The Affair Season 4 Episode 9 Review: Into the Ocean

at .

If we're to believe Alison's story on The Affair Season 4 Episode 9, the coroner could have made a terrible mistake.

We've never been able to fully comprehend what happens on The Affair, but the conclusion of Alison's life is a real head-scratcher because if we're keeping in line with how everything else has gone before, our assumption of what happened that night is that we will never really know what happened to her on her final night.

It doesn't get any more real than that.

Alison's Last Night - The Affair Season 4 Episode 9

Frankly, I'm not quite sure what to make of what we just witnessed. I'm wobbling all over the place, but as both stories were from Alison's viewpoint and we can't possibly know her viewpoint as she isn't around to tell it, I'll just dive into the nothing that my opinion on the piece might mean.

While watching, my immediate thought was the first half of the hour was all a fantasy and what Alison hoped was about to happen when Ben arrived. 

Like every girl, she wanted to see the best in him. She opened up to him and allowed herself to be vulnerable, something Ben said to Alison during the second half of the hour making his betrayal more ironic.

Related: Get Showtime via Prime Video Channels for Award-Winning Original Series, Hit Movies, Sports & More!

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is difficult with anyone, let alone after you've been hurt and incapacitated as many times as Alison. That she had done so much work on herself and realized her state of mind and incessant victimhood instead turned her into bad guy in her relationships was profound.

As someone guilty of that behavior myself, I know how easy it is to talk yourself into the worst coming to the point you're ready to place blame on everyone around you for being so miserable, when it's your own inability to trust that is the culprit. To learn that and run into Ben is heartbreaking.

In His Dreams - The Affair Season 4 Episode 9

That Alison could still see a happy ending with Ben shows she hadn't given up on life yet. If she could fantasize that even when she placed a call to Ben to send him out of her life that the goodness she believed was inside of him might turn around the situation speaks volumes. She still had hope.

A suicidal person, I think, runs out of hope. I would imagine fantasizing like that to be painful and impossible. A fantasy might seem more like what I think was the real life of this scenario, with Ben appearing in the rain dressed in a hoodie with a lousy attitude.

While Alison was still hoping for someone like-minded to share her life with who would understand what she felt and with whom she could feel alright about forgiving herself because he, too, had forgiven himself for something equally as defeating, she stood a chance at happiness.

But the reality of it is probably that the situation was somewhere in between the two of what we saw. One was too easy and the other too dark.

Empathetic Alison - The Affair Season 4 Episode 9

It was too easy for Alison to offer dinner to Ben after he declared his love for her. It's a fantastical and lovely storybook scenario, finished off with making love by the sea. She sank into the ocean in both, but quite differently.

During the uglier recollection, Alison felt more herself and stronger, even if she was having a rougher time of it.

Each step of the way, the danger was apparent, but Alison walked into it as Alison has done since the first time we laid eyes on her. Even when he dared her to talk about his wife, she threatened to tell Heidi about their relationship rather than giving him what he wanted so that he might back away.

Related: Escape at Dannemora First Look: Benicio del Toro Breaks Free in Ben Stiller Series

It was as if she had come so far in understanding who she had become in recent years that she would not under any circumstances give up that journey even if it meant she would die as a result.

Then again, if you take the combination of two halves of the hour, in one she is desperately clinging to Gabriel, even now imagining him as a teenager with a light mustache and stinky feet holding a grudge against her for his death but proud of who she'd become in spite of it.

Drinking Again - The Affair Season 4 Episode 9

At the same time, Alison was almost daring Ben to make a move against her to relieve her of the misery through which she's persevered all these years, once again making herself the victim of a man. She knows what to do to ensure she survives but refuses to do it so he can make a choice for her.

The choice she's been teetering between for years -- whether to persevere and find a life she can stomach or end it all and come back to try over again in another life as Athena says will happen after she dies.

The Krishna statue lay at her side, having fallen from its perch on the bookcase after Alison hit her head on it. Krishna is believed to stop the cycle of birth and death (from my limited research on the 'net), so the symbolism is ridiculously effective here.

We knew the statue would come into play in some way or another, but the mere positioning of it in front of her as Alison lay dying was enough. With everything Alison had learned about herself, maybe that meant she'd been through enough in this lifetime and earned her wings.

Time's Up - The Affair Season 4 Episode 9

My guess would be manslaughter charges for Ben, not outright murder. I don't think he had the intent to kill, but what he was doing was out of anger. 

There is a funeral or memorial service coming up for Alison, so the case might not be left open going forward. With only one season left for everyone to find some kind of peace, my hope is Cole can let go and focus on his daughter.

Related: Ray Donovan Season 6 First Look: Ain't No Sunshine

He was never meant to be with Luisa and almost loved her to spite Alison. It hasn't been fair to Luisa and trying to put something back together after this tragedy wouldn't make sense. It's time for him to start fresh.

There's still a possibility Alison committed suicide, I suppose, but it seems unlikely. She had made it so far, and after disappointing Gabriel as she did, doing the same to another child didn't seem like something she would choose.

Into the Ocean - The Affair Season 4 Episode 9

Falling back into the ocean was cleansing. It's how Gabriel died, and it's how Alison will join him. They will not be parted a second time (if you believe in that), so at least Alison can rest.

Don't expect any joy from The Affair Season 4 finale, as it appears Vic might be seeing the end of his life shortened just after everyone deals with saying goodbye to Alison.

Of the four who started on the show, she might have gotten off the easiest.

If you want to catch up with this season, you can watch The Affair online. Share your comments on what you watched in the comments below!

4.09 Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (15 Votes)

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, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on X and email her here at TV Fanatic.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

The Affair Season 4 Episode 9 Quotes

Alison: What happens to people like us?
Ben: What do you mean?
Alison: The ones who can't be forgiven.
Ben: The shrinks would say we need to forgive ourselves.
Alison: I can't.

Alison: So that's what you walk around with, every day?
Ben: When I got back home, I couldn't stand Heidi anymore. It wasn't her fault. It just, I wish she looked at me, the way she needed me. One night we got in bed and I tied her in bed on her stomach so I wouldn't have to look at her face, not even when Bodie started to cry. I got clean after that, and I haven't touched a drink since. I haven't touched her, either.