what's being said on The Affair, please enlighten me.
With the many different points of view, the thing you must be doing at all times is trying to understand where a character is coming from in their frame of mind, in their personal context.
To fully understand The Affair, we'd probably need a Ph.D. in psychology. As you know, that's part of what makes the show so endearing to me. I suspect many of you feel the same.
Yet it's hard not to feel a little ripped off when it comes to this hour. When The Affair Season 3 Episode 9 ended, Noah had just slumped to the floor in front of his sink, seemingly putting together the events of the past several months and coming to the realization of what he had done to himself.
Thirty years of holding in the secret about his mother's death had beaten him down to the point he was willing to confess to crimes he didn't commit to atone for thought he committed. His psyche was so shattered he disconnected from himself in a psychosis sort or reminiscent of schizophrenia.
But a few months later? He's good. We missed the good stuff.
You've been so good to me. A few months ago, I was on the brink, and now, thanks to you, I'm OK.Noah
From that quote, we gathered Juliette helped him put the pieces back together.
We may never know the whys of it, but I did enjoy watching their versions of the cafe meeting play out. Juliette sees Noah in a much brighter light than the one Noah shines on himself.
At least he still recognizes he's an ass. His gift to her was in brown paper and his responses to conversations, while more than grunts, were in the same tone. They were unemotional and reserved; hardly something you'd expect Juliette to turn to when her husband was dying.
But that's part of the story, isn't it? A significant part of their attraction must come from their shared bond of caring for dying loved ones.
I realized that while Noah was seemingly contradicting what we thought we understood about him at the end of 309, when Noah fell to his knees and acknowledged his part in his downfall was real at all.
Noah: After someone dies, I think we want to tell ourselves a story of how it was our fault, because at least it gives us some control.
Juliette: I prayed for him to die, Noah.
Noah: I'm sure you did, but that's not why he's dead.
The other thing Noah and Juliette share is their love for their difficult daughters. They were both tested, and finally not found lacking, as the hour closed.
The business between Whitney and the hot tub has never been addressed, and at this point, it should never be addressed. The longer the time goes on between the event and the conversation, the more awkward it becomes.
At least Noah realized he couldn't let his daughter stay with Fukrat if he had anything to do with it.
Dismissing Whitney, treating her like a waitress and fondling someone else's ass was wholly inappropriate. Or was it? Were they ever a couple at all? From my vantage point, it now seems Whitney was expanding her role in the rat's life. For what reasons? Who the hell knows.
What was interesting was how she was initially defending him to Noah based upon his passionate creative nature, completely ignoring the similarities between rat and her dad. Just because Fukrat draws vaginas and Noah writes about them doesn't make their creative natures any less similar.
It became obvious as Noah and Whitney talked, though, that she needed her dad. It seemed quite easy for her to leave rat once she had Noah's support.
Noah: I don't think I'm better than him.
Whitney: You're not!
Noah: I think you are. [pause] I'm listening to you defend a man I just watched hit you. I can tell you really believe what you're saying, and oh God, that kills me Whitney. Because I can see I failed you in the most important job I had, which was to protect you from men like...men like me.
She needed him to acknowledge his bad choices and even that her's were being made based on them. Once that happened, she readily accepted his helping hand. Hearing Noah call his daughter Whit as they got more comfortable was nice.
By the same token, Juliette admitted to Noah Etienne had a lot of affairs. So many he made Noah look like a novice. She left him dying and fled to the US because she was hurting and wanted to inflict it upon him. It was probably easier knowing he was unaware of what was going on.
Juliette was scared to death when Etienne woke up.
It happens sometimes. It's what we call terminal lucidity. The patient surfaces right before the very end. Like a sort of final gift.Doctor
Unfortunately, that final gift is only such if you're in a good enough place to take advantage of it. Etienne calling Juliette Bridgette didn't help matters, and even Sabine's happy place was ripped out from under her when he thought she was someone else.
Should they remember that moment for the rest of their lives or think back to truly happier times?
It probably doesn't matter, and at least Juliette and Sabine will be there for each other now that the worst has passed.
But will Juliette be a part of The Affair Season 4? My guess is yes, mainly because it's highly unlikely we'll skip right over everything we missed from Episode 9 to Episode 10.
When the show was filming, it hadn't been renewed. All was open for interpretation. And that's just how it ends. That doesn't make me appreciate it anymore knowing that.
Noah's redemption felt unearned. Even though we know now that Noah didn't truly murder his mother and only created (yet another) layer to his story to haunt himself even further, with as much as we watched throughout The Affair Season 3, seeing would have been believing.
Noah was so broken when last we saw him that for him to be so well only months later, in a good place with his kids and having moved on with Juliette feels false.
Did he and Helen ever talk about their night together? Did Helen ask him why he never told her about Alison's involvement the night of the accident?
Did Noah receive professional help to control his psychosis? How did it come to Juliette being the one to pick him back up? Is he off of parole now that he's off gallivanting in France?
I noted in my review for The Affair Season 3 Episode 1 that it was never more apparent the show revolved around Dominic West's character, and the season didn't prove my hypothesis wrong.
The Affair may be the title, but it's a series about Noah Solloway first and foremost. The season finale offered a look at Noah's life after he had redeemed himself, but we didn't witness the actual redemption itself.
Is that something you'd like to see, or are you ready to move on to new storylines, leaving the past behind? What characters to you hope are awaiting us in Season 4? Should there be a significant time jump, allowing more children to participate?
Weigh in, and if you're behind at all, you can watch The Affair online to see how it all played out.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.